It’s been a great year for the Nintendo Switch. From Breath of The Wild to Super Mario Odyssey and every game in between, the Switch has been crushing it across all genres. But another area in which the Switch has been crushing it, and a lot of people might not know, is with its Black and Brown female characters. As a Black girl gamer, it feels good to FINALLY see characters that look like me from a company that I absolutely adore!
In this article, I will be listing five games featuring women of color that are available on the Nintendo Switch. Let’s go!
Image source: https://goo.gl/FYyDPg
Originally available on Steam, Dandara is an independent game featuring a Black woman, Dandara, as the main character. Dandara lives in the world of Salt, and life in Salt isn’t going all too well. So Dandara takes it upon herself to fight back against the oppression and turmoil that she and her fellow citizens are facing. It is her personal mission to restore freedom and balance to her chaotic world.
If you’re a fan of 2D platformers (think old school Super Mario Bros. mixed with Metroid, but with some #blackgirlmagic thrown in there) you might like Dandara. If you like jumping all over creation and discovering new paths each time you play a game, you might also like Dandara. And if you just like kicking butt as a bad-ass Black girl, Dandara might be the game for you!
2. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero
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Another platformer, Shantae originally got its start way back when on the Game Boy Color, but its latest installment, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero has found its way to the Nintendo Switch. And for the first time ever, Shantae is live and in HD!
Once again, Shantae is forced to save Sequin Land as evil threatens to take over the entire world. Using her luscious ponytail and belly-dancing battle techniques, Shantae fights off evil in order to stop her arch-nemesis, Risky Boots, from destroying Sequin Land. Join Shantae in her fight against evil and see if you have what it takes to save the day!
If you’re a fan of hair whips and awesome dance moves, Shantae might be calling your name. And if you’re a fan of humorous dialogue and cute costume changes, you might also enjoy Shantae. Whatever calls you to it, own it and have fun!
Image source: https://goo.gl/oMTVH2
Another indie game, in Severed, you follow the one-armed warrior Sasha and her living sword along on their journey to find Sasha’s family. The world might be horrifying, but the game design isn’t! As Sasha fights her way through the nightmare, solving puzzles and defeating enemies, she manages to do so in a very stylish and aesthetically-pleasing manner. The colors are vibrant. The enemies are freaky. And the action is definitely on and poppin’!
Check out Severed if you like action-adventure games, and especially ones led by Brown girls! And who can say no to a Brown girl kicking butt? No one. Shout out to Drinkbox Studios for creating Sasha, a visibly disabled and beautifully Brown female heroine.
4. Splatoon 2
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Everyone knows how diverse and customizable Splatoon 2 allows its characters to be, and ever since Marina came onto the scene, fans everywhere have been in shock and awe. A member of the band, Off the Hook, Marina is also the host of a TV show and a certified baddie. While more reserved than her partner, Pearl, Marina can also be sassy when needed, but generally, she speaks in a sweet and gentle manner like the shy girl that she is. And that’s great because Black girls aren’t a monolith, and it takes all types to make the world go ’round.
If you haven’t already played Splatoon 2, I highly suggest that you do it! If not for the awesome third-person shooter paint action, at least do it for the awesomeness that is Marina. You’ll be VERY glad that you did!
Image source: https://goo.gl/1ZsSNj
And finally, one of the newest first-party games from Nintendo, Arms is a fighting game featuring characters with, you guessed it, extendable arms. And one of the most iconic characters from the game is Twintelle, a dark-skinned Black woman with a swaggered walk and hips to match. Using her long, curly ponytails to fight, Twintelle is definitely a force to be reckoned with! She pretty much broke the Internet the night her character was released, and people have been talking about her ever since.
If you like fighting games, you’ll probably like Arms, and if you like watching Black girls kick butt, you might also like Arms. Either way, you can’t really lose, now can you? Well, if you aren’t playing as Twintelle, I suppose you already are…
And that does it, y’all! Nintendo has really been on it with its Black and Brown girl characters this past year. Hopefully, they see all of the love and support that the games featuring them are receiving and continue to show us girls that look just like us! We’re rooting for you Nintendo! We know that you can do it!
