What does it mean to admire someone in a video game?
Admiration for a fictional character is a tricky thing for me to wrap my head around, because the ideas and forms are often shaped so that we WILL admire them, thus making the writer or designer the source of our admiration. However, even I acknowledge that is missing the forest for the trees.
Unlike an end to my stupid jokes, admirable characters usually aren’t that hard to find. Typically their actions are so noble or respectable that other characters in the game will see them too.
Consider General Leo – this honorable soldier for the Empire is admired by friend and foe alike. The men who serve under him follow him with unwavering loyalty. Even enemies of the Empire know that he is a just man and respectable leader.
Even after his death, his outlook and advice provides strength and meaning to those he interacted with.
Although sometimes a character doesn’t need to be lauded by everyone who meets them. Sometimes their drive and accomplishments just impress upon the player admiration without it being directly written into the story. For example, a character that I admire is Shion Uzuki from Xenosaga.
Shion is the head of the research and development team of one of the most advanced and successful technology firms in the universe. She spearheaded a project that would revolutionize the already mind-blowing robotics and AI worlds of her time. On top of that, Shion recognizes her role in one of the biggest social issues plaguing humanity: the recognition of artifically created life forms (Realians) as sentient and deserving of rights.
To me, she’s both admirable as a character on her own, and as a representation of a strong female character. The feminine-typed traits of nurturing and compassion can be found within her, but they don’t water down her character and make her weak. Instead they temper her analytical and focused personality, allowing her to better understand her masculine-typed work – engineering. From beginning to end, Shion is concerned with her effect on humanity and technology, both the positive and the negative. (However, the sequels really don’t do this character justice, which I’ll probably talk about someday.)
So I’ll end my thoughts here. If you’d like, tell us about a character you really admire. Or shake things up! Tell us about a character everyone admires but you have misgivings towards. For example, Blastinus, whose LP I have found a lot of FFVI images, had this to say about General Leo:
“My main problem with Leo is that he seems to have confused idealism for childish naivete. The fact that this ends up being his downfall makes me appreciate Final Fantasy VI a little more, especially considering how many JRPG’s have had a General Leo-esque character inexplicably come out on top just due to the power of positive thinking.”
I hadn’t even considered that angle before! This is part of why I love doing this. I learn so many perspectives, it’s really awesome. Anyway, that’s that! See you in the comments maybe?