All About SirMordredX
___________"From the desk of the very electronic-gaming reporter"___________
Hail, fellow virtual-traveler! Allow me to welcome you to my shadowy abode of high opinion, analysis and no less the many virtual sciences; one revolving around a highly concentrated realm of - dare I say - knowledge, extravagance and more-over the many factual mysteries our field has to offer.
From the blowing planes of North-Africa, to the shady hidden Russian oil rigs in the Antarctic and all the way into the horrific depths of a gloomy SS base in '42, the unknown is my first and foremost focus. Or more accurately, one could say that shedding light on such matters is my prime function; be your interest in the depths of the electronic-psyche or else the very core of another reality - I'm here to fulfill your thirst for such vistas of knowledge.
They call me SirMordredX; or else the bringer of fire to the darkest hours of those so-bound to the Nine-Hells of Cania. He who foretells, he who foreshadows. He who rides a pale horse amongst the living and the damned, striving for the truth...waiting for a sign from the three judges of the one great chain.
So relax, indulge...and bask in the knowledge of a thousand electrified souls...
- - モードレッド.....
It's a well known fact to most all of us that being alone on February 14th, is supposedly lonely and sad. Okay, maybe. How about adding in the cancellation of True Crime: Hong Kong and Mirrors Edge 2? That's true horror IMO.
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While they may not be the most commercially successful titles of modern electronic-gaming as we know it, they were by far some of the most promising - and on the latter's side, one of the most creative and atmospheric experiences I have ever had the honor of living. I merely wish to acknowledge their passing, their franchise's lives and the hardcore devs who sought to make them happen in the first place. Hopefully in years to come, the necessary tools of resurrection for the said titles will come into the light of the industry; thus allowing the said developers to receive proper acknowledgement.
____________ ____________ ____________
Until then, Rest In Peace; and may the fates ward off the coming of further industry-storms...
____________ ____________ ____________
As with the vast majority[s] of modern-day media's many variations and formats alike, as with the penny-a-ton family-friendly exploits into hollywood and none-the-less as with most all E-For-Everyone [ESRB] rated electronic-games spanning from approximately 1990-2011/Present; the stereotype is a safe, clear and in turn both thin and see-through bet alike. Substance is merely an after-thought, and rarely [if at all] comes through as one appearing to be wrought from a mind overflowing with either depth of emotion, or else presumed greater experience[s].
As presented in full through the means of analysed-discussion within the previous installment of "Protagonism"  , the Stereotypes of today hold near-meaningless esteem in the minds of any given participant and/or affiliate, regardless of what they may claim; through never harming, angering and almost always never opposing anyone [emotionally, physically or else mentally on a semi-virtual vs. strictly non-virtual connectivity level], the stereotype is the perfect escape from any sort or form of potential consumer-unrest.
Yet as with most-all seemingly perfect alternate-routes, such forms of character-development have a severe tendency to produce a variety of unfortunate side-effects; tending to follow along the well-treaded lines of the previously-stated weak-points of such concepts. Perhaps the one and only strong-point any given stereotype may or may not possess is the base "ability" [so-to-speak] of making a player forget that their new "embodiment" is not their own. Simply stated, protagonist-stereotypes are more often than not created with the sole intention[s] - no matter how subliminal they may be - of ultimately being ignored.
...And such a brash conclusion in turn brings me to the very point of this follow-up issue; the point starting as always, with a question. If a stereotypical protagonist is so lucidly vulnerable to ending up as no more than a "virtually-soulless" vessel, why bother with such an idea in the first place? After all, common knowledge suggests that the world of the modern Electronic-Game-Designer revolves around a fierce reverence for the many vistas which evolution has to offer in both approach and concept alike; not to mention the many grounds of sincere mental-engagement on which such ideas flow, develop and ultimately transmute into something much greater than simply their originally-envisioned state of finality.
The majority of the answer is generally simple, and comes in the form of one distinctive term: "Fear". The explanation for such a claim resides with the fact that any given character with a persona extending it's wings beyond the previously-discussed stereotypes, is bound to draw out at least one if not more player's unwanted anger and/or attention through either of a hundred-+ separate means. Examples include a decision out-of-place, a method of speech considered inappropriate to the masses or else even more commonly [given recent events] some form or other of religious/racial commentary concerning humanity's past, present or future alike. Such results have, do and shall [respectively] come in greater number as further ventures into the deeper construction of the standard protagonist's personality progress; none the less, such creative oppression wrought only from the results of generalized consumer-opinion hand-in-hand with overall-past external-critical-reaction will serve as only a hindrance rather than a close-ally to the future[s] of electronic-gaming as we know it.
