Related Articles

28 users responded in this post

Subscribe to this post comment rss or trackback url
mygif
Kingfisher said on March 19th, 2013 at 11:27 am

Am I to take this as subtle confirmation that Flapjack is a woman?

ReplyReply
mygif

I submit that Nathan Drake is “a quippy, smart-aleck douchebag” in the same way that Peter Parker is. That is to say, he’s someone who’s pretty much terrified (because look at the crazy shit he’s doing) and he’s cracking jokes because the other choice is to scream in terror the whole time, and that’s not a survival strategy when guys with guns are hunting for you. I haven’t played the games in a little while, but from what I recall, he genuinely cared for Sully and Elena. He even cared about Chloe, even in places where, to be honest, he had no reason to, because she’d basically just sold him out as a survival strategy. You don’t have to have a psychotic break to be a good dude.

ReplyReply
mygif

Oh, but the guy from Far Cry 3 is, decidedly, a douche.

ReplyReply
mygif
Mark Temporis said on March 19th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

@Sisyphus: And so are all his friends, which is a bit worse because, well, they’re way more talky, and you’re supposed to care about them.

Game designers don’t need to spend time making you care about you, you’re you and we can assume you don’t want you to die. Making you care about your friends and/or the game world depending on the stakes, that’s the hard part.

ME 3 did this in spades. I stopped playing the game for an entire week because I didn’t want to break up with Miranda.

ReplyReply
mygif
Cookie McCool said on March 19th, 2013 at 1:00 pm

This is why I play Viva Pinata. Fewer nightmares, and most of the pinatas are pretty good dudes.

ReplyReply
mygif

I would point out that there is a difference between “not minding” a game and “this is a good game.” Isaac Clarke IS a good dude, and on that basis I become more offended, not less, when his good story isn’t married to a good game. Especially since it was pimped as a AAA title they expect to get the full sixty bucks for.

@Mark Temporis: Well, there’s your problem. You were dating someone from the second game, you silly. Don’t you know that only people from the original Normandy count? Go and get with Liara the way God intended. And if not Liara, there are two other perfectly cromulent aliens.

ReplyReply
mygif
Sisyphus said on March 19th, 2013 at 1:18 pm

@Mark Temporis – I assume you’re talking about the Far Cry 3 dude. In which case, I completely agree. The conversations between him and his girl friend, where he starts in on how he’s actively making decisions and this is something they’ve been working on…eh! When you’ve been taken prisoner by a psychopath and have to escape the island he rules with an iron fist IS NOT THE TIME to work on your relationship! That is not couples therapy time! That was the moment when I went…”Wait…I’m not supposed to be taking these characters seriously, am I?”

ReplyReply
mygif
JCHandsom said on March 19th, 2013 at 4:09 pm

@Mark Temporis

Ironically, I found Miranda to be one of my most hated characters. I was actually disappointed for a bit when she survived the suicide mission in my game. It might have been because of the way I played, but in any case the way Miranda treated everyone was inexcusable.

I guess that speaks to the depth the characters in ME were given.

ReplyReply
mygif

I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking one of the strengths of Dead Space is the character of Issac, which is weird when you consider that he spent the entirety of the first game making nothing but inarticulate sounds of anger and pain.

Like, okay, this will probably sound kind of dorky, but one of the more genuinely moving moments in the series is in DS2 right near the end, when you’ve gotten into EarthGov and Issac is clearly fucking exhausted, and the Nicole that’s been harassing him the entire game gives him one final ultimatum, tell her why he keeps clinging to this crazy vision of her that has at SEVERAL points now tried to kill him and he tells her that it’s because that’s all he has left of her and if he lets that go then she’ll be gone for good, and just the way he says it is fucking heartbreaking.

And then she tries to kill you again and this time Issac’s just had enough of this shit and so you fire a contact beam into your own brain’s glowing weak-point to blow her up.

ReplyReply
mygif
Simon Jones Who Is Blogless said on March 19th, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Do we need to have the Far Cry 3 argument again?

