Black Fortnite skins aren’t just about pop culture

For 23 years I have known my sister, fortnite it’s the only video game i’ve been able to get him to play regularly since our gaming days Sonic the Hedgehog two Y 3 when we were kids. You may think, “Well yeah, they all fell in love with fortnite at one time or another. It is a very popular game. And you are right. Part of the reason is that it’s extremely fun, especially since she, my partner, our friend, and I have made it our group activity. But one important aspect that keeps bringing her back is the fact that she can see herself in the characters that she uses in the game.

In particular, he wears the star masks of Hollywood star Zendaya, who becomes his main character. fortnite to live. For her, it’s not about playing as her favorite character from Spider-Man, but as a hero who really looks like him.

My sister has always looked up black women to look up to in pop culture. Women who look like her and share her sensitivity, and the big and small struggles she goes through. Zendaya has become that, and her inclusion in fortnite literally a game changer for my sister. Suddenly, I wasn’t just playing a game as a white character that I had no connection to. She was playing someone she looked up to and could relate to on many levels, including skin tone.

My sister and other black gamers, especially women, are constantly looking for games where they can see a main character that looks a bit like them. Despite so many games on the market, it has never been an easy thing to do. We have our rude like Garcian Smith’s killer7by shinobu more heroesand a few others, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one that wasn’t just a stereotype or played for sex appeal (yes, that includes iconic heroes like Barrett from final fantasy 7 and Laura or Elena from Street Fighter). While fortnite was mocked by “hardcore gamers”, it has arguably done better than 80% of the industry since its initial release with the series’ original characters.

There are titles that share cultural status with fortnite in the world of video games: Super Smash Bros., World of Warcraft and Surveillance, everything comes to mind. But none of them have made the various advances that fortnite has been doing since its inception.

Super Smash Bros doesn’t have a real black character yet (no, I’m not counting palette swaps, and yes, I’m still burned from the Twintelle theft), world of warcraft did not allow players to be black or of any other ethnicity for 15 years, and Surveillance didn’t introduce the first black female character until recently, with its upcoming sequel. Meanwhile, as the players jump out of the battle bus, fortnite has released skins that are all shades of black and brown since its inception.

Epic Games went above and beyond most games in its approach to giving players more options. Inside fortnite, certain outfits called “Character Styles” appear frequently in the Item Shop. Many times Epic will add multiple characters that can be combined with these styles. When this happens, the characters typically span many skin tones and ethnicities, allowing players to choose which ones they feel closest to. Such systems naturally increase players’ ability to find a hero that best represents them.

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Do not, fortnite he’s not perfect with his portrayal. There are even more groups that can be celebrated in the game, but what other game do you see that features a Ramadan-inspired Lantern Festival with Muslim-inspired masks? The fact that there is a video game that seeks to branch out to literally everyone who plays it is amazing to me as a black person. It’s something I never thought would go back to my days as a kid playing Dreamcast.

Seeing my sister’s excitement in Zendaya become a fortnite skin constantly reminds me that representation in games and in media in general is important. I’m not saying that every game has to insert colors by obligation. However, as blockbusters like apex legends, Horizon: Forbidden WestY Fortnite— as well as bad examples like elden ring and his lack of black hairstyles – there’s always someone hoping to end up in the games he plays. The minds behind these experiences need to ensure that they can create better connections between players and their virtual world, especially in an age where literally everyone is gaming.

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