While Representation In Video Games Has Come A Long Way, It’s Still Lacking And That’s A Problem

While Representation In Video Games Has Come A Long Way, It’s Still Lacking And That’s A Problem

Children need protagonists they can identify with.

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The videogames I grew up with were the stereotypical “girl” games. Barbie, Disney Princess, Bratz — those were pretty much the only games I had for my pink GameBoy Advance. And while there was nothing wrong with those games and I did enjoy them, they quickly grew boring.

No matter how much young me loved Barbies, playing “Barbie” (aka the CPU) in checkers for hours quickly grew monotonous — especially because, if I’m not mistaken, you could set the CPU to easy, making an already simple game even easier.

Looking back on my early experiences with videogames, it’s no wonder that videogames have been considered a “boy’s thing.” I mean think about it. How many videogame protagonists were female back then? The only one I can think of is Samus Aran from “Metroid,” but if you see Samus in her suit, can you tell she’s female? And was “Metroid” geared towards girls the way games like “Bratz Rock Angels” were?

I never enjoyed videogames until I got my Nintendo DS and discovered “Super Princess Peach.” When I first got the game, I loved it. In a nutshell, this time Mario is the one that was kidnapped by Bowser and it is up to Princess Peach, the usual damsel-in-distress, to save him.

Peach was so badass, knocking around bad guys with her parasol and destroying things her emotions. Now, I will admit, with the advantage of hindsight, having Peach save the day with the power of PMS doesn’t send the greatest message, but it was still awesome to see that a female character could be a hero too, that action and adventure games weren’t just a “boy’s thing.”

“Super Princess Peach,” though not the most complex game (I seriously beat it in four hours the other day), was probably the game that opened the door for my love of videogames. Playing through it again got me thinking, what would gaming be like if more kids had a protagonist that they could identify with?

Let me be clear, I’m not here to make a feministfrequency outrage post about why the damsel-in-distress trope needs to die because that is honestly kind of ridiculous and I actually don’t agree with that at all. What I am saying is that representation in all media, including videogames, really does matter.

Don’t get me wrong, many of my all time favorite videogames feature male protagonists — “Kid Icarus Uprising,” “Fire Emblem,” every “The Legend of Zelda” game ever, the whole “Mario and Luigi” RPG series — but if there had been more female protagonists that I could have more easily identified with, I potentially would have discovered my love for videogames sooner.

LGBTQ+ kids deserve to have protagonists they can identify with. Kids of every racial and ethnic background deserve to have protagonists they can identify with. Children from all religions deserve to have protagonists they can identify with. Everyone deserves to have a protagonist they can identify with.

We need to show children that no matter what your background or identity is, you can be a hero too. You can go on an adventure. You can change the world. You don’t have to just be a white male.

We also need to show that people can be different by diversifying all forms of media.

Even though I grew up in the early 2000’s, diversity in media has come a long way since then. When I was little, I didn’t even know the LGBTQ+ community existed because there was very little LGBTQ+ representation in any form of media. And from what I remember from my childhood, the majority of characters in both videogames and television were white.

Now look at media today. The reboot of “DuckTales” made Gizmoduck — who is now voiced by Lin Manuel-Miranda — Latino. Princess Peach has been the damsel-in-distress less and less in many recent Mario titles. One of the main characters of “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard,” Alex Fierro, is a genderfluid demigod who ends up dating Magnus at the end of the series (spoiler alert).

And those are only three examples of how much more diverse media, especially children’s media, has become.

Children not only need to see themselves in the characters on TV or in books or in videogames, but they also need to be exposed to characters from different backgrounds, especially when they wouldn’t naturally be exposed to people from those backgrounds. They need to know that it’s okay to be themselves, and that it’s okay that not everyone is like them.

We often forget just how impressionable children are. And if we don’t make the media more representative of real life, what kind of message are we sending?

If I hadn't ever been exposed to "Super Princess Peach," I would have never found that videogames can be and are enjoyable for everyone, not just boys. I would’ve just thought that videogames were a “boy’s thing.”

While yes, there are elements of the game that are admittedly problematic (the whole "fighting bad guys with crazy female mood swings" thing in particular), to younger me, seeing Princess Peach be a badass was completely and utterly awesome and inspiring. If Princess Peach could be a hero, so could I.

