Hello there boys and girls and welcome to the first edition of a new segment on Nintendojo that we like to call Staff Stories. Each month we’ll be putting one question to all our Nintendojo staffers and asking them to share their personal stories behind some of their most treasured gaming moments. The topics will always vary and the stories will always (we hope) be at least somewhat entertaining– and if you’re interested in asking us something, feel free to comment below and we may just use it as our next topic.
Today we’re taking a look at video game characters that we most identify with. We’re not necessarily talking about our favorite characters, but characters that we’ve ended up empathising with or whose personalities just seem to be the perfect match for our own. Here’s what we had to say:
If there is one character in video games that I know I can relate to the most, then it’s without a doubt the man in green himself– Luigi from the Mario series. The taller, younger brother of the Mario Bros. has always had a place in my heart as one of my Top 5 favorite video game characters because of this.
Growing up the youngest of three, I was always in the shadow of my two older siblings towards the public. They were outgoing, friendly, charismatic and just plain old more fun. I was the quiet one, the one who didn’t like to draw too much attention to myself but yet wanted to have some attention at the same time. I’d hear constant comparisons to my siblings with people, while meaning well, asking why I wasn’t like them. They would be somewhat upset at the fact that I didn’t really go out and get drunk with people more often or I didn’t really always have a joke to tell…scratch that– I always had a joke to tell, but it was either too clever or too stupid. So there’s that everlasting theme of lack of self-confidence and self-worth that I tend to share with the man in green. It’s not easy when people only think of you as “X’s brother/sister” instead of your actual name.
But I think the biggest reason why I identify with him, yes, even more than the sibling thing, is that he IS his own person. He lives in the shadows and he may wish to be the hero and he would try to be the hero but he does it his own way. He may not have the same kind of publicity and recognition as his brother does, but he is just as much the hero if not more. And it kind of gives me a little bit of hope that even if I may always be in my sibling’s shadows that I can still be who I am and I can still be the hero in spite of everything that tends to hold me back. Yeah, it’s silly to draw things like that from sources like a video game character, but you take them where you can find them.
Having thought long and hard about this question, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no one character whom I can definitely say I identify with. In fact, it’s a whole horde of characters, the emphasis being on that word “horde”. I could say that I empathise with Yuna’s naivety and sense of duty in Final Fantasy X or Neku’s angsty solitude in The World Ends with You (hey, we’ve all been there!), but I don’t think I’d be half so brave in the face of what they have to deal with in their respective games. So instead, I think I probably empathise most with the thousands upon thousands of zombie hordes/goons/expendable bad guys you find in any given game of your choice.
Yep, I’d be the one trying to eat your face.
I’d like to think that I’d be one of the good guys who rises up to conquer all evil, but I’m not going to lie– I’d be a rubbish hero. It’s not that I’m evil (or am I?), but I’d be so useless that I’d probably be the first of many to kick the bucket/get infected/kidnapped or brainwashed if any such world-ending calamity did, in fact, happen. I’m not very good at running, I’m awful at thinking on my feet (especially when said feet are wheeling around frantically in escape mode), “stealth” isn’t a word in my vocabulary, and if the amount of times I’ve died in video games has taught me anything at all, it’s that my chance of survival would be very, very low indeed. So here’s to you, expendable goons– we may not end up saving the world, but at least we can have a good time trying to stop those that do!
It’s hard to identify with just one character from the rich history of video game personalities. If I’m forced to choose one, however, I would say the white mage class from any of the Final Fantasy titles best suits me. I play a lot of MMOs and RPGs, and, without fail, focus on leveling up a healing character in nearly all of them. I think this conscious decision says something about me– something I’ve discussed in great length in my latest article on Dragon Quest X– and I can’t help but believe it ties into my intrinsic desire to help people.
That being said, I’ve never been that person who wants to be in front or hog the spotlight. Despite the fact that I’d like to think I possess many leadership qualities, and tend to thrive in such positions, I actually rather enjoy playing the side-kick, if you will. I used to do a lot of acting when I was younger, and I always went for the supporting role, rather than the lead. There was something enticing about not being in front, and being the character that didn’t receive the recognition they should have. Even in sports, I never liked playing offensive positions; I liked the often thankless job of being a defender. It’s sort of an underdog mentality, but it’s also in my nature to protect and heal from the background, thus I think this lifelong trait of mine comes out in the games I play.
The healing character, in this case the white mage, is very appealing to me because of all this. The art of helping others so that they can succeed really resonates with me at the very core of who I am. I enjoy observing others triumph, their reactions– the excitement and joy of seeing someone achieve what they think may be the unachievable. But, I have to be honest, this isn’t all about altruism– I get something from all of this after all; there’s a secondary gain on my end of the bargain. In this scenario, I enjoy knowing that I was a part of that person’s success. It gives me a sense of purpose, value, and validation. Thus, this dedication to helping another human being overcome any challenge means a lot to me, and is the exact reason why the white mage is the character I connect with the most.
To be honest, I’ve really struggled with this one. As much as I love the huge selection of Nintendo characters, it was very hard for me to choose one that I particularly relate to or identify with. Indeed, things got so bad that I resorted to scouring the Super Smash Bros. Brawl roster for inspiration!
It didn’t help. I’m no good at saving princesses (believe me, I’ve tried) so Mario is out of the question. I’m not heroic enough to say Link, not womanly enough to choose Samus, and I’m definitely not cool enough to compare myself to…Kirby.
So, after much deliberation, I am going to have to go with Ness from Earthbound. Despite the fact that the narrative of this game is incredibly bizarre, he’s essentially just a normal kid. He may encounter giant meteorites, alien life forms, violent hippies and rabid grannies, but he’s never phased and never even breaks a sweat. He just goes quietly about his task of saving the world, always making time for the simple things in life such as eating pizza and asking his dad for money. He is very much the unlikely hero, a humble everyman who I can very much relate to. I do, however, strongly disagree with his choice of headgear!
So now we turn the question back to you, readers. Which characters do you find yourself identifying with the most? It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a reason, but who is it in video games that you feel some sort of kinship towards in whatever way? Feel free to sound off in the comments.
Until next time, this has been Staff Stories. Have a great weekend!