Black Heroes of Gaming: Lee Everett

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February is Black History Month, and to celebrate GamerTell is looking back at gaming’s most memorable Black characters. These heroes are a part of our pop culture fabric, and there is growing ethnic diversity among them. If we  judge the characters by positive feedback, The Walking Dead’s Lee Everett may be the best Black video game character in history.

Telltale Games’ adventures swept numerous Game of the Year awards, though they don’t involve platforming or moving from cover to cover. They’re about making tough choices, and facing the inevitable consequences. There are precious few happy endings in The Walking Dead’s universe. People will die. Others who you helped survive will still hate you. The world we all once knew is gone, and just surviving is the order of the day.

When we first meet Lee Everett, he’s on his way to prison for murder. I was ready to roll my eyes. Great, here’s a Black character I can learn to love. As is often the case with The Walking Dead, appearances are deceiving. Everett finds a little girl named Clementine, who has survived the zombie apocalypse so far without any adults around. He absolutely could leave her behind, but he’s not that kind of person. It isn’t long before Everett finds himself the leader of a group of survivors.

With limited food, he has to decide who gets to eat. With danger around every turn, he must decide who to trust. With a dangerous past behind him, he has to decide who he’ll tell his secret to. The Walking Dead games are a critical and commercial smash because there are no superhuman heroes to swoop in and save the day. They’re about real, everyday people facing a plague of Biblical proportions. There are no easy victories or simple answers.

Everett isn’t Clementine’s father, but in this new world he’s the closest thing she has to one. There’s no sacrifice he won’t make for her. He was on his way to spend life in prison when we first met him, but Lee Everett proves to be a good and honorable man. This is perhaps the newest game we’ll talk about in these features, so I won’t spoil the ending for you here. Telltale’s The Walking Dead challenges so many of our perceptions about what a video game should be. Lee Everett and his willingness to protect a little girl he just met drive one of the best video game stories in recent memory. It’s a tale anyone who played it won’t soon forget.

Site [The Walking Dead]

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