So as we all know black history month is upon us once more and I wanted to do something special in honor of that. So I decided to make a video series to showcase a couple of my favorite black main characters in video games because we all know how scarce interesting black characters, or minorities for that matter, can be in gaming. Try to keep in mind these are just black characters in the games themselves. I do plan on doing a part two of this series to showcase some actual black voice actors in the industry, but for now here are some of my favorite black characters in gaming.
Mafia 3 tells the story of Vietnam war veteran Lincoln Clay. After coming home to the French Ward in New Bordeaux and reconnecting with old family and friends Lincoln quickly realizes life back home isn’t as good as it seems. Sammy Robinson, the man who took Lincoln Clay in as a child, also happens to be the head of the black mob who is in major debt with Sal Marcano the Don of the Marcano Crime Family thanks to the Haitian Mob. Lincoln decides to take matters into his own hands by going after the head of the Haitian Mob, Baka. After taking down Baka, Clay and longtime friend Giorgi Marcano goes on to successfully rob the Louisiana Federal Reserve. However, after certain events transpire Lincoln Clay sets out on a mission to eliminate Sal Marcano and the Marcano Crime Family as a whole, all while building up a family of his own to run New Bordeaux.
The Reason I chose Lincoln Clay as one of my favorite black characters is simple. He’s a complete bad ass who doesn’t take shit from anyone. On top of that living in a time where racism was considered a normal everyday thing, Lincoln doesn’t let any of that hold him back from achieving the things he sets his mind to, however malevolent they happen to be. Clay also happens to be a surprisingly complex protagonist. Despite how calm cool and collected he is on the surface. Dig a little deeper and we find that he’s still incredibly messed up from the things he’s seen and done while serving in Vietnam. It’s more than obvious throughout the game Lincoln is suffering from some form of PTSD based on the way he acts and the decisions he makes certain times like insisting on sleeping in the basement. Additionally, as you play through the game you’ll see that Lincoln has a much darker side to him because of the fear tactics he implements during his crusade on the Marcano Family, such as leaving dead bodies displayed as a way to cause unease to his enemies.
The story of Lincoln Clay is nearly on the level of Shakespearean tragedies. It’s all very ironic as well considering in order to obtain his revenge he will have to become the very person he is trying to kill. Lincoln Clay is definitely a black character in gaming who story is worth checking out.
I really have to give it up to Ubisoft this time, I feel they did an amazing job improving the world of Watch Dogs with the second installment of the series. Watch Dogs 2 takes place in in Oakland California where players experience the story through a character name Marcus Holloway. The 24-year-old hacktivist vigilante is on an expedition to take down a system that continually discriminated against him for crimes he was never found guilty of.
After assuming the alias retr0, Marcus started doing everything in his power to expose corrupt government officials as well as leaking documents containing sensitive incriminating information on the use of public data gathering. Eventually, Marcus would turn his attention to Blum the company responsible for ctOS. In short, the ctOS, or the central operating system, is one big network that runs the entire city. With ctOS enabled Blum can gather and store all kinds of information on everybody in the city, and once you’re a part of ctOS there’s no way out. The problem with the central operating system is that it’s being used in shady ways such as allowing big business to maximize profits by utilizing the data stored. Furthermore, the chance that the system could fall into the wrong hands is reason enough to want it gone.
Ultimately Marcus would garner the attention of a popular hacktivist group known as Dedsec. Impressed with the talents of retr0 they decided to test him to see if he would make a good addition to the group. After deleting himself from ctOS 2.0 and passing the trial Marcus would become the newest member of Dedsec. Together using all the resources available to them, they do everything in their power to fight back against the system and expose it to the public as the dangerous and corrupt structure that it is. I felt Marcus Holloway was a good character to bring up because he’s the complete opposite of the stereotypical black archetype we see way too often in video games and media alike. Instead of being the generic black guy put in for comedic relief, Marcus actually has an original personality which adds soul to the game as a whole. Not only that but I love to see a black main character depicted as an intellectual that uses his knowledge to his advantage throughout the game as opposed to running and gunning GTA style. I personally would love to see more black characters like Marcus Holloway in video games as a way to let people know, hey black personalities can be more diverse than just cole train. Give it a chance.
Okay, I know what you all are thinking right now if I was going to choose anybody from this game series it should be Lee and you’re not wrong. Lee Everett would be an excellent choice for a video like this yet I still believe Clementine deserves to be here just as much as Lee, hear me out. Alright if you’ve never played a Walking Dead game from Telltale let me give you the cliff notes. Just be warned there are spoilers ahead, so if you plan on playing the game for yourself go ahead and exit the video. You’ve been warned.
For those of you that don’t know Telltale likes to make choose your own adventure style games, that usually contain multiple episodes within a season. Their walking dead game as of the time of me making this video contains two complete seasons with a third currently in progress. Clementine was only 8 years old living in Atlanta at the time of the outbreak that threw the world of the walking dead into an apocalyptic scenario. Not only that but her parents were away on vacation at the same time. Eventually, she ends up saving the life of the main character Lee Everett in season one. Lee takes her in and decides to protect her as they make their way to savanna in search of her parents. As the story progresses clementine forms a strong bond with Lee along with other characters like Kenny, Christa, and Omid.
Eventually, the group of survivors makes it to savanna where we learn the fate of Clementine’s parents and both Lee and Clementine come to terms with Lee’s unfortunate demise. In season 2 players take control as Clementine becomes the protagonist. Thanks to all the experience and guidance from Lee we find that Clementine has become more than capable to take care of herself. Players follow her new adventures with a group of brand new survivors. As she forms new bonds and rekindles some old ones Clementine will eventually have to make an impossible decision that determines the way the game will end.
So why did I choose Clementine over Lee? To be honest Clementine’s character impresses me way more than Lee’s throughout the series. Not to take anything away from Lee’s character but how many eight-year-olds do you think could handle a zombie apocalypse as well as she does? Not only does she remain incredibly brave the whole series she also grows into a pretty bad ass character herself. From doing what needs to be done like sewing up an open wound with a makeshift thread and needle, to making the hard decisions when they need to be made. Clementine is a perfect example of black excellence in gaming and I can’t wait to see where the series takes her in the future.
Alright, so that’s it for my rant on black excellence in gaming. These are by no means the BEST black characters in gaming but just a few of my personal favorites. I hope you enjoyed the read. As always I’m Reezy and thanks for stopping by.