The Best Australians In Video Games

Here's the thing about most Australian characters in video games: their stereotypical depiction would be almost offensive, if Australians ever gave enough of a shit to be offended in the first place.

Most big games are still made in the US, and in America a particular stereotype of Australia exists that has lingered since the 1980s. You see it everywhere from Crocodile Dundee to that Simpsons episode to Junkrat's depiction in Overwatch.

An emphasis on tattered clothing, on hailing from the middle of nowhere, of having a drawl so strong it sounds like it's an Australian accent layered over the top of two other Australian accents (that is, if the game bothered getting an actual Australian to do the voice at all).

STREWTH MATE BLIMEY OL' COBBER I'LL HAVE IT FOR 'YA IN TWO SHAKES OF A BLOODY LAMB'S TAIL.

There's nothing wrong with this. Indeed, you'd find many Australians who revel in the image, whether because it speaks to some kind of lingering national ethos of being the rugged outdoors type, or because they see the humour in it.

My problem is that it's lazy, and it's done a lot. It's the equivalent of sticking a guy in a striped shirt and beret and calling him French, and expecting that alone to somehow flesh out his backstory and motivations as a character.

Australia in 2016 is a modern, urban nation, with a population drawn from all corners of the globe. The trope that we're all British cast-offs swatting flies away in the middle of the desert just doesn't apply -- or resonate -- with a kid with Croatian parents who grew up playing basketball in Melbourne.

So, as an Australian playing video games, what I wanted to do with this "Best of" was applaud the developers and writers who put a little extra work in and made a cool/interesting character who just happened to be from Australia, instead of just saying "lol let's make him/her Australian" and throwing the same tired old cliche on the barbie.


CHLOE FRAZER | UNCHARTED

Maybe my favourite character in the entire Uncharted series. She is cool as hell, and Claudia Black's voice acting -- always fantastic at the worst of times -- is absolutely flawless here.


SAXTON HALE | TEAM FORTRESS

But wait, did I not just decry the weary old Aussie stereotype? Well, yes, but Saxton Hale isn't representative of it. He exceeds it with a wink, nod and an explosion in the background, taking the stale "outback outdoorsman" template and transforming it into "shirtless corporate superhero".


LORD RAPTOR | DARKSTALKERS

A relatively obscure character from the Darkstalkers series, Lord Raptor is an undead rock star who...well, here's his character bio:

Lord Raptor had charisma like that of a young Ozzy Osbourne. He was an expert guitarist, a mass murderer, and was known as the God of Metal. No one knows when he started his music. The only thing clear is that he was unknown before he released his first album, Oral Dead.

Although his first album, an indie album, did not sell in numbers, he received a good amount of support from certain groups. Eventually, he became the next big sensation in the metal scene. He instantly became famous in all of Australia. His second album sold 200,000 copies in a month, and reached one million in three months. But the age group that bought his albums was small. Most of those who bought his CDs were in their teens. They were more like cult followers than fans of an artist.

His fearful death is still talked about. On his final live performance, a hundred of his fans were sucked dry of their blood. Every victim died with the look of happiness. Raptor himself turned into a skeleton instantly and died. To this day, the truth behind this incident is unknown.

Fuck yeah.


OZZIE MANDRILL | MONKEY ISLAND

Nobody remembers Monkey Island 4, and that's mostly for good reason, but I've got a soft spot for one of the game's villains, property tycoon Ozzie Mandrill. Who is one of the best takes on Rupert Murdoch's fiscal bloodlust I've yet to see in any media, let alone video games.


MIRANDA LAWSON | MASS EFFECT

Is there even an Australia this far into the future? Let's pretend there is, and that Mass Effect 3 never happened, and instead focus on Miranda as she appeared in Mass Effect 2, when she was a double-crossing space badass from a future where actual talented Australian actors (in this case Yvonne Strahovski) were cast to play Australian characters.


CHIPS DUBBO | HALO

1. That name.

2. This guy is the real hero of the Halo series. Everyone talks about Master Chief this, John 117 that, but Chips fought many of the same battles (even ones alongside the ODST when Master Chief was busy), and managed to survive without any fancy armour or genetic engineering. We first meet him during the intro to Halo: CE, and he's there as one of your Marine sidekicks all the way through to the end of Halo 3 (there's even an achievement commiserating his absence from Halo 4).


ROO | STREETS OF RAGE

Pretty much.


Comments

    What about the NPC soldiers from Halo? All talk with Aussie accents and I remember hearing "cheeky bugger" on more than one occasion.

      One of the reasons Reach felt a bit flat and Halo 4 was utter trash. Always loved the Marines in Halo, especially CE. Lots of great dialog and cool reactions when you did jumps in the warthog

      'Woaaah! Better than Bathurst!'

        Certainly shows that Bungie do their research.

          I've always assumed there were Aussie's on staff (as a dev or tester) that helped them with this.

            I could just imagine the conversation:

            Bungie: What's Bathurst?
            Aussie: It's a town where they hold a V8 car race where they turn left AND right!...

