In celebration of Independence Day here in the Philippines, The Gladiators did some diggin’ through the ol’ interwebs to find everything we can about Filipinos in Videogame Culture! Here’s what we found!
Let’s Start with Characters!
Jose Astrada/Estrada and Pham Luis
If you were a Playstation Fan in the late 90’s and Early 2000’s, chances are you’re familiar with the Front Mission franchise.
Front Mission was a turn-based Mecha RPG made by the legendary developer, Squaresoft (now Square Enix).
Front Mission was a tactical turn based roleplaying game set in the near future where global tensions have escalated to conflict and where massive mechas called “Wanzers” are used to wage war (Think Gundam merged with Final Fantasy Tactics). The game also features a dual-pronged storyline, allowing the player to choose which character he/or she experiences the story from.
Front Mission 3 prominently features two Filipino supporting characters, a Sniper with a Battousai-Complex, Jose Astrada (mistranslated from “Estrada”) and 17-year old Anti-government Guerrilla, Pham Luis
Jose was a top-notch Sniper for the Philippine Navy who, after mistakenly killing his wife, vowed never to take up arms again. This led to him being convicted for insubordination due to his repeated refusal to obey orders. He is eventually persuaded to pilot a Wanzer again, despite his vow when a secret Oceania Cooperative Union (OCU) Base in Taal Volcano is attacked (more on that later)
Pham, on the other hand, is the spoiled daughter of one of the richest Filipino families who joined up with the Philippine Liberation Front (PLF), a separatist guerrilla group seeking independence from the Oceania Cooperative Union.
Fans of the Soul Calibur series will definitely recognize Talim. The Tonfa-wielding warrior is arguably the most reknown Pinoy Videogame character as well as being probably being the most recurrent. The character has been a mainstay in the Souls series since her first appearance in the Soulcalibur II in 2002and has returned for Soulcalibur III, Soulcalibur IV, and for Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny.
Talim, whose name comes from the filipino word for “edge”, is considered to be a fan-favorite of sorts. She hails from the Village of the Wind Deity, in Southeast Asia (Philippines) and is considered to be the last Babaylan (Priestess) of the Winds. Her versatile fighting style and her noble personality has resonated deeply with fans of the series. In the story, she personifies true heroism and exhibits virtues endemic to the classic Filipino hero.
Master chief is Filipino?! Well, not quite. Nicole-458 is unique because not only is she a Spartan II from the popular Halo, a genetically enhanced Super-soldier..
..but she was especially created to be included as a guest character in the 4th Installment of the Dead or Alive fighting games.
Petty Officer Second Class Nicole-458 is also, (yep you guessed it) Filipino. According to her in game Biography: “Nicole was born in the year 2531 in the city of New Legaspi on Mars. At six years of age she was abducted by agents of the Office of Naval Intelligence and conscripted into the Spartan II program”
Because “Hip-Hop fighting game” was a videogame genre in the early 2000’s (wishing it still is), Def Jam: Fight for NY was released for the Playstation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube in 2004.
The game featured popular rappers and hip hop artists such as Lil’ Kim, Fat Joe, Ludacris and Sean Paul and was actually well received by fans. Among the roster was a Kickboxer named Santos.
Santos’ backstory is that he joined the underground fighting scene when he nearly killed an American opponent and was banned from professional kickboxing.
Not much is known about Santos, Its not even clear who the character is based on. What is clear though is that he is definitely Filipino. The flag on the shorts, the familiar facial features and when he gets fired up he unleashes his Blazin’ Move called “Filipino Pride”
And of course, who could forget, one of the newest additions to the massively popular fighting game series Tekken: Josie Rizal. As many as you know, Josie caused quite a stir in the country earlier this year. Series creator Katsuhiro Harada has openly stated that the character is Filipino and will incorporate eskrima and kickboxing style moves. Josie’s costume is also supposed to resemble the Sampaguita Flower which is also the national flower of the Philippines.
For those of you that missed the reference, Josie’s name is a play on the Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal, who coincidentally (or perhaps not) is also a practitioner of Eskrima.
Josie also caused a ruckus when Harada-san went back and forth with member of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts on twitter debating the appropriateness of the character. The issue eventually died down with Harada-San assuring us all not to worry.
The Philippines was also featured as a Location for various videogames, most notably:
In the first-person shooter Crysis, developed by Crytek in 2007, North Koreans have taken over the Lingshan Islands, a fictional archipelago in the southern side of the Philippines and you as a special agent of Raptor Team are dispatched to deal with the situation. The narrative takes a turn for the worse when the Island is invaded by aliens known as Ceph and you are the only hope in stopping a planet-wide invasion.
MEDAL OF HONOR: WARFIGHTER
Medal of Honor Frontline, another First-Person Shooter, also features the Philippines, specifically, the Basilan Islands
Front Mission 3
As previously covered, Front Mission 3 also takes place in locales such as Taal Lake and Batangas city.
Finally, some Special Mentions
Jose Rizal in Medal of Honor
The original Medal of Honor game allowed players who completed the main campaign the unlock Jose Rizal as one of the secret Characters.
Manny Pacquiao in Fight Night
Of course, the greatest and most celebrated Filipino boxer of all time, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is a mainstay in Electronic Arts’ Fight Night Franchise.
Did we miss anything or anyone? Let us know in the comments below! Happy Independence Day! Please direct all your Filipino pride to our Facebook Page and Twitter @geekendglads! Thank you for reading!
Raffy Leynes is a geek of all trades (master of fun).He loves videogames, comicbooks, movies, cartoons, wrestling, science and art. Lately, he’s been liking his geekery with a dash of “Indie”. He doesn’t know what the f*ck musings are but he is told he does them on his Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.