Saturday, 10 July 2010

Well-Rendered's 50 Favourite Video Game Characters

Once upon a time, I was a proud subscriber to Empire, the UK's bestselling film magazine. I liked its irreverent house style, imaginative features and reliable reviews.

After a couple of years however, something began to grate. It wasn't the relentless Star Wars coverage. It wasn't even the fact that the pre-release puff pieces for action movies were invariably at odds with the corresponding reviews.

No.

It was the fact that every time an actor was interviewed, the piece would be accompanied by a grainy, high contrast image of him looking intense and mysterious whereas every time an actress was interviewed, she would invariably look like this:

This is actually from Empire's list of sexiest actors and actresses.

Now, I'm not opposed to anyone sitting around in their pants and if people want to look at pictures of actresses doing just that, fine by me. It's just that I bought the film magazine to read about films.

Even the content of the interviews became a little tiresome, with actresses being asked about their personal lives instead of their work. Empire's "Greatest Living Actors" marathon (which ran for 6 months) featured not one woman. Jack Nicholson, Al Pachino and Marlon Brando were fawned over at length and their greatest roles were discussed. Thinking there was some kind of mistake, I kept waiting for the "Greatest Living Actresses" series, but it never came.

Eventually it became clear that Empire just wasn't for me, so I cancelled my subscription. I wasn't too upset because by that point I was a second-year English student and I couldn't afford to go to the cinema anyway.

I haven't thought much about Empire until (you guessed it, patient readers) I saw that they had composed a list of the 50 greatest video game characters. Wow. Hey Empire, why don't you compile a list of the 50 best cookbooks while you're at it? How about the most awesome Pink Floyd album covers?

I was further angered by the fact that out of 50 video game characters, Empire had managed to come up with only four that are female.


Of these four, two barely qualify because they are computers.

It's a shame because it's otherwise a pretty good list. I also don't mind admitting that because there are more male video game characters than there are female video game characters, it makes sense that in any "Top 50" list, male characters will outnumber their female counterparts.

But when only a mere 8% of the characters are female, we're getting silly. Especially when you scan the rest of the list and realise that an equal number of places are occupied by Mario, Bowser, Donkey Kong and Link, all of whom are male characters from the cute but shallow Super Smash Bros. series.

So I predictably decided to write an alternative list.

Because lists are subjective and my experience is limited, it's only a list of my favourite characters rather than "the best". These characters may not be the most iconic and they may not have made the most sales, but they are the 50 which have contributed most to my love of video games over the years. Between them, they represent all that is unique and exciting about the medium.

You are encouraged to offer alternative suggestions.

Oh yeah, there's the odd spoiler. If you're planning on playing any of the games mentioned here and are worried about spoilers, be careful reading the blurbs!


50 - The Necromorphs: Dead Space


The Necromorphs are the product of the good ship Ishimura's science officer crossing a line man was not meant to cross. Not only are they uniquely creepy and unpleasant (especially when they jiggle around in zero gravity), but bucket-headed hero Isaac needs to dismember rather than decapitate them. If you're a non-gamer (or a non-violent gamer) this might seem like an arbitrary distinction, but anyone who can headshot a Covenant Brute in their sleep will understand quite how radical an innovation this is.

49 - Balthier and Fran: Final Fantasy XII


Balthier is a sky pirate and Fran is anthropomorphic bunny companion. What's not to like?

48 - Dr Liara T'Soni: Mass Effect

 
At a mere 108 years old, Liara is the blue-eyed (and blue-skinned) ingenue whose guileless charm may or may not lure Commander Shepherd into bed. I like Liara because she remains extremely polite even though she gets tired of the relentless fascination with her species exhibited by human males.

47 - The Worms: Worms


Worms' protagonists as squishy and bug-eyed . The melancholy brass theme music which gives the game its military overtones is counterbalanced by the worms' high pitched expressions of distress in a variety of silly accents when they are mortally wounded by an exploding sheep.

