Friday, January 28, 2011

I want to be a video game character

I might have mentioned once or twice (more than that, if you know me in person) just how much I'd love to have Vast Supernatural Powers. I've also written a bit about superheroes from time to time. Jedi Knights might have entered the discussion. And, yes, those things are all cool. But you know what I really want to be?

A video game character.

Oh, sure, you might be weak when you start out. You might have spend a few weeks killing rats until you level up enough to have a fighting chance against a mid-sized dog. You might spend months of time tromping around in the wilderness, looking for things to kill, before you can start doing anything useful. But let's face it: in most RPGs, by the end of the game you're going to be just about the most powerful being on the planet.

Or maybe you're a character from a first-person shooter. That's not so bad, either. I mean, yeah, you probably won't ever become world-beatingly powerful, but you'll almost certainly start off with a pretty high level of badassitude. And you'll be able to find newer, more powerful weapons - or upgrade them, or take them from the enemies you've killed.

But having a lot of power isn't the only reason to become a video game character. There are plenty of other reasons, which (if not universal) are pretty common across the board:

Athleticism - Sure, there are a few games where you're pretty well locked to the floor. But many, if not most, video games allow you jump heights and distances that would be singularly amazing in real life. And if you can climb, you never have to worry about losing your balance: as long as you don't actually step off that narrow wooden plank, there's absolutely no chance that you will fall. In a proper platformer game (any of the Prince of Persia titles, for example), you can perform truly amazing feats of prowess: running along walls, leaping from wall to wall, catching the ledge below you after dropping a full body-length down the wall.

Endurance - Video game characters don't get tired, as a rule. Oh, sure, in the GTA games you can only sprint for so long, and your character goes through a catching-his-breath routine when you stop... but once he's done, he's all ready to sprint again. If I tried that in real life, I would hurt myself. At the very least, I'd have to spend the next few days in bed to recover - and that's if I didn't do myself permanent harm. Which brings me to my next point...

No Permanent Harm - Shot? Fallen off a building? Spaceship crashed in the penal colony that occupies the western half of the former United States of America? Gnawed on by coyotes? Hey, you lose a few hit points, but that's about it. In one or two games (I'm thinking of Resident Evil, here), being injured slows you down... but even then, as soon as you're healed, you're back to your full strength and speed. Better than that, though, is the fact that you don't even need first aid. Two dozen police officers do their best to perforate you, but you don't keep bleeding. You just take the damage and move on. Or, well, you die.

But hey, why worry about that? You're a video game character, which means you have the coolest power of all:

Save Points - Video game characters can manipulate time. Specifically, they make a record of events at certain points in time, and then - if they're killed, or if things go poorly, or if they're just curious and want to try doing something over - they can return to that point in time and continue from there. As a result, they're effectively invincible (a point which is noted explicitly in the dialogue later in the Soul Reaver games).

So that's why it would be cool to be a video game character.

One word of warning, though: always remember to word your wishes carefully. If you say, "I wish I was a video game character," and the Wish Genie is feeling cranky, you might just find yourself trapped in a maze, chasing some perpetually-hungry yellow ball-with-a-mouth around... forever. Nobody wants that.


  1. I loved playing Marvel Super Heroes back in the day. I played myself with catalytic powers during one campaign and kicked serious ass. Thankfully, it was a large group of players and I hid behind them until I became powerful.

  2. "Thankfully, it was a large group of players and I hid behind them until I became powerful."

    ...Which is, not coincidentally, the same survival strategy employed by ever D'n'D wizard, ever. {g}


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