17 Hit Video Game Characters That Would Be Scrutinized for Their Design in Modern Times

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Video Games have had a massive fan base since the very start of their journey. Do you recall the moments playing your favorite computer games in your childhood? Today, we’ll be assessing some of those video games’ characters. As they have evolved throughout the decades, let’s take a ride down memory lane and see if our favorite characters were designed right.

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Jill Valentine – Resident Evil Series

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A very popular video game, the popular character, ‘Jill Valentine’ originally had a tube top and a mini skirt as the costume in the 1996 game version. If we look at it from today’s practical lens, this might be considered illogical, considering that they would have to fight zombies.

Lara Croft – Tomb Raider Series

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Lara Croft is one of the most iconic video game characters ever created for her role as an adventurous archaeologist in the Tomb Raider series. However, problems arise when people start giving more attention to her physical appearance, which sets superficial body standards, and her revealing fashion style in 1996, which might perpetuate women’s objectification stereotypes. It was redesigned for the later game versions, which reflected a more realistic and respectful representation.

Chun-Li – Street Fighter Series

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Chun-Li was the first female fighter in the game series Street Fighter. She debuted in 1987 and has been a staple in the franchise ever since. Though the company was praised for introducing a female fighter with solid strength and combat skills, it might also receive criticism today for giving her revealing outfits and absurd poses. People believe it should represent practicality and respect towards the character’s role as a martial artist.

Mai Shiranui – Fatal Fury and King of Fighters Series

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Mai Shiranui was introduced in the game Fatal Fury 2 in 1992 and was known for her provocative outfit and luxurious figure. Just like Chun-Li, she was a skilled fighter, but her bodily appearance overshadowed her abilities. In today’s time, such a portrayal could be seen as reducing a complex character to her physical appearance.

Tifa Lockhart – Final Fantasy VII

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Final Fantasy VII was launched in the market in 1997 with a new character named Tifa Lockheart. She soon captured the audience’s hearts with her strength and loyalty. However, the designers unnecessarily depicted her appearance in an offensive manner by including an inadequate outfit. Gamers now root for designs that respect a character’s depth and role. They believe that she should have been provided with a functional and modest outfit and should have respected her role as a fighter.

Ivy Valentine – Soul Calibur Series

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From the Soulcalibur series, Ivy made her debut in 1998 with revealing costumes and an overtly provocative appearance. Like the others, she was also a fighter and has been the subject of debates since its launch. In today’s time, people would argue that the outfit doesn’t serve her significant push as her role and urge to create more respectful and realistic portrayals of female warriors.

Custer—Custer’s Revenge

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Before discussing the character’s controversy, I would like to highlight that the game itself was a matter of debate, as the story revolved around physical violence against Native Americans. Custer has been one of the most controversial characters in video game history. For reasons like insensitivity and harmful content, both the characters and the game would likely face severe backlash from modern gamers.

Princess Daphne – Dragon’s Lair

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Princess Daphne from Dragon’s Lair was introduced in 1983 with a highly absurd appearance. She had all the qualities of a character promoting outdated gender stereotypes and objectification of women. This was possible due to her minimal clothing and exaggerated femininity, which perpetuated harmful cliches instead of providing a more nuanced or empowered depiction of female characters.

Barret Wallace – Final Fantasy VII

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Barret Wallace’s design and overall personality drew many traits from racial stereotypes of African American men, which might be criticized for being insensitive and reductive today. Modern audiences want characters with more respectful and complex representation and avoid fostering harmful tropes.

Duke Nukem – Duke Nukem Series

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Duke Nukem was our macho protagonist from the Duke Nukem series launched in 1991. He had a heavy muscular build, personifying hypermasculinity paired with sunglasses and witty humor. The reason for its criticism is that the character often engages in behavior and conversations that are considered misogynistic and inappropriate today. He had toxic masculinity, which is a significant issue in today’s society, and having a character that fostered this demeaning mindset would be prohibited.

Peach – Super Mario Series

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Super Mario was the first video game many of us played, and it brings back the nostalgic period of our childhood. The character Peach, introduced in 1985, was the classic young girl who needed to be rescued by Mario. While the developers have improved her version and made her more active in recent launches, her traditional role reinforces outdated gender stereotypes that a woman needs to be rescued by a man.

T. Hawk – Street Fighter Series

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After Chun-Li, we have T. Hawk from the Street Fighter Series, which introduced this Native American fighter in 1993. As Hawk was Native American, the design included many stereotypical elements, such as feathers and war paint, which might be criticized for perpetuating stereotypes and lacking cultural sensitivity today.

Nariko – Heavenly Sword

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Heavenly Sword introduced the character Nariko to the audience in 2007. She was a fierce warrior with an impractically revealing outfit, which just did not align with her combat-heavy role. No warrior would wear such outfits, and that’s what the design lacked. It prioritized her visual appeal over practicality, and people might criticize it now for the same.

E. Honda – Street Fighter Series

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Here’s one more character from the Street Fighter series who was a Sumo wrestler. His name was E. Honda, and he was released in 1991. His persona can be seen as misrepresenting Japanese culture. He had insensitive and reductive behavior, which was worsened by his exaggerated appearance and mannerisms.

Mr. Game & Watch – Super Smash Bros. Series

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Mr. Game & Watch was a character who represented classic handheld games in the Super Smash Bros. series in 2001. In recent times, he has received a tremendous amount of backlash for having specific animations that referred to racial stereotypes, like portraying a Native American with a feathered headdress and torch.

Kitana – Mortal Kombat Series

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Kitana has been a central character in the Mortal Kombat series since 1993. She is known for her revealing outfits and seductive fighting moves. Her design is likely to come under scrutiny now as it overpowers her abilities as a strong fighter.

Crimson Viper – Street Fighter IV

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Here is one more character from the Street Fighter series, this time from Street Fighter IV, released in 2008. This character was also a powerful and skilled fighter, and as you may have guessed, her design included exaggerated provocative features, which are very likely to receive backlash.

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