Analysing Our Heroes (and Villains)

 

As video games become more realistic, so do their characters. Our most loved protagonists (and antagonists) have to go through a lot! Through them we can observe human psychology and we can use them as a vessel to learn and grow.  

 

Warning!


As we will be discussing important plot points to explore these characters, there will be spoilers.  

 

Sorry, what's the point in this again?


Games are one of the most immersive mediums of entertainment, and they collectively make more money than movies and music put together. Their influence is phenomenal and far reaching. This means that games have a significant influence. They have the power to change public perception, to educate and support, to bring people together. They also have the potential to be damaging - by perpetuating stigma, or communicating damaging messages to their audience. 

At CheckPoint, we strongly feel that acknowledging characters as an analogue for real people is one of the most important parts of narrative design for games. Done right, it can make characters more believable, helping to immerse an audience and create a great story. It can educate audiences about stigmatised issues and change public perception. Done wrong however, it can teach people false biases, and even be personally damaging for people who suffer with the issues that are communicated incorrectly. Click here for more information about representation in games. 

An important step in the right direction is looking at existing characters, what stories they tell and how. This is vital for future planning of character narrative. It's also very interesting! And - I hope - will help players to better understand the characters they love, and how they can relate to them personally. 

So please enjoy. This is all subjective (opinions are of Dr Jennifer Hazel, a qualified doctor trained in mental health and psychology). We welcome comments, contributions, suggestions for more characters and anything else you'd like to get in touch about. 

Character Psychology: Joel, The Last of Us (Part 2)

Character Psychology: Joel, The Last of Us (Part 2)

Hello again! This is part of a character profile series being written to break down stigma and help game fans reach out. Today, we’ll be looking at Joel from Naughty Dog’s 2013 release, The Last of Us.  This is the ...
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Character Psychology: Joel, The Last of Us (Part 1)

Character Psychology: Joel, The Last of Us (Part 1)

Hello all, to anyone unfamiliar with this site, I'm Dr Jennifer Hazel, a psychiatry physician and advocate for the use of technology in mental health care. I'm also a passionate gamer. I write psychological profiles of game characters I find ...
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5 Times Breath Of The Wild Did Great Things For Mental Health

5 Times Breath Of The Wild Did Great Things For Mental Health

The Legend of Zelda has always been an innovative, forward thinking series. Each game for me inspired a new sense of wonder, and productively built on its predecessor to create something unique. Older than I am, and yet seemingly fresh ...
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Squall Leonhart - Final Fantasy VIII

Squall Leonhart – Final Fantasy VIII

Squaresoft Psychology Discussed:
  • Defence Mechanisms
  • Social Anxiety and Generalised Anxiety
  • Attachment Theory
  • Overcoming Personal Obstacles; Growth
Pretty much every character in Final Fantasy VIII has an interesting experience from a psychiatric point of view. They attribute their memory ...
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Cloud Strife - Final Fantasy VII

Cloud Strife – Final Fantasy VII

Squaresoft Psychology Discussed:
  • Social Purpose
  • Defence Mechanisms
  • Dissociative States
  • Personal Growth
Cloud likely represented many people's first encounter with a truly believable and fallible video game character. He begins his journey under the façade of an abrupt and ...
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Lara Croft - Tomb Raider

Lara Croft – Tomb Raider

 Multiple Developers Psychology Discussed:
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Defence Mechanisms
  • Developer's Views
Our much beloved archaeologist and titular raider of tombs has been on quite the journey. Her childhood was marred by significant trauma. This includes the ...
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