Saturday, August 6, 2016

Favorite Video Game Supporting Character

            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 6 and the topic is “Best Video Game Supporting Character”.
            I am going to do the thing where I pick two characters I like for entirely different reasons to illustrate how broad a topic this is.  And because I play by my own rules.  I am a total rebel. A rebel with a blog.  Also, there is only so many ways to say a character is strong.  It is like that expression, “All happy families are happy in the same way, but all unhappy families have their own reasons.”  Good characters are typically good for the same reason, they work well with the protagonist on both a narrative level and (in games) mechanically.  I am going to start out with a rebuttal from yesterday with a character from “Mass Effect”.
            “Forgive the insubordination, but this old friend has an order for you,” he said with a sly grin.  “Go out there and give them hell.  You were born to do this.”  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.  Garrus Vakarian is an ex-cop turned member of your starship crew, tasked to help you save the galaxy, and he is a badass.  Garrus is an astute, sniper, dinosaur man alien, who is funny, noble, loyal, and gets shit done.
Shepard: I couldn't do this without you Garrus.
Garrus: Sure you could.  Not as stylishly of course.
            The only time interacting with him isn’t solid comedy gold or some of the best comradery encouragement is when he is making sure the ship’s guns are so calibrated that they could shoot individual trees on distant planets.  I cannot emphasize how often I kept him in my party just to hear his one liners.  I have no complaints about him and watching his greatest hits via youtube clips is fun as hell.  Like I said, it is hard to bang on about positive things, so now I move to a character that is… Different.
            “Here we go.”  From the complete opposite end of the spectrum comes a guy that is as cowardly on the outside as he is brave on the inside.  Brave enough to face danger for the sake of his friends and the brother that will forever over shadow him.  Luigi, everyone’s second favorite plumber who fights magic killer turtles with the power of mushrooms.
"Just putting this out there, anybody else want to do some shrooms?
            While some might point out that Luigi is frequently a protagonist in his own games I must point out that he is a supporting player in (or even completely missing from) more games in the mushroom kingdom than just about anyone else.  He appeared in the manual for “Mario RPG” just to tell you he wasn’t in the game, and I can’t think of a single adventure in which he was the star that didn’t also have Mario in it (to put that in perspective, I think the new Toad video game doesn’t have Mario; Toad got a standalone title before Luigi).
It's like when they write in a strange scene with a video recording of a character, just so an actor gets his contractual episode appearance, even though it stands out like a sore thumb.
            However, I would like to point out that Luigi has loads more character than Mario, being fearful of the dangerous situations he is in and acting heroically in spite of that fear is already more personality than anything Mario has going for him.  There is also his unlockable presence in “Super Smash Brothers” which is best characterized as “Strange bordering on experimental”, his greatest power in “Brawl” was to dance to a psychedelic melody that put nearby opponents in a stupor.  What even is that?
I’ll tell you what it is, a perfect foil to all the other blandness of the various Mushroom Kingdom characters.  A juxtaposition that makes everything more interesting for its strange presence, strange in a world of magical killer turtles being battled with the power of mushrooms by plumbers and an army of fungus people… Sometimes in space, often in a lava castle.  It is a high bar to be the odd one out in that universe and for that Luigi deserves a medal.

I would also like to point out that originally this prompt was not “supporting character” just “character”, something I didn’t really like.  It is too broad, and again kind of redundant when you consider that a “Favorite Protagonist” is another prompt, so if someone liked Samus, and liked being Samus there is a bit of a crossover there.  I’m a very pedantic person sometimes.

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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