Continuing along with the theme of nostalgia and self-indulgent blog posts, this week I’m going to do a run down of characters I love. Partially this is to celebrate the launch of the Game Love anthology (in which I have a chapter!), and partially this is because I want to talk about VtM: Bloodlines some more. But first, the anthology, yay!
You can buy it on Amazon, but beware, it is sandwiched between a few other salacious titles which you might find distracting. I, for one, had to look up what BWWM meant and then I had to stare at the cover of that one book trying to figure out why a leg would be protruding from this gentleman’s head. Why a high heel on a football? So many questions…
But enough of judging books by their cover. Game Love, which many people worked on for a very long time and deserve recognition for their hard work, is finally out and its time to celebrate. So here’s a list of game characters I love.
1. Malkavians in Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines
Not precisely a character, but a possible choice for player-characters. To bring my three readers up to speed, in Vampire the Masquerade (VtM) lore, Malkavians are a bit mad. Of course there are variety of ways this can play out in tabletop settings, but in a digital game? VtM: Bloodlines handled this really well with excellent story writing and environment and NPC interactions.
Take the above scene as an example. On my first playthrough as a Gangrel, I remember running through this flat, turning the TV on and being impressed that the news reporter was talking about current events relevant to the story arc. On a third playthrough with a Malkavian character, I learned that you get something completely different. The TV talks directly to you, and you can talk back!
Similarly, you can get in an argument with a stop sign.
2. The Pyro in Team Fortress 2
What dreams of chronic and sustained cruelty lie behind that mask?
The Pyro is complex, and not just in terms of her apparent instabilities. She is perhaps one of the easiest characters to pick up and play, but she can also be one of the most difficult to play well. Spy-checking, pyro-blasting folks of cliffs, accuracy with the flare gun, knowing when to employ the axetinguisher… These are all skills which take both time and practice. I like that the Pyro class has that type of replay value. Easy to pick up, hard to master. For me, that’s part of what makes TF2 still fun after many years playing.
3. Zevran in Dragon Age: Origins
Oh Zevran… Who doesn’t love you, you saucy minx? From his swoon-worthy stories about being an assassin to his witty repartee, he is perhaps one of the most memorable characters I’ve come across in an RPG. The fact that he is open about his sexuality doesn’t hurt either. Zevran never makes any apologies for who he is, or what he wants, whilst still managing to be caring and sweet. I’d love to see more characters like that.
Okay, so perhaps the sexy-time cutscreens are a bit over-the-top, and DA:O had that whole weird faces thing going on, but still. Zevran. ❤
4. Yoshi in Super Smash Brothers
I think we all know why I like Yoshi…
I like to turn people into eggs and drop them off the edge of the platform. Its just so satisfyingly… gross.
5. Frida in Bust-A-Groove
Since I derailed part of my last post on games I love to talk about characters I love in those games, I have tried really hard to avoid repeats. I didn’t mention Michelle Chang, for example, despite the fact she is totally awesome. Well, until now. But this small mention doesn’t really count. Does it?
I have to repeat Frida though.
Not only does she have the coolest hair colour ever, but she is also a graffiti artist. I guess. I mean, that was her special ability to knockback other dancers during combos. I also liked how she’d create a tropical storm just by dancing. Upon reflection, I might have liked her because Storm was my favourite X-Men character.
I’ve realised a couple things from these last few posts on nostalgia. Namely, that there are many ways we interact with and love games. Some games we love for their characters, some for their mechanics, some for the setting, some for the lore… This realisation is partially what the Game Love anthology is about. People interact with, and love, games in sometimes unexpected ways. Occasionally this is in ways the developers couldn’t possibly have imagined as they were creating the game. I guess that’s a testament to the larger impact games have on our culture overall. We consume, we discuss, we find pixels utterly endearing.
Thinking about all these beloved characters has not only given me the warm and fuzzies, but also made me really want to play some games. So on that note, I’m signing off.
But before I go, for those of you about to jam, I salute you! GL;HF
Until next time,