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The 5 most compelling video game characters of 2013

Video games have always come in for criticism. In the early ’90s they were blamed for youth corruption and school shootings, in the early 2000s people like Jack Thompson wrote them off as artless murder simulators, and these days, at least within the community, the debate focuses on the less-than-acceptable gender and racial representation in games. It’s an industry that’s been perpetually dominated by white men, making games for white boys. But things are changing. More than any year before, 2013 was a time of subversion, questioning and action. Developers have listened to the criticisms, and are making games filled with people of all sorts of dispositions. Here are a few characters from this year that show how video games have grown up.

Michael, "Grand Theft Auto V"

On the surface, Michael looks like the stereotypical "GTA" antihero. He’s angry, he’s funny, he robs banks, and he stockpiles a lot of guns. It’s the usual cartoonish fun, but there are some dark details that really make Michael tick. He’s estranged from his wife, he has a deeply strained relationship with his children, and his return to crime is painted as a sad, depressing response to his wounded masculinity. Some of the most enlightening moments in "GTA V" happen when you take Michael to his psychologist, as he tries to understand the maniac he’s become.

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