EA Dice have been on a role lately and it's reflecting in their games, one in particular, Mirror's Edge Catalyst. The game has a diverse cast of characters who each add
something unique to the game's story. Besides main protagonist Faith, one of the
female characters who stick out the most is hacker girl Plastic.
Video games are not known for having a diverse representation of hackers. The film
and gaming industry sends the clear message to POC that they can't be hackers,
or are at least not expected to be. Designing hackers to be mainly white leaves
black characters out of the picture, which is why Plastic was a pleasant surprise.
Faith was assigned on a mission to seek out the mysterious “Plastic,” and surprisingly, Plastic turned out to be a black woman voiced by actress Ozioma Akagha. All Faith
initially knew about Plastic was that this person was a technical mastermind who
could be a strong ally for her group the Runners.
Plastic isn't the most social individual and prefers to isolate herself from other humans
by communicating through The Beat, a network database. Taking on only the most
expert tech assignments at hand, her hacking services don't come cheap either.
Despite the reinforcement of some stereotypes, it was nice to see Plastic on screen, hacking and saving the day with her technological abilities. It was also good that
the game didn't pair her off as one of the male characters’ love interest. She stood
on her own as the technical mastermind who assisted the main character in coding.
Media representation of black women is often reserved for roles like modern Jezebel, gold digger, or angry black woman. Plastic's character in Mirror's Edge doeat first s not fall into any of these categories. It was very refreshing to see a black woman depicting a different image than what the media usually portrays.
It means the world to see a video game character like Plastic and know that millions of other players have the chance to see a black female being ingenious, down to earth and just plain badass. On a side note it would have been nice to see Plastic wearing her natural hair, but that's another issue.
We know that some people playing would have never thought “black woman” and "hacker" could be in the same sentence, but although a minor character, Plastic tackles the perceived norm and brings focus to the fact that anybody can be a hacker.