Why Hate the Everyman?
Superpowers, magic, peak physical ability, uncanny intelligence. Video games are full of extraordinary characters, but why are they so against letting us play as the average Joe?
Probably not many have listened to her before but it doesn't seem likely that there are many who have never heard at least one 'classy' Australian with parliament and debates and so many things from around the world on telly.
many of our sporting announcers and commenters are Oz these days and I watch Rugby League and Austrlian Rules Football on satellite or cable and if I can't find the match I want I tune it on my computer.
hoever I realize that many Americans pay no attention to anything that happens anywhere else and that many Yanks can't tell Australian from Scouser, Geordie or Chav.
beyond good and evil was used as an example of having a character who might be an "everyman" but turns out to not be. what of ANACHRONOX?
How can Shepard seem less extraordinary than the dude from deus ex? The only thing I want from a game, is to be able to do something I always dreamed about, or being introduced to something so awesome or brilliant, that I could never have imagined.. and then control it! Anyone who played the first of the spiderman games that actually worked, will remember what an awesome feeling that was. Story + originality (whether it's the character, the circumstances or the amount of WORKING detailed features we know from the real world) + granting us what we want + style = games that are good.
Besides, we all like power, and if Jess claims that one doesn't feel powerful as Niko Bellic in gta, she has never played the game. Or maybe she has, but stops at red lights and cries whenever an npc accidentally runs over a hooker. Play with dolls Jess, it's like making your own game.
She hasn't seen the "Screenplay Seminar Scene" from the movie adaptation, apparently. I like how self-referential this video and subject matter are... :)
What is this girls definition of "average joe"? Because "Shepard" from the ME series definitely isn't an average joe haha... I wish I could throw people across the room with a ball of energy too...
Not even like villians or anything. Just civilians. TELL ME 2 GOOD REASONS WHY THAT IS HEROIC. TELL ME. NOW.
All I've EVER seen ANYONE do in Infamous was kill people with a lightning rod. How is that heroic? AT ALL? SERIOUSLY. TELL ME.
Umm, River City Ransom, other beat em' ups like Double Dragon. And punkhawk, that is untrue. Think back Mortal Kombat. Almost no one had super powers (other than the fatalities.) It would take practically forever to list how many games since the genesis didn't involve superpowers. Grow up. Plus, obviously you don't like the Genesis or Sega to capitalize them OR spell Genesis correctly. I agree that to many games don't let you be ordinary. And, Infamous sucks. You can be a hero in Mario, Sonic, (Don't you dare say Sonic is not superhero-like. Sonic saved a whole planet. And the enslaved locals. You can be a hero in LOZ, Ace Attorney, etc. That is another thing that would take a very long time to name the whole list of. So shut up. I just proved you SUPER-MEGA WRONG.
im sorry but this is just dumb if your an everyman than your either in a shooter, just swinging a sword around or in a boring beat em up. ive been playing games since the sega genisis THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN SUPER POWERS!!!! it has nothing to do with all the new superhero movies because there were tons in the 90's aswell. i really have not seen a any new amount of superhuman games than there always has been. if any theres way to little of them i love superpowers but i rarely find games that has a true super hero. infamous is the only game u can be a true super hero minus the crapy made marvel and dc games (besides batman but he doesnt have super powers).
hmm this actually got me thinkin about it :P i mean i guess it just depends, its cool when you play as an ordinary dude i guess cause u can relate more them but then again sometimes playing character like War and Kratos is just plain awesome to haha Shepards cool cause u get the sense that he(or she) started out as just another soldier and up until the events of ME they still pretty much were, well more or less depending on your choice of backstory
I think it all comes down to preference of genre. Personally, if I wanted normality I'd stick to real life. My dad on the other hand won't touch anything that's remotely outside the realm of realism in a video game which is why he generally won't go any further than games like BF and COD.
I don't really see a problem with either preference. In fact, the reality that people have different expectations of their games is what contributes to the variety offered by the industry.
To be honest I think that it's not so much about 'everyman' characters as it's about believable characters, and if making a character an 'everyman' makes him more believable and complex then so be it. As a narrative tool, it certainly can help towards making a gameworld feel bigger and to some degree scarier.
Take Dark Souls as an example: sure, you may (or may not) be able to cast spells. you might even have magic health-restoring flasks and an enchanted greatsword. But when you're up against the Gaping Dragon or four of those mushroom-men things at once, it comes down to nerve and skill of the player character, not his magic abilities.
That kind of everyman - toning down the player character in order to make his or her enemies seem scarier and to ome extent more believable - can certainly be used to great extent. It really serves two purposes: firstly to make the enemies seem bigger, scarier and more challenging, secondly to make the main character more believable and latable to the player.
The same tactic is used across medias: Frodo is certainly the underdog compared to all the unspeakable evil between the Shire and Mount Doom.
