Video Games have a way to not only make one feel connected to the characters on screen, but also to make one feel that they are the characters. Just the simple opportunity to have control is almost enough to pull a gamer’s mind into a subconcious and imaginary state where what ever is happening on screen is also happening within themselves. This mindset helps gamers relate to the characters they play on screen and sometimes even with the characters they only interact with.
Like with television shows and movies, it isn’t difficult to relate to characters in video games and identify their story and/or traits as your own. The Top Shelf Gaming staff took on this idea and dug into their imaginations with this week’s question:
Dig into your own imaginations and comment below with who you are!
I can relate to Link from Legend of Zelda, if not, at least to the idea of Link. In the game, Link starts off unassuming, but as the story progresses, he traverses through dungeons and amasses a new set of skills and equipment. This concept aligns with my own personal expectations. For every chapter of my life, which so far have been dictated by the semester system, I strive to improve myself in four different areas: Mental, Physical, Emotional and Musical. I see these as their own separate tools, like Link’s boomerang, that lie in their own separate dungeons that I must pass in order to obtain them. The only difference is that in my life the dungeons never end and the tools are never perfect.
I don’t know if I identify with him too closely anymore but I always admired and even emulated Mr. Moneybags from Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage. I was a bit miserly as a child and was always trying to amass wealth in any way I could. I think I remember even pretending to be Mr. Moneybags and trying to fine my brother for ridiculous things such as eating or walking in certain rooms, usually unsuccessfully. This is richly ironic, because now my bank account looks nothing like that of Mr. Moneybags’, I assure you. Moral of the story: greed doesn’t pay, kid.
Here’s my response for the week…and it does not involve either Skyrim or Fire Emblem (shocker)!
As bizarre as it may sound, I most identify with Chibi Robo -the “pint-sized hero with a big heart”. Chibi is arguably one of the most helpful PC’s out there. Rather than seeking to destroy everything in his path, this little robot just wants to clean and bring families together. I’ve always loved Chibi (but sadly, not the sequels to the original game) and the particular ethos he stands for: service and community. I identify with him not just because I’m passionate about those things, but also because he sends a great message (although he doesn’t talk) -anyone, no matter how small, can change the world. 🙂
The video game character I relate to most, by far, is the Diamond Dog soldier from MGSV:The Phantom Pain who wants nothing more than to experience the awesomeness of a puppy’s paw pads.
Sure, he may have been recruited into a rogue mercenary army led by a legendary soldier against his will by being knocked unconscious by a falling box of ammunition and then tied to a balloon, fighting giant nuclear robots with squirt guns and a nearly naked lady who drinks through her skin, running from the corpses of enemies reanimated by some floating kid whose jacket is way too large for him but somehow managed to find a gas mask just his size, all because some guy with robot legs may or may not have planned an attack with what appears to be a rejected Fallout ghoul, after he may or may not have done some shady business involving “cake” and a giant trash can with the AI mind of the even MORE legendary soldier who trained (but was killed by) the legendary soldier who recruited him (he has one arm by the way, have I mentioned that?) inside of it, all the while making sure he doesn’t get too far ahead in his Rosetta Stone courses before he gets sent off to steal some boxes of flashlights from enemy camps… amongst all of this, he keeps his priorities straight and simple: He just wants to pet a dog (or is it a wolf?).
I’d say that I see a lot of myself in Simon Jarett from Frictional Games’s existential horror title Soma. Mind you, I don’t say this out of any shared personality traits, background, or experiences, but because no game has ever done a better job at putting me in a character’s shoes than Soma did. Simon is a patient with a cranial injury that volunteers to get his brain scanned for an experimental treatment. He awakens in an abandoned underwater lab with no memory of how he got there. It turns out that over a century has passed since his scan, and subsequent death, and a copy of his consciousness has been downloaded onto a cybernetically-outfitted cadaver. Just like the player is controlling Simon’s life via controller input and watching a monitor, all of Simon’s senses are simulated, such as implanted cameras that provide his vision.
Like Simon, I was initially revolted by this discovery, and it even made me flippant about the bloodthirsty monsters that roamed the complex. After all, If this isn’t my body, then it really isn’t me, and death wouldn’t matter at that point. Over the course of Simon’s journey, however, both he and I came to realize that true identity comes from the mind, and is defined by personality. After all, what is a single body when technology can allow the same person to inhabit millions of different forms? The true Simon is in his mind, and that is worth protecting at all costs.
At the end of the game, Simon is given the same survey that he received earlier in the story, and my Simon’s answers regarding how he perceives and defines himself, and me by extension, were markedly different than the start of the adventure. It was a story, and character, that I had become more invested and absorbed by than any other, and that’s what sticks with me the most about it.
I think I identify a lot with Joel from The Last of Us, mostly because he has an innate sense of responsibility to protect those he really cares about, as do I. If I put myself into the situations that Joel was put in, I feel like I would act similarly, putting the protection of those I was with in priority.