Fighting Game Characters Are Racist

Fighting Game Characters Are Racist

That’s not a view I necessarily hold. It’s just the name of this great piece by artist Sachin Teng!

It doesn’t look like a grand political gesture on his part, either. Just the kind of observation we’ve all made once or twice, with a chuckle and a shake of the head. Only he made a neat picture out of it.

I like to think fighting games are like fancy dress parties. A fancy dress party where the Japanese people dressing up as tired national stereotypes don’t quite know what they’re doing.

Fighting Games Are Racist [Sachin Teng]


  • the only thing to really look at in fighting games is the characters, so they naturally HAVE to be over-the-top to give them each a personality, so if they are asian they are like Bruce Lee super asian. It’s not racist unless you look at it from a critical point of view, or are super soft like jelly. Get the fuck over it people, racism is so 1999 😛

  • “Herpaderp, I’ma use a social issue to get my work noticed.”

    I’m fairly certain that is the exact sentence that played through the mind of “artist” Sachin Teng.

  • tbh I only call racism on T Hawk. A lot of the others are (hopefully intentionally) ridiculous, exaggerated stereotypes, but there’s something about T Hawk’s Ultra 1 that’s just SO much so that I can’t help but cringe at it. And not cringe in the same way that I cringe whenever someone points out that Dhalsim’s fighting style is ‘yoga,’ I mean an actual, oh geeze I hope nobody in this room is native American cringe.

    • “How! White Man”

      I liked T-Bird the best actually… kudos to the big fella for representing his cultural heritage by using it to beat people up.

  • At least its not as bad as having a bias opinion and anyone that disagrees gets greeted with being called a idiot elitist asshole.

  • Where’s the Jew character from? None of this is particularly racist, just cartoonish and stereotypical. Calling “Racist!” every which way at harmless things like this detracts from the seriousness of genuine racism, just for a couple of cheap page hits and mentions on blogs like this.

  • Yeah racist is the wrong word, but they are hugely flat cultural stereotypes. I agree with the above poster regarding characters in fighting games having to be a little over the top to be effective.

  • I don’t get it.

    Well I should rephrase it: I get what he’s trying to say, but he’s failing at it, and the point isn’t that big anyway.

  • Fighting game characters need to be easily discernable from each other as well as from the background. They need to pop on the screen and be easily read with nary a glance.
    The easiest way to accomplish this with a cast of 8+ characters is to make them into caricatures. Solved.

  • I don’t know if anyone remembers this but it’s actually called Street Fighter World Warriors, so it is supposed to depict fighting styles from around the world specific to the location of each style. Don’t you think it would get confusing if the guy from africa was white and did sumo wrestling? It has to have some form of continuity. If anything it’s empowering, pitting the best fighting styles from around the world against each other where each fighter starts at an equal standing using his/ger strengths to better the opponent. It never says one fighting style is better than the other, you can win the game with every playable character.

    What the illustrator has done here is swap out fighting styles with cultural styles, hardly ‘racist’ sterotypes at best. But none of them seem ‘inferior’ to each other so it’s just generalising. The strange thing is, is that most stereotypes come from somewhere, there are people out there who perpetuate them, either consciously or not and that’s where they come from.

    • “But none of them seem ‘inferior’ to each other so it’s just generalising.”

      T-Bird would put the beat-down on Hitler. Also, Rasta vs American-Negro would be pretty close, but when it comes to Pharoh vs Hillbilly: Hillbilly hands down. Pharoh and his slaves would have zero chance against Hillbilly’s coon-dog and scatter gun.


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