30 Days of Video Games: Day 5, a character you identify with

Characters are probably my favorite part of video games, as I said in the entry on May 2nd. A story is only as good as the characters who make it happen, in most cases at least, and again, just in my personal opinion. But I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book or played a game or seen a movie and thought, “Whoa, that’s so… me!” I see a lot of my personality quirks and foibles in some characters, but no one in particular that I think I definitely identify with.

I considered saying Samus Aran, for the sheer reason that she was kicking arse in a man’s world in the early days of NES gaming, much like I thought I was (hey, I was twelve, cut me some slack). But with the direction her personality and character have taken recently, I don’t feel like I can identify with her much. And besides, many females these days are gamers, and gamers of all varieties.

I could say my main Dragon Age character, Fianna Cousland, but again, she only has some of me in her. Her decisions are decisions I would make, since I’m controlling her through the game and trying to get the outcome I want in the game. In that sense I think it’s very easy to identify with the character, because her choices are my choices. Even Commander Shepard is a lot of me in that sense, so despite the sci-fi setting of Mass Effect, I still have a lot of myself invested into the game.

But for a character who’s been pre-written to behave in a certain way and make certain choices, it’s hard to think about identifying with them. Maybe in this case I identify with Anya Stroud, from Gears of War. In the first two games she’s calm, cool, and collected under pressure, and she has a job to do and gets it done. However, it’s clear that she wants to do more than sit behind a desk or at a com-link. She wants to be on the front lines kicking butt and taking names with the rest of the Gears. She doesn’t feel like she has something to prove, though. From what I’ve seen in the games and read in the novels, people are pretty sure Anya can and will hold her own on the field; but she’s so good at what she does off the field, they keep her there.

She accepts her role with dignity and does her job extremely well… but when the opportunity comes to rise to the occasion, she definitely does just that.

In that sense I think I identify with Anya. I have my job that I do, and do to the best of my ability. But at the same time, if opportunities to seize the moment arise, I’m all for it. I like to push myself and challenge myself and rise to the occasion, and not just in my teaching, but also when it comes to the other things I do: whether it be writing or singing. In my voice lessons I’m constantly pushing myself to learn technically difficult songs, and when my teacher gives me something difficult, her confidence in me inspires me to work that much harder. Much the same way the confidence of the other Gears inspires Anya to work hard. She works for them, so they work for her.

It’s not who I would expect to identify with, which is a nice surprise.

Tomorrow: Day 6, most annoying character. Good thing it says “most”. There are so many of them!


One comment on “30 Days of Video Games: Day 5, a character you identify with

  1. I love games with character creation, but it’s interesting how, as you say, many of the characters I create for games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect have elements of me, but I don’t identify with them all the way (they’re definitely their own people!) One of the most fun things is “play yourself in a different setting” roleplays, which I’ve only ever done pen-and-paper, but hell, I might try it in ME just for kicks. You’d think it’d be easy just to make the same decisions you’d actually make, but I find it’s actually a real challenge that leads to some accidentally in-depth hardcore self-reflection (“holy crap, Karen, you’re scary!” – my DM)

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