On character creation (and avatars)

I like men. I really do.

This post is nowhere near as academic or investigating as the title might suggest. Expectations lowered? Alright.

I’m getting pretty jaded with character design these days. For once,
I’d like to play a failed, unemployed guy in his mid-forties. Perhaps a heavyset man who tires quickly? In short, I want weaknesses and flaws – not muscle, beauty and competence. As I’ve understood it, Eternal Darkness (2003) lets you control an array of characters with no apparent skills nor good looks. I like that. It gives the characters a certain depth, unlike those soulless, muscle-flexing idiots you usually get to manoeuvre. Always so tough and able. I’m sick of it. Just give me a paraplegic in a wheelchair, or someone with racial issues and a drinking problem – a real bigot, a mediocre backpeddler. I’d like to take that journey, please.

On a more positive note, and as an example, the protagonist in upcoming Alan Wake features an author, who’s suffering from insomnia and writers block. Taking refuge in a backwater town, the monsters of his nightmares soon arrive to plague him. Which is believable and realistic in some aspects (not the monster part, right?). That title is perhaps where my hopes lie in 2008. Let’s hope it doesn’t slip into the fiery depths of 2009. The new Alone In the Dark will also feature one certain Edward Carnby, who’s supposedly not too handy with a gun. Ooh, I’m gonna enjoy dying over and over again! Also, Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy) tried a different route, and there’s always trusty old Gordon Freeman, the silent protagonist. I think things were better back when the avatars didn’t talk so much, as there was less attitude to put up with. Can you guys name a few other characters that felt inspirational and interesting instead of tired and shallow?

(Update: Rumours indicate that Alan Wake has indeed slipped into the fiery depths of 2009. Goddamn it.)


5 Responses to On character creation (and avatars)

  1. Daniel says:

    Larry Laffer!

  2. David says:

    Haha! Oh, so many fine, fine memories. I have nothing against Larry, on the contrary, I’m actually quite fond of him. I was about eight or nine years old when I played the first two games… God bless.

  3. Guybrush Threepwood. If he was more competent, he wouldn’t succeed at what he sat out to do ;)

  4. Greg says:

    Games that are sweet with character deisgn:

    Arcanum (a top-down steampunk-esque PC RPG) had “beauty”, “charisma”, “intelligence” and other stats. If you were ugly, people didn’t treat you well. If you were stupid, you’d get worse dialogue options. And the reverse was true. With high intelligence you got the -clever- dialogue options. With high charisma you’d get more followers. etc etc

    ArmageddonMUD (disclosure, I work here!) Since it is 100% a roleplaying game (you are not allowed to act out of character in the game) and text based, character creation is basically unlimited. You write your description and create your personality, then play that person how you see fit.

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