Top 8 Favorite Black Video Game Characters

Black History Month is here! To commemorate, here are my favorite black video game characters.


Video game characters haven’t always been the best showcase for diversity. Thankfully, with each and every passing year, video games feature more stories from people with different sexual orientations, disabilities, and those who belong to various ethnicities. In celebration of Black History Month, and in hopes to always see more diversity in future video games to come, here, in no particular order, are my top eight (secretly ten) favorite black video game characters. And just to lay some ground rules, I steered clear of including real people, or else LeBron James from NBA Live 19, Patrick Mahomes from Madden NFL 20, and Travis Scott from Fortnite would definitely make the list. Also, some character descriptions may contain spoilers, so be warned.


1. Baptiste from Overwatch

Jean-Baptiste Augustin is a black 36-year-old man from Haiti. His role in Overwatch is Support, as his combat experience is as a medic. When he was young, he was orphaned and, with little options left, enlisted into the military group called the Caribbean Coalition. Because of Baptiste’s core desire to help people, he thrived as a combat medic. After his military service, Baptiste joined Talon, an evil organization looking to profit from the chaos of war, which was all unbeknownst to Baptiste. Once Baptiste knew the true intentions of Talon, he quickly left the terrorist group, only to be hunted down by Talon’s operatives. Looking for a shelter, Baptiste joined the virtuous organization of fighters against Talon called Overwatch where he heals and fights alongside his comrades. Through his militaristic upbringing and his struggle to find the light, Baptiste is an exceptional ally, strong protector, and loyal friend.


2. Riley Abel from The Last of Us

A character very near and dear to my heart as a big fan of The Last of Us series, Riley Abel is an unforgettable character. With her only appearance being in the short DLC (or downloadable content, which most often refers to a short story added to a bigger game) called The Last of Us: Left Behind, Riley has lasting effect throughout the series because of her narrative impact on the main protagonist of the series, Ellie Williams. As a 16-year-old black lesbian woman, Riley is a pillar of representation in video games, and, not only that, she is a loyal friend, a fiery rebel, and a romantic. Love video games? Join Coastline's Esports Club!

Through Ellie and Riley’s story in The Last of Us: Left Behind, they both grow awkwardly more romantic with each other, as most mid-teen romances go. At the end of the story, the excitement of their first shared kiss gets extinguished when both Riley and Ellie get bit by zombies. One of my favorite quotes from the entire series is when Riley, minutes away from turning into an infected living dead, says to Ellie, “there are a million ways we should've died before today. And a million ways we can die before tomorrow. But we fight... for every second we get to spend with each other. Whether it's two minutes, or two days... we don't give that up”.


3. Sgt. Avery Johnson from Halo

A true fan favorite held by numerous gamers is Sgt. Avery Johnson from the Halo series. Sgt. Avery Johnson is a black man whose sole purpose and life goal is to serve in the military, defending humanity from alien races. Align with many other good military stereotypes, Sgt. Avery Johnson’s attitude is always fired up and ready for action. His enthusiastic spirit and hilarious comments during battle make Sgt. Avery Johnson truly unforgettable. Master Chief would’ve gotten nowhere without Sgt. Avery Johnson.


4. Storm and Black Panther from Ultimate Alliance

This one is sort of a cheat, as both of these characters are from famous comics and movies in the Marvel Universe, but I had to include them. Both Storm and Black Panther are playable characters in the popular game Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance 3. Storm is from the X-Men Universe. She was born as Ororo Munroec as a tribal Kenyan princess from her mother to later become an African-American in joining the X-Men. Storm has the power of thunder and lightning, but besides that, she has incredible leadership skills, which has aided the X-Men’s continual fight for equality for mutants and humans alike. Looking to find your video gaming community? Join Coastline's Esports Club!

Black Panther needs no introduction, but just in case, Black Panther is T'Challa, a royal king and protector of the hidden African nation of Wakanda. Black Panther has transcended video games, comics, and movies to become a global black icon. With the unfortunate passing of the legendary Chadwick Boseman, who played T’Challa in the Black Panther movie, Black Panther’s legacy and societal impact is all the more important and precious. Black Panther’s scientific genius, physical prowess, and friendly personality makes him one of the greatest Marvel superheroes of all time as well as being a timeless example of black excellence.


5. Nadine Ross from Uncharted

After recently completing Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for the second time, Nadine Ross is someone I’ve re-admired as being a strong black female video game character. Working once as a South African mercenary, Nadine quickly climbed the ladder of success by becoming the primary leader of the guerilla military army-for-hire, Shoreline. Nadine is the epitome of female strength, leadership, and authority. With more of her character being explored in the DLC Uncharted: Lost Legacy, which I have yet to play and don’t dare look up for fear of spoilers, future video games should take several notes to include more black females like Nadine Ross into their games.


6. Bangalore from APEX Legends

My best friend, who got me into APEX Legends (a popular first-person shooter esports game), favorite character happens to be Bangalore. Anita Williams, otherwise known as Bangalore, is an offensive player, equipped with smoke screens, aerial strikes, and acute focus in the heat of a fire fight. Born into a military family, Bangalore has had impressive instincts from birth that have molded her into the agile assassin that she is today. Being from a different planet called Gridiron, Bangalore competes in the APEX games in order to get enough money to fly back home to be with her family. From deep rooted family love to the lean mean killing machine, Bangalore is an excellent exemplar of black power.

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7. Colt and Jules from Deathloop

Deathloop, my second most anticipated game of 2021, has yet to come out. But I had to include Colt and Jules from the soon-to-come game because it goes to show that future video games are featuring more and more black people. There are many unknowns about these characters, what they are doing on Blackreef, and how they got their powers, but it is exciting that a AAA game (that is, a mid-sized, famous video game company releasing a new game) features not one, but two black protagonists to play as. I am extremely excited to uncover Colt and Jules’s stories, and the fact that they are both African American adds a richer context and history. Goodness knows that we gamers have played enough of the same stories with white male protagonist. Hopefully, from the success of this game, more black diversity is encouraged throughout video games at large.


8. Alyx Vance from Half-Life

Last but certainly not least, is the one and only Alyx Vance from Half-Life. The Half-Life series is an all-time favorite video game series for gamers worldwide. In 2004 when Half-Life 2 was created, Alyx Vance, one of the first major black female protagonists, was born. Alyx is the loveable companion to main character Gordan Freeman, who matches (or surpasses) him in almost all ways: intellectually, physically, and socially. With skills as a hacker, optimistic outlook, and realistic sensibilities, it’s no wonder people still love Alyx Vance. All of these things combined make for one of video game’s best black heroes, one that people of all color everywhere can glean something good from.


Video games are my favorite form of storytelling. And with important, daily societal change, video games will feature and tell more and more diverse stories. There are so many more favorite black video game characters of mine that didn’t quite make the list, like Ekko from League of Legends, Winston Smith from Return of the Obra Dinn, and Cere Junda from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, to name a few. These are some of my favorite black video game characters, what are some of yours?
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