Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The 3est Protagonists

at 1:36 PM
Did you see how it looks kinda like "Best" but actually is going to be about the 3 ___est (superlative) protagonists? Eh you'll get it in a second. Then you'll laugh, and laugh, and laugh, and cry, then laugh again, then cry again, by which point the slow-acting poison I've injected into your lunch will have taken effect and you'll be lifeless on the floor. Did you know that last year, over thirty-five blog-readers were killed by slow-acting poisons? Not readers of this blog, of course. I assure you, you're perfectly safe here. Nowhere on the Internet could be as safe as gnggames.blogspot.com. We even have built-in airbags!

So this is a silly idea I had that developed from what I now look back and realize was a better idea, to list my ten funnest protagonists. Instead, I've outsourced the work to the other bloggers, each of us bringing you a list of three protags adorned with appropriate superlatives. I'm gonna kick us off - stay tuned for the (probably better) lists from Greg, Ezio, Andrew, and Elesia, comin' atcha each Tuesday for the next monthish.

Villainousest: Max Payne / Kirby (tie)
It'd be nice if we could take a step back to days when a hero could be pacifistic (or at least a bit toned down), but while the most popular genre of game remains "First Person Shooter", I don't think it's going to happen. So let's fuck it all and just admit it: our protagonists are often villains. Not antiheroes - full-blown villains. Marcus Fenix (Gears of War), Nathan Drake (Uncharted), Optimus Prime (Fall of Cybertron), Wei Shen (Sleeping Dogs) - regardless of supposed values and platitudes, they're thieves, warmongers, and murderers. Kain (Blood Omen) is in fact one of my favorites simply because he is openly so. Of this vast selection of evil protagonists, however, two in particular stand out.

Max Payne is basically a complete shithead. And whoever wrote his dialogue probably shares that trait. I've talked before about how much I hate this character. Max whines and whinges on about what a sorry state his life is in, how he drinks to forget and doesn't have any reason to keep going. In fact, his entire character can be summed up in a short scene:
This is supposed to be "existential" or something, because someone at Rockstar saw a film noir movie, read one paragraph on Wikipedia about the subject, then tried to base this character around it. In fact, it's kinda humorous, and if you gave Max a maniacal laugh, he'd essentially be a more brutal Joker. He kills an endless stream of people (hundreds, if not thousands, by the time Max Payne 3 has closed) because he can't figure out a reason not to. His mantra: "I'll kill until I can figure out why I'm killing".

Kirby isn't particularly more murderous than the traditional platforming head-bopper (though his modus operandi of devouring foes makes his quest a bit more gruesome); like Max, what makes him particularly evil is his purpose, or lack thereof. Kirby has occasionally accomplished something like saving Dreamland (I think? did Adventure even have a story? 64?), and in these cases he can probably be cut some slack (even though he appears to be genociding the inhabitants of the very world he is supposedly preserving). But let's take for example Kirby's Squeak Squad. In this instance, a gang of mice (get it? Squeak Squad?) has run off with... a slice of shortcake Kirby was about to eat. Kirby could get another slice at whatever his local bakery situation may be, but he wants justice. Fair enough. The question this game begs, however, is whether wantonly slaughtering an entire population who likely had nothing to do with the theft is "justice". I have to wonder - is Kirby just indulging his murderous tendencies in the facade of being wronged, or is he delusionally imagining that every person/creature/monster he meets is part of some vast conspiracy to steal his cake?

Loneliest: Sir Lonely (Ghosts'n Goblins series)
Here's the deal with Sir Lonely:
If that doesn't touch your heart, I don't know what will. A hero propelled by his own loneliness through one of the most frustrating, hostile quests of all time. Like five times. As Youtube commenter gentrygh (?!) writes: "I feel Sir A. Lone indeed!" Thanks, gentrygh, for putting into words what I never could!

On a side note, I really wish there was a way to change my Youtube username.

Least OP'd: The Master/God (ActRaiser and ActRaiser II)
There's a little word we use around my home that often comes in handy for situations like this: OP'd (oh-peed). OP'd is long for OP, which is short for Over-Powered. Yes, occasionally a game contains some character, unit, or move that is so unbalanced that the only word to describe it is "OP'd". But that isn't the correct usage of the term. Like many terms of art, the meaning has become a bit removed from the etymology; from a gamer's perspective, the meaning of OP'd is simple: anything used to defeat me. If I lose a match of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the opposing character is clearly OP'd. So OP'd. That special attack he used to defeat me is even more OP'd. It's just bullshit. That Dragonite that defeated my entire Pokemon team is totally OP'd. So on.
Let's ignore that paragraph. Pretend it never happened, like that time in childhood when your... well, sometimes it's better to forget. In a game where the player takes the role of God (called The Master in the NA release), he would probably expect to feel a little OP'd. As a matter of fact, OP'd = OP = OverPowered < OmniPotent = OP = God = holyshiiiiiiiiiit! But the ActRaiser games completely twist your expectations, providing a substantial platforming challenge (particularly II). After a short time with the game, the player might actually arrive at just the opposite conclusion - that every single fucking enemy is utterly OP'd. We're talking about a game where God (yes, the Christian God, Lord Almighty, Praise His Name on High, Shalom) can be defeated by a dragonfly. A large dragonfly, sure, but a dragonfly nonetheless. Maybe this is the reason for it, but I don't remember any parts of the Bible where Jesus hides behind a bush to trick a bug into passing him over. Or, wait, is that what that Passover nonsense is all about?


  1. Damn its implied I have to write more than one...

    1. U did not understand assignment but Ezio and Greg did. Maybe this is problem?