Video Games

Canadian Representation in Video Games

Happy Canada Day! Even up here in the north, we like to play some video games in our igloos between walking our pet moose and kissing posters of Justin Trudeau. But not a ton of characters in popular video games are from Canada and even fewer games are set in our beautiful country. So let’s discuss the ones that we do have and how they reflect upon our population.

Until Dawn

Something I didn’t know is that this horror game that came out in 2015 was set in Canada with a cast of Canadian teens. This game was so popular and swept through YouTube with its choice based gameplay style and spooky jump-scares. I always just assumed it was supposed to be set in Colorado or something. I know that the Wendigo stories come from Aboriginal culture, but it’s not like Aboriginal people had the same random borders and geographical rules that colonizers loved to put down. However, I was not surprised by learning this, since its a game that takes place in a snowy wilderness far away from any civilization. Sounds pretty on brand for Canada.

until dawn cast

So the beginning of Until Dawn features a bunch of kids setting up the “nice girl” in the group for a prank involving tricking her into thinking the guy she likes is into her and wants to hook up. Not exactly the nice and polite image that Canadians usually have. But teenagers are jerks everywhere, so it’s not that surprising. Same goes for all the characters: pretty jerkish teens. But they nailed the beauty of a Canadian ski cottage. Ya know, minus the horrific murder monsters.

Ollie Randall and Bill Kessler (Nancy Drew)

There are dozens of games in the Nancy Drew series from Her Interactive. She had to go to Canada at some point! In The White Wolf of Icicle Creek, Nancy visits a remote lodge in the Canadian Rockies to investigate a string of strange accidents. Some people at the lodge have been blaming a mysterious white wolf that always seems to be around when the accidents occur. Despite taking place in Canada, there are only two actually Canadian characters. Everyone else is from a different place and just visiting the lodge on vacation. The first one you meet is Ollie Randall, the lodge’s handyman. The other is Bill Kessler, a construction worker and avid fisherman from Toronto. These two men are very different, but they both represent two classic Canadian stereotypes.

 

Source, source

Ollie is a rough-and-tumble man’s man from Alberta Canada. He wears a cowboy hat and is determined to catch the wolf haunting the lodge. While he can be pretty demanding and stern with Nancy, he is still polite. He is a husband and father, but his wife is travelling south for the winter. He really cares about the lodge’s well-being and his family, and while he may not be very touchy-feely, you can tell. Bill, however, immediately gives you the feeling of a jovial uncle or fatherly neighbour. With his comically strong Canadian accent, he’s very cheerful and honest with Nancy when she comes snooping. He makes the long trip across Canada annually to do some ice-fishing and relax at his favourite getaway. He says sorry and eh more often than the average person. Both of them are perfectly Canadian and I am more than okay being associated with them.

Frost and Buck (Rainbow Six Seige)

I wouldn’t think that a shooter would put enough thought into their characters to give them unique personalities and nationalities, but I would be very wrong in that! As it turns out, the reason the team in this popular multiplayer game is called rainbow is that it is made up of a team of people from all around the world. And coming in from Canada, we have Frost, the clever placer of “welcome mats,” and Buck, the man with the assault rifle/shotgun. They were both brought into the game with an expansion called Operation Black Ice, a thoroughly Canadian expansion. We don’t know as much about these characters as we would if it was a story-driven single-player game, but we have more than enough to work with.

 

Source, source

Frost’s real name is Tina Lin Tsang and she joined the Air Force at eighteen, got a bachelor’s degree in Science and Mechanical Engineering, and completed officer training. She’s kind of a badass in my opinion. Her loadout includes Sterling MK2 LHTs, which are lovingly referred to as welcome mats. It’s basically a bear trap for humans that clamps around your leg if stepped on. She’s described as pragmatic and determined, not letting anything or anyone get in her way when she wants something done. Buck is a French-Canadian from Montreal named Sébastien Côté. His career in the military began in Regular Officer Training Plan for the Canadian Armed Forces. One degree in criminology, a stint as an MP in the Canadian Army, and some time on an Emergency Response team later, he was asked to join the special task force. He has a rifle with an under-mounted shotgun. That is also pretty badass. Confirmed: Canadians are badass.

Trevor Philips (GTA)

TrevorPhilips-GTAV

Of course, every family has its ugly duckling. The screwball. The odd bird. And Trevor Collins is that to literally all of Canada it seems. There’s not much to say about him since he’s a stain on the name of Canada. He’s a protagonist in Grand Theft Auto’s storyline. He’s really just a thug that kills, steals, sells drugs, and is generally not a good guy. He’s also gross and rude. I’m shocked that Rockstar would dare associate us with that!

 

These are the biggest names in gaming that explicitly come from Canada. Well, that might not be true, but it’s the ones I’m most familiar with. I’d say that is one stand-up, reliable group of people. Well…for the most part anyways. Bill Kessler is nice at least!

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