From all-ages games like Sly Cooper to testosterone-fueled adventures such as Grand Theft Auto, here are six of the most unforgettable disabled video game characters.
6. Lester Crest — Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto is a longstanding video game series glamorizing felonies that you either love or hate. Definitely a game geared toward men, it’s all about stealing cars (and the craziness that ensues).
In Grand Theft Auto V we again meet Lester — a mastermind who organizes heists for your avatar to pull off. His Wiki tells us he has an unspecified wasting disease and is a real creep, sometimes using a cane and sometimes a wheelchair. But who says people with disabilities can’t be as nasty as nondisabled? Slime on, Lester.
5. Taimi — Guild Wars 2
A massive multiplayer online role playing game, Guild Wars 2 is set in a fantasy universe much like World of Warcraft. In keeping with the genre, players can choose from all kinds of characters, from warriors to healers to those of the race “charr.”
Guild Wars 2 also includes a disabled character Taimi, who has a degenerative muscle disease. She rides a golem named Scruffy, who acts as her guardian/magical robot wheelchair. Her character was done so well it has created a rabid fan base.
Check out this letter from a fan with multiple sclerosis who wrote in to the game developers, thanking them for such a powerful character.
4. Sir Hammerlock — Borderlands 2
For a comical spin on a character with a disability, there’s no one better than Sir Hammerlock of the role-playing first-person shooter game, Borderlands 2. This unique game follows treasure hunters on the planet Pandora as they try to secure an important mineral to save humanity.
In the game, they are given quests by a character with an amputated arm, leg and a robotic prosthetic eye, Sir Hammerlock. In fact, he is one of the most friendly humans they encounter in the game. What’s great about this character too, other than the fact that he has a disability, is his hunter/Victorian adventurer persona — quite steampunky to be sure.
3. Bentley— Sly Cooper
A stealth video game series for the PS4 that follows an adventuring raccoon who hails from a thieving family, Sly Cooper has been around since 2002 and its latest incarnation, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, has a very cool character with a spinal cord injury by the name of Bentley.
In this game, the world is populated by animals — no humans — and Bentley is a turtle who was paralyzed when he was crushed in the mouth of a robot named Clock-La. This brilliantly smart character plans elaborate heists, creates gadgets needed for Sly Cooper’s gang and their quests and he has a wheelchair outfitted with rocket boosters and grappling hooks. Now that’s my kind of character (and wheelchair).
2. Dr. Huey Emmerich — Metal Gear Solid
A highly-rated action-adventure stealth video game series from Japan made for the Playstation, Metal Gear Solid follows Solid Snake, a soldier whose mission is to infiltrate nuclear weapons facilities and make the world a safer place.
There have been several sequels to this game and in the 2009 sequel, Metal Gear Solid IV: The Phantom Pain, Dr. Huey Emmerich, a character with spinal bifida appears. He plays a scientist obsessed with finding a way to walk, and gets involved in the field of robotics as a result.
In the game, Dr. Huey has a lot happen to him. He gets wrapped up in the unsavory program “Peace Walker,” he almost gets thrown down a flight of stairs and to top it off — he falls in love with the wrong woman. Oh, Dr. Huey Emmerich, we’ll never forget you.
1. Joker — Mass Effect
A science fiction role-playing third-person shooter video game, Mass Effect was released in 2007 and its sequels have had critical success for their storylines, characters and voice acting. In the game, one of the major characters is Jeff “Joker” Moreau. He has brittle bone disease and is voiced by none other by Seth Green.
This hysterical character gets a lot of face time and many players forget he even has a disability, mainly because he sits behind a driving mechanism for most of the game. In the game, Joker pilots The Normandy, a spaceship, and is known for his rockstar piloting skills.
It’s great seeing so many video game makers finally not being afraid of adding a little bit of diversity to their games. Whether it’s characters of different races, sexual orientations or abilities, it’s happening in droves, and the disability side of things in the gaming world just keeps getting better.
What video game characters with disabilities did we miss?