31/31 Day 10011: When Everyone Is Elizabeth - Will Sora Layton Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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31/31 Day 10011: When Everyone Is Elizabeth

A few months ago, BioShock: Infinite released to critical acclaim, with many people saying that the player character Booker DeWitt's companion, Elizabeth, was the highlight of the game. Besides the fantastic story, setting, and combat, people loved the dynamic that was shared between them, and thus, the connection between the player and Elizabeth herself. Some people said that "wow, this character being developed in this game actually made me care for a fictional character", and yada yada, stuff like that. While she was very well developed, and I included her in my personal favorite characters list, there's just, one small thing that I feel different about from others.

You rock Liz. But you aren't the first, nor the best.

Okay, first, I want a disclaimer: I know that there certainly have been characters that people have cared about a lot besides Elizabeth, such as Pipo, Clementine, Shepard, and Aerith. However, I feel that there's been a recent sort of, surge about caring about game characters, with TellTale's The Walking Dead, Elizabeth, and David Cage ranting about how 90,000 polygons makes an old man have emotion in his eyes. So please, don't flame me saying I am the only one who's not on this recent phenomenon, I know there are people out there with my feelings.

Now, this blog is going to be an analysis of characters I've interacted with in the past, and why I've connected with characters just as much as Elizabeth from Infinite, and sometimes, even more. That's why the title is "When Everyone Is Elizabeth"-because about 95% of the characters I interact with I care about a great deal, and have connected with emotionally. I will NOT be spoiling anything from the games I'm going to discuss, so you guys won't have to worry about that. The only way could be spoiled is by finding out a game has a sad moment...which, well, shouldn't be surprising considering the games I'm going to discuss. 

So, on my profile page, I proudly display a list of video games whose characters and story have made me cry. The list contains some obvious ones, such as Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, but also unexpected ones, such as Metal Gear Solid 4, and BioShock: Infinite. Yes, I was one of the few who probably did cry from those last two titles, but considering their nature, I won't be going into them. Instead, the first game I'm going to look at is below.

These two characters are wonderful.

To The Moon is an indie titles that released several months ago, and has been somewhat of a cult hit. The game is a basic point 'n click adventure title, with the unique twist that the two scientists the player controls are trying to fulfill the wish of a dying man, Johnny Wyles. The scientists need to go through his memories in order to fulfill his wish of going to the moon, by altering his own memories to believe he does fulfill his life dream just before he dies. So, basically, the game consists of the player going through Johnny's memories of his life, and thus, his entire life is given to the character in a few short hours, since that's how long the game lasts.

I find that Johnny, as well as the love of his life, River, are both very well developed as characters, even more so than Elizabeth. Of course, you get to see the entirety of their two lives, which allows for more development, but I just found the wonderful writing to be great for them. The fact that they both developed off each other, and that the origins and events in them appeared in reverse chronological order, made the story special. While Elizabeth may have had voice acting, and thus more emotion to her words, the fact that I could get emotions and real feelings from To The Moon shows how great the characters were developed, even at what many would consider a hindrance.

I love all these people, for different reasons. Except Dio. Screw you, Dio. (Guy on the right)

It's no secret Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward is my favorite game of all time. It's characters are so well developed and go together so well with the story that I cried in more than one of the 24 endings dealing with specific characters. Specifically, I was most touched by Tenmyouji, the old man in blue, and Luna, who's the girl in the lilac dress. While the game is a must-play anyway, the development of all the characters alone makes it worth the 30-40 hours the game takes. What makes them special is that in this game, you're REQUIRED to take every path in order to see how the game plays out entirely. In BioShock, you can make on decision, and see Elizabeth's reaction to it, and you never need to see the other side. In Zero Escape, you need to see how a character will react to you allying and betraying them, because filling the entire flowchart is key to getting the whole story. This is an advantage for the game over others, and really helps develop the characters, again, because seeing every angle makes them more believable, and the consequences of your actions really show, even though they're binary decisions.

These two games are just a couple of examples of times I really fell in love with the characters, but, in reality, I connect with characters very often in video games. Sure, if I don't like them, I'll laugh at times when they do something incompetent, but usually, I care about characters. For example, Larry from The Walking Dead is very antagonistic towards the player, and yet, he was one of my favorite characters. I tried to be nice and be friends with him, as I thought he was just acting in the best interest of his daughter. Characters don't need to be great villains, nor great companions, to be appreciated. Sometimes that middle area can be great too.

Moving on from just being a normal character, Elizabeth also shines because she's such a great companion during combat. I've connected with many other characters, such as my partner in the Mystery Dungeon games, and Midna, because they functioned as great partners in my adventures. Conversely, however, I have found that a character that was more a hindrance than a help was one I didn't care for (looking at you, Agro). So, I'm not completely in love with everyone, but when a good character is helpful to me, I will like them-I do like Midna and my partner just as much as Elizabeth. 

One of the most awesome characters...such a wonderfully sad story...

To close off, I'm going to look at the bad part about this thing with me. It's made me cry from the stories of several video games, and has also made me appreciate certain characters a lot more than others. Also, most of my friends are the sort of people who are more into games like Borderlands, and Halo, so me caring about characters a lot is weird for them, especially since I've cried from some. I'm not really sure why I connect so well-I'm just kind of, open to imagining those characters as real, and I guess I'm trying to make them feel more lively in my head. In any case, I think that's where I'll end off for today. If you care/don't care about characters for certain reasons, sound off below, and I'll see you guys tomorrow.

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