But it isn't the only way to make a character believable. Take Superman. He certainly isn't ordinary and he actually has an often fair reputation for being one-dimensional. despite this though, put him in the hands of great writers and they'll turn him into a layered, complex character. One example worth mentioning is Millar's Red Son, an alternate-reality kind of story in which Superman lands in the Stalin's USSR instead of the American Midwest. The result is a communist Superman, and a particularly complex and conflicted one.
I'm kind of rambling now but I mean that as an example of how making a character an ordinary guy doesn't have to be the only way of making him believable. And, more importantly, making said character an everyman is only a way of creative him complex and interesting.
I don't really agree with the mention of Deus Ex in this: both the original and Human Revolution (Invisble War was a mistake I for one would rather pretend never happened) went to great pains to distinguish their character's difference as a pillar of the game in its own right. This is particularly evident in HR, where all the anti-aug/pro-aug politics come together to really add a sense of realism and depth to the gameworld - with Adam 'I never asked for this' Jensen caught in the middle of it all.
Those themes are still there in the original Deus Ex though. Denton's interactions with the more ordinary humans are at the heart of his moral journey, and the endings (particulary the one in which he merges with Helios) are all about using powers beyond the grasp of 'ordinary' people for the player's interpretation of the greater good.
Surely that kind of moral scope ought to be encouraged, rather than put down.
Call of Duty and Gears have you play an everyman, of sorts. I mean yes you're a soldier but in both Gears and COD, you play as an ordinary soldier with nothing that separates you from any other soldier in that world except maybe the ability to respawn. I actually found Skyrim's "You're the Dragonborn, You're the greatest person ever!" thing to be very patronizing and childish. I mention CoD because it is arguably the most popular game today and mediocre games might get into the "You're special, We love you" trend, But the most popular games don't so I don't see it as much of a problem.
Imagine a AAA shooter where you play the everyday man aka the extras that get killed, that will make an awesome DLC right, and we can expand this everyday man DLC to other interesting extras
- the extra that converse with the over powered main character, and you can totally tell him BS and mislead him and get him killed
- Play the narrator AI who describes the tech/history/culture of the game universe and ofcause you can say any BS you can pull out your . . .
- the victim who have to be saved so you get to mess up with the main character all you want,you can arlet the enemies towards him or play hide and seek in the heat of battle and time running out to complete the mission
- run around the main character carrying ammunition for her or as a news reporter
- or like some 1 said go be a farmer/business owner in Skyrim and sell your stuff
I think I can see what she is trying to say. I do get tired of the save the world/universe/eternity bit in every game. And the latest trend is dragons, dragons everywhere. L.A. Noir and Red Dead Redemption where, to me, a welcome and much needed relief. Even Alan Wake was a nice change (ok..the zombie thing has been done to death as well).
What a ridiculous topic. Why do we play games in the first place? Why do we read fantasy books? Why do we watch movies? Why do we play Role playing games? Because we are EVERYMAN. Fantasy allows us to be something we are not...center of story, powerful, charismatic etc. We live in reality thus we get bored of it sometimes and let our imagination take over. It is imbedded in us from the time we are children. To be something more than what we are. So making a video article of this topic and so sincerely when there clearly is no issue is very annoying and irritating. People with cretinous minds trying to act very philosophical. On top of that choosing a reporter or commentator who oozes the aura "I have no idea why people play video games" doesn't help the situation at all.
omg she is absolutely beautiful! let me come pick u up in the ole 350z and take you for a night on the town gamespot girl!
Because the 'Average Joe' doesn't fight to save things/people or do much of anything good or even exciting. They accept screwed up things and people as they are. The idea that they could actually change important things for the better in the real world mostly on their own if they put their mind to it, baffles them. They just bend over and complain as they get screwed, but make little-to-no effort to actually get out of their screwed up situation. The 'Average Joe' will be useless until he decides not to be average or until the quality of average is raised. Just look at all the crap the government gets away with and the most people do to object is walk around holding signs. Not that there's much more they can do as long as the government has all the weapons. I wonder if the 'Average Joe' would finally be motivated to do something if the government declared the people as enemies?
It depends heavily on the Genre or plot for the matter.Overpowering a character would make the plot look crappy and cheesy whilst having a too average of a character would be severely limiting the possibilities of a fantasy plot.Better still - have a combination of both.A character whom still feels fear , have his / her own form physical and psychological limitations but have a unique ability of his own which allows him to overcome various trials and difficulties.Like...say... Abe Oddworld - your not exactly human but your extremely vulnerable and have a single ability - possessing others.Or Solid / Naked Snake from the MTGS series - they don't have any special ESP abilities but managed to overcome a variety of bosses through willpower , intellect and raw combat experience.Average Joes are really useful for certain genre of games - particularly survival-based games or casual games.All in all , it depends heavily on the genre and storyline - you can't really expect to be an Average Joe if your going to be surrounded by wizards and magic - but having the "Chosen One" sort of theme does get on one's nerves.
