Disabled Characters in Games
It's no shock to people that there aren't many game characters who are disabled, for a lot of people this doesn't seem to be an issue but for those with disabilities it can be disheartening.
The gaming industry is huge and has had a lot of stick for violence but not many people want to address the fact that games don't really portray many disabled people, that's not to say there aren't some great characters in games who have disabilities.
My main issue is that people will brush it off and say "it's not real life so it doesn't matter" yes I agree it's not real life but that doesn't mean it should be pushed to one side. I've had a few people tell me they would feel bad playing/killing someone who is disabled so they would rather not play a game with a main character in who is disabled. This is the wrong kind of mind set in my opinion, it wouldn't matter to me what their character looked like, their gender, disabilities etc so long as I enjoyed the game.
This post isn't all doom and gloom, in fact, I'm going to list a few game characters who have disabilities that some people might not be aware of:
Taimi - Guild Wars 2
Taimi is a young girl who suffers from a degenerative disease that makes it hard to walk. She is carried through the realm of Tyria by a golem, she's usually sitting in his hands or standing on his shoulders, the thing I like about her is that she still fights, she actually climbs inside her golem and becomes protected he is more than just a companion, he is also her protector.
Lester Crest - Grand Theft Auto 5
Lester is one of the main characters in Grand Theft Auto, he suffers from a wasting disease (I'm not too sure which one) the disease has left him with bad motor skills which left him wheelchair bound, he does use a cane at times but only for short distances. Lester was bullied badly in high school and over the years grew overweight, he grew to be one of my favourite characters in GTA5.
Sir Hammerlock - Borderlands 2
Sir Hammerlock is a hunter who is a cool guy, he has quite a few missing limbs that have been replaced by prosthetics, they're mostly bits from other robots that he has attached to himself. He ended up with missing limbs when he has a bad encounter with something called a thresher named old slappy.
Joker - Mass Effect
Joker (Jeff) is a pilot in Mass Effect, he is one of the best and so confident about it that he can be a bit arrogant, he likes to point out to people that he earned all his accomplishments all on his own and not from the charity of others, he was a severe case of Vrolik syndrome which causes brittleness in the bones, Jeff relies on crutches and leg braces to help him get about but he doesn't let it hold him back.
Bentley - Sly Cooper
Bentley is a turtle who was paralyzed in the mouth of a robot called Clock-La, although he has a damaged spinal cord from being crushed he is able to do just as much as other characters. He fitted rocket boosters and grappling hooks to his wheelchair which is pretty cool!
Dr. Huey Emmerich - Metal Gear Solid
The Dr plays a character who was born with Spinal Bifida, he is obsessed with trying to find a way to walk which lands him in the field of robotics, he had always been very smart from a young age and even worked for NASA.
Adam Jensen - Deus Ex
Adam is actually the main character in Deus Ex, I played this game for hours (I wasn't very good at it) he came to be an amputee when a man called David Sarif took advantage of Adams unique Genetics he developed when he was younger from experiments performed on him, A number of Adams body parts were replaced with robotic like limbs to make him even stronger.
I would have to say that from that list my favourite one would be Taimi, there don't seem to be many girls within games with disabilities it seems very male dominated, I don't want to get into the whole sexist side of gaming but I do want to point out that gaming in general is very much male dominated so it's no surprise to me that there aren't many female characters with disabilities.
I would love to see more games have main characters with disabilities, I believe it will open a whole new world in the gaming industry just like when Microsoft created wheelchairs for xbox live avatars, the comments regarding that really threw me back because abled people were speaking on behalf of wheelchair users saying they wouldn't want that when in fact there was a request a while back for Microsoft to make it possible for an avatar to use a wheelchair.
From what I have seen over the years disabled players aren't considered a demographic so to developers it makes sense not to have a disabled character within a game.
The gaming industry needs a lot of work when it comes to this, they have the chance to change the way others think and show them that even people with disabilities can kick butt! Perhaps the next Assassin in Assassins Creed will have a disability, who knows!
Do you want to see more disabled characters in games? Who is your favourite character? Why do you think there are so few disabled characters?