For Behind RPM, I was asked: if you could be any video game character, who would you be and why?
At a glance, this is a simple question. My first reaction was to pick from some of my favorite characters: Rose from Legend of Dragoon, Nina from Tekken, Nariko from Heavenly Sword…but then I realized I really wouldn’t want to be any of them, because they had all these horrible tragedies in their lives.
Rose lost her one true love and had to live for decades without him, only to have to destroy the monster he’d become and watch him have a child with someone else.
Nina was cryogenically frozen, losing years of her life. She was being used as a science experiment, and wakes up to a grown son who she doesn’t even know…and even has orders to kill.
Nariko is emotionally abused her entire life for not being a man, and is finally (ain’t that just like a woman) forced to sacrifice her life and soul for a people who hate and fear her.
If seems that there is a trend among badass women, as is mentioned in Kurosune’s Rape as Character Development article, that women have to go through horribly traumatic things to be badasses. Even characters I don’t like, like Bayonetta and Rachel from Ninja Gaiden, have to go through horrible loss before we get to play them.
Is this story development tactic used for male characters? Yes, in the case of their family being killed or their wife/girlfriend being kidnapped. However, there are tons of other ways men get to become badasses (they are in programs, they are ex-military, they’re the village warrior, etc) and usually they get a happy ending, being the protagonist and all. They get the girl, for example.
None of my favorite female characters got happy endings. This is just an observation, and I haven’t played every game ever, but it made me curious about who some of you would pick. Sound off in the comments!
So who did I end up going with?
Commander Shepard. Wait, but didn’t she go through trauma too? Yes, but…I was THERE with her for it. I got to respond to these issues as I would, I got to have an impact on her choices and the repercussions of those choices. I got to be the hero and get my guy (Garrus playthrough…Thane playthrough is bitter, bitter tear time). Femshep was me as a space marine. Not a character I had to relate to, but a character I created. For some reason, that made all the difference to me, as I’m sure it did to plenty of you, male or female.
Also, FemShep didn’t lose anything to become who she was. She was just a marine; the tragedies occur after a substantial and decorated career. Nothing made her a badass, she just was.
Of course, in the video, they apparently assumed I meant BroShep. Ugh.
Anyway, it was just an interesting mental exercise that made me realize some things about my heroes and what kind of life I’d like to lead.