46 - Kurtis Trent: Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness


Kurtis might act like a moody adolescent (honestly, the man smokes Camels and drives a chopper), but his monosyllabic sulking makes him the perfect partner for Lara Croft, a woman so emotionally disturbed that she only interacts with other human beings in order to kill them and take their stuff. Sadly, Kurtis was impaled by a mutant spider before (maybe) turning out to be an angel (sort of) which rather got in the way of the budding romance between the pair.

45 - Jill Valentine: Resident Evil


I like Jill because she affirms my belief that army boots and a cap are always a good look.

44 - Ico: Ico


Ico and Yorda don't speak any language that we understand, but their body language is so expressive that they never need to. Ico is abandoned in an ancient fortress by the elders of his village because he was born with horns. Whilst there, he discovers Yorda and realises he must rescue her from her own mother, who wishes to use her daughter's body to extend her own lifespan. He must remain vigilant, as the ghostly spirits of horned children from years ago seek to drag Yorda back to the shadows.

43 - Gordon Freeman: Half Life

Valve's persistent faith in their audience's intelligence culminated in the creation of Gordon Freeman, a bespectacled physicist who is otherwise just a normal bloke until he dons his battered Hazardous Environment Suit. The Half Life games are viewed entirely through his eyes, so not only does he never actually appear in the game, he doesn't speak either. This, combined with his comparative normality means that the player is able to immerse themselves completely into his persona.

42 - Ford Cruller: Psychonauts


Ford Cruller appears to be the janitor at Whispering Rock Summer Camp, training ground for psychic children. In actual fact, he was once a powerful psychonaut before a duel left him unable to maintain a stable personality. If he is away from the psitanium deposit in his sanctuary for too long, he takes on another persona (hence the bunny slippers). Raz (the game's protagonist) can summon Ford at any point by wafting a bit of bacon around (incidentally, that also works on me).

41 - Pey'j: Beyond Good and Evil


Like many of the characters in Beyond Good and Evil, Pey'j is an anthropomorphic animal, in this case a pig. He is Jade's adoptive uncle and spends his time in his workshop harnessing the power of flatulence. However, behind his bumbling exterior lies a wise old soul who has seen it all and has a few secrets to boot. Part way through the game, it appears as if Jade and Pey'j will never see each other again, and it is utterly heartbreaking.

40 - The Private: Doom


The Private's square-jawed visage appears at the bottom of the screen (although you cannot see the character first-hand) to let the player know quite how badly he has been gored by various imps/hellspawn etc. As his condition deteriorates, skin and muscle peels away to reveal the bone beneath. His peeling face gives Doom a sense of urgency that a health bar cannot replicate.

39 - The Gruzzles: Math Rescue


Math Rescue is an educational game designed to improve children's mental arithmetic. I can honestly say that it worked for me, mainly because any dislike children might have for mathematics is eclipsed by their affinity for the grotesque. Apogee harnessed this by rewarding children for every equation solved with a bucket of slime which they could then proceed to dump over a Gruzzle shaped like a giant bouncing nose.

38 - Reaver: Fable II


Voiced by Stephen Fry, Reaver is a retired pirate and professional hedonist. Fable is one of those games which relies heavily on its supporting characters for humour, and Reaver (when he's not fornicating with Ursula, Penelope and Andrew) provides much of this.

37 - Dr N.Gin: Crash Bandicoot


The Crash Bandicoot games always had terrific villains. Although Papu Papu (the witch doctor who attacks Crash with his massive belly) is a favourite, it's Dr N.Gin who makes the list. N.Gin's career in the defence industry was cut short when a nuclear missile became lodged in his brain. He was clever enough to rewire the bomb into a life support system but at the cost of his sanity. Bad for him (possibly), great for the gamer.

36 - Ms. Pac-Man: Ms. Pac-Man


Ms. Pac-Man was originally a bootlegged copy of the original Pac-Man, and its protagonist was given a sex-change (by way of a bow and some lipstick, things no self-respecting woman is ever without) only as a concession to copyright. As it happens, Ms. Pac-Man was snapped up by Pac-Man's distributor (Midway) when the developers of the original game were taking too long to make a sequel. This might be a case of feminism sneaking in the back door when all else as failed, but the fact remains that Ms. Pac-Man was one of the first female protagonists in mainstream gaming, and I admire both her chutzpah and her fashion sense.

35 - Faith: Mirror's Edge


Faith is a courier who delivers mysterious packages by free-running across the rooftops of a nameless city. Although the game is deeply flawed and the plot feels half-finished, the primary-coloured originality of Faith's character design means that I remember the game more for its innovation than for its weaknesses. Interestingly, the Asian market were unimpressed by the Swedish portrayal of an Asian character. I have my own ideas, but you can make your own mind up.

34 - The Host: Super Smash TV


In keeping with a long video game tradition, Super Smash TV takes place in a dystopian future. Super Smash TV is a gameshow in which failure is punishable by death. The host of the titular game show is perpetually flanked by two pneumatic lovelies, gleefully wishing you good luck as you are thrust into games with encouraging titles like "LASER DEATH".

33 - Captain Comic: The Adventures of Captain Comic


Captain Comic embodies everything that is endearing about the DOS era of video games. His inscrutable helmet reflects the game's inscrutable plot and his primary coloured dungarees (or spacesuit, whatever) reflects the best that graphics had to offer circa 1988. Captain Comic is also ready for any eventuality, making sure he always has his can of Blastola Cola, his corkscrew and his teleport wand.

32 - Makoto: Enchanted Arms


Makoto is a student at Yokohama's Enchanter's University (didn't know that was there, but anyway). He is openly gay and madly in love with fellow student Toya. Because I can't work out whether Makoto is an offensive gay stereotype (he's camp, bitchy and irritating) or a beacon of equality (his sexuality is never an issue), I'm putting him right in the middle of my list so I don't look homophobic. Oh wait, does being sarcastic about it make me look homophobic?

31 - Shaundi: Saints Row 2


Easily the most entertaining character in the already hilarious Saints Row 2, Shaundi takes political incorrectness to a new level. She smokes crack out of a lightbulb and has venereal diseases that haven't even been discovered yet. Really, I like Shaundi because comic relief in a game is usually provided by a male sidekick, so it's nice to see someone flying the flag for female pratfalling.

30 - Pikachu: various Pokémon games


I thought Pikachu was so cool. Once I went to a car boot sale and this guy and his son were selling off the latter's old Pokémon stuff, so I bought a Pikachu teddy (why am I admitting to this on the Internet?) and the cheery dad asked me how old my little boy was. I looked around for a stray child before I realised he thought (quite reasonably) that it's somehow less disturbing for a 14 year old girl to be buying a cuddly Pikachu for her child than it is for her to be buying it for herself.

29: Vibri from Vib-Ribbon


Vibri will give you a seizure if you look at her for too long.

28 - Maria: Silent Hill 2


James, Silent Hill's protagonist, finds Maria disturbing because she is physically identical to his dead wife, Mary. She even has a few of Mary's memories. Or does she? Maria is extremely provocative both in behaviour and dress, but she's so creepy and disturbing that her sexual cues are subverted. In videogameland, where women in pink leopard print are ten a penny, it's nice (well, horrifying actually, but you know what I mean) to see one that turns it around on the player as effectively as Maria.

27 - Snake Logan: Biomenace


Snake is another relic of the DOS era. You see, when graphics were blocky and the sound card couldn't handle voice acting, more often than not characters were reduced to "types" who exhibited certain visual cues to inform the player what kind of animal they were dealing with. Snake, for example, has a tan, a mullet and a mustache. Go figure.

26 - Andy: Heart of Darknes


Andy built his own spaceship in a tree house. This was basically my childhood dream, and my belief in the worth in video games is affirmed by the fact that I can live it vicariously through Andy.

25 - Dhalsim from Street Fighter


You know yoga, right? The bendy thing that rich mothers do when they're not eating organic quinoa? According to Street Fighter, yoga is not a calm and contemplative physical and mental disciple but a deadly fighting style which enables the practitioner to extend his arms up to five times their natural length and breathe fire.

24 - Brucie: Grand Theft Auto IV


Brucie is one of the most unhinged characters in the Grand Theft Auto universe. Mainly because he is a closet case full of steroids. He also has admirably high standards, at one point informing Nico that "Brucie doesn't do 5000 crunches every day so he can cuddle cellulite". There you go.

23 - The Prince and Farah: The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time


The Prince and Farah engage in romantic banter far more entertaining and convincing than anything spewed out by Edward and Bella (or indeed Jake and Gemma). They have every reason to distrust each other, but as the only two beings left unaffected by the Sands of Time, they must work together if they are to survive. Farah occupies the moral high ground because the Prince has ransacked her kingdom and sold her into slavery, so her gentle teasing gets on his nerves. Though he might not realise his attraction to Farah increasing with his irritation, the player certainly does, which means that the game's denouement is profoundly satisfying.

22 - Dixie Kong: Donkey Kong Country 3




Dixie can use her hair as a helicopter.


21 - Clank: Ratchet and Clank




Clank combines the steely good looks of Marvin the Paranoid Android, the versatility of R2D2 and the exhausting social conscience of Lisa Simpson.

20 - John "Soap" MacTavish: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare



Although the Modern Warfare games are seen through the eyes of many characters, it's SAS soldier Soap who is the main protagonist. The player takes control of him for the majority of the first game without ever seeing his face, so it's very exciting to finally see his face that beginning of Modern Warfare 2. Here he is moments later, helping FNG (F***ing New Guy) Gary "Roach" Sanderson up a glacier.

19 - The Damned: Tomb Raider III


The Damned are a group of hooded thugs who live in the abandoned tunnels of Aldwych tube station. They were once product testers for Sophia Leigh's cosmetics company, only to find that their immersion in her youth-giving formula caused their flesh to fall off. Their leader explains to Lara in his Geordie accent (post-Ant and Dec, pre-Cheryl Tweedy) that although Sophia's formula (asteroid blah blah chemicals blah blah line man was not meant to cross etc etc) destroyed their bodies, it also made them immortal and could Lara maybe see her way to stealing some Egyptian embalming fluid to ease their eternal torment? If you ignore the game's slightly ropey geography (in which Aldwych, the Natural History Museum, and City are within a few minute's walk of each other), The Damned are a fine entry in the macabre literary tradition of imagining what lurks beneath London's grimy streets.

18 - The Teddies: Ghosthunter


Police-officer-with-a-silly-name Lazarus Jones unwittingly releases thousands of ghosts and must travel through space, time and memory to exorcise them. The underrated Ghosthunter nimbly weaves the ghosts' histories through the game's narrative, effortlessly blending horror, comedy and pathos. Although it's hard to pick a favourite spectre, it's hard not to be seduced by the gynaecological horror of a hoard of mutant teddies.

17 - Homunculus: Shadow of Memories


Shadow of Memories begins with its hero's death. Shortly afterwards, Eike is visited by Homunculus, a completely androgynous and morally impenetrable being who offers him another chance at life. Homunculus' complete inscrutability is such that Eike (and the player) soon gives up questioning its motives and has no choice but to focus on the mystery at hand. Who killed Eike? Why? How far back in time will he have to travel in order to figure it out? Wherever Eike goes, Homunculus' dispassionate presence follows offering nothing except one last chance...

16 - Moira Brown: Fallout 3


Moira is a cheerfully deranged resident of Megaton, a zealous town which worships an exploded nuclear bomb. Moira's not religious though; she's more concerned with writing her "Wasteland Survival Guide", a manual to life in post-apocalyptic Washington DC. But she's not about to do such dangerous research herself. She gleefully enlists the player's help, asking them perkily what it feels like to have radiation poisoning and crippled limbs.

15 - Urdnot Wrex: Mass Effect


Wrex's species is facing extinction following a genophage which rendered most Krogan incapable of delivering live young. Consequently, Wrex has become a fatalistic gun-for-hire, unconcerned with anything other than credits. He is a willing member of Commander Shepherd's crew until they realise that rent-a-baddie Saren is developing a cure for the genophage which he plans to use as a biological weapon. If the player has decided to develop Shepherd's conversational skills by this point, it's possible to convince Wrex that destroying the cure is for the greater good. If not, Shepherd is faced with no choice but to kill Wrex at once. That, or make Ashley do it.

14 - Delta Squad: Gears of War


Gears of War is basically just a post-apocalyptic version of Sex and the City. You've got the sensitive "Charlotte" one as played by Dom (far right), the cynical "Miranda" one as played by Baird (far left) the loose cannon "Samantha" one as played by Augustus "Cole Train" Cole (centre left) and the emotional "Carrie" one as played by Marcus Fenix (centre right).

13 - Wik: Wik and the Fable of Souls


Wik is a cross between a pixie and a frog who uses his sticky tongue to swing around magical glades collecting grubs. Rarely is a character's physiology so closely linked to gameplay.

12 - Voldo: Soul Calibur


Voldo doesn't have eyes or a tongue, but he still manages to be a deadly contortionist capable of defeating the angriest of muscle-bound hellspawn. I don't think I can put it any better than Jesse Schedeen, who says: "Voldo scares us. He isn't a man so much as a twisted mass of writhing muscle, all wrapped up and held together in 16th-Century bondage gear".

11 - Bayonetta: Bayonetta


Only in a video game does it make narrative sense to have a character who can summon twenty different demons through her hair. Think about it: would you go and see a film which featured a different angel being dispatched by a different glossy-haired demon every ten minutes? Well I suppose if the witch in question got naked as much as Bayonetta insists on doing than you just might, but don't you think it would get a bit dull? There is nothing dull about being the perpetrator of such destruction however; Bayonetta is one of the most enjoyable games ever made. I find the sheer audacity of her character design utterly inspirational.

10 - Redmond and Spanx: Whiplash


Redmond the rabbit and Spanx the weasel awake chained together in the basement of Genron's vivisection laboratory. Luckily, the relentless experiments that have been performed on Redmond mean that he is completely indestructible. Consequently Spanx (himself driven insane by electroconvulsive therapy) can thrust him into machinery and use him as a weapon. Players are encouraged not only to free other test subjects (morose guinea pigs) but also to destroy as much of Genron's property as possible. Although Spanx has lost most of his cognitive faculties, Redmond's bitter monologues give this game its creepy edge.

9 - Abe: Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee


Abe is a Mukodon slave who is quite happy processing all kinds of animals into food at the Rupture Farms meat processing factory. That is, until he discovers that the Mukodons are next on the menu. The story of Abe's Oddysee is told in retrospect (by Abe himself, tied up and imprisoned by his own people) and follows his escape from Rupture Farms and his attempts to free the other slaves. Should he fail to rescue enough fellow Mukodons, the game ends abruptly (after 20 gruelling hours) with our hero being fed through a meat-grinder.
8 - GLaDOS: Portal


Although she doesn't appear until the very end of Portal, GLaDOS's unnaturally pitched and synthetic voice follows the player throughout the game. Like a rat in a maze, test subject Chell must make her way through Aperture Science's creepy puzzles under GLaDOS's continual scrutiny. GLaDOS's assurances that when the tests are over "there will be cake" become less convincing as Aperture's tests grow ever more sadistic.

7 - Alyx Vance: Half Life 2


Alyx is the only daughter of Dr. Eli Vance, the first human to make peaceful contact with the terrifying Vortigaunt. Having grown up in what can only be referred to as a dystopia, Alyx possesses both technical expertise and a dark sense of humour. In refreshing contrast to the parades of humourless supervixens that populate video games, she also manages to be both practically attired and fun to hang out with.



6 - April Ryan: The Longest Journey


April is an art student in Venice, a future city much like modern-day San Francisco. She has a waitressing job at a cafe and a happy circle of bohemian friends. And yet despite her artistic and emotional fulfilment, she's always felt that there's something missing. When she discovers her connection to the magical world of Arcadia, her initial disbelief soon takes a back seat to her pragmatism. She sensibly decides that even though she can't explain why a crow starts talking to her, she might as well make friends with it. April is one of the most appealing protagonists in gaming, and certainly the one I would most like to go to the pub with.

5 - Frank Fontaine: Bioshock

Frank Fontaine from Bioshock

If you like the rug you're standing on to stay still, don't play Bioshock, which goes to a lot of effort to show the player that utopianism doesn't work before letting them know that the real villain of the piece is not actually the deranged idealist but rather the calculating pragmatist. Although there are clues scattered throughout the underwater city of Rapture as to why its society collapsed, the blame seems to fall squarely at the feet of its idealist architect Andrew Ryan. That is, until it becomes apparent that perhaps Ryan's absolutism blinded him to the threat of exploitation from one Frank Fontaine, the Bronx business man who ran the seemingly innocuous fisheries. Fontaine's clear-headed refusal to become caught up in the utopian hysteria of most of Rapture's residents meant he was able to view the city's activities with cool detachment and an eye for personal gain.

4 - Wakka: Final Fantasy X
 
Wakka from Final Fantasy X

Just as it's difficult to be funny when you're being complementary about something, so it is difficult to create an interesting character whose defining quality is that they are nice. It's easier if the character in question is voiced by John DiMaggio (who also voices Marcus Fenix and Bender from Futurama), but it's still difficult to convey complexity in such a nice bloke. Wakka grew up on the idyllic island of Besaid and as such harbours some slightly xenophobic opinions which are challenged over the course of the game. He also harbours complex feelings for the cynical Lulu, who was engaged to his younger brother Chappu before he was killed.

3 - Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Lara Croft from Tomb Raider

I have already written at great length about why Tomb Raider and its feisty protagonist are so important to me, so I'd be better off explaining why Lara isn't actually number one. I suppose that despite the elaborate backstories that she has been furnished with over the years, she has never felt quite real to me. Too many things don't add up. Why does she have such good social skills even though she is a recluse? Why don't the governments of Egypt and Cambodia and Peru and China (I could go on) come after her in order to retrieve the things she has stolen from them? I know Tomb Raider is technically a fantasy game so these sorts of things shouldn't matter to me, but it's still set in the present day and I just can't equate her fairly realistic background (she was "born" just down the road from me) with the absurdity of her adult life. This is not to say that I don't still think she's the bee's knees (hello, she's at number three!), but she's just that bit too inconsistent to be my very favourite video game character.

2 - Pyramid Head: Silent Hill 2

Pyramid Head from Silent Hill

"Or is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a color as the visible absence of color; and at the same time the concrete of all colors; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows--a colorless, all-color of atheism from which we shrink?" -
           Herman Melville: Moby Dick

Pyramid Head is video gaming's equivalent of Moby Dick. No-one knows where he came from, nobody knows what he wants and his blankness makes him utterly terrifying. He ranks so highly because he shows us why video games are so special. A film can show you a character's terror and disbelief, yes. But only a game can put the responsibility so squarely with the viewer (player). Gamers are so used to being confronted by enemies with bristling fangs or megalomaniac villains hellbent on world domination that we're emotionally pretty well-equipped to deal with them. But give us an entity as inscruatable as Pyramid Head and we just don't know what to do with ourselves.

1 - Jade: Beyond Good and Evil

Jade from Beyond Good and Evil

I honestly don't know what to say about Jade that I haven't said already. Like I said earlier, it's difficult to write something that is completely complementary.

Maybe putting her at number one is enough? 

    13 comments:

    1. There are no words to express how wonderful Jade is. Very very good list, I think you covered everything there.

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    2. Well quite, anonymous.

      It's good to hear that Beyond Good and Evil 2 is still in production, I wonder when that will come out?

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    3. An interesting list but I'm quite surprised that there is no one from the Halo series in here? Master Chief, Cortana or even Sgt Johnson are all reasonably well developed characters that are quite popular and would have at least rated a mention I would have thought. Even some of the ones from ODST could have potentially featured.

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    4. That's true Sean, and Master Chief/Cortana did cross my mind.

      They didn't make the list because:

      a) I have only played Halo 3 out of all of the games

      and

      b) not since the game came out.

      Basically I didn't feel confident writing about a character I had such a patchy memory of.

      It's not a hard and fast rule. For example, I haven't played Heart of Darkness for years, but my standout memory was of Andy's spaceship treehouse. He's not an overly complex character, just an archetypal kid (not a million miles away from Bart Simpson), so I didn't feel I was doing him any disservice by giving him a two line blurb.

      The thing about the Halo games is that the plot and the characters are really quite important and to include them in this list without having the understanding/memory to write about them properly would be a bit disingenuous.

      It's not that I'm suggesting that characters I haven't included don't deserve to be in the list, but that they haven't made the list of this particular average gamer (me) for whatever reason. Either they're undoubtedly iconic/awesome but haven't really moved me in any way (Mario, bless him) or I just haven't spent enough time with them (Master Cheif).

      I hope that answers your query/point, thanks for taking the time to contribute.

      Mary

      ReplyDelete
    5. Thanks for the clarification Mary, your posts are always quite well thought out so I assumed there must have been some reasoning why none of the Halo characters were in there, I just wasn't sure what it was.

      I tend to play mostly FPS games myself so character development isn't generally all that important, certainly compared to a lot of other game genres where the story really is the game but I thought it was a strange omission given the popularity of the franchise, it does make sense now thanks to your explanation.

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    6. Great list. You have surely played an amazing variety of games. I might try to do one of my own but I'm not sure I'd get 50. Maybe so, if I can cross platforms.

      ReplyDelete
    7. Thanks guys, I really appreciate your comments.

      Writing the list was an interesting exercise because it really made me question what good character design was.

      As you say Salaryn, it's not easy to get to 50, even though I have a few platforms here. Maybe 20 years down the line I will have another go. I'm limited by my gaming lifespan (currently about 17 years or so) and fluctuating funds throughout that time. Being a gamer is quite a big commitment.

      ReplyDelete
    8. Hi Mary,

      I like your list. Happy that Clank and Abe made the cut! Also might finally get round to playing Silent Hill 2, based on your praise of the characters.

      I appreciate you probably haven't played either of the Uncharted games (neither have I actually - I'm more of a 'wing-man' offering "constructive" critisism to Gavin's efforts!) but the characters in that game are excellent. The scripts and voice acting go a long way towards making the characters very real. The Uncharted games are the closest thing I have ever seen to an 'interactive film', owing to this fact and the extremely pretty scenery. (As a Tomb Raider fan you'd love it!) I especially like the fact Drake responds to an ambush from enemies with the more human emotions of fear and surprise rather than the typical gung-ho! approach you get from most video game hard-men.

      Drake was also first to come to mind when you asked me that question the other week....ahem...

      ReplyDelete
    9. Uncharted is high on the list (alongside Heavy Rain) for when Well-Rendered Towers acquired a PS3.

      I would recommend Silent Hill 2 to anyone who has a change of underwear at the ready.

      And wingmen and women are really important.

      In answer to my own qustion the other week... I had a bit of a crush on Kurtis Trent when I was 16, which is quite embarrassing. I think I just wanted him and Lara to get it on. And I was also quite happy (also aged 16) when the Prince of Persia started taking his clothes off (he tore off a bit of dilarpidated clothing at the beginning of each level, culminating with the removal of his shirt at the beginning of the dungeon bit at the end).

      Sadly not many stirrings in that department since, which is a real shame.

      Moving on...

      Thanks for the continuing response to this everyone (even if half the comments are from me). It's also good to get some recommendaions as well, somewhere to direct research in the future.

      Another post is on the way, so hold tight!

      ReplyDelete
    10. Mary,

      Lists are fun. I enjoyed reading about yours and it made me think about my own list. I'd be lucky to come up with 10 favorite characters. Our lists are always a snapshot of our own experience at the time we make them. We tend to discuss socially our favorite songs, movies, games, etc. and argue that our choices are best. That adds the extra need to support our choices. Your list is a delightful, entertaining diversion for us gaming enthusiasts.

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    11. No Guybrush Threepwood? Hmmm

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    12. Haven't actually played Monkey Island.

      I KNOW.

      ReplyDelete