作者：Whachoo Talkin Bout Willis
在许多电影中都能找到许多我所喜欢的角色，并且每个角色都赋予了故事特殊元素；不管是《恐惧拉斯维加斯》里的Raoul Duke还是《超级坏》里的McLovin。但是我一直以来最最喜欢的电影角色还是《浪漫风暴》中的Clarence Worley。
《浪漫风暴》中包含了许多有趣的角色，并聚集了Gary Oldman以及Christopher Walken等优秀演员。但是不管怎样Christian Slater所扮演的角色才是我最喜欢的。我并不是欣赏他的演技，我们只是单纯地喜欢这个历经种种事件而发生改变的天真的漫画书店员工。
在获得虚构的好友“猫王”的建议后，Clarence决定前往Alabama的公寓，将她的财物从皮条客Drexl Spivey（游戏邦注：由Gary Oldman所饰演）手中抢回，并告诉对方他们两两不相欠了。Drexl并不会轻易放他走，于是便展开了一场搏斗。更应该说是攻击而不是搏斗，Clarence未持有任何武器，不过他机智地推翻了各种物件，并最终杀了Drexl及其手下而带着Alabama的手提箱逃了出来。
《浪漫风暴》其实也就是影片名所描线的这样，这真的是现代生活中的爱情故事。由Tony Scott导演，Quentin Tarantino编写的这部电影中充满了各种机智的对话以及丰富的想象。而众多一线演员的参与也大大增添了这部电影的吸引力。
我所喜欢的另外一个角色便是《四个房间》中的Bell Boy，由年轻演员Tim Roth所扮演。在电影中，这个角色的台词并不多，几乎每一次的交流都是通过肢体语言和脸部表情所完成，不过他偶尔会发出一些吱吱声。就像Clarence，我们对Bell Boy的初印象也是一个无辜，友好且害羞的形象，说话总是结结巴巴的，但是一到晚上他就会变成另外一个人，开始对付那些不守规矩的小孩，性饥饿的女巫，充满嫉妒心的爱人们，麻木的妓女等等。贯穿整部电影，他的自信在不断提升着，他的行走方式也从大阔步变成最后的优雅跳跃。他的话变得越来越多，他变得不再害怕说话并敢于做自己想做的事，不过他也仍保留着工作所需要的良好服务态度。
Elements of Game Design Part 3: Character
by Whachoo Talkin Bout Willis
As I’ve mentioned so many times before, games have come a long way since the days of Pac-Man and Pong, and as the technology has advanced, the need for more in depth, captivating characters has become just as important as any other element of the game.
It’s no surprise really that this is such an important aspect when you think about the history of the entertainment industry; the importance of a good character has been evident for hundreds of years in books, and more recently in films and television. As you may or may not know, I’m not a big reader, and the games I tend to play have very little in the way of characters or even storylines, so for this post I will be discussing my favourite characters from movies.
When I think about what makes a good character for me personally, I’d have to say that the ones that interest me the most are the ones I can relate to. If I can somehow empathise with a character, I’m more likely to be gripped by the rest of the story. I think the one thing that never fails to catch me is when a story involves siblings. Being one of three sons, I have a strong bond with my little brothers and would do anything for them, the idea of losing one of them or falling out out with them is unthinkable to me. There aren’t many films that hit me emotionally, and although I’ve never cried at a film, there are two movies that bring me close every time I watch them, and before you guess… Bambi isn’t one of them!
The first film that brought on this unusual wave of emotion is a Korean film called “Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War”. It’s the story of two South Korean brothers, Jin-tae and Jin-seok, who go to war when North Korea invaded in 1950. They are placed in different regiments but end up fighting side by side later in the movie, until they are captured by the opposition and taken as prisoners of war. Chaos ensues and the the prison is bombed by South Korea, Jin-tae is knocked concious and awakes believing his younger brother to be dead in the fire. He becomes consumed with the guilt of not protecting Jin-seok, which turns into a deep hatred for his own country and desire for revenge, but unbeknown to him, his little brother had been rescued by a fellow prisoner.
Time passes and Jin-seok moves up through the ranks of the South Korean army, while Jin-tae does the same for his new allies. Both believing the other to be dead, the brothers have nothing to live for and often go on rampages, fighting without fear (although Jin-seok clings to hope that his brother is still alive somewhere).
