The Portrayal of Male Characters in Video Games.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4
 

I just wish we could have a protagonist with a sense of humour for once. Doesn't even have to be an overt one. That's why Driver San Francisco was so engaging. As crazy as the story was, you felt engaged because even the main character saw it for what it was, had a chuckle, and just rolled with it.

Too many games star Jason Bournes and Daniel Craig Bonds. Tough, humourless, and just boring. I'm not saying we should go full Roger Moore Bond here, but a little Connery or Brosnan wouldn't hurt, that's for sure.

Hjalmar Fryklund:

Gethsemani:
So basically, the problem I think is not as much with the fact that the writers wanted relatable characters. The problem is that they just don't know how to create relatable characters and mistake homogenity and lack of character for "blank slate".

I agree with the rest of your post (though I am unfamiliar with your examples), but I don't quite see what you are getting at in this particular segment. Could you please elaborate?

I'll try anyway.

First we must establish what makes a relatable character and that's probably the hard part. A relatable character is someone the audience can root for or identify with and that requires (generally) that they share something with the character, such as moral values, nationality or character traits. This is a really hard thing to do, especially if you are aiming for an international market, and if you set out to make a relatable character and fail you will most likely end up with people being disappointed with the main character.

Now, we know just as well as the writers in the gaming studios that games are an international hobby and that gamers world wide will have very different values, nationalities etc., not to mention social expectations (What I think of as a gentle and caring man, you might consider a weak man etc.). So, how do you they avoid the risk of alienating parts of the potential buyers?

By appealing to the common lowest denominator of course. In the wish-fulfillment, power fantasies that games usually are, that means you make a male protagonist that fulfills the current western ideals (since America/Western Europe are the big markets for games) of macho and masculine. What we end up with is characters that are astoundingly similar in how they look and behave, characters that not necesarily are very plausible within their respective universe (So the Locust overruns everything in their way and slaughters everything, to which Marcus Fenix responds: "Let's smash some bugs", nevermind that all organized opposition so far has failed terribly and all survivors horribly mutilated. Yeah...) but share the same excitement for action and violence as the player does. (I am not saying all gamers are violent, I am saying that if you play a game like CoD, GoW or similar you will, by necessity, enjoy the action found within the game, just like someone who plays bejewled enjoys the puzzle aspect of it).

So instead of creating more Adam Jensens or Geralts of Rivia, characters that require lots of good writing to pull off, it is simply easier (and more economical, most likely) to just have the writers create an action hero archtype who's only reason to exist is to act as a player vehicle. That way you can shift the focus from the story and how it affects the protagonist to the set piece battles and how the player overcomes them.

Now that I think about it, the problem is probably just as deeply rooted in gamers expectations of games... But I'll save that for a later post since I am already getting long-winded.

Gethsemani:
snip

Okay, so that was what you were inferring. And yes, your take on these things is pretty much identical to mine. I just couldn't quite process those two sentences for some reason that eludes me. Oh well.

image

Snake is the most empowered.

hurfdurp:
image

Snake is the most empowered.

WTF?? is that his nutsack hanging?? Or a dick bulge??

is that from SSBB??

1. Most video games involve violence

2. Thousands of years of human history proves that violence is best performed by large, burly-chested men

3. Ergo necessary stereotype

So yes, we can have a protagonist who is a overweight science teacher who is handicapped and needs a wheelchair to get around, but that seriously limits the type of game you can make.

Why is it whenever one of these debates comes up we miss the forest for the trees? Who cares if they are all 30 white males on roids? Or Barbie dolls with mad scientists for plastic surgeons? Give us some emotional depth. Some character development. I want to relate to/emphasize with a character because of who they are not how they look.

Squilookle:
I just wish we could have a protagonist with a sense of humour for once. Doesn't even have to be an overt one. That's why Driver San Francisco was so engaging. As crazy as the story was, you felt engaged because even the main character saw it for what it was, had a chuckle, and just rolled with it.

Too many games star Jason Bournes and Daniel Craig Bonds. Tough, humourless, and just boring. I'm not saying we should go full Roger Moore Bond here, but a little Connery or Brosnan wouldn't hurt, that's for sure.

Try Guybrush Threepwood or some other of the old adventure game characters if you want to play something different.

The male characters in action games are pretty hopeless these days. Max Payne is kind of a different character but even he is some kind of a hardass when it all goes down, so the difference is very little. The only feelings most of the characters show is a little doubt that`s almost all we get. IŽd say they should start at good stories first. If they manage that they can start develop more better characters for males. This isn`t for the games alone, it happens in a lot of movies too. By the way i don`t mind the mentioned male character if it fits the story and it icludes a little self humour.

Everyone wants to be Johnny Gat!

My Saints Row guy actually isn't like him. He's like Jason Statham.

My Fallout guy tends to be a badass in a black hat.

My Mass Effect guy is something along the lines of John Sheridan.

We find our best characters where we can.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked