I’ve played enough videogames to figure out that developers and gamers have a thing for damaged goods. Many, if not most, of the heroes in games have something wrong with them. Let’s look at a few (and I’m passing judgment on those I’ve actually played):
Chuck Greene (Dead Rising 2): Poor guy. It’s not bad enough that his wife got eaten by zombies and he has to risk his life to fetch zombrex for his sick kid. TK and Sullivan have to frame him for their evil plan (mwahahah!)
Kaim Argonar (Lost Odyssey): Lost his wife, his memories and has all that responsibility to save the world. He’s so damn stressed he barely has time to wash his greasy, dirty hair.
Oerba Dia Vanille (Final Fantasy XIII): Don’t let her annoying cheerfulness throw you off. This girl is damaged goods. Her hometown is destroyed and it’s her fault why everyone’s life in Cocoon are less than their Final Fantasy perfection. Screw you people with your perfect hair!
Altaïr Ibn la-Ahad (Assassin’s Creed): While this guy ends the first Assassin’s Creed being the goody two shoes, he starts off the story being the bad boy we all love. He’s the most badass member of the brotherhood and he breaks all the stupid rules because he’s cool like that. Not very heroic. And he’s shady. But I guess that comes with the job.
Yuri Lowell (Tales of Vesperia): He’s an Imperial Knight drop out because he’s too cool for their protocols and his honor is on a higher plane. He’s sarcastic, suave, but kind at the same time. Yuri’s in and out of jail, steals blastias from the empire but manages to save a damsel in distress while he’s at it. Not too messed up right? Wrong. It feels like his creators couldn’t decide if he was going to be a hero or anti-hero. Or if he’s a girl or a boy. (Yeah, I’m enjoying this game. Shut up.)
Jack (Bioshock): Am I the only one who didn’t get the player’s name is Jack? Must’ve not been paying attention. Anyway…You think this guy is okay but he’s not. Aside from the fact that he’s so gullible he was played for pretty much the whole game, he also has the ability to harvest them little sisters all he wants! (evil laugh optional)
Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII): I don’t know what her problem is but she takes the whole “I’m the FF hero so I gotta be stoic” thing too far. Maybe she’s upset because she has a silly name. Or maybe it’s because her hairdresser gave her an even sillier haircut.
Snake (Metal Gear): This man is the king of messed up. He has four games to prove that to your happy little butt. He’s so messed up I can’t even remember what happened to his life anymore.
Pretty much all FF protagonists: They’re just not the happiest lot. Either they have love problems, past problems, personal problems, or really stupid friends. It’s just never right: it’s either they’re too emo or too happy (Squall Leonhart vs. Selphie Tilmitt from FFVIII). Or they’re monkeys like Zidane Tribal from FFIX. Maybe they all spent too much time grooming their perfect hair to work on their personal issues.
Mario (Mario): You’ve got to have some underlying issues screwing you up if you decide to come after a girl that much.
Bayonetta (Bayonetta): I really enjoyed this game (wink wink). It was a really good game if you’re into mindless adventure stuff. It was raunchy, sexy, and in your face. So are her breasts, butt, and private parts. This heroine’s certainly some kind of damaged goods. There’s usually something wrong with women who are overly sexual and likes to be in unnecessarily compromising positions. They’re either crazy or needy. Nymphomania? Constant need for sexual innuendos? Indecency? Who’s complaining?
I get the feeling this are the creative teams’ efforts to make our heroes more human with their imperfections and boring back stories (except Snake, his life story makes yours boring). But the more I play games, especially RPGs, the more I wish they’d put that much effort into the script. Many of our less than noble heroes say enough sad crap about saving their fictitious world from some super evil dude who’s more well-adjusted than they are. We don’t want saints with acceptable flaws. We want mean, self-entitled assholes, damnit!
We could use some actual humanity in these games and their characters. Real human beings don’t care about the WHOLE world. They usually just care about themselves and those in their immediate surroundings. Think Left for Dead. They’re not plowing through these zombies to find the cure for the infection. They’re just there to kill the zombies so they can save their own butts.
And please, no one’s nice. Future games should take pointers from the writers for Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The characters have amazing trash talk skills!
Yes, I know, I need to play better games. Any suggestions?