The intersection between identity and the projection of those identities on a digital media have rarely been studied closely. A human identity is as intangible as the projections we experience them through on video games. In video games a character can show the complexities of identity through narrative constructs like dialogue, conflict, and interactions. For people, their identity is highly personal and more nuanced than can be captured in a video game especially when it comes to race, but no other medium provides a more personalized experience than video games. Where film may provide a linear experience to the consumer, a video game can provide a specialized experience that can be unique to the way each consumer plays. This potential in video games to be a massive and far reaching platform has not been fully realized in their representation of race. Interactive digital media as seen through video games on phones, computers, and consoles rarely receive attention for their portrayal of race. This lack of attention has only led developers able to fly under the radar for their use of stereotypes in video games since the inception of the industry. Over time the depiction of characters in video games has become increasingly intricate as the technological leaps have allowed a more intimate experience. At the same time what kind of portrayals have developed over time in line with the technology and culture that has enveloped around video games? With the evolution of video games into every corner of society: entertainment, popular culture, esports, education, and communication there is no denying the impact that video games will come to have in the future. This impact should reflect the increasing diversity that is taking place in the industry and in the U.S in a fair and culturally responsive way. The reality is that the industry is ages behind conversations regarding the depiction of race in media, but there is a promising recent turn around in the way developers think about race.


Hettinger, Madonna




Video Games, Race, Character analysis

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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