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StaceyPowers

When you're not the hero of the story?

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With most video games, the player is in control of the game’s hero, the character who has the most influence and who alters world events in the biggest way. But there are exceptions.

I recently finished Dragon Age II. Without getting too spoiler-heavy, there is a character named Anders who takes quite a bit of flak from players for a variety of reasons involving everything from his sexual orientation to his politics. But suffice to say, he eventually makes a world-altering decision with zero input from the player. It doesn’t make him a “hero” in a classical sense, but it does arguably make him the most important character in the story, and not the player.

My theory is that this is the real reason why so many players complain about Anders, whether consciously or unconsciously. One of the main reasons we play video games is to feel that we are important, influential, and in control—because that is how we rarely feel in our real lives.

I wasn’t upset with Anders throwing me out of the driver’s seat, perhaps because I sometimes like more true-to-life experiences in games. But I can see why that loss of agency might annoy some players.

How do you feel when you don’t get a say over major actions your followers take? And how do you feel when another character is the ultimate “mover and shaker” in a game world, not you?

 

 

 

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If my character can't make the major decisions in terms of his own personal goals, it'd put me off quite a bit. However, If another character is affecting the world around me, I don't have any problems with that because I feel a lot of games fall into the cliche of you the player determining the fate of everything.

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A lot of the games I play aren't hero based. They're old classics like Galaga, Bubble Bobble, & Q*Bert. There's other games like Conker's Bad Fur Day, Earthworm Jim, & any cartoon based game. The hero based games that I do play (Zelda, FF8, etc) I'm always in full control of the character. It's basically an extension of myself into another universe and time. I honestly can't recall a game that I play regularly where I'm not in full control.

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I think there are some games where we just can't change the outcome.. but those are still keeping us as a hero. I hate those 3rd person approach type games though. Gets me into more of boring mood these days. 

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