ReplyReply
mygif
Mark Temporis said on March 20th, 2013 at 10:57 am

Of course, the BIG FC3 issue is that just when I’ve learned to compensate for the arrow arcing, I get Crysis 3 where it doesn’t.

ReplyReply
mygif
ascendance said on March 20th, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Well, I was going to use my free EA game for the Simcity debacle to get Dead Space III… until I read this. I guess it`ll be NFS: Most Wanted.

Also, boy were they ever generous, letting us pick Plants vs. Zombies or Bejewelled 3.

ReplyReply
mygif
Thomas Wilde said on March 20th, 2013 at 8:13 pm

I submit that Nathan Drake is “a quippy, smart-aleck douchebag” in the same way that Peter Parker is.

Yeah, no, not really. There’s a very valid reading of the Uncharted games where Drake is a self-destructive, barely functional sociopath who is faking the lion’s share of his useful human interactions, because he’s a voluntarily self-deluded orphan who never learned to engage with the world on an adult level and instead is the star of his own self-created pulp-drenched escapist fantasy. It’s why he can kill seven hundred people per game with guns, explosives, and his bare hands while still laughing and quipping the entire time; his personal monkeysphere tops out at maybe eight people.

ReplyReply
mygif

More like twenty

ReplyReply
mygif

Peter Parker in his ideal platonic form is someone who wants to be a douchebag, but knows that if he does, god will reach down from heaven and kill his uncle again.

ReplyReply
mygif

Fuck every mass effect romance option for not being the option to date wrex.

ReplyReply
mygif

Also a douchebag? Spyro the Dragon.

ReplyReply
mygif
Wolfthomas said on March 21st, 2013 at 5:32 am

Corvo Attano (from Dishonored) isn’t a douchebag, or at least doesn’t have to be. If you play clean-hands or just not kill the main targets, even the antagonist Daud points this out. With the heart-thing I found myself reluctant to kill guards until I knew their life story.

ReplyReply
mygif

“There’s a very valid reading of the Uncharted games where Drake is a self-destructive, barely functional sociopath who is faking the lion’s share of his useful human interactions, because he’s a voluntarily self-deluded orphan who never learned to engage with the world on an adult level and instead is the star of his own self-created pulp-drenched escapist fantasy.”

There’s an equally valid reading of Star Wars where the rebellion kill millions of innocent technicians, janitors, and contractors when they blow up the Death Star, making them responsible for a horrific large-scale atrocity that we’re being tricked into cheering them on for. I don’t give that one a lot of credence either.

Seriously, I know it’s funny and all when Yahtzee talks about Drake being a racist mass-murdering psychopath but suggesting that is an actual “very valid” reading of the character strikes me as pretty reaching. Yes, I’ve played the games. I’m no more swayed by the argument now than I was the first dozen times I heard it. Or is the idea that we’re supposed to feel sorry for the pirates, bandits, mercenaries, war criminals, and other people who keep showing up to try and kill Drake when he manages to kill them instead? If the problem is “but he kills so MANY people!” then I’m afraid the ultimately unsatisfying answer there is “yes he does, because it’s a video game and people aren’t going to pay $60 for an action shooter where you fight a dozen people throughout the entire thing.”

ReplyReply
mygif
Christian Williams said on March 21st, 2013 at 11:35 am

@ascendance

Hey! We can pick any game out of the EA catalog…

As long as it’s one of 8 games that no one really wants.

*record scratch*

EA finds fun ways to drag out the level of ‘wtf’ on this whole SimCity thing. Also I find it ironic that as a make good for upset customers… they offer ME3. :)

ReplyReply
mygif
Thomas Wilde said on March 21st, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Seriously, I know it’s funny and all when Yahtzee talks about Drake being a racist mass-murdering psychopath but suggesting that is an actual “very valid” reading of the character strikes me as pretty reaching. Yes, I’ve played the games. I’m no more swayed by the argument now than I was the first dozen times I heard it.

I didn’t mention racism, Yahtzee, or sympathy for the victims at all. I’m talking about how the games themselves play around with that interpretation, particularly in the third one with the multiple disturbing revelations about Nate’s childhood. I’ll refrain from spoilers, but everything you learn about Nate in that game forces a serious reexamination of the past two. It’s a lot like the interpretation of Batman where he’s mentally frozen at the age he was when his parents died.

