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St. Paddy's Day disgraces: Six of gaming's most offensive Irish stereotypes

Well it’s St. Paddy’s Day, and as usual that means everyone will be celebrating their ambiguous Irish "heritage" by getting bollocksed on beer and green food dye, saying “Erin Go Bragh” for no reason, and wearing plastic green bowler hats. To celebrate this light-hearted, semi-racist holiday we’ve assembled a list of gaming’s most offensively stereotypical Irishmen, and identified which of the many stereotypes they’re guilty of portraying. 

Aran Ryan

Super Punch-Out!!/Punch Out!! Wii 

Above: "They were after me Lucky Charms so I put em in me gloves!"

While he’s less offensive in the SNES version, Aran Ryan is a gibbering mad man in the Wii version, and a cheater to boot. The man weights his boxing gloves with his horribly outdated “lucky” horseshoes, rocks a shamrock on his shorts, and generally just acts a fool. Even so, the Irish get off easy in Punch-Out!! for Wii; the Frenchman in the game explodes croissants everytime he gets hit.

Offensive stereotypes: Boxer, violent, shamrocks, lucky, wearing green

Patrick McReary

GTA4:

Above: When he's not murdering, kidnapping, robbing or drinking, Packie is a really nice guy.

One of the more visible Irish in the current console generation, Patrick and his whole clan are a bunch of violent, corrupt, drunk criminals and jailbirds. They’re also fairly dull, which removes the aspect of charm that usually makes people sympathize with misanthropic Irish criminals and murderers.

Offensive stereotypes: Violent, drunk, criminal, big family. wearing green  

Sean Devlin

The Saboteur

Above: "Hmm should I get tanked and yell at the wife or go eat some corned beef and cabbage?"

Sean Devlin may be little more than a collection of obvious stereotypes, but he’s a badass and the star of his own game, which makes him slightly less offensive. Even so, he’s almost as cliche as a leprechaun pounding a Guiness; Sean is a violent, whiskey loving car racer who wears a flat cap and most offensively, actually says things like “Top o' the morning”, a phrase that’s never actually been spoken by an Irish person.

Offensive stereotypes: Violent, drunk, flat cap, awful lingo

Colin Moriarty

Fallout 3

Above: This Irishman put down the bottle just long enough to become a sociopathic power monger

Potential stereotypical Irish jobs include: mad bomber, boxer and pub/bar owner, all of which are proudly represented in this article. Colin is, of course, a pub owner in the town of Megaton who tries to chisel money out of you before he’ll tell you where your father is. While it’s nice he’s not a drunk, the clever Irishman is Megaton’s crime lord/pimp/drug dealer/slave owner, eager to keep the town under his thumb. In his own words:  “I keep these yokels knee deep in booze and poon they keep me knee deep in caps, it’s a fair trade if you ask me.” Lovely.

Offensive sterotypes: Pub owner, violent, criminal

Frank Bilders

Farcry 2

 

Above: "Oi got me black eye boxing for me bomb money!"

If there’s one character who manages to hit almost every stereotype imaginable, it’s Farcry 2’s Frank Bilders. A criminal who boxed for money before going to prison for racketeering and aiding the IRA. Frank is the worst of all worlds; he’s even portrayed in a green rugby jacket just in case you didn’t realize HE’S IRISH.

Offensive stereotypes: Violent, mad bomber, boxer, IRA member, criminal, wearing green

Cuchulainn

Final Fantasy XII

Above: The real Cuchulainn

While this one falls into the same territory as getting mad at Dante’s Inferno for reducing a piece of classic literature into a meathead beating up dead babies, Cuchulainn’s portrayal in FFXII is almost as bad. Cuchulainn is a true Irish badass; he’s a character from a series of popular folk tales called the Tain. Wait! Don’t fall asleep!

In the books Cuchulainn is a spry young warrior lad with a massive spear, the Gae Bulg, who single handedly murders armies when he goes into his “warp spasm”. It’s kinda like a medieval Limit Break. In fact, he’s such a badass he kills one of the greatest warriors in the land by throwing an apple core so hard at him it splits his skull. Given all this sweet lore to work with, Square Enix decided to use his name and make this:

Above: Japan gone wild

While representing Cuchulainn as a fat green blob may somehow make sense to SquareEnix, this is akin to making an Esper named George Washington and portraying it as a talking pink scooter in a wig.

Offensive sterotypes: Wearing green, woeful misappropriation of Ireland’s greatest folk hero

Mar 17, 2010   

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36 comments

  • Dexsus - March 20, 2010 6:16 p.m.

    None of this offends me in the slightest, these guys are just game characters and anyone who does get offended needs a reality check. Although Sean Devlin from The Saboteur ticked me off a bit.
  • Sasquatch2262 - March 19, 2010 1:05 a.m.