It is with the conclusive base on which this semi-final note concludes, that I with my utmost sincerity present the second issue yet of the "Protagonism" analysis/countdown series "exclusively" on Gamespot...for the time being. This time around, the topic at hand is "hate", for most all electronic-games would be rendered near-agonizing were it not for the acceptance from each and every single gamer's conscience towards the protagonist[s] whose minds they decide to "possess".
Within the darkest depths of fields such as these, personality finds no solace; and likewise neither do those who choose to embrace it's many virtues. Deception additionally preys on the easily-pleased/tricked/confused, and despite the critical efforts of the few who actually support individualism; consumerism's extrovertive approach prevails, leaving behind a trail of "what-could-have-been" [so-to-speak] and all-the-while emerging yet unscathed in the eyes of the masses.
ACHTUNG!: The contents of the following countdown are based solely upon the traits perceived widely by humanity, to be all-things-considered "Evil" or else - if only inadvertently - "Despicable"; social items of both physical and/or mental manner[s] alike which - like many"acclaimed" movie villains from the previous half-century - are almost too comically evil to dislike. I am also [if to a slightly further extent] aware of the sheer number of hardcore-gamers with both the equal nerve and wish to play through the eyes of sinister or else evil protagonists during the course[s] of their electronic-ventures...a following of which I am undoubtedly one; therefore I cannot stress enough the importance of my own personal convictions concerning the forthcoming countdown: they may be likable, yet their actions suggest different points of view...were they part of this reality...
x5. James Earl Cash:
Assuming a literary standpoint solely based on the past few centuries, it's rationally safe to say that pretty much every last living individual - excluding those with a severe horde of stability issues and what-not - possess some form or other of basic human-survival insinct; such instincts that - depending on the degree on endangerment - may or may not cause the given individual to react through either harm, fleeing or else murdering in order to "get out alive", so-to-speak. While such base-ideals such as "those-stated to survive the traumas we crawl through during different sectors of our everyday lives" are more often than not labelled - simply - "human" - by the masses of this world, the truth of the matter can only begin to be understood in it's worst form/light once it's very heart has been viewed through the bloodshot eyes of a demented criminal; one with nothing to lose except it's seemingly-worthless existence.
It is here that I speak of one "James Earl Cash"; a supposedly demented killer on death row with an over-bearingly out-going lack of sympathy for human life, a frightful knack for brutally murdering both the innocent and the damned without the slightest manly tear of remorse and no less a head full of troubled memories surrounding the scarring case posed against him.
With no way out other than through the very infernos of his conscience's nine hells - in this case a prison-turned-battlefield - Manhunt's infamous protagonist has no choice but to unleash his inner demons; with what follows going from a simple vendetta to a fully-fledged blood-bath of foul-play.
x4. Two Worlds HERO:
ELECTRONIC-TITLE: Two Worlds...
If only on a majorly different yet all the same lighter note, the mere prospect of being forced to live out a life of adventure, treasure hunting and intense combat situations alike; only to discover that you're vocabulary sounds more or less along the lines of a horrific, boring and monotonous variation of Microsoft Sam...is dire to say the very least.
While it's one utterly justified emotional object to feel literal hatred for any given protagonist within the many realms of electronic-gaming, due to their despicable actions and lack of understanding when it comes to human-life; such fields change dramatically in context once the problem takes on a more or less passive stand-point. For instance; when it is not the personality that slowly yet surely drives this so-called "partnership" to deteriorate, instead falling back due in part to sloppy-to-say-the-very-least character design elements [in this case, voice acting and performance], it might just be about time to begin questioning most developer's understanding of humanity's virtual connections to the many vistas of cyber-space.
Upon it's near-critically-panned release during 2007's late-third-fiscal-quarter, Two Worlds received much critical-damage from both the official-press and the players alike for it's sub-par visuals, coding as well as voice-acting alike. While developer Reality-Pump has released a horde of patches post-release in order to fix numerous bugs and ultimately improve the semi-broken combat-experience, the one feature that would remain forever "intact" was that of the afore-mentioned amateur voice-overs. Fortunately the team responsible for both the core-game itself as well as the awful dialogue have officially expressed their plans for a cast of specialist voice-actors to partake in the in-development sequel slated for an early 2011 release.
ELECTRONIC-TITLE: Twisted Metal [Series]...
