Video games still need better Black hairstyle options

Trending 3 weeks ago

Video games are ever moving forward, pinch improvements successful graphical fidelity, expanded maps, and caller ideas astir gameplay. But characteristic creation has comparatively lagged behind: Options are still beautiful constricted for creating characters of color, peculiarly for creating Black characters. And a immense constituent is simply a deficiency of Black hairstyles and textures. A caller video effort from Kinda Funny Games big and shaper Blessing Adeoye Jr., highlights nan constricted quality of Black hairstyles successful video games — moreover arsenic video crippled improvement leaps guardant successful different areas.

In “We Need To Fix Black Hair successful Video Games,” Adeoye points to nan prevalence of afros and cornrows successful Black characteristic designs. “Kudos to crippled devs for really including cornrows, a hairsbreadth style that tin beryllium dated backmost complete 3,000 years to sub-Saharan Africa” he says. “My 1 mobility though, is who is this dude pinch cornrows that each azygous video crippled developer seemingly knows?”

Video crippled characteristic designs often hew to occidental beauty standards, erasing nan scope of Black hairstyles — and often nan beingness of Black characters astatine all. This deficiency of inclusivity is exhausting for players seeking to play an RPG aliases sim pinch a characteristic that really looks for illustration them. It’s conscionable different spot successful which Black hairstyles are seen arsenic retired of place, and is an hold of existent life discrimination. Workplaces and schools — among galore different places — person codified rules astir what type of hairsbreadth is “appropriate.” It wasn’t until 2022 that Congress passed nan Crown Act, banning hair-related discrimination.

Some of past year’s best-selling games, including Elden Ring and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, had constricted characteristic creation options, pinch some constricted tegument colour options and hairstyles. (Polygon’s reporting besides pointed retired that successful Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, selecting a curly hairsbreadth style meant that nan characteristic often could not deterioration hats.)

Modders person stepped successful to remediate nan deficiency of Black hairstyles successful games, peculiarly successful The Sims 4. Though nan crippled was initially released pinch a constricted palette of hairstyles, modders stepped successful to create a assortment of looks, including earthy and protective styles, pinch nosy colors and accessories, and a scope of hairsbreadth textures and curl patterns. As Adeoye points retired successful his reporting, moreover celebrities for illustration Keke Palmer person played modded versions of The Sims 4 successful bid to create characters that really look for illustration them.

In nan video essay, Adeoye besides interviews Del Walker, a elder characteristic creator for Naughty Dog, astir his activity and really he approaches designing hairsbreadth for Black characters. He points retired a fewer games that person gotten it right, including Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. But nan manufacture still has a agelong measurement to go.

“Just don’t dainty Black hairsbreadth for illustration an afterthought,” Walker told Adeoye. “It’s an full spectrum and a realm, and it’s truthful overmuch untapped cool worldly happening.”