Bitpicking: Have we met?
[Continued] Page 2
Let’s move away from Fire Emblem and take a look at Theresa in Fable II. Theresa is a seer who happens to be very powerful, but she's also very mysterious. While she plays an important role in guiding you throughout the entirety of the game, much of her actual character remains hidden, sort of like a divine deity dictating your every step. Except she’s really not. She fits into the all-knowing, infallible, robotic sage character. You can say that she's empty in personality, devoid of anything remotely interesting. She remains objective throughout the entirety of the game, and just like a robot she rarely exhibits emotions. Think Obi-Wan or Yoda without any actual feelings.
If we take a look at Yoda, he actually does fit into the character archetype that I outlined above. However, remember that time when the Jedi kiddies were murdered in the Jedi temple? Did he feel nothing? I think not! There is a human aspect about him. Yoda is a perfect example of a character who might fit into the stereotype but has a differentiating factor that makes him interesting and unique. Theresa is a flat character from the beginning to end, and just like every single stereotypical sage/guide, she might as well not exist.
Perhaps there is no game so full of stereotypes as Grand Theft Auto IV. While it can be seen as a parody of American culture and life, the game is a perfect example of how people view America. The stereotypes are absolutely endless. Just like how one might assume that an African American is a gangster or an Asian is a math genius, Grand Theft Auto takes real-world stereotypes and portrays them in the game.
Brucie. Remember this guy? He's a drug-addled musclehead. A rich punk. Brucie has it all. He lives the carefree life. He can have girls under either of his massively bulked up arms, he owns a helicopter due to his massive wealth, and he acts crazy -- after all, he smashes his head against a wall at one point. How exactly is Brucie a stereotype? He’s the stereotypical alpha male/bad boy. He gets to do what he wants, when he wants, and how he wants, and still is viewed as a badass. This muscle man is the stereotype of a male. It's funny to see him in action, but I don’t think the stereotype is all that effective here.
I’m not usually one for definitives, but I believe stereotypes are detrimental in all cases. I often feel like stereotypes are the lazy way out when creating a character. There are tons of unique people in the world with unique backgrounds and unique traits. Why do we have to have similar characters in video games? Stereotypes don’t bring anything new into the industry, and they should simply be erradicated so we can move forward.
You have your favorite games. I have my favorite games. Don’t you wish they were longer? I do. Next time, we’ll look at the industry’s finest games, but also possibly the shortest.
Simon Chun is GameZone’s freelance writer and RPG buff for all things new and old. Check out his twitter @kayos90.