Fives – Weak Character 1


There are close to 7 Billion people in the world (or at least that is the figure that smart people who come up with these figures predicted it would be by 2011) – that’s not a small number by any measure; and it’s difficult to think that almost certainly, each individual one of those people has a unique personality. Most of them are assholes though.

However, in times of need and distress (or impending doom), games have carefully helped us over the years to determine who we need to find to save us – or inversely, who to look out for as the main offending culprits.

5. Meat-head Mauler

Tostesterone

What a character

Almost every game is bound to have this guy – either in the main party or part of the main opposition. He’s big, he’s agro, and his biceps are bigger than his brain. It’s a typical play on the “big and dumb” cliché, which was started in my high school by the majority of the first team rugby boys*.

Essentially this is the ‘warrior’ – he gets what he wants through brute force, and has no time for Q&A with the people he’s supposed to be bashing upside the head. Because of that, the caveman of gaming can be part of either side of the ‘Good vs. Evil’ spectrum – sometimes even during the course of a single game. Their simplistic nature also means that there can be more than one – but never on the same side, because that would just be redundant.

What is he wearing?

Expect to find him stomping down the catwalk this season wearing armor and lots of it. Naturally, being an “in-yo-face” brawler, he needs to be protected. It’s not uncommon to find him without a shirt, however, with his manly chest hair visible to make all the ladies swoon as he pulsates his pecs.

It all usually depends on the ‘era’ of the game in question – but there is always one thing in common: pants. Pants are very important.

Additionally, to compensate for something, more often than not he will also be wielding a rather large sword and/or gun of some kind – and despite the sheer size of it, it won’t be that damaging (unless it is, in which case, well, er…).

Typical Line: “Why are we standing around talking when there’s killing to be done?”

Broadening out

To be fair, big doesn’t always equate to dumb. In the case where you have large, intelligent characters, the concept shifts. Suddenly instead of quick-to-act tough guys, you’ll have quiet, contemplative thinkers. But at some point you’re almost guaranteed to see them go ape-shit crazy on someone. Also note that this isn’t necessarily reserved to the male species – though more often than not, it is.

4. Wacky Weirdo

At least they look happy

What a character

Every so often the developers go on an acid trip and conceptualize a character that, at the time, they probably thought was the most awesome thing ever. Then when they come down from their high, everything seems like a distant blur in their minds, and the only remnant left from the trippy colours and Beatles music is a piece of paper with the weirdest effing thing this side of Michael Jackson.

Then they put it into the game

Yes, this is the nonsensical, crazy character that always manages to find its way into your life. Where did he come from? Who knows. Why is he here? Drugs are bad. Often the point of comic relief or just general confusion, there isn’t really a way to describe this character except for plain weird. He’s inexplicable, and as such, he’s either vitally important to what’s going on…or simply annoying.

What is he wearing?

See what everyone around you is wearing? Yeah, distinctly opposite to that. If he’s going to fight, it’s going to be with something really random – something you would never have thought of using as a weapon at all, like processed cheese or something.

Typical line: “Oh….I..didn’t…see…you over…there….HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Broadening out

In developers’ defense, a lot of the time these types of characters aren’t a result of drug abuse, and are actually pivotal, in some way, to the story or game world. And just because they’re weird, doesn’t mean they can’t be good…or evil.

3. Vicious Vixen

They couldn't POSSIBLY be evil

What a character

Ah, our first entry reserved solely for the fairer sex (and possibly Kuja from FFIX). In games, there are only three kinds of women – the strong capable adventurer (a la Lara Croft), the completely useless damsel in distress and, of course, the evil evil woman who wants to rip off your testicles and feed them to her pet spiders. May I introduce the vicious vixens; the black widows; the heartless who— ok, you get the idea.

It’s extremely rare to find this character type fighting for any team but the baddies, though it does happen. In general, they’re there to make your life a living hell, which is a pity because they also tend to be pretty hot (as far as computer-generated models go). Being so deliciously evil, they’re almost guaranteed a boss status – but don’t think you won’t find them popping up rather commonly throughout.

The point is, you’ll almost always find them, and they will almost always kick your ass.

What is she wearing?

Barely anything at all. Part of what makes these femme fatales so evil is that they murder kittens in front of you, but you’re too distracted by their bouncy bosoms to really notice. Or care.

Typical Line: “I will rip your throat out with my bare teeth!”

Broadening out

If a woman displays the qualities of a vicious vixen, but fights for good, then she’s more in the area of ‘strong capable adventurer’, mentioned earlier. Let’s face it – if you’re going to murder kittens, you’re evil. That’s not to say that there can’t be a turnaround; it’s just not very common, and if there is a turnaround, she immediately loses vicious vixen status.

2. “Please help me!” Princess

They're all useless!

What a character

Playing on the age-old concept that women are mostly useless and incapable of doing anything for themselves, a bunch of developers who have clearly not seen Kill Bill vol 1 and 2, still insist on including this type of woman. Sure she may not always be a central character, but she’s there, and you will have to save her.

In direct contrast to the vixens mentioned before, these ladies are soft-spoken, hesitant and generally timid. They’re uncertain about everything, sing songs, and play with birds as they pick flowers in the forest – right before they get abducted. It’s quite sickening, really. If I were female, I’d be offended – but I’m not, so I’m not.

In most cases, these ladies serve as many plot points and missions during the course of the game, though never directly – it’s usually just you chasing after them trying to save them because they’re pitifully useless.

What is she wearing?

Again, in contrast to the vixens, she’s wearing a lot. In fact underneath all her layers of clothing she is more than likely also wearing a chastity belt with several locks. Prim, proper, and unyielding to your advances. If she fights, which she won’t, she’ll ironically use a pole.

Typical line: “Help me! Help me! Aaaaaah!”

Broadening out

If developers really want to push it, they can actually *gasp* develop this character to a point where she ISN’T a useless hunk of flesh that gets abducted every 5 seconds. This happens mostly in jRPGs. In fact, it happens in that genre so often that it just doesn’t count anymore, so instead, they’re skipping the whole useless princess saga, straight to the ‘strong capable adventurer’ side of the fence.

Bring it on!

1. Diligent do-gooder

Spiky blonde hair is not a prerequisite

What a character

Annoyingly, this always seems to be the main character in a game. Developers struggle to find motivation for these people to actually want to help, so they narrow it down to them being generally nice people that always want to do the right thing. Wank wank wank. These guys are eager to please, and will blindly venture off into dark, dangerous and undoubtedly foul dungeons to save the husband of a random woman he happened across on his way to save the world for reasons he’s not entirely sure of. But someone asked him nicely to, so how can he say no?

On the rare occasion that this isn’t the main character, expect to gain or meet someone along the line that has this unfalteringly altruistic perspective on life, and if he joins your party, expect a lot of whining when you choose to stay at the pub and get wasted rather than risk your life to save the kittens being killed by a vicious vixen.

On second thoughts we'd rather go for the vixen after all

What’s he wearing?

If it looks like hippie clothing, then that’s your guy. It’s difficult to tell sometimes, but look for bright colours, or a small weapon; either a dagger, or something equally as weak like a staff or something ‘Zen’. Typically a sword variant.

Typical line: “We can’t just ignore it; we must do something because it’s the right thing to do!”

Broadening out

Obviously being a good guy, he likes to help out – thankfully though, there is a degree of self-gratification involved in terms of reward offered, and that’s the only real reason players accept to ‘do the right thing’. A quest without reward leaves the player feeling cheated – so even if the character gets a boner from ‘doing the right thing’, at least the player controlling that character is swearing at the little old lady who was reunited with her grandchild and just walked off.

Bonus

Token Black guy

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.


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About Quinton Bronkhorst

Quinton is a designer and random rambler that really likes referring to himself in the third person. That should make you wonder: is it Quinton writing this, or perhaps some objective third party? You will never know. In unrelated news: Quinton is awesome and attractive and everyone wants to marry him. Facts. [Articles]


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