            XD

            Last edited 20/10/16 5:49 pm

    I always wondered if Jeice from Dragon Ball Z was Aussie...

      i thought he was british

        Yeah i couldn't decide if it was British or really poorly done Aussie.

          One of his lines in the English dub was "Time to put some pain on the Barbie "

    Jim Miller in Deus Ex Mankind Divided (voiced by Vernon Wells who also played Wez in Mad Max 2).

    Bit of an omission.

      Miller served in the war in Australia m... and most of Bell Tower soldiers in the DXHR Missing Link were supposedly Australian. (Or served in combat in Australia)

        There's actually heaps of references to Australia (aside from the Aussie character I mentioned) in DE:MD. I was pleased.

      He's a really good version.

      I loved breaking into his apartment, seeing the Australiana everywhere, and wiping a tear out of my eye before giving him a patriotic salute then robbing him blind.

    Let's not forget almost the entire cast of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

      If we can't include all of Elpis at least have Janey repping the moon bogans.

    What about the Diver from the Commandos series of games? His accent is NOT Australian, but his bio says he is from Melbourne, if I remember correctly.

    Thanks for standing still!!!

    Claudia Black's voice acting always grates with me. Every time I hear her voice I have to cringe. Always sounds unnatural for some reason.

    Junkrat has hit #1 Aussie character for me. Lines are delivered so well, he forces a chortle out of me every time.

      Agreed, despite Luke thinking it's Lazy Junkrat tops this list for me personally.

        Junkrat is basically Bogan Joker.

          G'day cobba, ya wanna know how I got these scars mate?

          Why sah bloody serious?

      One of my most played characters and the voice work is definitely one of the incentives. Too bad you can't equip or randomise all of the voice lines because they all all so good

        Yeah they definitely need to add in randomised voice lines etc. Would make it better with all characters imo.

      Her voice lines sound so bloody grating is because she sounds like a bloody Brit. Mate, I really wish people could tell the difference between our accents, those yobbos.

    The Koala in South Park Stick of Truth.

    I always though Bambi "Buck" Hughes from Farcry 3 was a decent attempt at a non stereotypical Aussie character.

      It got pretty dark with Buck there, but yeah decent character.

        Well, we do have a few instances of ex-pats going a bit weird like that. Plenty of very odd Aussie mercs out there.

    There's also Jacob DeCourt from the Fear Effect games. Oh and the dolphin in Breath of Fire III.

    Last edited 20/10/16 2:01 pm

      HAHA that Dolphin from BoF III was a crack up !
      https://youtu.be/iUlcvMJkSDg?t=84

    im not gonna lie, Miranda was on of my favourites from Mass Effect, but then again, i did get to watch Yvonne a lot while watching Chuck, and grew fond of her from that.

    No mention of the eleventy two hundred "aussies" in Borderlands the Prequel?

    Oh god I remember facing off against Ozzie Mandrill. Nobody could beat him at insult swordfighting because his insults sounded like they'd been taken directly from Rex Hunt.

    The Aussie accents in FFXIII were especially atrocious.

      I liked Fang's accent well enough, but Vanille sounded atrocious. Guess which one is the actual Australian.

      Wait, guessing game called off because I want to tell you that the voice actor for Vanille also voiced Angelina Ballerina.

      My working theory is that they wanted an Australian genki girl and you can't do a genki girl in an Australian accent.

      Last edited 26/01/17 8:42 pm

        I figured there was enough there to be a real Australian who moved to the US or something for long enough to lose the accent and was bunging it on in an attempt to emulate how they used to sound. Like Mel Gibson if you see him being interviewed.

    Trevor from Jagged Alliance. He's the smartest motherfucker in the game and probably the best Merc in the end, whilst spouting classic Aussie phrases such as "Whey-hey they're all dead!" and "Gotcha ya nong!".

    SAXTON HAAALE!

    Also, the Sniper (who recently came out as being from NZ, but we tend to claim the Kiwis as ours anyway)

    No love for Kano?!

    Gotta love Zabel Zarock (I have the Japanese Vampire series) having a British flag on his leg. That'd make Peter FitzSimons turn over in his grave.

    He's one of my favourite characters in general from the Vampire games. We're long overdue a proper new one, given how the Street Fighter producers keep saying they want to do one but just keep churning out revisions of it instead.

    Last edited 20/10/16 3:14 pm

      Psst, FitzSimons isn't dead yet.

        Leave me with my fantasies of the demise of the Republican movement! ;-; its all the hope I have left in this parliamentary term.

    Well thats a ride on a didgeridoo...

    Junkrat? Roadhog?

      Roadhog isn't a stereotypical Australian, as his voice lines and attitude aren't really linked to it, but I'm surprised they didn't include Junkrat.

    Ummm .... Mad Max?

      I was actually super impressed with Mad Max's voice-acting. Very decent job.

    I'm a little disappointed that Saxton Hale didn't get more words for his character, but the guys at Kotaku don't play TF2 anymore, so I'll give it a pass.

    Also, Sniper's voice lines are bloody hilarious, especially the insults.

    Last edited 20/10/16 8:08 pm

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