What makes a good gaming protagonist? We look at some good and bad examples, plus the importance of a character’s backstory and gender. Also: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and yet more Dead Space 3.
0:00 – Intro
2:30 – Viewer Mail
11:40 – Hangover (Dead Space 3, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance)
35:46 – Gaming Protagonists
58:42 – Last Call
1:02:58 – Outro
This Week’s Music:
“A Robot Meets the Tree of Life” and “Voltaic Fluctuations” from Chromatic T-Rex, by Ben Prunty.
Among the Sleep trailer
Vector: Android | Facebook
Nancy Pelosi on Video Games and Violence
Perturbator – I Am the Night
chipzel – Fragments
Listening to your discussion on protagonists reminded me of a story I read recently. You guys probably already know about this, but a dad hacked a Zelda game that he was playing with his daughter by making Link a girl. Story is here: http://kotaku.com/5958918/father-hacks-zelda-for-his-daughter-makes-link-a-girl
At first I thought it was pretty cool, but after really thinking about it I think a classic like Zelda needs to be left a classic. As much as I’m for more female protagonists, sometimes boys need to be boys. (I’m speaking as a 28-year old female, by the way). I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to be introduced to video games, and when she does I hope there are more out there with a strong female lead. If not, I think it’s ok for her to enjoy games like Zelda and know that she “can be a hero too” if she wants without me having to overtly change the game or tell her that Link is a girl. What do you guys think?
A note on the show: I try to play as a female when I can. I also tend to make characters look like me.
On a side note, thanks so much for putting a link up to Stitcher. I can’t wait to catch up on podcasts I have missed due to my phone not wanting to play the shows for me! You’ve given new life to my long commute. As a wife, new mother, and grad student I don’t have nearly as much time for video games as I used to. I greatly enjoy my vicarious video game experience I get from listening to you all!
As a father of two daughters, I wholeheartedly agree with you that there need to be more games with strong female leads.
It’s admirable that he went to the length he did to tailor the game for his daughter, but I agree—rewriting Link’s character like this is strange. My issue isn’t so much him being female, but that introducing someone to a work in a modified form feels deceptive. I’d suggest the father try introducing his daughter to something with a built-in female protagonist, like Pokemon (although she may be a little young if he has to read dialogue to her).
Thanks so much for your comment, and I’m glad to hear Stitcher is working for you!
Great show guys! Even been distracted by a Protagonist in a game? I found the protagonist in Prototype 2 to be distracting Speaking of games like GTA IV and the Lost Episodes, what did you think of Niko, Luis, or Johnny who was more interesting?
I actually liked James Heller, but I interpreted him as being intentionally written to be over the top.
I really liked Niko! He’s not the nicest guy in the world but he was complex. I dig that. I had the same impression of James from Red Dead — character who WANT to do well but keep getting roped into their old ways.
That Zelda article reminded me… I always make the player name “Court” when I play Zelda, then I pretend that I’m like the boyish side of me when I play, I guess. Does that make sense? So in a lot of games, like Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, where you can’t pick your gender, I’m “Court.” I’ve been doing it ever since I was a preteen, so it’s sort of grown on me now. It’s usually just for boyish characters though, not grown men. I usually keep the name the same if that’s the case. I guess I can relate more to being a tomboy than a man!? lol. It’s funny I’m just thinking of it this way.
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