Sunday, August 7, 2016

Favorite Video Game Antagonist

            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.

            Today is day 7 and the topic is “Favorite Video Game Antagonist”.
            I still feel unnerved hearing the voice of this character because in many ways it is the best example of bad research, toward a bad end, and without regard for those the research is done upon.
            “This was a triumph,” the voice said.  “I’m making a note here: Huge Success.”  Generally considered to be the biggest surprise hit and instant classic so far this century (not just in games, but I would argue fiction in general) “Portal” is the story of a young woman in a testing facility sent thru a series of tests to measure the effectiveness of a new gun that manipulates wormholes, but all the observation areas are empty, and the cold voice over the intercom is obviously that of a computer with a tenuous grip on how to speak to humans, only the promise of cake as a reward for surviving the gamut of deadly tests is what it offers in motivation.  And if there is anything you know from being on the internet it is this fucking meme: The Cake is a Lie.
I prefer savory dishes anyway.
            That voice is GLaDOS a giant supercomputer left in charge of the testing facility after some hinted at but never fully illuminated incident.  The manufacturing facilities at its disposal allow for the creation and placement of turrets, missile launchers, and neuro toxins.  GLaDOS’ nature is left more ambiguous until the second game, and while it does offer some more fleshing out of the insane and the evil business that led to the creation of such a device, I do not feel those explanations do anything to diminish the machine’s menace.  A bad beginning doesn’t make horrifying conduct toward your victims any less horrifying.
            Deeper than just the story, is the metaphor of what she represents, she is creating a game with the goal to kill the player thru endless trials, she is making the video game you are playing.  You are playing a game that HATES YOU.  And that is hilarious.
This game started out as a princess fleeing a demon.
            GLaDOS makes it onto a lot of lists on line and was #1 on two of the lists I found.  “Portal” is a game that managed to win the lottery for having a unique and amazing game mechanic in the portals themselves.  It had visual personality.  It had humor.  And it had GLaDOS as the antagonist.  It is a must play game.  If I were not already talking about it so much hear I would have put the game under the “A Game Everyone Should Play” blog entry coming later this month.  If you haven’t played it, keep in mind it is inexpensive on Steam, you can play thru the whole thing in about 4-6 hours, and if you like it the sequel is much larger in the range of 20-30 hours and has more of everything the first had to offer.

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