Native Representations in Video Games

Posted on July 12, 2011, 6:00 pm, by Elizabeth LaPensée, under Uncategorized.

shadowhearts_natan3I finally got around to putting together a short film about Native Representations in Video Games. It’s a little bit academic, a little bit presentation, and a little bit my take on things. There is enough content that I could extend this into a documentary as extensive as Reel Injun by adding more footage, interviewing game developers to explore the origin of the representations, and interviewing  Indigenous people who participated in the games as voice over actors. I could also analyze the representations much deeper. As is, it’s a good simple overview to give people information.

When it comes right down to it, I’d much rather focus my efforts on putting out new representations in games rather than revisiting old ones. This is my final nod to the past as I look ahead to the future of Native representations in digital games. Right, by finishing that dissertation in Indigenous game design!

And just because, as many representations as I did mention, the list is still incomplete…

For the Princess and the Vixen, we also have Shawnee from Outlaw Volleyball.


For the Reimagined, there is Venture Arctic from Pocketwatch Games, which I wrote and consulted for. Indigenous peoples never appear in the game, but the art style is adapted from Inuit carvings. Overall, it’s an environmental simulation game that respects the changes inherent in seasons and the power of weather. It draws mechanics from nature.

– Beth

  • Where and when can I see your documentary?

  • Native representation is necessary in video games to make them well designed graphically. By adding presentation you can explore your video game with latest information about that game.

  • Your video is amazing, you obviously did your homework. I have an interest for representations of indigenous peoples in science-fiction and wanted to explore video games to compare, and I am glad I found your post. I look forward to reading your dissertation! (PhD?)

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