Gaming’s Greatest Gingers
To help encourage inclusion for our fair skinned, orange-headed buddies, let’s recount a few of gaming’s greatest gingers.
Disclaimer: This piece is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Additionally, only tasteful amounts of ginger-teasing will be accepted. We’re here to elevate gingers, not put them down.
In the 1980’s gaming was in its infancy. Everything was bright colors and fun noises. In the 21st century games got gritty and angsty, comfortably in its teenage years. Now it’s moved on to other things. Inclusion and social consciousness are becoming more common and criticized in popular games, and major titles are experimenting with sexuality and drugs. That’s right y’all. Gaming is in its college years. When we talk about inclusion, it’s a messy, complex topic with few simple solutions. One thing I can say for sure, we need more gingers.
Half of the Adventure Mode podcast is hosted by a ginger, yet there’s not even one in Overwatch – arguably one of gaming’s most diverse rosters. To help encourage inclusion for our fair skinned, orange-headed buddies, let’s recount a few of gaming’s greatest gingers.
Moira Brown – Fallout 3
Fallout 3 was an overwhelming game when it came out. Emerging from the fluorescent lights of the Vault 101 into the glare and desolation of the Capital Wasteland left me wondering, what now? I found a vehicle that looked like something Duck Dodgers would drive in the twenty fourth and one-half century. A puddle nearby prompted me to use the A button to drink, and I was rewarded with the tick-tick-tickety of my Geiger counter, informing me I had become irradiated. It was clear I had a lot to learn about this new world, and upon my arrival at Megaton’s general goods store, I would find a ginger willing to help me learn the skills I’d need to survive in D.C. in the year 2277.
In a world of monsters and power-armored men, Moira Brown was the sunshine in every Lone Wanderer’s life. Her quaint mid-western accent greets you with a friendly “hello there,” and she invites you to co-author her Wasteland Survival Guide, to pioneer expert survival tactics for a post-nuclear-apocalypse America. Along the way gamers discover how to disarm mines, scavenge for supplies at your local Super Duper Mart, and even how to repel those pesky mole rats.
True, this quest also requires you to cripple one of your limbs (most efficiently done by standing in the bathtub of a public restroom and throwing a grenade at your feet), and becoming irradiated to the point of near death. All along the way Moira Brown stays chipper, helpful, and grateful as heck that you’re helping her create the Wasteland Survival Guide, which lives on in the series next two installments – Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4. I don’t know if all gingers are as quirky and friendly as Moira, but she sets a precedent worth following for all of us.
Aloy – Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn (HZD) is the PlayStation exclusive that caught gamers by storm earlier this year. It’s gameplay mechanics combine the best of a lot of titles, like Far Cry, the Batman Arkham games, Tomb Raider, and the R1/R2 button layout for combat from the Dark Souls games. Somehow a game full of familiar ideas became something that still felt fun to play, much like Netflix’s eighties nostalgia fest, Stranger Things.
The games post-apocalyptic, robo-dinosaur wasteland is shown to us through the eyes of Aloy. This red-haired huntress is an outcast in her society, and I think it’s no coincidence that her character is also a ginger. Through determination and bravery, Aloy journeys from exile to world-renown hero, all with an unrivaled intelligence and a level of sass that can’t be beat.
Horizon Zero Dawn is expecting it’s first DLC pack later this year, and many gamers can’t wait to step back into the shoes of the woman that can take down a metal T-Rex with nothing but a bow, a can-do attitude, and possibly a very large energy cannon. PlayStation gamers who have Aloy lingering on their to-do lists should keep an eye out for sales or for a friendly neighbor to borrow from, it doesn’t look like this franchise will be going away anytime soon. It’s great to see a young ginger able to have their own gaming franchise. It’s sort of like Ryan Reynolds finally being in a super hero movie that didn’t bomb.
Olgierd Von Everec – Witcher 3
Olgierd is a ginger with a hipster haircut, a big sword, and a heart of stone. Fittingly then that he debuts in Witcher 3’s expansion Hearts of Stone. This DLC sets a standard for post-launch content unmatched by most companies in gaming today, and it’s a standard developer CD Projekt would crush a few months later with Blood and Wine, a package large and satisfying enough to have been a separate entry in the franchise.
Olgierd is really the focus of this mystery packed expansion. The mystery of his life is there for Geralt to explore, and the manner of his death, or salvation, comes to rest in the witcher’s hands as well. Olgierd is a complex character, who we learn through quests has become a calloused man who has lost everything he cared about in pursuit of something more. CD Projekt Red has a habit of crafting complex characters, but Olgierd is a pinnacle of morally gray character building.
Honorable mention goes out to Triss Merigold. This red headed sorceress comprises half of a fierce debate on the Witcher subreddit over Team Triss or Team Yen. Dedicated fans have argued whom Geralt should really end up with for years now, without one ever gaining ground against the other.
For the record, I am firmly Team Triss.
Red – Transistor
Transistor is the closest we’ve gotten to a Daft Punk video game. The visuals are made up of vibrant colors laid out in a future city scape, more computer than concrete. The soundtrack is one of the best in gaming, featuring techno inspired, jazz fused pieces that delight the ears and immerse the player into the setting and action. Transistor is led by Red, a talking-sword wielding red head with no voice, a path to revenge, and some serious motorcycle skills.
Red tops the list of silent heroes in the current generation, and thanks to being featured as one of the free games for PlayStation Plus subscribers in February of 2015, became one of my favorite indie titles of that year. The environment is stylish and unique, the upgrade elements are complex but accessible, and the mysterious Red and her titular talking sword drive the whole piece with engaging, if simple, characters.
Gamers on all consoles are encouraged by your boys at Handsome Phantom to put this title on your to-do list. Developer Super Giant Games (not to be confused with Super Massive Games, creators of Until Dawn and upcoming Play Link title Hidden Agenda) recently released Pyre, a game that’s garnering great reviews and is on the to-do lists of most of the folks here at Handsome Phantom.
As always, tell us what you think! Who are some of your favorite gingers in gaming? Share the article with a ginger friend to let them know you appreciate them but also they should try to be more like some of the good folk on this list. Can we make it a whole month without talking about The Witcher 3? NO! Let us know your thoughts and you could get a shout out on Adventure Mode!
Kevin Lukacs is a historian, writer, occasional playwright, and a total console pleb. Find him on Twitter @kclukacs
Author: Kevin Lukacs
Kevin enjoys writing plays, short stories, comedy, history, and of course opinion pieces and listicles about video games. His dad could totally beat up your dad. You can find him in DC getting his M.A. in history, should you ever feel the need to fight about weebs and whether or not Knights of the Old Republic is the best game ever made.