Growing up as an Asian-American it was always tough trying to find someone that I could look up to and relate to. In the media, I would see Asian figures but they were always made as a joke (William Hung). Especially with the pandemic coming around in 2020, there was a huge spike in hate crimes against Asian/Asian Americans that it made me wonder when we were ever going to get the proper representation that portrayed us in a more positive light.
Fast forward to 2021, BTS continues to emerge, Shang-Chi (Marvel’s first asian superhero) becomes a box office hit, and people are starting to recognize that we are in fact not as lame as the media portrays us to be.
This may seem a bit off topic from the title, but trust me I’m getting to it.
Growing up, I was always a lover of video games. I’m talking about starting off with the Nintendo 64 playing the first Super Smash bros to getting a gameboy and playing Pokemon all day. On my computer we’re talking about games like Maplestory, and now as a Twitch streamer, I play a multitude of games. It did make me wonder if there would ever be a game where I feel like I’m getting the proper representation. Up until then it was only “white characters” (Mario, Luigi, Link, etc.) that would be the main characters.
Around June of 2020, Riot Games, the company that started League of Legends, introduced a new 5v5 character-based FPS game where gunplay and ability usage was key. If any of you guys have played Counter-Strike, Valorant is very much similar. The first team to reach 13 round wins will win the match. On attacking your goal is to plant the spike and prevent the defuse. On defense, you either prevent the attacking team from planting the spike or you as the defending team has to defuse the spike.
It wasn’t just the new gameplay that had everyone excited, Valorant created different playable characters from different backgrounds. We’re talking about agents who are from South Korea, China, Japan, Ghana, Mexico, United States and the list goes on. For the first time, the “main character” wasn’t a standard white male, no the “main character” is who you choose to play as.
Especially with the recent updates and the introduction of the new agent “Neon”, a character of Filipino descent, people are starting to feel that they are being represented. Not as just some token stereotype but as a badass gunfighting killer.
The creators of Valorant seemed to have paid a lot of attention to detail in creating each character and as a result, Valorant has become one of more popular games both online and in the professional scene. With each agent comes different abilities, but people playing the game now feel a connection to the characters that may have not been there from other video games prior.
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Ernie Kim is a writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow him on: