Friday, August 5, 2016

Annoying Video Game Characters

            I have not been posting nearly enough this year and I want to steer back from that.  To that end I have found a 30-day blog challenge and will be writing out entries, hopefully I can get all thirty days without any breaks, and if I manage to do that (since August has 31 days) I will think of an additional entry to write about.  I have done a 30-day challenge before, it for movies, but that was a while back, feel free to read those too if you like.

Before I start today I wanted to talk a bit about the idea of a blog challenge.  It is hard to come up with 30 prompts and looking over the month to come with the various blog prompts the list offered I am noticing a few things about it.
1)     The Prompts were not organized well at all, a roller coaster shifting from talking about individual characters, to technical stuff like voice acting or music (and not really a lot of that), and then back to more characters.  I grouped them as best I could into somewhat coherent strings of topics (all of the character ones are together, the very few mechanical ones next to each other, and a general overview section).  The issue is that I understand the difficulty of coming up with 30 ideas (if I didn’t have trouble doing that myself I wouldn’t have googled and found this), but I would think maybe trying to put like things together after making the list would have helped to spot another problem.
No, but I guess I should keep an eye out for evil clown toys.  That is definitely an issue to be concerned about, blog or no.
2)     There is a good bit of overlap and some of these I would consider a repeat.  I combined, or dropped a couple and made up some of my own to keep things a little fresher, and I do the thing I usually do of elaborating well beyond what the prompt originally intended, or talking about two things instead of one.
3)     I get the feeling that they who wrote the prompts very much emphasize story and art over mechanics (I had to drop or combine some character categories and added something on game mechanics), there is no section for “what is your favorite puzzle game, or “what are some of your favorite mobile games”, I might be generalizing but this person might be more of a “I like a deep and involving narrative type, and no I don’t care if most of the game is a literal corridor I walk down endlessly” person rather than a gamer of many different hats.
4)     Some of these prompts I still have in line are kind of bad and I will probably just end up cutting them in favor of something I can talk a lot more about.  Like I said, it is hard to come up with 30 topics, and often you just let yourself go with the thing you think works and don’t look back.  This isn’t brain surgery; it is just for fun.

Okay, that all being said, I’m going to move onto today’s topic

            Today is day 5 and the topic is “Most Annoying Video Game Supporting Character”.
            Let’s talk about what makes a character annoying.  To some it is an entirely physical concept, a person smells, moves erratically, has a funny sounding voice, is ugly, or has issues with personal space.  These people are annoying on a superficial level and removed from a face to face social situation the things that make them annoying fade away, messaging them online would not bother you.
            Then there is the next level of annoying in which the person doesn’t know what they are talking about, and they either know this, which leads to you eating up time explaining and defining things… OR THE FAR WORSE THING, they think they know what they are talking about.  People who push ideas that they “heard about somewhere” or acquired thru a personal account, “in my experience, that one time I tried it”.  These people are annoying because they either waste your time, or because they cloud the issue.
            The last are people who are annoying because they are dicks.  This can take many forms, being self-centered, entitled, egotistical, spiteful, bigoted, or they just tie every issue back to their own personal bugbears about which NOBODY ELSE CARES.  They are annoying because every communication with them is a chore, and they just don’t know a good thing when they have it.
And sometimes bullets.
            For this category I am going to run down two annoying characters, one is “annoying” in the superficial way characters are written that way (joke characters), the other is annoying on a deeper level.
            “In a moment you will be greeted by a funny little robot,” said the blue eyed woman talking into my brain.  “Do everything he says.  You’ll know what I mean when it happens.  I’ll contact you again soon.”  And that is when I met Claptrap.  Claptrap is a doofus with a piercing voice, a moronic affectation, and almost entirely useless.  The strange blending of Jar Jar Binks and R2-D2 into a hybrid character that I kind of love.  His character is that he is “annoying” in the most superficial way, but at the same time, he is enthusiastic, he adds to the story, and he gives you info and assistance.  And when you take him for what he is, his “annoying” nature is funny and cute.
"Hey, wanna hear the new dubstep song I wrote? Wub wub wub wub wub wub wub wub wub wub wub wub wub wub. DROP! Wub wub wub wub wub wub wub wub wub wub wub wub."
            You can apply the logic of Claptrap to most “helpful” game characters that have a cute appearance and voice.  Navi from “Zelda Ocarina of Time” or Slippy from “Starfox” … Every supporting character in “Starfox” really.  They are annoying, but there is a method to it, they are needling you back on track, giving you hints, guiding you thru the story.  The whining is the game telling you how to advance.
            “Thinking you were dead tore me apart,” he said making the whole conversation about his feelings.  “How could you put me thru that?”  Staff Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko is a self-centered, whiny, complaining dipshit.  In the “Mass Effect” series a race of giant omnicidal sentient starships called Reapers are trying to destroy sentient life and civilization in the galaxy, they have done so in the past many times.  Kaiden is a member of your starship crew task to help you save the galaxy, he is also a love interest for the female iteration of your character, whose name is Sheppard (by the way, the name Sheppard is a hint at how the character is actually space Jesus, with his/her death and resurrection happening in the second game).
With the fate of the galaxy in the balance Kaiden is hurt that his ex has decided to work with a company that is actually doing something about the Reapers, instead of writing them off as a conspiracy/fantasy which is what the formal government of the galaxy is doing.  Kaiden is unwilling to work with the most notorious living hero in human history because she didn’t text him immediately after having woken up from a god damn two-year coma (the aforementioned death and resurrection).
I would like to say that I had liked the character for a time in the previous game, but Kaiden is such a self-centered dick that when my Sheppard was revealed to have been hitting on both him and Liara T’Soni, a blue skinned woman who looks like an underwear model, that his fragile ego compelled him to press for exclusivity in the relationship, so I dumped his useless ass.  The only reason he was alive to ball me out when I played “Mass Effect 2” is because I didn’t carry over the save of me leaving him to die, because I got tired of listening to his ineffectual whining.
I'm gonna go ahead and guess the person who drew this does not share my disdain.
Kaiden being “annoying” is not the games’ intention.  He is attractive, a competent technician, and he suffers from disabilities related to his super powers.  He is a complex and richly developed character who should inspire good vibes and comradery.  At least he is on paper.  In practice, not so much.  I do not know why this character rubs me the wrong way so deeply, but I keep having to point to his relationship plot as being such a defining part of his character.  He’s needy.  When Sheppard hits on other members of the crew, let’s say Garrus for instance, Garrus often barely gives Shep the time of day before getting back to calibrating the ship’s weapons, because he has interests outside of Sheppard, he likes to kill things with giant guns.  It’s not much of a hobby, but at least it is something.  And when I talked to Ashley (the love interest for the male Sheppard) I got the vibe that she also had a hobby of killing things with big guns.  It is something.
So to review.  I do not find characters written as “annoying” to be annoying, but lord help a character if their only meaningful story contribution is being a needy piece of ass, cause holy hell do I hate’em.  They are annoying.
What characters do you find annoying and why?  Answer in the comments and thanks for reading.
If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

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