So not long ago i managed to find myself reading an article about Mario Kart 8 on Pastemagazine.com as seen here. The article seemed ok but one paragraph stuck out like a sore thumb. It read:
“The other notable omission is in the cast of characters’ diversity. After 30 years there are still zero Mario characters of color, a problem that Mario Kart 8 highlights by lining up all the characters on a single screen. When it comes to human characters, Mario Kart 8 is overwhelmingly white. Of the 29 drivers, 14 are human (including Toad and Toadette), and every single one of them is white. While it’d be atypical of Nintendo to introduce new characters into a Mario Kart game, it’s also where the deficit is the most obvious, and during play I found myself disappointed that Nintendo’s stable of characters so painfully fails to reflect the diversity of its audience.”
Now i’d like to point out that how they said this is not really that racist but even so it is not a reason to hate a game for. That is what i’ll be writing here.
First things first, to say that there are 14 human characters is a massive overstatement. If you take away the two toad characters which are blatantly not human away you have 12. If you then take out the baby characters from that (because a baby version of a white character is obviously going to be white) you have 8. Its not so bad now is it.
If you count the massive amount of Non-human characters the game is incredibly diverse and its even gender diverse as well with at least 5 distinct female characters as of the new game. Although against his claim, the diversity of non-human characters is going to be ignored. It makes sense that you can’t say a character like Donkey Kong represents something without being racist yourself.
But the thing is you CAN have Non-white human characters, i mean everyone know these days that you can race as a mii right? Because of how mii’s work it would be easy to make them racially diverse. The other problem is not only does this person blatantly want a human character but they also want it to be an official character in the mario universe.
I never get why people ever complain about this, there are plenty of videogames out there that do not have diverse characters. i don’t want to put a huge list here but if you are going to moan about the lack of something in this game then i’m just going to find one of the many other games that are the same. It feels like the person was only attacking this game because of its popularity. You could actually say that the fact that the series is popular already proves that his idea of adding more diversity simply isn’t needed.
This is not even considering non-videogames, do cartoons (popular and non-popular) get complained about if there is no diversity in them. No they don’t, the people that make the content will always put bias on the characters in the story/game, which are usually heavily influenced by where they live and what they enjoy.
Forcing diversity on something can be dangerous if they don’t know much about the kind of character they are creating. Making a diverse character in the wrong way or accidentally using stereotypes will cause more hate in the long run than simply not having diverse characters would.
And guess what? The Mario Series is a Japanese made game but there is no japanese characters really. Why should they add characters to further diversify the cast when they haven’t even made a character to represent themselves yet.
And talking further about places, have you thought about where Mario Kart 8 is set? The mushroom kingdom. I’m not saying that the mushroom kingdom is a 100% non black zone or anything but its a totally made up world. The creator can do whatever the hell he wants with it even if that means making everyone white. Its not racist unless they are specifically attacking those with different colour skin, which they are not.
And the final nail in the coffin? Creating a diverse character would be too much work for nintendo. You are probably wondering why. Think of all the characters in Mario Kart 8 and you will notice that they have already been in a game before, people already know about them. This means that for a character to be added to the Mario Kart series they first need to be introduced in another game to stand a chance. And even then, the success of the new character depends on how good they are in said game.
But why would they even need to make a new game? Why can’t they just add one now? The answer is easy. If you had the choice between characters that you have known and loved for a long time and some random person that just appeared for this game then you are blatantly going to choose the character you already know 99.9% of the time. A character with no introduction is no different than putting some random person off the street into a place full of popular people. They may be picked by a few curious people but otherwise they’ll just be ignored while they pick another racer instead.
To sum it all up, Lack of diversity is not a good reason to not like a game. Alot of different things are just like that especially ones that aren’t set in the real world. Not only would the new character need an introduction or they’ll basically be nothing, if nintendo were to do something wrong with the character or accidentally use stereotypes they are way more likely to get hate than not having a diverse character at all. Its a risk that nintendo doesn’t need to take and therefore they shouldn’t.