“Black girls play video games?”
“What’s a Black girl gamer?”
“There’s a community for that?”
I wish these weren’t questions I received on a regular basis, but sadly, they are. And these are questions that I receive from all types of people, including Black men!
Similar to other industries, in the gaming world, Black girl gamers often get overlooked and cast into the some of the deepest and darkest dungeons of the gaming community. So I’m making it my personal goal to shine the biggest and brightest light I can find on all of my fellow Black girl gamers. I’m talking end-of-Kingdom Hearts 2 “Door to Light” levels of brightness. I want the whole world to see us and know that we do, in fact, exist. And I also want them to know that we can play any game we want to, and sometimes, better than your faves!
NBA 2K.Call of Duty. Final Fantasy. The Sims. Overwatch.
You name it, Black girl gamers are playing it, and they are playing it well, or not so well, and that’s fine too! A quick visit over to Twitch or YouTube will confirm this to be a fact, and a quick Google search will also disprove some of your preconceived notions about Black girl gamers. There are plenty of communities out there for Black girl gamers, and I’m going to talk about a couple of them in this article.
The first community I’d like to talk about is Black Girl Gamers, the platform on which I am currently writing this article. Black Girl Gamers was started by Jay-Ann Lopez in an effort to create a safe space for Black girls who loved video games. Often feeling left out in the gaming community, a community she loved very much, Lopez created Black Girl Gamers to connect with more gamers who looked like her and could understand where she was coming from.
The Internet is full of trolls, and Black girl gamers are no stranger to this fact. Not only are we thrown sexist slurs, but we’re also thrown racist ones as well. So we’re stuck in a constant limbo as we try to navigate the gaming community as a double (sometimes more!) minority.
Video game companies are changing and trying to make their markets more “diverse,” but that is also something that Lopez in wary of, as she fears a lot of them are only out for the money. And she isn’t wrong.
With a community like Black Girl Gamers, Black girls can feel safe and unexploited. They can be sure that they are constantly amongst friends and feel comfortable and connected while participating in one of their favorite hobbies. Black Girl Gamers is makes gaming feel good!
Another community that understands the plight of the Black girl gamer is The Cookout. The Cookout was created in an effort to provide a safe space for gamers of color, LGBTQIA+ gamers, and gamers with disabilities. The creators of The Cookout saw the gross amount of underrepresentation in the gaming world for these groups of gamers and decided to create a space where they could congregate and share their love of gaming.
And not only does The Cookout game together, but members also gather in real life for meet-ups in other arenas as well, including eating out and going to the movies. They attend events together, including TwitchCon and very soon, Universal FanCon. They share kitchen creations with one another, help each other set up streams, record podcasts, and everything else one would do with members of their family, because at this point, that’s exactly what they are!
The Cookout is an awesome resource available to not only Black girl gamers, but all minority gamers! If you’re feeling lost and alone on your gaming journey, definitely give The Cookout a visit. I promise you will enjoy your stay!
The last community for Black girl gamers on my list is Black Gamers Revolution. Branding itself “as Black as gaming gets,” Black Gamers Revolution got its humble start on Tumblr. Once again, its creators wanted to create a space where Black gamers could get together and be able to relate to each other in the context of gaming.
Black Gamers Revolution often hosts community nights, featuring different games for its members to play, and they also host a number of other events to keep Black gamers connected in a world where it can sometimes be very hard us to feel welcome. Black Gamers Revolution are doing an awesome job of connecting Black gamers and helping them build a community in which they can feel safe and have fun. Check them out when you get the chance!
Although it’s still hard to be a Black girl gamer in our current gaming world, communities like the ones mentioned above are making it a lot easier to cope with this fact. All of these groups have Discords that you can join if you’re interested in meeting other gamers that look like you and making friends that will last you a lifetime. So go ahead and check them out when you get a chance. You deserve to play video games in a comfortable environment, and you deserve to have good people in your life!
Black girls deserve the world, and these communities are making sure that we get it!