I was reading "Second-Hand Elf" over at the Escapist Mag, and realized there is a bunch of stuff about elves we usually don't see in fantasy games. So, it is time for a cultural studies/critical theory approach to elves. Non-exhaustive, of course. But, we typically have "half elves" and "dark elves" (Drow from D&D).
In D&D, well at least the first version, Drow were from deep underground. Usually things that live underground lose their pigmentation, and their eyesight, so they are kinda creepy and pale. Not so the Drow.
|Bethesda's Dumner Artwork|
Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II also portray elves as an underclass, and Dragon Age II has a half elf (named Feynriel) that you need to help find a home as a quest, since he may not be accepted in either society (IIRC he can pass as human, though). I think the writers did a pretty good job with it, although it's just a start (and it isn't part of the main storyline, so it isn't as developed as other parts of the game's stories). There's a bit about elf parallels to real-world cultures in the DA wiki (which could of course change at any moment, and it isn't particularly sourced but it's there for now).
Edit: I also realized that half elves, when they come from a setting with a variety of exclusive elves such as high elves, dark elves, and wood elves, are usually half human and half generic elf, even though there is no generic elf in their setting. And why not all sorts of mixed-elf elves?
Edit: Oh look at that, Bretons in TES are half-elves, sort of. They're human, but they're part elf. Or were. Or are a sustaining half-elf community and genetic group who are considered human.