Loading Apex Legends For the first time, I saw two black women as playable characters. It was a strange and daring feeling to see them. I'm still trying to understand my feelings about it.
Generally, I distrust falling into what my co-worker Riley MacLeod calls "the diversity trap," that is, giving a lot of credit to a game simply by doing the minimum. I know that most companies are in the business of making money. While having different models can fulfill some altruistic objectives, it could also open the appeal of that product of means to more people who will spend money on it. Apex Legends, the new real battle game from the Respawn development studio, is a free game, but it has loot boxes and, if you wish, you can use real money to buy more loot boxes. So, I can understand why someone can be cynical about the visibly diverse cast of the game.
Still, the game has a diverse cast, and you can tell at first glance. There is a character who is an islander of the Pacific, several women, men of different races and corporal forms and, in an achievement that few games can not boast, there is two black women In fact, you have to play as one of them in the tutorial mission, during which you go through basic movements like the Lifeline support character. As soon as I completed that mission, I went and queued for a game with my friend Julian and my other work colleague Paul Tamayo; Then I selected the other black woman, the rough and fallen soldier Bangalore.
I like it Overwatch, the background story of these characters does not matter much when you're really in the fray. Bloodhound, whom the developers have confirmed is not binary, does not say "I do not fit into the binary definition of gender" when they kill someone. Neither Gibralter, whom the developers have said is gay, talks about how gay he is while playing like him. However, there is something good in a game in which I can find other players who have chosen a character that is not a white, straight, cis man. When I played with Julian and Paul last night, almost every team had someone who played like Bangalore, since their air strike capability can be devastating and great for the squads.
The mere fact of seeing those characters and knowing those little details about them really makes a difference for me. It makes me want to explore the game and its systems more, spend more time in the world and discover how to be even better. It reveals, and then invalidates, my innate fear of playing competitive games. I made fun of being a child and a teenager for seeing me the way I do: being a mestizo, being a girl and liking the things that I like. See characters that look like me, not just one, but a two: Being played and embraced by the community makes me feel that they will not make fun of my central identity. I may be mocked for not being good at the game. And that is something that I can change, with practice.