As a child, I played my fair share of video games. Back then, online games on the Barbie or the Polly Pocket website were the absolute shit. Those games fed the gamer in me, and as I grew up, I remember asking for a Gameboy as a birthday present and absolutely loving it for years to come.
As life went on, I stopped playing video games and hadn’t really cared for them until very recently. At the beginning of this year, my best friend told me about a game called Overwatch. They thought I would absolutely love it, and having played it for months now, I can confirm that they were right.
In such a short time, it has become my favorite game of all time, and for good reason too.
1. The diversity is real
There are 25 characters in total, with new ones being added every few months. Out of these current 25, 12 of the characters are people of color. I cannot tell you just how bloody excited I was to see so much diversity amongst all the characters. The attention to detail of not whitewashing the characters and having so many diverse characters is just extremely commendable.
2. Emotional connection between the characters and the audience
Some of the characters have their own “shorts”- animations that tell a little bit about the backstory of the character. Before I actually played the game itself, my best friend made me watch these shorts.
Watching them made me have a connection with the characters before I actually even purchased the game, and it’s safe to say, I have a soft spot for these characters.
3. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes
Truly, Overwatch has done this sentence so much justice. As a woman, it pleases me so very much to see all the different body types represented within the game.
They haven’t limited the characters’ body type to a slim but curvy type; the male and female characters are all differently shaped, and it’s so satisfying to see this representation.
4. The game mascot is canonically a lesbian
In a comic released over last Christmas, the game’s official mascot Tracer was revealed to be a lesbian. The one thing that was widely celebrated about this revelation was how it was depicted without any fanfare or any big “coming out” moment; it was shown as a simple truth of Tracer’s life.
In today’s world, where representation is so important, this little fact is something to be celebrated for sure.
5. A canonically autistic Indian character is part of the storyline
Symmetra, whose “real” name is Satya Vaswani, is an Indian character who is confirmed to fall somewhere on the autistic spectrum.
6. Character voice actors are true to the character’s race and ethnicity
The parent company of the game, Blizzard, has stated multiple times that they wanted to stay as true to the characters as possible, and they’ve achieved it so well. It was a pleasant surprise for me to hear authentic accents and voices when I first started the game.
7. Playable maps throughout the game are set up all over the world
I’m not going to lie, the places that made me the happiest to see featured were fictional imaginings of Egypt and Iraq.
Can you imagine these countries being depicted as normal countries? I couldn’t either, until I played the game. One of my most favorite maps is set up in Japan, and it’s just gorgeous and a total visual treat to play on.
8. Overwatch lore is just as interesting as you would expect
With different comics coming out every few months, along with new animated shorts and new characters, there’s always something for the players to connect with. The lore is set up in such a way that no matter which character you look up, they are all pretty damn grey.
There is nothing that is a definite good or bad: even the “evil” characters are characters that you feel for, and you understand the circumstances that brought them where they are now.
9. The brilliant introduction of a Nigerian child prodigy, Efi Oladele
Before the introduction of the fairly new character, Orissa, there was much hype and speculation about who and what the character would be. However, as Orissa, an “omnic” was introduced, her creator, an 11-year old Nigerian child prodigy Efi Oladele, was introduced alongside Orissa. Efi is canonically shown to be a fan of another Overwatch character, a Brazilian DJ Lúcio Correia dos Santos.
10. A story that is much more fleshed out than just being “good or evil”
The characters and the story are so morally grey that it really makes you appreciate and understand how things in life are not always black and white, and that different perspectives can mean different things for people.
Representation and diversity truly matter. Overwatch is genuinely worth celebrating.