The early days of video games featured Pong: a square ball bouncing back & forth between to rectangles. It was a very simple concept that anyone could literally figure out within seconds.With Pong, there was no characters to root for, no villains to cheer against and no plot or story to conclude either. While Pong was a nice recreational distraction and diversion from the boredom of everyday life – and back then, Pong was a big deal – there was no real vested interest in the game once the video game system was shut off. That is to say, Pong was just a game. Nothing more, nothing less.
Fast forward to today, and video games are much more than simply something to play. Video games today are events, stories and lives to take interest in and be a part of too. Like the games themselves, the characters which inhabit these games have grown over the years. While the erstwhile plumber was cute, he wasn’t really endearing. He didn’t talk or speak much, he wasn’t very expressive and he was actually quite boring as a person. Heck, in his original solo adventure, he couldn’t even go too far backwards! He was simply the vehicle for which the video game player used to traverse the game.
Now, video game characters, like the ones featured in the Sony PSP are people, with expressions and emotions. They have a history and a purpose. They have a back story, and they are vengeful. They have facial expressions that video game players can relate to. They aren’t just video game characters: they’re tragic heroes and misunderstood villains. They live and work in worlds that are at once foreign to us but recognizable too. Today’s video game characters speak to us, and for us. We want to hear what they say, and see how they act and react. They aren’t just computer generated characters by designers, they are actors, with a script to follow and a mystery to unravel.
Since video game systems and technology have evolved, it makes sense that the characters grow and develop too. Older video games took place in simple worlds with a defined beginning, a defined end and a defined purpose. Because of that simplicity, it was easy to figure out what the character should do and be. Today’s video games, like the ones featured on the Microsoft Xbox 360 or the PlayStation Portable, take place in immense worlds where a lot of random possibilities can occur. That makes the character more random in his or her actions and reactions.
Also, today’s modern video game characters can be so likeable and interesting as well.They can have interest, emotions and depth that we can relate too and sympathize with. You can also bet that if a popular video game is released with a powerful and dynamic character, that that character will find himself on the big screen shortly thereafter.While it helps a company’s bottom line, it can really give the video game character more meaning and definition too. Because even though video games and their worlds are impressive, they are still limited by their programming & design scope. But a movie or a TV program can really give new emotions to a character whom in some ways, already seems to be more than human.
Freddy Mason loves video games and it always looking for the deeper meaning in games (if one exists).
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