Wednesday, April 07, 2010

There once was a Tonberry

As I was playing Final Fantasy XIII this morning, after defeating the last boss and going back to finish the side-quests, I realized a weird paradigm in the system that is indicative of all video games. No not the job change you can do in the game.

At one point you are dumped out into the world and allowed to explore at a whim, if you choose to do so. It's made very clear at this point that this land is only a place where the strong survive, and if you are really freekin' big you are going to live. It's good in theory. The evolutionary history of Earth is one to show that this is true. So you spend the game avoiding the big monsters as much as possible. When you do get the courage to fight the big ones, they're pushovers. Then you sit an ponder "why the hell was I avoiding these things?" and proceed to kill everything in your sight for the next hour or two. It's not until you try to kill the small enemies, the ones that don't reach your character's knees, that you find yourself dead in 5 seconds. If only the strong survive, the why the hell is the world not populated with the small enemies, ravaging on the dead of the big guys? The same could be applied to our situation. The most poisonous animals in the world are small enough for a child to crush with their feet. Which would explain why they do not rule Earth with an iron fist.

So it brings two questions to mind. Why is this prevalent in video games that occur in different realities/dimensions/worlds when they are not meant to resemble Earth? Is this meant to be a kick in the shins to everyone who has picked on the little guy? I'm serious about the second question. When you think about the bully in high school as a giant ass turtle, and the nerd as the Tonberry, knowing full well that turtle is going down, it's sweet sweet justice.

The only conclusion I've been able to draw is that having this dichotomy allows gamers to better envelop themselves into that realm. By having little pieces of Earth in the game that we can identify with, we can jump into the game with ease and not feel alienated by this new planet.

I guess I bring this up because the dialogue in the game is misappropriated. Don't say "only the big survive" when a cactuar runs up, kicks you in the face, and the words Game Over sprawl across the screen. Maybe I'm just venting. I need to stop letting my brain say "run away from the big things" because clearly, that never works and I miss out on good XP opportunities.


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