Tuesday, July 20, 2010


As some of you may have already figured out, I really enjoy fighting games. Heck, I’ve admitted that they’re part of the reason I got so into fitness in the first place. Street Fighter was my favorite, and I idolized the characters there, particularly the main character, Ryu. And this is actually the primary reason I wanted to voice out my opinion about this.


Some of these fighting games are extremely popular, and people idolize the characters associated with them. For whatever personal reason, they think they’re cool. Just like me, they want to emulate them, and be just as strong and physically impressive. Idolizing Ryu was a great thing for me as a child because it geared me towards becoming a strong Asian person. Ryu is a Japanese character, and he’s drawn as a well-muscled fighter, who is, both story and game-wise, one of the strongest competitors in the world. That’s a great inspiration for someone like me!


So, imagine my surprise in 2007 when Bandai Namco games revealed the new characters to the sequel of their most popular fighting game franchise, Tekken,and one of them was an obese American. I was seriously disturbed when I saw the images for the first time. I knew how some people all over the world viewed these characters, and now one of them is a seriously unhealthy person? Not only that, this person moves and fights like an incredibly strong, agile and well trained martial artist. To this regard, some young people may think that the character is cool and want to emulate him.


I quickly disregarded this as a sort of isolated incident, though, but when Capcom announced the lineup to Street Fighter IV,a sequel to arguably the most famous fighting game franchise of all time, they also included an obese American character. Not only that, this character moved even better than Bob and is actually one of the strongest characters in the game.

I really don’t understand why they needed to represent such a serious health problem in such a positive light. Young people are very impressionable, and they’ll cling to whatever imagery they find interesting. I really don’t want them to idolize obesity. Video games already propagate this by making them stick to the television screen even more and making them physically inactive. We really don’t need these games to create imagery that what they’re turning into is something cool, either.


If these characters were featured in games that were very unpopular and which I didn’t really care for, I probably would never have thought of this whole idea. But the fact is, they’re being featured in some of the most popular video games in the whole world.

I really want these sorts of characters to stop being created. I want Bob and Rufus to be the end of the line. Obesityis a serious problem and it doesn’t need to be represented as cool in any sort of way. Fighting game characters are usually great sources of inspiration for young people because they’re popular and feature very fit and athletic characters that people can emulate and create positive goals from. In my personal opinion, new characters to these popular franchises should continue this trend and not do the opposite.

What are your thoughts on these characters? Should they continue to be created or not? Drop me a comment, as I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Hello, I'm Noel Blanco and I write Fitness Philippines. I have been involved in physical fitness for more than 10 years now and am currently taking up graduate studies on Exercise and Sports Science at the University of the Philippines. You can contact me at fitnessphp@yahoo.com
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