The importance of cultural representation in video games

Erik Feliciano, Reporter

Cultural representation is an incredibly important thing that allows for people of different ethnic backgrounds to be represented in ways that highlight their cultures. Video games are a popular medium that can lead to the representation of many cultures that don’t always get the spotlight. 

In recent years in video games as well as films, cultural representation has grown to exponential heights. Characters such as Miles Morales and Kamala Khan have both blown up as video game characters in both Spider-Man: Miles Morales and The Avengers. While characters such as “Black Panther” and soon to be character “Shang Chi” have seen success as characters on the big screen.

Dr. Leverette, an Associate Professor of English, gave her thoughts on how cultural representation is so important and why it matters.

“Cultural representation is important because people feel seen and validated when they see characters like themselves,” Leverette said. 

Having different cultures on display allows for people to feel like they’re not alone and gives the feeling that anyone can be their favorite superhero. It also allows for anyone of any cultural background to put themselves in the shoes of whoever they’re playing in a video game.

“The effect is an expanding and broadening one. Diverse representation helps everyone remember that we don’t exist in isolation, that there are multiple cultures that make up the whole of this country and this world,” Dr. Leverette said. 

During the reveal for “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” there were many reactions to the first few minutes that resulted in a lot of emotional reactions. Many people commented on how their culture was put on display through the Puerto Rican flag, as well as the other cultural aspects that were seen in this trailer. One example can be seen below in P1SMx’s reaction.

Whether it be in video games or in movies, cultural representation is incredibly important in making people of different ethnic backgrounds feel seen and represented.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].