Opinion: Are you being represented in video games? Nintendo aims to tackle the issue – The University Daily Kansan

Opinion: Are you being represented in video games? Nintendo aims to tackle the issue – The University Daily Kansan

In today’s era of increased media consumption, it is unfortunate that we are still dealing with a lack of representation — not only in the industry, but in the games themselves.

I, for one, am not much of a gamer. As a kid, I stuck to Club Penguin, Poptropica, and the occasional Mario Kart game when I was at my neighbor’s house. My lack of exposure to video games at a young age shaped how I game today, but I am still aware of the harmful representation-related issues within the gaming industry.

Wired writers Anita Sarkeesian and Carolyn Petit analyzed the lack of female inclusivity within the gaming industry and video games. Out of all of the games featured at E3, an annual trade fair for the video game industry, only 5% centered their games around women, despite nearly half of all gamers being female, according to Frontiers in Psychology. 

Nintendo’s new game on the Nintendo Switch, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, mitigates these gender-related representation issues.

The game exemplifies a necessary level of inclusivity in how it represents gender and race — the tasks are not delegated in terms of gender — and the storyline is not centered around an assigned main character. 

Animal Crossing combats stereotypical representations of gender by allowing the user to create their character, disregarding the gender binary, and allowing users to create a non-gender-conforming character. 

Animal Crossing also creates a more gender-inclusive environment through its number of gender-fluid character traits that allow the player to create their version of how they see their protagonist character. 

New Horizons is a model game regarding gender representation, however, it needs to improve two-fold in terms of accessibility. First, the game has no representation for the disabled community aside from providing a wheelchair as a game mode prize, which is demeaning itself. And second, the game and console are expensive to purchase, often impeding on people’s ability to play the game.

While Animal Cross lacks accessibility, its positive gender representation indicates a step in the right direction. We deserve to live in a world free of underrepresentation within the gaming industry. The industry and its consumers need to do better.

Source: https://www.kansan.com/opinion/opinion-are-you-being-represented-in-video-games-nintendo-aims-to-tackle-the-issue/article_13673a00-2475-11ec-bcb2-cf806195d0a3.html