Today marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month! We have always believed in highlighting and amplifying community voices. So, in celebration, we reached out to Xbox Ambassadors and asked community members of Hispanic heritage to share a little bit about what Hispanic representation in gaming has meant to them.
We received hundreds of responses and- with a lot of difficulty- narrowed it down to eight.
Here are their stories:
Video games with Hispanic representation have impacted me in such a way that I’m happy that there’s people recognizing my heritage.
I am specifically of Dominican descent and one of my favorite games happens to be Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony because in that specific story, the protagonist is a Dominican male who grew up in a neighborhood that is similar to where I grew up.
Additionally, the setting of Liberty City is based on New York City which is where I am from! Therefore I am amazed by the similarities the locations have to my hometown and the behavior of the Hispanic characters within the game.
As a Latino growing up you see a lot of different things, hear different things, as well as experience different experiences.
I want to say that my first game I played that had a Latino or Hispanic in it was Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 where they had Steve Caballero.
I would choose him all the time because he was Mexican like me and it was what got me into skateboarding. Throughout the years I have seen more and more Hispanics in games, such as Octane in Apex Legends and, as a Latino, you get excited for that. You get to feel proud to see Latinos in a game as it shows us that we can make it in life if we put our hearts and back into achieving what we wish to achieve.
As a Mexican-American gamer, it always brings me absolute joy to see Hispanic characters in gaming.
One of the most recent experiences was The Walking Dead: A New Frontier. It was great to see a Hispanic family lead a big established franchise like The Walking Dead.
I hope to see more Hispanic representation in games in the future, as I feel like we’re one of the least represented.
For me, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month means celebrating the people that bring to life the many iconic characters from the Xbox family through their voices: the Latin American dubbing voice actors.
I still remember so many years ago the sheer awe of picking up Gears of War, one of the most popular games at the time, booting it up and, for the first time, listening to the superb work of Sebastian Llapur and Ricardo Tejado, the Latin American voice actors of Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago respectively.
Through their performances I felt a connection to the games I hadn’t felt until then.
Their work, along with the excellent Raúl Anaya as Master Chief, would go on to make me and entire generation of Spanish-speaking gamers feel like those characters and their stories truly belonged to us.
Heritage: Puerto Rican
I was born in Puerto Rico in 1977. Ever since I can remember I have been gaming. So in my 43 years of life, I have seen the industry grow and flourish.
As a member of the Hispanic community and as an Xbox Ambassador I try to go above and beyond in bringing these two passions of mine together. I take great pride every time Hispanic characters and heritage make it into video games. I can’t deny Dominic Santiago of the Gears of War franchise is one of my all time favorite characters. I also really enjoyed playing as Hot Spur Garcia in Shadows of the Damned.
I also really enjoy when game developers include flag representations in their games where players can display their national pride.
Today my main mission as a Hispanic community leader is to get Puerto Rico integrated in to the Microsoft Rewards Program. The hopes and dreams of an entire Puerto Rican Xbox Community is in my hands. So this Hispanic heritage month I want to celebrate the growth, presence, unity and strength of all Latin American and Spanish speaking communities throughout the world. You are all indeed my Brothers in Arms!
I play multiple games in the shooter genre. While I enjoy Call Of Duty, I have been utterly blown away by the inclusivity of its close competitors: Rainbow Six Siege and Apex Legends.
I feel empowered by these games when I hear Spanish dialogue, or other players respecting the proper annunciation of any Spanish included in the game.
From voice lines, to skins, and whatever may fall between. When a game properly incorporates Hispanic culture, it can only add to the experience of all players. In Apex Legends specifically, I find it extremely rewarding to use the voice lines of Hispanic characters because they actually speak Spanish.
Where many games fall flat by whitewashing characters and disregarding native languages in favor of English alone, both those games continue to dive deep into various cultures, while still respecting all aspects of said cultures and empowering those who belong to them.
One of my favorite gaming stories would have to be Life is Strange 2.
You always hear so much about how important representation is and how empowering it feels but I never fully felt that… until I got to know Sean and Daniel’s story and their journey across the United States.
Seeing two Hispanic leads dealing with the same struggles as we do was incredibly surreal and impactful.
It’s become one of my main examples of how powerful of a storytelling medium video games can be.
Heritage: Spaniard & Colombian
Seeing Sombra in Overwatch– even though I’m not from Mexico like the character is- was surprising; you didn’t see many Hispanic or Latino/a characters that fleshed out in mainstream video games at the time.
I got into Overwatch when she was released and that was a nice little touch- a fellow Hispanic character I could play as.
Plus, using Spanish voice lines felt like being part of an inside joke only I could understand.
We would like to express a big THANK YOU to everyone who shared their stories of Hispanic representation in gaming with us! It is never easy to share such personal experiences publicly and we appreciate every single one of you. Stay tuned for even more stories because we’re not done yet!