“Fast” and “feast” cosmetic sprays added to Overwatch to celebrate Ramadan.
Video games are often quick to recognise and represent Christian festivals – with tinsel for Christmas and eggs for Easter – and even Pagan events like Halloween, but other cultures and religions tend to be less well-represented.
That’s changing, of course. Slowly, but it is changing. With massive global audiences outside the Western world, events like Chinese New Year – tapping into a potential audience of 1.4 billion – have been a common sight in recent years. It’s odd, then, with over 2 billion Muslims in the world, that video game events celebrating Ramadan aren’t more common.
While Blizzard’s approach to representation hasn’t always hit the mark with Overwatch – with issues around depictions of mental health, obesity, and the fact the game got a black lady robot before it got an actual black woman on its roster – it’s still got one of the most varied casts of any AAA video game. That includes characters from six continents, of differing races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations. (And also an anthropomorphized gorilla and hamster. And some robots. It’s not perfect, we get that, but it tries.)
It’s pleasing to see, then, that Blizzard has added two Ramadan sprays to Overwatch as part of its Anniversary event.
Oh my gosh, @PlayOverwatch has added 'Fast' and 'Feast' Ramadan-related sprays to the game. Look at how beautiful these aaaaaaare <3
Thank you whoever championed this and worked on this in whatever capacity thank you thank you thank you https://t.co/lFOXtSLPiB
— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) May 19, 2020
The Overwatch Ramadan sprays are called “fast” and “feast” for obvious reasons, and they’re great.
(If those reasons aren’t obvious I’ll endeavour to explain, with apologies if I make any errors. During Ramadan, Muslims observe a fast between dawn and sunset – or dusk, depending on which scholars they follow – and book-end the fast with prayers and two meals; the morning’s Suhoor, to prepare for the day’s fasting, and the evening’s Iftar, to break the fast. Then at the end of the month of Ramadan comes Eid al-Fitr, the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”, with prayer, family, friends, gift-giving, and yes, food.)
The sprays are a small gesture from Blizzard, but in a world where the representation of non-Western cultures often ranges from non-existent to downright ignorant and harmful, these Overwatch Ramadan sprays are an incredibly welcome one.