Yeah, it’s a video game and as such you fight dudes, but there’s always something off about any kind of narrative where your main character murders hundreds of people without really reacting to that. There’s a good dose of that with the earlier Tomb Raider games as well. Max Payne dodges that by virtue of being a series about the main character’s psychological disintegration, and by the protagonist not being a wholly reliable narrator. Max is, by the terms of this post, an interesting exercise; he is distinctly a douchebag but he would very much prefer not to be.

ReplyReply
mygif

I’m not arguing that Nate Drake isn’t a douchebag, for the record. I mean, I don’t think he’s close to the top of the “video game douchebag protagonist list.” Compared to someone like Ezio Auditore who, at the player’s behest, can go on an hours-long guard murdering spree followed by a light sprinkle of “those goddamn minstrels” so long as you keep the civilian murder threshold below the “get kicked out of the Animus” radar. Sure, you could always say that’s just Desmond fucking around in the simulation, but the Animus is supposed to be some super genetic memory quantum leap thing, so it’s fair to say that everything that doesn’t get you kicked out, including that time you spent an hour in a haystack pulling guys inside to make a corpse-stuffed clown car, is historically valid.

If you think “oh, this guy’s a douchebag” then okay, I’m willing to accept that’s a valid interpretation, I can see how someone arrives there. Barely-functional sociopath? Sorry, I’m still not buying it. Yes, I’ve played the third one, I know what you’re talking about. I think that the intention was definitely “hey, here’s something that sheds new light on who Drake is,” but I think that then saying “he’s a closet sociopath who’s faking his way through everything” is a very valid interpretation is reaching.

ReplyReply
mygif
Thomas Wilde said on March 21st, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Yeah, Drake’s a genial enough guy that I wouldn’t put him near the top of the list, particularly since that list has guys like Marcus Fenix or Kratos or outlaw-mode John Marston on it.

The disconnect between Drake’s behavior under player control and Drake’s actions in cutscenes, though, is what fascinates me. In the first two games, yeah, you have to chalk it up to video game logic; it’s a game, you shoot mans, and that’s why the Uncharted universe has a bottomless supply of well-armed discount mercenaries with no sense of self-preservation.

In the third, though, you’ve got the plot point that Drake’s entire self-image is a really comfortable lie he came up with as a kid to make himself feel better about his awful life. And it did.

Thus, all those warning signs, like Elena or Chloe or Sully pointing out that there’s really no reason to continue to pursue the relic du jour and Drake brushing them off, Drake’s complete lack of a reaction when Lazarevic accuses him of being as big a monster as he is, his off-again/on-again thing with Elena where she can’t really understand him or his motivations, or that whole museum heist from the start of the third game aren’t just the assorted weirdness that crops up from under-imagined video game plotting: it’s Drake having a bad case of antisocial personality disorder.

(And yeah, I should’ve been more specific than just “sociopath” in the first place. I looked it up and I was misusing the term.)

That doesn’t make the games any less fun for it, naturally, but it’s an interesting reinterpretation of the games’ storyline. Nathan Drake is a story he tells himself to make himself feel better about being an orphan, and because all those nameless mercenaries are just extras, there’s no reason to think twice about killing them.

ReplyReply
mygif

That assessment I don’t have much to disagree with, though I’ll say that I don’t really give much of a second thought to Drake’s lack of a reaction when Lazarevic tries the “we’re not so different, you and I” gambit because Lazarevic is a no-fucking-around war criminal, like they want his ass at the Hague war criminal. If I were Drake the most I’d do is roll my eyes at someone like that because come on, that is a weak sauce play right there.

That Drake is, if we take video game logic at face value, unusually good at killing lots of dudes that still doesn’t make him a monster because at no point in the Uncharted series does Drake kill someone who wasn’t trying to kill him first. He doesn’t even do the Han Solo/Malcolm Reynolds thing where he shoots first/kicks someone into the engine, if you get killed by Nathan Drake then frankly it’s your own goddamn fault.

