The Influence of Native American Culture in Video Games

Native American culture has played a significant role in shaping the world we live in today. From their profound connection with nature to their rich history and traditions, the influence of Native American culture can be found in various facets of our society, including the realm of video games. This article explores how Native American culture has impacted the gaming industry, bringing new perspectives, stories, and experiences to players worldwide.

1. Cultural Representation

Video games have become a powerful platform for promoting cultural diversity and inclusivity. Native American characters, settings, and themes showcased in popular titles create opportunities for players to learn about and appreciate the richness and uniqueness of Native American culture. By incorporating Native American elements, game developers provide representation that breaks stereotypes and fosters a deeper understanding of Indigenous traditions.

For example, games like “Never Alone” (also known as “Kisima Innitchuna”) developed in collaboration with the IƱupiat community of Alaska, feature Native American folklore and art in an immersive gaming experience. Players are introduced to traditional stories, gameplay mechanics, and environments crafted with great attention to detail, offering an authentic glimpse into Native American cultures.

2. Mythology and Folklore

The mythology and folklore of Native American tribes offer a vast pool of inspiration for game narratives and world-building. Many video games draw upon elements such as spirits, legends, and sacred objects, creating captivating stories that blend reality with imagination. These games provide players with a chance to explore the spiritual beliefs and magical aspects often associated with Native American culture.

“Okami,” a critically acclaimed game, incorporates elements of Japanese and Native American folklore. Set in a world inspired by traditional Japanese ink paintings, players assume the role of Amaterasu, a sun goddess taking the form of a white wolf. The game’s art style and narrative design draw inspiration from Native American mythology, seamlessly blending cultures and creating a unique gameplay experience.

3. Environmental Connection

Native American cultures have a deep-rooted relationship with the environment, seeing nature as a sacred entity. This appreciation for the natural world finds its way into video games, where players can immerse themselves in awe-inspiring landscapes and explore intricate ecosystems influenced by Native American heritage.

“Horizon Zero Dawn” is an example of a game that intertwines Native American themes with a post-apocalyptic setting. The game takes place in a world overrun by robotic creatures, where players control Aloy, a skilled hunter and archer from the Nora tribe. The game’s environment reflects the beauty and grandeur of nature, while the storyline explores themes of tribal existence and spirituality, delivering an engaging gameplay experience with a profound connection to Native American cultures.

4. Tribal Customs and Traditions

The rich customs and traditions of Native American tribes offer a wealth of inspiration for game developers. Games that incorporate these customs provide players with an opportunity to engage with cultural practices, rituals, music, and art that shape the identities of Native American communities.

“Prey: Mooncrash” features Native American themes and art, beautifully blending futuristic science fiction with cultural elements. The game presents TransStar, a global corporation, as having a Native American-inspired branch with employees representing diverse tribes. The incorporation of tribal customs and traditions adds depth to the game’s story and promotes greater cultural awareness among players.

5. Cultural Education and Preservation

The use of Native American culture in video games not only entertains but also educates players about the traditions and history of Indigenous peoples. By immersing players in narratives that embrace Native American cultures, games become a form of cultural preservation, sharing knowledge and fostering appreciation for these rich heritages.

“Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington” explores an alternative history during the American Revolution, where protagonist Connor, who is of Native American descent, battles a tyrannical George Washington. The game incorporates Native American culture, language, and beliefs, providing players with an interactive journey through history and the chance to explore the perspective and experiences of Native American characters.


The influence of Native American culture in video games not only adds diversity to the industry but also enriches players’ experiences. Through cultural representation, mythology, environmental connections, tribal customs, and educational value, game developers honor Native American heritage and inspire a broader understanding and appreciation for Indigenous cultures. As the gaming industry continues to evolve, it is crucial to foster these narratives and create more inclusive spaces that celebrate the vast tapestry of human experiences.

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