If one game with a female protagonist did that for me, imagine what multiple games with an LGBTQ+ protagonist or a Muslim protagonist or an African-American protagonist will do for kids.

Nobody's saying get rid of "The Legend of Zelda" or "Mario." Let's just make sure that we're developing videogames that contain protagonists from different backgrounds so kids from all backgrounds have a hero they can identify with. While we’ve gotten better, we still have a long way to go.

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10 Reasons Buying A Fitbit Is The Best And Worst Thing That Will Happen To You

Do you even FitBit?
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We all have or know of someone who has joined the Fitbit craze. They are amazing, are they not? A watch, a step counter, a calorie counter, a sleep tracker and in some models, a heart rate monitor; how awesome is that? They have definitely become a new "trend." I see people all over campus and the gyms wearing them.

After wearing mine nonstop for a couple months, I realized 10 reasons why it was the best and worst decision to purchase one.

1. I find it motivating me to take more steps each day.

It really is motivating. Kind of silly, though, that something as simple as a step counter can actually make you want to take more steps. It definitely inspires me to get up and get moving.

2. On days I do not meet the daily step goal, I feel like a lazy bum.

If I don't reach 10,000 steps, I feel like I've accomplished absolutely nothing. Sometimes, I'll look at the number of steps and seriously question if I ever even stepped out of bed that morning. How can I only have 3,000 steps in a day? Yep, sadly, it's happened to me.

3. When I'm just "so close" to the 10,000 steps, I find myself walking around aimlessly in circles just to reach the daily goal.

Yes, I will admit it, I have a problem. I see 9,000-something and then I become SpongeBob and Patrick.

4. When I do reach 10,000 or higher, I feel embarrassingly accomplished.

Did I run a marathon? Did I run for president? Did I win the lottery? Nope! I just hit 10,000 steps and I feel like I did all three (it's pathetic).

5. Having competitions with friends via the Fitbit app makes you want to do way better.

OK, I will confess... I have cheated. (Sorry, friends.) But when you're beating me by 10 steps, what do you expect!? I am competitive and the FitBit app has only fed my competitiveness by either making me work out longer or cheat (only a little).

6. It makes you realize how good, or in my case, how bad your sleep pattern really is.

It really is awesome how it can track your sleep, I won't deny that. But holy cow, until I bought one, I didn't realize how terribly I slept during the week and how lazy I am during the weekend. Seriously, four hours on weekdays and nine on the weekends—is that normal? Not sure, but at least my Fitbit can track it!

7. I find myself refusing to take it off, even when going out and looking cute.

It is pathetic, I know. But how could I take it off when I am potentially going to get thousands of steps going place to place? Why wear my cute watches or bracelets when I can wear my super cute Fitbit?!?

8. When I go a day without it, I find myself feeling empty.

How will I know how many steps I took? How will I win the competition? What if I hit 10,000 and I don't even know!?

9. It is the easiest way to check the time in class.

You can format it any way you want, but my favorite is so I can click it and it shows the date and time. I can simply click the side button, and there's the time. Sometimes, I find myself clicking it every. Single. Minute. Until class is over.

10. I cannot go anywhere without the charger.

It has become equally as important as my cell phone charger because if it dies, how will I know how many steps I took?

Cover Image Credit: meme generator

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11 Reasons Why You Should Take An Online Class

It's learning from the comfort of your own bed.

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I was uneasy about taking my first online class this semester, but it's already week two and I really like it. I feel like I am learning even though I'm not in a classroom. Here are 11 more reasons why you should take an online class at least once in college.

1. It's literally online

All you need a laptop and Internet connection and you are good to go.

2. You don't have to leave your bed

Because you don't need to go anywhere.

3. You can Google things if you need help on anything

It's magical.

4. It can be less work than a normal class

"Can" is the keyword but usually it's a lot lighter workload and easier to handle.

5. You can do it on your own time

You can do your assignments whenever you want, just beware of deadlines.

6. Your teacher is only an email away

And is usually pretty good at getting back to you since it is the only form of contact.

7. You can see your grades right away

If you're lucky enough to have assignments that are automatically graded.

8. You can complete assignments with friends

I think that is the best part of online classes.

9. Your exams and quizzes are online

Which might make them less stressful.

10 There's no absences

So you won't miss anything.

11. It's more organized

Everything is laid out in front of you so you don't miss assignments.

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