In this post, I want to discuss a character type in the “Coming of Age” genre in film and gaming that I feel is missing. It is because that this type of person is missing, I feel a form of disdain. The Coming of Age genre is where the story revolves around a teen or young adult and their growth as they experience both rewarding and trying times. The purpose of this genre is to reach out and appeal with its younger audience. One form of media that involves a similar structure is a video game called Life is Strange. In the video game, you play as Max, a timid and awkward teenager who also has a lack of self-esteem and at the very start of the game you gain to the ability to turn back time. Max has an old friend, Chloe, who is a rebellious spirit, yet looks out for Max. Several times, Chloe dies in some manner and Max is there to turn back her death and save Chloe. This game was remarkable because it gave players the power to make decisions and then go back in time to change it.
Aside from how well the game’s story was and the game’s character development, I had a major with the game. This issue surrounded the fact that the game did not have a character that I felt represented the type of person I am very well. This is not just with Life is Strange, however, because it is very common for many films and novellas involve the same characters that the video game has. These characters may range from your privileged, brutish jock to your witty and hot-tempered rebels. The reason the genre includes these types of characters because they try to reach every type of personality that a teenager/young adult either relates to or recognizes in their lives. Unfortunately, one of the personality types that I hardly come across is the one I relate to most, the kid that matured too soon.
The best way I can describe the type is by providing some examples from my own life. One example I can best use is from when my parents divorced, it was very hard on my brothers and mother. I had guessed about a year before that they were going to divorce and prepared for the moment, so when it finally happened I was the least surprised by it and least hurt. This also meant that I had to help my mother and brothers the most, because they were not ready for it, so I did my best to not only comfort them, but also help them get past their sorrow. I would hug my brothers as they wept at night and hold my mom when she was still depressed by her feelings for my dad. I took upon myself to take on their problems and be responsible for them. I also begin to feel this towards some of my friends and other family members. I felt responsible to make them better or help them out. I was trying too hard to help everyone else out and help them resolve their problems. At the time, my family had all of us visit a therapist to help us with our issues with the divorce. Every time I spoke with my therapist they would tell me about how I was trying too hard to be an adult and take up issues that I didn’t have to get involved in. I was trying to be an adult for everyone is what they would tell me.
They weren’t wrong and since I was this way I never really felt a connection to many of the characters in the Coming of Age genre since they would focus on the problems teenagers may face, but how those teenagers didn’t take much personal responsibility for it or how they were unable to face it themselves and consider others in the process. For instance, in Life is Strange Chloe is not a mean person, but she is very rebellious and reckless and sometimes puts more than just herself at risk. I remember when people talk about how much they liked Chloe, I would think of how much I disliked her character, not because I disliked her character for the purposes of the plot, but because I knew people like her and how they were always off putting for me. Over all I don’t like much of the genre because many of the characters featured in it tend to be quite irresponsible and infantile and it causes me to feel annoyed watching these very characters.