There’s always been a disparity in the way the world sees red-headed people and their actual value to society and the arts: some of the finest cultural figures in the history of the world have been ginger, including Vincent Van Gogh and David Caruso, and yet we find ourselves ostracized for our hair colour and a genetic predisposition to burn horribly in sunlight. Yes my friends, I said we, for I too have a touch of perpetual autumn about my hair and beard, and frankly I’m sick of a worrying media bias against my fellow Reds that I’ve just began to notice.
For some reason, there are an unfair and unrepresentative amount of ginger villains in gaming history. Copper-tops have become the butt of a very cruel joke – an extension perhaps of the assertion that red-heads have no soul – as game developers use an easy target to bring an extra tinge of hatred to their villains of choice.
Not only that, there is a worrying lack of red-headed protagonists in games – aside from the excellent Gordon Freeman there are very few to call to mind, and I’m not entirely sure Daxter and Crash Bandicoot really count – and you have to wonder why. Perhaps video game designers have fallen for the old adage that ginger people have no soul, and thus inherently have greater capacity for evil? Looking through the following list, it certainly seems like game developers have a certain set of ideas about red-headed people, and their potential to commit atrocities and generally be extremely and unnecessarily angry.
Is he evil or just misunderstood? The Feral Brazilian, raised by animals after a plane-crash separated him from his mother and infected him with the electrical powers that characterise his fighting style, has been presented as both in a Joel Schumacher’s Bane sort of way.
The mutated fighter is more of an abomination than an actual villain, and he is almost certainly as sinned against as he is sinning, thanks to his tragic backstory and the fact that his rage comes in part thanks to his separation from his mother, and the alienation he feels when viewed by “normal” society. He is certainly not an antagonist, but in the same way that Bruce Banner could be classed as a fearsome foe to the Avengers, so too Blanka in a calm state hides a raging, electrified animal beneath who could cause untold devastation.
And even worse than being presented as evil, Blanka’s red hair is presented as part of his grotesque appearance, which seems a little unnecessary, considering he is already a walking green-skinned conductor. Yet more prejudice realised in character design.
A potential enemy to be treated with caution almost certainly, and one with a taste for biting heads, which seems a little like a step too far for anyone purporting to simply being misunderstood.
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This article was first posted on October 11, 2012