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Wanting Black Hairstyles in ‘Elden Ring’ Is Not a Big Ask

Screenshot from Elden Ring

I am enjoying Elden Ring, a lot, but like many things in video game fandom communities, any time you attempt to bring up issues concerning Black gamers, it can lead to a backlash. With the case of Elden Ring, that comes into play when bringing up the lack of Black hairstyles.

You can create your own character for Elden Ring, but the options for hair and phenotype for that character are very limited when it comes to Blackness. It was something I noticed while playing, sighed about, and kept moving. I didn’t even mention it in my original option on the game because, frankly, Ash Parish already did it better on The Verge.

“I’m stymied by the bizarrely incongruous system that allows for an unprecedented level of control of every minute detail of facial feature but only has one kinky hair option,” Parish wrote, and the one kinky-haired option is an afro that looks like it flattened from the world’s saddest Jheri curl.

Then, this morning, I saw a tweet lamenting the weirdness of the community for turning something so basic into a larger issue. As a Black gamer, being able to do simple things like play as a melanated person who doesn’t look grey is a big deal. I loved being able to give my character braids in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and I enjoy getting to have an Afro in Animal Crossing, and other character-creator games.

Black folks are a huge part of the gaming community, and when we are ignored, dismissed, and treated as if we don’t matter, it hurts. I still love Elden Ring and I’m going to keep playing, but it sucked that my first experience with the game was realizing I couldn’t have a hairstyle that reflected me.

“Not having a diverse number of hairstyles ultimately doesn’t diminish my experience with Elden Ring,” Parish said. “The game is pretty damn great, and that’s coming from someone who isn’t that much of a FromSoftware fan. I just don’t understand how a game, after numerous, numerous calls for greater diversity and developers acknowledging its Black community members through Black Lives Matter posts and well wishes during Black History Month, can still fail to account for Black players.”

Exactly. We are a part of the gaming community, and asking games to be aware of the importance of including kinky braids, dreadlocks, and other basic Black natural hairstyles in a game is important.

(image: Bandai)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.