Apex Legends is an excellent, top-rated game. It’s also free. That is beside the point. Recently the folks at Respawn released a Legend (their name for heroes in the game) named Newcastle. He’s a 40-year-old father who is a walking shield. I don’t think there is another character in any fandom that represents me as much as this fellah. I am a dad on the verge of 40 and live my life hoping to protect the ones I love from anything I can. Newcastle, a.k.a Jackson Williams, gets to do that in a very fancy fashion.
Newcastle’s claim to fame is he can put down shields to protect his teammates in the Apex Legends Arena. His ultimate, Castle Wall, has Jackson leap into the air, land at his desired position, and erect a fortification to protect his allies. It’s an aggressively selfless act, chucking his body into harm’s way, usually in front of a downed opponent, to help save a life. Man, if that isn’t an aspirational way to live, I don’t know what is.
Newcastle’s life is much more stressful than anything I need to deal with, but as with all representation, it’s good to see someone who looks like me acting in a manner I aspire to. I am not yet 40, but its cold fingers are creeping up my back as we speak. You don’t see many middle age (is 40 middle age, good lord) Black men in video games these days. Especially ones you can play as. When Newcastle was announced, I jumped at the chance to use him in-game. I don’t even play Apex Legends anymore, but I spent the money on his character just to have him in my arsenal. I have a well-documented problem with spending money on games I don’t play, so this wasn’t new.
When I tested him out, it just felt right to play as him. It felt like me in the game. A Black superhero with his face covered, sporting a shield and saving his buds from danger. It brought me right back to Destiny 2, my ultimate gaming obsession. I am a Titan Main for life, and Newcastle is Apex Legend’s own version of the beefy Destiny 2 sentinel. I would be remise if I didn’t say I felt right as home using Newcastle.
Let’s be clear, I am terrible at this game, but the simple prospect of using a character that is maybe 85% like me was something I couldn’t pass up. Check out Newcastle’s bio and if you have a minute, download Apex Legends (remember, its free) and give him a go. Dad’s are fun! Well, some of us are.