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E3's character creator. Screenshot: Entertainment Software Association

The character creator built into the official E3 portal for this year's event is a reminder of how important it is to be able to personalize avatars in the gaming space.

Why it matters: The biggest gaming show of the year is going all-digital, and registered participants are being asked to identify themselves through a very narrow set of criteria.

The big picture: Character creators raise a larger question of who gets to be included in the games space, and people need to have options that accurately represent them.

  • This includes everything from hairstyles and skin tone to gender expression and accessibility.

Lack of options in representation happens often in video games. Given the E3 portal’s gamification of the event with trophies and daily goals, this feels like another instance of that.

  • An essay from Bobby K. on Can I Play That? explores through games like "Miitopia" and "The Sims," which don't allow players to represent their physical disabilities, meaning players "cannot see in our virtual versions of ourselves what we can in our physical selves."
  • BioWare's recent trilogy remaster, "Mass Effect Legendary Edition," attempted to fix its poor creation choices for non-white players by adding more options like hairstyles.

What they're saying: The response to the creator has generally been bemusement, but a few criticisms stand out above the rest.

  • Kotaku writer Ash Parrish points out that "once again, a character creator neglects the wider range of kinkier hairstyles beyond the simple afro, and the one that’s there is pretty ugly."
  • The Gamer's Jade King tweeted that "the E3 portal only has 'he/him' pronouns on the notifications system and nothing on the user end to change it — so being misgendered with my hot new announcements is fun."

The bottom line: PC Gamer described the portal as "a shockingly barebones, ill-conceived website for what's supposed to be the biggest show in the calendar."

Go deeper

3,000 unruly passenger reports made to FAA this year

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Airlines have reported some 3,000 cases of unruly behavior by passengers to the Federal Aviation Administration this year — including 2,300 for refusing to comply with face mask mandates, the FAA announced Monday.

Why it matters: Passenger numbers remain below pre-pandemic levels. But the FAA is investigating the highest number of suspected federal law violations since it began recording unruly passenger incidents in 1995, per ABC News.

House panel to investigate Trump-era DOJ data seizures

Photo: James Devaney via Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee will launch a formal probe into the Trump-era Justice Department's seizure of data from devices belonging to members of Congress, their aides, journalists and then-White House counsel, panel chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced Monday.

Why it matters: Though it's so far unclear if the cases are related, they raise "serious constitutional and separation of power concerns," Nadler said in a statement.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Inside Biden's Putin prep

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Leon Neal (WPA Pool)/Getty Images

President Biden assembled a group of outside Russia experts — including former Trump officials — to brief him for his summit with President Vladimir Putin, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: The previously unreported session demonstrates the extent to which Biden wants to be well prepared, drawing on the experience of officials with first-hand knowledge of the onetime KGB colonel’s tactics and tricks.