    UHHH HELLO!!??? Does the name Ewan Mcgregor ring a bell? Mercenaries 2? Not only is his name irish, he wears green, hes a drunk, and a lady lover!!!!
  • Cyberninja - March 18, 2010 11:36 p.m.

    that last one was not what i expected
  • philipshaw - March 18, 2010 8:09 p.m.

    Sean Devlin in the saboteur had to be the worst one
  • DriveShaft - March 18, 2010 6:53 p.m.

    Colin Moriarty and Packie at least provide comic relief x]
  • IGearz - March 18, 2010 6:04 p.m.

    People get offended when the stereotype isn't considered respectable or cool. Just to name a few....Italians=Mob affiliated, African Americans=Rhythm, Asians=Intelligence, Europeans=Conquerors, you get the point. I'm Irish and I take these associations above lightly due to the context, however there is not one that has a positive stereotype. The Irish have been oppressed for ages so it's no wonder that many were drawn to lives of crime and disorder. A human being can only take so much: genocide, racism, discrimination, and flat out prejudice.Many got what they could while they could
  • miltch - March 18, 2010 5:38 p.m.

    was there a lucky charms game?
  • breener96 - March 18, 2010 4:35 p.m.

    To be honest, I think people can be too sensitive about this stuff but they have a right to be (to a certain extent, at least. I never really minded Irish stereotypy, because when you think about it, I can insult Americans, Canadians, English, everyone with just as many stereotypes as they say to me.
  • Xeacons - March 18, 2010 3:33 p.m.

    Poor Cuchulainn... Kiss me, I'm Ir-HELL F@#@#%ING NO!!!! It's sad to see that it's ookaaay for racist stereotypes as long as we're white Europeans. Hey we deserve it right? RIGHT?
  • hatebreeder - March 18, 2010 2:43 p.m.

    part irish..........aye alright Well seeing as this article is pulling us irish in like theres no end; theres a few things i'd like to throw out there. Im 20 years old, i've lived in ireland all my life and i'm never botherd at the sterotypes this country has, we drink just as much as any other country, we fight just as much as any other country, we don't function on potatoes, we dont wear nothing but green, not everyone here is small and ginger, we dont have green sheep or an orange moon and i've yet to met anyone that has a pot of gold. These stereotypes were probably made up decades ago and they've clearly just stuck even though they are bullshit, but If any irishman or woman actually gets offended over these then they deserve a slap cause theres nothing to be offended over, if your irish and you by into this then you really don't have much faith in your own country. I take it this article is up because of st. paddy's day which was last night, and at this point im surprised i can still type. good article, good night.
  • Skykid - March 18, 2010 2:22 p.m.

    Being part Irish myself, I find this article really insulting.
  • rxb - March 18, 2010 1:30 p.m.

    I just read this for the craic.
  • dannymc18 - March 18, 2010 1:17 p.m.

    Éireann go Bráth*. "Erin Go Bragh" is nonsense.
  • TheGodEmperor - March 18, 2010 6:04 a.m.

    err, also meant to also say to make the list to 7 cause 7 is for Irish.
  • TheGodEmperor - March 18, 2010 6:03 a.m.

    Sir Henry Motherfucker, for only having 1 level devoted to him, lol
  • konichiwa - March 18, 2010 5 a.m.

    KONICHIWA EVERYONE!!! Believe it or not, I'm full IRISH!!! I don't mind these stereotypes, i think that they're pretty damn funny!! It's sad to say, but alot of times the stereotypes are DEAD ON!! :O OMFG, ITS TRUE, people need to lighten up and have more fun with stuff like this, its all in good fun!! LOLZ HAPPY ST PATTYS DAY EVERYONE!! I THINK I'M GONNA WEAR GREEN, GET DRUNK, AND YELL AT MY WIFE!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH JK about the last one!!
  • YuGiOhisbetterthanMagic - March 18, 2010 4:41 a.m.

    FRANK BUILDERS IS MY HERO!!! seriously, i beat far cry with that guy, and then on my second play though, he was the most badass sidekick, then he had the audacity to use up all my syringe things and then die... that man is a video game legend.
  • brickman409 - March 18, 2010 3:56 a.m.

    colin moriarty is irish?!?!?!? :0
  • JizzyB - March 18, 2010 3:54 a.m.

    Stereotypes don't have to be thought of negatively. Would any of the GTA's be as compelling from a story standpoint if There weren't stereotypes? Any story has to set a theme in order for you to immediately relate to it without too much explanation. Can you imagine a mafia movie without any conventional stereotypes?
  • mentalityljs - March 18, 2010 2:47 a.m.

    Woops, i meant they would be less harmFUL!

Showing 1-20 of 36 comments

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