Sooo If i wanted a Skyrim 'Everyman' version right after the start you become a farmer and sell your crops for a gold a piece.
I have nothing againt playing an average guy, but I will say that incorporating them into good games that are able to go mainstream is just plain hard for the developers.
STALKER and Operation Flashpoint/ARMA should be there too, in the Flashpoint series, the experience you gain while playing the game is added to your skills as a person, not points in the game.
Getting Up is a very good example too, so is The Moment of Silence and Condemned for the good first half of it, although your uniqueness has to do with the story only and doesn't affect the gameplay in anyway.
many games which want to offer "out of your world gameplay" without making the character "out of your world" as well, take an everyperson and put him in a super place, like Bioshock and Darkvoid.
i can enjoy both types, games which are super natural in character or environment or both, and games which are putting you in the shoes of somebody somewhere else on planet earth, letting you simulate his role from the safety of your room... as long as said games in either type balance their elements well.
I am not a average Joe so I prefer the guys like me a lot of esteroids, so good for Chris Reinfield or Batman jajajajaj
I found this to be lecturesome and preachy, as well as wrong, most FPS games have no superpowers, most RTS games have no super powers, most survival-horror games also. Adventure games and platformers need some way to explain the ability of the protagonist to do what others cannot, for if anyone could do it it would already have been done, everyman characters are very limiting in this regard, if the devs want a believable plot line
I had to face the same exact problem when i decided to write a novel. I could make the characters super human or average joes. I fought with my self for weeks before i decided to make them super human. although i am well into the book, i still fight with myself as to why they cant be regular humans. i think its because regular humans have to conform. they cant fight super massive bosses or enemy's (even those who create, find, or inherit the ability to defeat said boss steps over the average joe line). They may outwit enemy's but even thats stepping over the line cause most of us would not be that "smart." Simply put, regular people are bound to rules. when shot they must die, when stabbed they must bleed...then die, and when facing over whelming odds, they must fail (and if they succeed, its often viewed as fake to the viewer.) There's no way around this problem so many, like my self, just avoid it by making characters super.
I'm pretty sure Devil May Cry wouldn't be anywhere near as good if Dante was just a normal guy. Granted I think Heavy Rain would have been weird if Ethan could shoot lazers from his face. The Everyman fits into his own genres, not hack and slash, massive beat em ups but more like horror simulators...or the sims.... oh gawd! xD
I hate the character limit. My 2500-character rant -> http://asia.gamespot.com/users/DKant/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25982482 Also, is this an Avengers tie-in? That'd just make me sick to my stomach.
I thought Heavy Rain did a good job of presenting several every day characters to play with through a tense story. I share the opinion that most games focus on superhuman protagonists because games are a form of escapism. Providing a superhuman protagonist to a player augments that particular feature of a game. Still, it would be nice to see games utilize more every day persons as their protagonists. Gamers, like everybody else (including me), enjoy variety, even in their escape.
Just a plain normal every men tend to die in situations games throw at them! Only exceptional people can survive chaos and mayhem of videogames! No matter how realistic some games claim to be, they're extremely NOT! Besides, it's cool to be special! The reasons most of people like videogames is because they get to do things impossible in real life!
The truth is, the average joe everyman won't pick up a gun or sword and fight zombies/monsters/etc. Very few of us actually have the skill or mental tenacity to pull that off. I know how to use a katana, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't turn tail and run if a pack of zombies were shambling down the street. So, technically, even games that start with someone who appears to be an everyman are not really following that up. If he/she lives through it without hiding through the whole thing in a bunker then they're probably not a true everyman. However, a lot of games do use characters who are 'everyman' in relation to their world/situation, but aren't recognized as such because their world/situation is so far removed from ours. I think that is being overlooked here.
@steelmouth I've always actually thought that it would be interesting to play as a sidekick for a change.
I think you're onto something.
@Klokateer Not to sound like I am attacking you (because that is not my intention), but I think you are getting confused by what she is trying to said about the "Average Joe(s)/Jane(s)" in video game world. What you are describing in your comment it is basically the lazy citizen, or if we might called it the citizen who is contempt with anything no matter good or bad.
I think the point she was trying to make was that, maybe game studios need to be more challenged, and released something else different from the mould. The Average Joe/Jane that she talks about, is not the one you are describing, but the one who does not have/needs superhuman qualities to save the world, the neighbourhood, his/her partner or even a forest.
I think this is not only a problem from video games, but film and TV industry as well, since they are all busy trying to find the perfect specimen, that they forget that there are other people in the population that deserve recognition as well.
Wars were won and lost by Average Joe(s)/Jane(s). They did not have superhuman qualities, the only thing they needed was courage, sense of sacrifice, weapons, good leadership (if they were not the leaders), etc. Moreover, since you are talking about government(s), then we could say that many (if not all) of those who went to protested in the Arab Uprising, the Occupy Movement and any other social movement, can be considered as average citizens.
@z827 Smart man