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Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The Everyman And The Action Hero
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamasutra recently posted an article examining the limitations of computer games as a platform for crafting a rich background for player controlled characters. The article suggests that many of the storytelling conventions which work well for novels are hard or impossible to implement in a game environment. This problem results in a narrow selection of main character archetypes, a lack of depth, and limited background stories.

And yet one of my all-time favorite games is the RPG Fallout, which spins its own version of an unknown hero in unfamiliar territory. There are some key differences, however. First, there is a sense of a safe home, and second, in a sense, you know exactly who you are. Home is an underground bunker, which has been sealed away from the world ever since the nuclear holocaust. But the bunkerís water-purification chip has failed, and somebody will have to venture outside and find a replacement. And that someone is you.

The feeling of wide-eyed naivetť as you step into the hot sunlight of the radioactively transformed surface-world feels natural and earned. The game simply and gracefully has given you an everyman character to play, and a plot with the urgency and drama to make it work. You are a messenger on whom lives depend, and, as you learn more about the looming threats lurking in the wasted world above, a potential savior. (The point belongs to some other article, but the familiar Mad Max setting makes your immersion into the world that much easier.)

In other words, Fallout doesnít avoid back-story and character definition at all. Instead, the player character is properly defined by the circumstances of the story, a perfect everyman. Situation is everything, and Fallout isnít just a good beginning. By largely eschewing simplified morality (you donít have to be a good guy, and most of the people in the game arenít stamp-mold bad guys), these interactions become more real and meaningful than in almost any other game Iíve played.
The rest of the feature article is available at the link provided below.

The Everyman And The Action Hero: Building A Better Player Character

Other Mac Games News for Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword Previewed6:00 AM
Hands On With Pirates Of The Caribbean Online6:00 AM
The Broken Hourglass: Dynamic Creature Generation6:00 AM
• The Everyman And The Action Hero6:00 AM
The Half Broken Crown: The Broken Kingdoms Announced6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, May 29, 2007 on one page

Mac Games News for Monday, May 28, 2007

Blizzard Sues Gold Farming Company6:00 AM
The Restaurant Game Serves Up Universal Binary6:00 AM
The Sims 2 Pets Reviewed6:00 AM
The Sims Coming To The Big Screen?6:00 AM
Widget Monkeys Updates Widgets6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, May 28, 2007 on one page

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