Killer-Clown goes on killing-spree; Folklore started it, Stephen King popularized it and Hollywood subsequently milked it dry. While seemingly the perfect cheap-freakout feast, sometimes it's just too hard to ignore the countless number of adaptations that have simply "borrowed" such a concept and in turn reproduced it for nought but the sake of authenticity, as opposed to evolved originality. As always, the unfaltering originality of game-designers prevailed once more, resulting in what may as well be considered the most insane clown to walk the surface of this plane of existence. So, readers at this point may or may not [depending on their prior levels of experience with the Twisted Metal franchise] be querying their conscience as to exactly "What in the Nine Hells is worse than a psycho-clown?"...with the answer being quite simple: "A psycho-clown with a flaming head who drives an ice-cream truck equipped with dual mini-guns and a custom rocket launcher in order to kill as many people as inhumanly possible"; simply put, "Sweet-Tooth".
While it's certainly one thing to excuse mass-genocide simply by claiming it was a life-or-death circumstance that caused such reactions in the first place; the other side of such a crime - simply killing for killing's sake - is totally inexcusable. Such is the case with the hopeless mass-murderer "Sweet Tooth".
x2. Adam "Kane" Marcus:
ELECTRONIC-TITLE: Kane & Lynch [Series]...
Perhaps one of electronic-gaming's most fascinating yet equally disturbing effects on any one gamer's mind, is the ability it has demonstrated time-and-time again to out-root a given person's true-persona, discard any reservations wrought by either honor or lack there-of when concerning this reality's consequence[s] and in turn leave nought but an open-minded individual who may or may not relate to even the most evil of protagonists; which leads this sector to yet another point: the most humanized characters in electronic-games are by far the most flawed, as are they the most despicable in both action and lack-of-empathy alike [a looming paradox].
One such protagonist [a "victim" of such traits] first showed his uninviting gaze to the face of this world during late 2007. Bearing the name "Adam KANE Marcus" - originating from an ominous combo of both former-gang nickname and official-title alike [irrespectively] - Kane debuted his intense, dislikable yet all the same chillingly relatable [circumstantially speaking] personality in the 2007 PC/XBOX360/PS3 Multi-Platform game from Hitman developer IO-Interactive, entitled [aptly] "Kane and Lynch". Infamous for it's grave, bitter and emotionally brutal storyline; Kane and Lynch told the tale of two equally degraded mega-criminals wanted world-wide for their horrific crimes against humanity, both with troubled family histories, both beckoned on by the monuments of humanity's sins and all-the-same just as hateful of one-another as they become of those they seek to punish.
The specified trait that makes an individual such as "Kane" so terrifyingly despicable, is that of his innate selfishness; a selfishness many humans of this world possess, whether they admit to such factors or otherwise. Judging by the fact that the majority of the storyline concerns a desperate man attempting to save his family from the brutal clutches of his afore-mentioned employers - no matter what the cost [whom he kills or else what livelyhoods he destroys] - one would be hard-pressed to find fault with his ultimate decisions, were it not for the pain and carnage he left within his life's wake [a mere reflection of the ongoing battle inside his soul with demons yet unknown to the player].
x1. The Protagonists of Grand Theft Auto:
ELECTRONIC-TITLE: Grand Theft Auto [Series]...
A seemingly obvious choice at first glace, indeed; yet the exact reasoning behind precisely what drives these individuals to commit the monstrous crimes they do is what originally brought my own personal convictions on the matter at hand to the place they are now. Perhaps the most chilling aspect concerning these individuals is exactly how they view, talk about and ultimately commit the crimes against their surroundings; the casual treatment of everyday murder, the "What shall we do today? Hmmm...let's rob a bank for fun!" attitude that plagues their kind and furthermore their sheer lack of remorse towards exactly how their actions affect the masses whose lives they tend to step over with every bullet they fire, every deal they make and every person they injure.
To sum it all up - as if the afore-mentioned wasn't enough to justify a number-one spot already - the materialism which drives them holds no sense of honor or else reason. While even individuals such as Kane from Kane and Lynch had relatable reasons for doing the atrocities they did to those who in some way or other got in the way of their ultimate life-goals, the cold-blooded [and inhumanly portrayed if I may be so bold] characters of Grand Theft Auto's ambition for money, women and power through bloodshed on a mass scale are the most comically despicable yet all-the-same sneakily relatable in all legitimate-gaming history.
