February 13, 2010

Gamer wins with Native fighters

An enrolled member of the Mohegan Tribe who plays video games says he can't lose when he becomes a Native character.

My Expertise:  Latent racial bonusPut a Native American character in my hand and I will tear your face from your skull.

I can’t explain it. When it comes to fighting games, gameplay is pretty straightforward. Learn to combo and block or you lose. There are few ways around this fundamental rule. If you don’t know how to play to your character’s strengths, you won’t win. But through some hilariously ironic loophole, my ancestry transfers some mystical strength to me whenever you put one of those racially inappropriate characters into my hand.
And:Turok, Prey, Thief, Oblivion. These games are child’s play to me if you let me arch back that bowstring as I regretfully admit my inexplicable prowess. Give me that unlockable bow and arrow in Resident Evil 5 and I will turn Sheva Alomar into a mechanized death dispenser as hordes fall at my feet with sharp arrows sitting right between their eyes. Crack out the bow and arrow in any Zelda game and nothing will stay alive. Go ahead. Test me. I'll even do it while riding the horse with that not quite accurate Wii remote waggle control scheme. Doesn't matter. Everything will still get an arrowhead buried deep somewhere in their cerebral cortex.

It's unexplainable and even somewhat upsetting. Let's not also forget that these characters I'm cursed to excel with are usually not polite representations of my ancestors. Few are just quietly listed as Native Americans in some back-story somewhere. Not simple, respectful attempts at adding some character variety and pay homage to a rich culture history. No, I'm talking about painful caricatures. Extraneous head-dresses, war paint, missing shirts, criminal abuse of jacket fringe. The power of nature, wolf sidekicks, ethereal tomahawks, spirit bows. Walking, talking, fighting versions of the Cleveland Indians logo. It's as if every game designer's only experience with Native American culture is Tonto from the Lone Ranger.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Video Games Featuring Indians.

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