I’d say Drake’s big overarching motive, which becomes increasingly apparent as the series progresses, is vindication. Throughout the games, you’re right about this, his friends keep telling him “man, are you sure this place even exists?” and then they usually move on to “all right fine, we believe you but that’s enough now, you don’t need to keep going,” but he does need to keep going. If you want to tie it into the backstory we get on him in the third game, look at it this way; Drake knows about the power of a comforting lie. He knows because he’s done that before.

So he could just say “Yeah, I cracked the secret code to the long lost city of Wherever, I don’t need to prove it or anything because I know I’m totally right,” but he’d always have that little nagging feeling in the back of his head that he doesn’t know he’s totally right and his self-assurance could just be another lie he’s spinning to make himself feel better. I think that’s his motivation…he doesn’t really want to be the guy who’s bragging and spinning bullshit without anything to back it up, and so now whenever he has the chance to see this stuff all the way to the end so he can go “See? I told you it was real!” he gets, yeah, a little obsessed.

ReplyReply
mygif

Isn’t it possible to get through most of Uncharted–certainly the most recent installment–without killing everyone? The melee in the third was a great option, and I simply snuck up on many people and choked them until they passed out. I never checked their pulse so can’t confirm they were still alive, but just wanted to point out Nathan Drake doesn’t have to kill everyone.

I wouldn’t have called him a douchebag in the first place, but I’m not sure I know what a douchebag is, exactly. Is it sort of like the difference between porn and erotica, which people can’t seem to define but know when they see?

I get that feeling. I think Drake verges on the cocky side of things, to be sure, but he ultimately cares deeply about the people around him. Though I still can’t see what he sees in Elena. Maybe Cole McGrath from the second inFamous is a good example; I remember giving up that game because his character felt so different from the first game (among several other reasons, not the least of which was the Fire v. Ice characterization, which I found grating).

ReplyReply
mygif

To some people, Peter Parker is an awesome wisecracking superhero. To some people Peter Packer is a snarky dickbag who doesn’t need to keep up a running commentary as he beats up the Shocker again.

Video game character Nathan Drake tosses out quips and wisecracks as he kills people. This is, as stated, a bit at odds with cutscene Drake who generally isn’t doing the constant running quip thing but more the “oh shit, this is bad” thing. To some people, and I can understand this, it’s going to give Drake both something of a split-personality tone as well as making him come across as something like a flippant douche as he shoots a bunch of mercenaries in the face. Also Drake’s character model has the sort of look that a lot of people associate with people they consider douchebags…I think it’s the hair.

It’s pretty clear that Drake cares about the people close to him, we just really only see less than a half dozen of them throughout the game whereas we see approximately 600-700 people who want to shoot him in the face, so it skews the perspective a bit. I think Drake, like a lot of people, has his blind spots and that’s why his relationship with Elena is all over the place…because hunting down these lost cities and treasures is important to him in a way she doesn’t understand but makes perfect sense to him, but like a lot of people he’s oblivious to the fact that it’s not obvious to her and/or is bad at articulating his reasons.

As for Drake and melee: you can sneak up and melee dudes, though I’ll point out that when you do that Drake has a tendency to snap peoples’ necks. Of course, again, these are people who are trying to kill him so that’s somewhat forgivable, if a bit grim. As a counterpoint, though, you can look at the opening sequence of the second game where Drake and his pals are breaking into the museum and the designers very explicitly go out of their way to show Drake using non-lethal melee takedowns and sleepy darts on the museum guards because those guys aren’t trying to kill him and are just doing their jobs.

ReplyReply
mygif
Dr. Creaux said on March 26th, 2013 at 9:29 am

The new Tomb Raider game is fantastic. Very immersive, good controls, and great writing. Highly recommended.

Dr. C

ReplyReply
mygif

[…] A guy I know wrote an interesting post earlier this year about Dead Space 3, and the current tendency in mainstream games to have main characters who aren’t just generic, but who are actively unpleasant. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Please Note: Comment moderation may be active so there is no need to resubmit your comments