Though I haven’t been posting the games I’ve been playing over the last few years (the last time was in 2016), I have been keeping track each year (obsessively, even). Here is a list of all the games I’ve played this past year, with some statements on the in-game representation/diversity in each of them (something I’ve started tracking as of 2019). Bolded titles are my highlights. Note: I couldn’t think of a proper way to sort the list, so they are from oldest played (at the top) down to newest. I’ve included two pieces of data in this list as well–a relatively objective “platform” and a relatively subjective “rating out of 10.” 9s and 10s are bolded.
Note: I do plan on expanding the diversity and representation comments for the 2020 year. I am grateful to have been able to start looking at these games through this lens, and feel fortunate for encountering games that were above average in this context by default, to serve as inspiration for the second year going.
Coaster Combat (VR, 6/10): No diversity, really.
Dark Days (VR, 5/10): Female lesbian protagonist
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst (PC, 6/10) Female protagonist; very diverse characters.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm (PC, 10/10): Female protagonist.
Playable Teaser (PC, 6/10): None really.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (PC, 9/10): Mental health, female protagonist.
Cuphead (YouTube, 10/10): Cartoonish; no real diversity representation here.
Bioshock Remastered (PC, 10/10): Diversity is minimal, with some Asian stereotyping (the doctor).
Resident Evil 2 Remake – Leon and Claire (YouTube, 9/10): Very minimal as most of the characters that aren’t zombies are white.
Traveling While Black (VR, 9/10): African American story and lens. Note: this isn’t so much a “game” as a non-interactive VR experience.
Project Rampage (VR, 2/10): None really.
Pinata Party (VR, 7/10): None really.
Rush (VR, 10/10): None really.
Eastshade (PC, 8/10): Amazing degrees of diversity across genders, backgrounds, etc.
Notes on Blindness (VR, 10/10): Focuses on a disability.
Devil May Cry 5 (YouTube, 7/10): Very minimal representation of women; mostly white men.
Far Cry New Dawn (PC, 8/10): Pretty diverse cast of characters, including race and age and gender.
Devotion (PC, 10/10): Taiwanese, parents and child.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition (PC, 9/10, second playthrough): Some diversity racially, but not much.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit: (PC, 9/10): Playing as a child in a middle class household.
Nier Automata (PC, 10/10): Fairly diverse in terms of robots versus humans.
Pikuniku (PC and YouTube, 9/10): Pretty strong instance of representation between beings and robots and animals.
What Remains of Edith Finch (PC, 9/10): Really great representation of ages and backgrounds.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PC, 7/10): Great representation of different cultures and awesome use of native language tracks.
A Way Out (PS4, 5/10): Barely any diversity beyond the white homogeneity.
Metro Exodus (PC, 10/10): Age and some racial diversity.
Hitman (2016) (PC, 9/10): Fairly good at representing the multiple countries that are featured in the game.
Hitman 2 (2018) (PC, 9/10): Once again fantastic representation from cultures all over the globe.
Dead or Alive 5 Last Round (PC, 7/10): Pretty awful portrayal of women. Multiple cultures but stereotypes only.
Deltarune (Undertale Sequel) (PC, 9/10): Amazingly beautiful game representing many perspectives.
Observation (PC and YouTube, 10/10): Mostly white; interesting taking the robot perspective.
Blair Witch (YouTube, 6/10): Not much racial diversity; inclusion of dog companion is okay.
Control (PC and YouTube, 7/10): Some diversity, but the focus doesn’t appear to be on representation.
Outer Wilds (PC and YouTube, 7/10): Not much focus on others in the human sense, and diversity exists but doesn’t speak too directly to it.
Greedfall (PC, 6/10): Diversity is apparent; not much commenting on race. There is a lot on colonialism and indigenous domination, however (that’s really the point of the game).
Disco Elysium (PC, 10/10): Incredible range of characters, worldviews, and backgrounds.
Metro 2033 Redux (PC, 9/10): Not very diverse. Typical straightforward monoculture.
Layers of Fear 2 (PC and YouTube, 6/10): Unintentional representation; not particularly engaging.
Metro Last Light (PC, 9/10): Not very diverse, but a lot of range in morality.