Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pairing it Down: Mistranslated Heroes

By Kiel Howell

     Come in and sit by the fire as the cold rages outside (at least, here in the USA it’s pretty cold). Listen to a tale about brave men, selfless sacrifice, deception, and love. The Last of the Mohicans is this week’s theme. If you haven’t seen it then you should at least listen to the soundtrack as it is one of the best soundtracks this writer has ever heard.

     So what do we pair down this week? In this column, I’ve gone pretty gaga over story and characters. The games we play are pretty devoid without at least some bit of motivation behind what our characters are doing. Even in games where story is not the main focus, there is still some semblance of an overarching theme. There is also, I’m willing to bet, something the player pictures or has written in their heads for every action they decide their avatar does.

     Perhaps your character is only very broadly defined. The nuances to their behaviors have nothing more apparent than a gruff exterior and tactical acumen. Perhaps they are overly emotional. When it comes down to it, the player has some reason for making their characters they way they are.

     Here’s where I will get straight to the point in this week’s article. Major Duncan Heyward, played brilliantly by Steven Waddington, deliberately mistranslates a key point in Hawkeye’s words and takes his place at the burning stake. The heroic sacrifice. It is a device that is used relentlessly in literature and film but hardly seems to feel cliche. This single act shows truly how good of a person Duncan is despite his earlier actions. It can do wonders for a character who is a heart-of-gold type. It will spark memories for years when a player takes a character he’s lovingly and painstakingly crafted and acted and sacrifices that character for another’s benefit.

     I challenge you, the reader, to relive a memory like that in the comments. Give us a tale or two (or three!) about a time when such and such did something that saved so and so. Keep that memory alive and maybe it will ignite your own character to take that step.

     Until next time dear readers when the wizards tackle The Evil Dead. Remember to shop smart...shop S Mart!

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