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Have you ever explained capoeira to someone only to have them say, “Oh, that Eddy Gordo stuff!”? I know I have.
Capoeira has a long history in video games, but it’s certainly been a pretty bumpy ride at times.
Some of capoeira’s appearances are more well known than others, so I’ve decided to compile a list of the games that I’m aware of (I’ve either seen them with my own eyes or been able to find videos). If you know of any that I’ve missed, please let me know.
We’ll start with the “mestre” of all video game capoeiristas…
Tekken (Eddie Gordo, Christie Monteiro)
Eddy Gordo (and all other capoeira characters in the Tekken series) was motion captured by mestre Marcelo Caveirinha of Capoeira Mandinga.
Eddy is by far the most accurate representation that capoeira has ever had in a video game, even though he still leaves something to be desired. Some of his movements are clearly breakdancing and gymnastics moves, and he always does his handstands facing away from his opponent (a big no-no in capoeira).
You’ll find more after the break.
Eternal Champions (Trident)
Trident may be the first video game character to “use capoeira” but he really doesn’t do capoeira. At about 1:50 into the video he does some kind of handstand spin kick, but besides that and a few other kicks and handstands, it is decidedly not capoeira.
I think video game makers just wanted some kind of “exotic” martial art, and figured nobody had ever heard of capoeira, so they just threw it in there. This trend would continue in…
Street Fighter (Blanka and Elena)
Blanka is a big, green, “Hulk” looking guy who just happens to be from Brazil. And because he’s from Brazil, the designers decided to say he does capoeira even though he clearly doesn’t.
Elena on the other hand does actually use capoeira (well, as good a representation as can be had for a 2D fighting game I’d say). I think she may be the first time a video game character ever did a constant ginga, and her movements actually resemble true capoeira moves.
World of Warcraft (male troll dance)
World of Warcraft is a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game by Blizzard Entertainment. Each race has its own dance animation, and the male troll’s dance just happens to be capoeira!
Please, for the love of God and all that is holy, don’t ever start playing this game (lest it consume your soul as it did mine).
Bust A Groove (Capoeira)
These weird silver alien twins actually do some good capoeira mixed in with odd dance moves. You can see ginga, benco, macaco, amazonas, folha seca, and other actual capoeira movements. Just try to ignore the awful music.
Fatal Fury (Bob Wilson and Richard Meyer)
In the realm of 2D fighting game capoeiristas I actually like these guys better than Elena. They don’t really ginga (one of them does some kind of weird side to side motion that isn’t an actual ginga) but their movements are pretty good (you can actually name some moves like armada or amazonas) and they dress the part with capoeira style pants and cords (unlike Elena and her skimpy bikini).
The Bouncer (Echidna)
The Bouncer is a pretty terrible beat-em-up but one of the bosses fights capoeira. She even gingas! I played this game a long time ago and this fight is really the only part that I remember (due to the capoeira, of course).
Dead or Alive 4 (Lisa)
I downloaded the Dead or Alive 4 demo on XBox Live and was pleasantly surprised when I found this capoeirista. Her style is kind of a mix between capoeira and wrestling, but you can definitely see the capoeira inspired movements. How her “assets” manage to stay in her top whilst playing capoeira is beyond me, but hey, good for her.
Image from bisafans.de
In the US version this Pokemon’s name is Hitmontop, but in the Japanese he’s called Kapoera. Apparently his attacks resemble actual capoeira moves, but I’ve never seen it so I can’t tell you for sure.
Capoeira Fighter (Everybody)
Capoeira Fighter was created by a talented capoeirista to be a true capoeira fighting game (though the latest installment has added a few other martial art styles). This is as close as you will ever get to pure capoeira in video game form, for example, dodging is an integral part of the game, and there is even an angolerio capoerista (try to find that in any mainstream fighting game).
Final Fantasy X-2 (Rikku’s Berserker Dress Sphere)
D-Cal informed me that there is Capoeira in Final Fantasy X-2 when Rikku uses the “Berserker” dress sphere. I was actually able to find a clip of this on YouTube. Pay attention at about 0:30, you can see her change into the outfit, do a couple of flips, and then for a few seconds in the battle screen you can tell she’s doing ginga. Good catch, D-Cal!
Well that’s all of the games I can think of for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through capoeira video gaming as much as I have (at least I hope it hasn’t made you want to puke =-P)
If I’ve left out any games please let me know and I’ll update the list.
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