...And so we conclude this brand-new venture into the depth's of electronic gaming's most prominent eye/core. The clock is ticking. Midnight draws near and with it both the beauty of the moon and the darkness of the night [A reflection on how both villainy and humanity walk hand in hand for the majority of our lives, becoming more and more evident as our life's sun slowly begins to dwindle and eventually just goes down]. Best of regards and special thanks for reading from SMX; the air is electrified with anticipation and thus the new year calls out in hope for a brand new venture of sincerely greater proportions into the darkest-depths of electronic-gaming.
After so many bewildered years of once-seemingly endless efforts on my own part to finally lead my life's ultimate direction, I have concluded that it's safe [at best] to admit I am my own mind's protagonist; regardless of whether my actions reflect to the external worlds as either villainous or else heroic, or maybe a slight touch of both. With such great realization, comes the urge to explore the minds I enter upon absorbing my personal attention[s] from one reality to the next, and straight into the core of an electronic-game.
When a random gamer from an even more speculative location enters the mind, takes the helm and in turn stares through the sparking eyes of a given protagonist within the world of whatever venture they may be undertaking at the time; what factors into that which draws them in?
Simply put, what is it that bonds a player to his or her new body, mind and eventual lively-hood? Attitude? Visual Delight[s]? Empathy of Circumstance? Perhaps a vast mixture of variants which is entirely catered to the individual at hand, after all; no matter what stereotypes exist within the world of electronic-protagonism, no one gamer's perception is exactly the same. Such an answer is bound to change as our time progresses; just as it has over the past three decades. May it be that one day we become the visually identical protagonists of the electronic-experiences that we take on; connectivity yet remains the key.
In the following analysis series, an attempt is currently being made to understand the "ins and outs" of what exactly goes through both gamer's and developer's brain-waves upon the conceptualization of a given protagonist. Are the following points mentioned above even considered by the majority of the modern-generations? Such questions shall systematically presented, and in turn answered over the course of these entries; as my hopes are that readers will find solace for both their curiosity as well as their pre-existing thoughts alike within the following...
ACHTUNG!: Prior to progressing onward within this issue's attempt at given enlightenment, I personally must send off an alert to everyone currently reading. Firstly, it is my overall understanding that everyone has their favorite protagonist to reside as, suit to step in or else helmet to don. The following are simply my critical [rather than simply personal] findings concerning the many vistas of protagonism as a stand-alone subject. Furthermore and finally, the following lists concerning "worst" and "best" [etc] protagonists of all eternity are purposefully meant to exclude most all Role-Playing titles, as protagonists from these titles usually vary depending on most players' decisions.
Stereotype X1: EVERYMAN [Codename: Anti-Vader]:
Trademark Voice-Actor: Nolan North
Prime-Examples: Uncharted [Series], Prince of Persia [Series], Battlefield: Bad Company [Series], Red Faction [Series], Dark Void
We've all seen him, heard him, watched and of course played him in one title or another throughout the course[s] of our lives thus far. He's cocky, funny, able and utmostly relatable towards the masses; finally, like much of ancient writing from the A.D. era - he's not copyrighted.
When a developer is in need of a character that simply "does the job" as opposed to "breaking boundaries", the Everyman is usually the first and last suggestion. He doesn't offend the majority and is in most cases hollow enough to allow room for personal development from players as they slip behind his eyes like water off a duck's back. While usually requiring more or less to no effort within the case of original development, there are some circumstances in which his wit will fool audiences into believing his shallow demeanor to be simply a mask for a troubled and/or complex past.
After making an early appearance in the movie industry throughout a number of titles over the course of the past few decades, and starring in a countless number of electronic-gaming titles such as Crytek's Crysis , Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series as well as Ubisoft's Prince of Persia franchise, the Everyman protagonist only rose to considerable fame with the release of Uncharted: Drake Fortune back during the final fiscal quarter of 2007. With swashbuckling treasure-hunter Nathan Drake at the helm, the formula struck a perfect medium between "safe" and "edgy".
Stereotype X2: GRAVEL-THROAT [Codename: Back In 'Nam...]:
Trademark Voice-Actor: Steve Blum
Prime-Examples: Gears of War [Series], Clive Barker's Jericho, Bionic Commando, Infamous [Series]
"He may have a troubled past sir and it's true he screwed up back in operation black-razor, but if anyone can get the job done it's him".
The gravel-throat hero usually takes a semi-step away from the everyman's persona, with intentions to instead pursue a darker image with much room for blatant suggestions at a more troubled history; in plain terminology - a cynical, world-weary, battle-worn and more-over experienced individual as opposed to a romantic, hollywoodized and naive action-star. He doesn't pull punches, he doesn't ask too many questions, he's served all his life and he'll save the world if that's what it says on his PDA.
