Monday, August 8, 2016

Worst 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 8 and the topic is “Worst Antagonist”.
            Originally there was no blog entry of “Worst Antagonist”.  Instead there was “Favorite game couple”.  As I hate video game romances, just look back on Kaiden in the “Annoying Supporting Character” blog entry, I dropped the category (I thought about running down each of the love interests in “Zelda: Ocarina of Time,” but that just seemed dumb the more I thought about it, if you disagree however, and want to see me talk about the “Love Interests of Time” in the future, please leave a comment and I will consider it).
There is an episode of Extra Credits that points to a lot of the troubles I have with video game romance plot, like how they are usually just the beginnings of a relationship and are often pretty thin overall.
Anyway, I decided to instead do an opposite entry to yesterdays’ awesome bad guy to provide contrast and for me to bang on about something I dislike.
            “You do not even know our tongue, do you?” it said contemptuously.  “Such arrogance, to dare take for yourself the name of Dovah!”  Alduin joins a long line of all powerful beings who want to blow up the universe because… They’re just a bunch of dicks.  In the world of “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” Alduin is a dragon god who will wake the dead dragons of old and then eat all of time to reboot the universe.  You are the Viking Messiah, who can eat the souls of dragons and save the universe by yelling so loud at people they burst into flame.
More than a little Satan imagery mixed into this.
            When I worked in retail I would sometimes leave out little doodles of a dragon bigger than earth with the stupid line of “Beware of Space Dragons”.  The obvious joke being that the dragon was so far beyond humans that to beware it is meaningless.  Alduin is a space Dragon that you beat up after yelling mean things at it.  That is not an exaggeration, some ghost Vikings are there to help, but you seriously just yell angrily in a made up language (there is another thing I can bitch about at a later date) and then you hit him with something until he “dies”.
            I say “dies” because Alduin, being a god will return to blow up the universe at some point down the line, so this is all just a delay tactic.  Let’s ignore all of that though.  Magic is silly, so yelling a spell and Viking ghosts are not that stupid in context, it is all fun.  What is stupid is how laid back Alduin is about the whole end of the universe thing.
I generally disliked fighting dragons in “Skyrim” so much so that I just figured I wouldn’t bother.  I never did any of the quests related to dragons, and thus never saw any of them.  None.  I played past level 40 beating the hell out of DLC vampires and Alduin never came a knocking.  I couldn’t have been happier.  Sure I lost my ability to light people on fire by yelling, but so what, I didn’t have any random roaring interrupting my mountain strolling.
Call me Emo, but I have always been more a fan of vampires in fantasy than dragons.
Vampires have more interesting politics and being that they were once humans but have draw backs and powers they lend themselves to more things thematically. 
            You might be saying, “It is an RPG, play how you want to play.”  And I like that, I like choice, but I also like the idea that if I make the wrong choice, say for instance not fighting the apocalyptic plague of dragons, that choice will result in the world ending.  Not what happens instead, which is nothing.
In“Majora’s Mask” if Link doesn’t stop the Skull Kid in 3 days, the moon slams into the planet and kills everyone, that is what is at stake, and it is always counting down.  Alduin by contrast is an unstoppable dragon god… except you win by default if you never bother to fight him at all.  You don’t see him, you don’t fight his minions, he just isn’t around.  Banished by the player not giving a “Frin Bahlaan Aaz” what his Dovaah ass is up to.  THAT IS A WEAK VILLAIN.
            I hate the common bad guy type of, “I am an asshole and am going to blow up the universe”.  I dislike Galactus, I dislike the Anti-Monitor, I even dislike super weapons that keep cropping up that have the same effect.  I hate the Star Killer Base from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” so much that I had to look up its boring ass name for this blog.  Motivation is important, I may not like the motivation, but base drives are weak, coupling those drives with great power is also WEAK, it is just weak that is loud and self-important.
I will point to another example, one that is very appropriate because “Skyrim” was very much inspired by it.  The reason so little time is spent with the Wight Walkers on “Game of Thrones” is because their zombie hordes have no motivation, they are just a great mysterious evil, a back drop in front of which Cersei, Ramsey, Little Finger, and all the other complex characters can scheme.  Nobody actually cares about WINTER; it is the fact that WINTER IS COMING that makes everything else meaningful.
"Winter is--"
"Yeah, we know."

            I should point out, that for all of its faults I have spent nearly 400 hours playing “Skyrim” at time of writing.  What it lacks in immediacy it makes up for in just being so expansive.  It is a very full and rich world loaded down with adventures.  I highly recommend it on that basis, and I do not recommend the main story at all (it is boring).

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment