Is Game Character Creation Always A Good Thing?
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Is Game Character Creation Always A Good Thing?

We love creating our own unique characters in modern video games, but what are some of the negative aspects of this option?

Is Game Character Creation Always A Good Thing?

Most popular modern video games give you the option to create your own character from a variety of different options. Your character can be whatever race, gender or body type the player wants. This allows almost any player to shape the hero of the game in their own image and has allowed a wide variety of people the opportunity to see themselves as a hero in a world where other mediums under-represent them. However, this option does have some drawbacks.

One drawback is the lack of overall characterization. Most of these "create your own" characters are often written as generic, blank slates so the player can figuratively graft their own personalities and traits onto them. This, however, still leaves us with a mostly boring protagonist that lacks any distinguishable or unique character traits that make them memorable.

This brings me to another drawback of the character creation model; the lack of iconography. Since the player can craft the character into whatever they want, the character lacks any definitive look that could make him or her iconic. What are some of the most iconic game characters you can think of? Sonic the Hedgehog, Link, Mario, Master Chief, Lara Croft, Samus Aran, Cloud Strife, Crash Bandicoot and Kratos all have memorable character designs and unique character traits (maybe not so much that last one for Master Chief).

If you went to a Halloween party having never played a video game in your life and saw someone wearing a costume featuring a red shirt, blue overalls, a bushy mustache, and a red cap with the letter "M" on it you would probably say, "Oh, he's Mario."

Now if you went to the party dressed up as the protagonist from "Fallout 4" or your personal version of Commander Shepard from "Mass Effect" the only people who would recognize you are fans of the game. You would probably have to explain who you are to everyone else.

This lack of character definition has led many of the protagonists in these games to become nothing more than empty shells. I know that's intentional due to them acting as nothing more than avatars for the player, but it would be nice if we had more definitive characteristics that would make these characters a bit more memorable in the grand scheme of things.

I'm not saying character creation is inherently a bad thing. This option has allowed underrepresented people in media such as various P.O.C. and those within the LGBT+ communities, the opportunity to be the star in a video game. However, I think it would make a stronger statement to have a definitively designed character with unique and memorable character traits also be a P.O.C. and/or a member of the LGBT+ community. Imagine having a character like you who's also iconic and memorable.

The video game world needs more diverse and memorable protagonists in it. It always feels like 80 percent of all modern video game characters are bland white male protagonist #45. While character creation is a good way to combat this, it still feels like a half measure to me. What the video game world really needs is more definitive gay characters, Black characters, Asian characters, Latino characters, characters with physical and/or mental disabilities and trans characters. We need iconic game characters that are as varied and diverse as humanity is in the real world.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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