Gaming to many is a past time, to some it’s a way to release stress and I think we can all agree that it is first and foremost a source of fun entertainment, well… unless your a glutton for punishment and enjoy merciless death’s at the hands of Dark Souls or Ninja Gaiden. My point is, we place some level of value on these characters we love and cherish.
One of my favorite’s going back to Nintendo of the early 90’s, Super Mario 3, the Raccoon Suit. Modern Rendition: What is it about this guy that was revolutionary? In my opinion there wasn’t any “formula” that was devised but it definitely got the attention of players as being “cute”, “cuddly” and just plain cool! You could also turn into a statue, which enabled you to trick enemies and even absorb fire balls for a short time. This was genius, because it was one of the first, iconic moments in the Mario franchise for defining what a character should be. A flying, armored, Italian bundle of soft trickery!! A tear comes to my eye just thinking back to the good ol’ days.
Speaking of which, it is this timing that defines in us gamers what we hold as appropriate, enjoyed and worthwhile as far as character creation goes. All of my favorite experiences within this topic all fall during my first 10 years of gaming. Whether we are talking about Mario, Mega Man or Final Fantasy, nothing today seems to hold the lasting appeal that my old buddies in 16-64 bit, have.
Understanding this has helped me realize why I crave Mario games and find myself less interested when expectations fall short. An example of this, staying in Mushroom Kingdom, is Mario Sunshine. A nice addition to the series and on an awesome console, the Cube. What happened though… I don’t have the answer, I just couldn’t get into the fact that Mario, a plumber, was now in a bumble bee costume or maybe it was the water jet pack. For whatever reason, Nintendo lost me. From that moment on I started to become disenfranchised from what I grew to love, have any of you experienced that?
Last podcast we talked briefly about what would make us more excited about the Wii U, excited enough to save our hard earned dollars and run down to the store to purchase a new system with due haste. For me it was Mario, a solid, well defined, familiar trip back in time to the old “suit”, the one that captured millions during the 90s.
Just keeping this in your mind, think back to your favorite games…. … pick 6. Got it? Ok, think back to their looks, their physical appeal, their armor or suit if you will. Has anything changed? If so, was it drastic? My thoughts will be that your favorite characters, though potentially different, will still visually remind you of the first time you ran into them and will also embody the same feelings, taking you back for the next game. Some of mine are Raccoon Suit (Mario 3), Mega Man, Bioshock (Big Daddy), Samus (Metroid Prime), Terran Marine (Starcraft II), Dante (Devil May Cry)
A memorable game must have a memorable character and it is that combination that will pave the way for every successful game. Hopefully in the future, franchising IP’s like Mario, Zelda or Crysis “Prophet” - Nanosuit, will carry their weight and remain digital masterpieces for us to remember and enjoy!