While the points charted above may or may not sound genuinely promising, such traits are used in unison-formation all too often in the world of modern-day action titles. Instead of getting a bonus in strong-personality, such characters have begun to show their wear a little too indisecreetly thanks to the likes of Epic Games' Gears of War and Sucker Punch's Infamous series.
Stereotype X3: SILENT [Codename: Silence Is My Motto]:
Trademark Voice-Actor: N/A
Prime-Examples: Half-Life [Series], Call of Duty [Series], Doom [Series]
A trait which by now has received so much flack from both the press and the players alike, that one would be hard pressed to find it during a post-2010 electronic-game production, is that of the Silent-Protagonist. Originally conceived in 1980's shooter and adventure titles simply due to the over-bearing fact that voice-acting was mostly unaffordable during those early-days, this "feature" [so to "speak"] soon became a tradition in the realm of action-oriented first-person titles; even after the electronic-gaming industry had accelerated to the position of top-priority industrial phenomenon & power-house alike.
The factual decision to literally render a protagonist silent for the entire course of any given title or else until players are removed from the given protagonist's "view", comes from either of two sources; with the first being to allow players to connect with the world as much as humanly possible with as little original work as possible. The second being that it's simply easier, yet a lot riskier when concerning player-to-world interactivity.
For instance, when directly stepping into the acclaimed Half-Life HEV Suit - otherwise known as the home of Gordon Freeman [Half Life's protagonist] - one may feel that they are only partially taking on his true identity, in opposition to literally becoming "the Freeman" himself; and thus, this seemingly simple factor has caused many to feel that this silent "suit" with nought but a pair of gloves to represent it's supposed presence, is but a statistic rather than a strict reality.
Stereotype X4: Femme Fatale [Codename: I'm Too Posh For My Codename]
Trademark Voice-Actress: Kari Wahlgren
Prime-examples: Lara Croft [Franchise], SiN [Series], Wet
She's got the perfect anatomy, the moves of a CIA operative, the name of a 70's TV show star and she's always from some kind of victorian English society or other. She most always wears some unanonymous type of ridiculous costume just for the sake of showing off her perfect image underneath; and she'll be gunning the evil-doers down before her foes can say wow.
Originally stepping into the spotlight[s] within the ever-vast planes of Electronic Gaming in the now world-famous form of "lady" Laura Croft; the Femme Fatale has taken more or less a backseat in the role of protagonist, instead usually resorting to the position of sidekick [Chloe in Uncharted, Skylar in The Saboteur and - if to a mildly lesser degree - Xana in Dark Messiah]. Despite being often criticized as a strictly masculine designer's interpretation of the perfect woman, Femme Fatales display a powerful image of women, mostly in the form of either super-spies or adventurers; if in a purely stereotypical manor.
While previously present in hollywood movies dating back as early as the 1900's, electronic-gaming has carried to concept through even the darkest of times over the course of it's existence.
Stereotype X5: IMMOVABLE DETECTIVE [Codename: Hmm, It Seems I Am Near Death]
Trademark Voice-Actor: Milton Lawrence
Prime-Examples: Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of The Earth, Condemned: Criminal Origins [Series], Penumbra [Series]
Any single individual currently reading this with even a slight memory for the biggest adventure titles of the 1990's, most likely will remember the "Wooden Detective" persona. These seemingly emotionally unmovable characters possessed the near-inhuman ability to completely emotionally detach themselves from their emotions, even after investigating some of the most visually traumatic murder scenes, darkened tunnels and otherworldly horrors that 1990's adventure gaming had to offer.
Despite visibly showing pressurized emotions along the blurred lines of heavy breathing and/or other various ambient effects to add to the given experience, as soon as any form of sonic narration from the protagonists commenced, these private eye protagonists sounded, and to this day [if on a different note] sound simply too calm, collected and sane to be convincing and/or immersive in any way what-so-ever.
"It seems the man was sliced in two before being dragged to that cave where the fearsome beasts of Asgarre turned him into a demon; yes that explains the blood all over the floor up to my waste. Hmm, interesting - I'll take a note of that."...
And thus I here-by conclude this introductory platform, with the cryptic yet skyward words "a sign of things yet to come". I sincerely hope you have enjoyed devouring the afore-written analysis[es], as I shall be shortly writing a follow-up in the days to come. If I indeed did miss any personas that the community can come up with, then such enlightening commentary would be a welcome face of knowledge.
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