The film culminates with the two brothers meeting face to face, against all odds, on the battlefield. Jin-seok instantly recognises his brother and breaks down with joy and confusion, but Jin-tae is almost like a robot. He’s a complete shell of the man he once was, brainwashed by his thoughts of retaliation and vengeance so much that he doesn’t even recognise his younger brother and attacks him. Jin-seok refrains from fighting, trying to tell him who he is, but this just fills him with more rage as the scene goes on. Eventually the elder brother has his sibling grounded, still begging him to recognise him, and stabs him with his bayonet. The soldier is seconds away from death yet he still refuses to fight, still shouting the familiar name to Jin-tae, which makes him visibly confused. The wounded soldier then produces a silver pen from his pocket, which was given to him as a present from his older sibling. This small object breaks Jin-tae and he realises this is infact his little brother who he thought he’d lost.
With the North Korean soldiers advancing on their position, Jin-tae seizes the opportunity to save his younger brothers life, mounts a turret and turns it on his own soldiers while Jin-seok runs to safety. The scene ends with Jin-tae looking back and smiling at the distant image of his brother escaping as a blizzard of bullets fly through him.
The final scene is breathtaking, and full of every kind of emotion going, but its the flashbacks and back stories that make that scene so much more powerful. Seeing where the characters came from, clips of their day to day lives and special moments between them (such as the gift of the pen) make these two all the more relatable. The way the world is these days, a war could probably break out at anytime, and this film really got me thinking “what if me and my brothers were drafted against our will like Jin-tae and Jin-seok?”. I know things would never turn out the way they did here, but just the thought of my siblings being in that sort of environment hits me every time I see the film. And its based on a true story! Powerful stuff!
The other film that can almost reduce me to a quivering wreck, is Warrior. These aren’t your typical “cry baby” films I know, and I highly doubt most of the girls I know would shed a tear to either of them, but its just how they affect me. Warrior is about two Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters, who are seemingly from opposite ends of the scale. The first one, Brendan, is a college physics teacher, husband and father who is struggling to pay make enough money to support his family and so decides to take part in low level amature MMA competitions, something that he endured when he was younger. The second character, Tommy, is a mystery who unfolds as the story goes on. We know that he is young, angry and fearless, but not much more than that to begin with. This is a nice approach to a character, mystery keeps us watching/reading/playing and we begin to build up our own ideas about them.
Tommy almost accidentally falls into the MMA scene after a bar fight knockout goes viral on the internet and is approached by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to feature in their upcoming “Sparta” tournament; a competition pitting the best of their semi-professional fighters against each other for a grand prize of $5,000,000. Brendan begs his trainer to enter him into Sparta but his request is repeatedly knocked down. By a stroke of luck, his trainers first choice entrant is injured and the opportunity falls to Brendan.
It is only then that the viewer finds out that the two men are infact brothers, separated by feuding parents as young adolescents. Tommy resents his older brother Brendan for leaving him to look after their sick mother, which eventually left Tommy to fend for himself, and going down all the wrong roads in life without his older brother to protect him, while Brendan got educated and lived the american dream. Ultimately, their separation and lives thereafter was the fault of the parents problems, but through Tommy’s jealousy and hatred, he see’s Brendan as the cause.
The tournament proceeds with Brendan as the underdog, struggling his way through the rounds, and shocking everyone in the process. Even though he is older and less experienced than a lot of his opponents, his passion and desire spurs him on. Tommy is a machine, and powers his way through his matches with very little standing in his way. As you can imagine, the two brothers end up facing each other in the final, with only each other standing in the way of a life changing amount of money. Much like in the previous film, Brendon refuses to fight his younger brother. He loves Tommy no matter what and won’t hurt him. Tommy on the other hand is still scarred by his abandonment and goes in full pelt. Eventually his elder has no choice but to try and get Tommy to submit; in theory ending the fight with the least possible damage, but he refuses to tap and Brendan ends up snapping his arm.
Tommy refuses to give up, still driven by hatred, even though he’s in a bad way. The match ends with Brendan forcing another submission move, all the while telling his younger brother that he loves him and he’s sorry. He finally breaks and taps out. Brendan is declared the winner but doesn’t celebrate, instead he tends to Tommy, calling for medics and helping him to his feet. A clearly broken Tommy has his arm raised by his brother in victory and the two help each other to exit the arena. Their differences sorted and their bond rekindled.
I’ve told the short version ’cause I’m aware I’m rambling as usual, but again, these characters and their individual stories make the film extremely moving for me and grip me completely from start to finish.Its another film that makes me think “what if that was me and my brother?”. Now I can guarantee you that neither of us would ever be in that exact situation, but we could one day be pitted against each other, maybe after some kind of huge arguement that ends up with us wanting to punch one another? I don’t think my brother could do anything to make me hit him… but I doubt he’d think twice before smacking me if he really had too! No I’m joking, he’s got a heart of gold but he’s strong minded and he doesn’t back down from people if he knows he’s right.
I have many favourite characters in many many movies, each and every one brings their own special element to the story; from Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, to everyones favourite geek, McLovin’ in Superbad. But my all time favourite movie character has to be Clarence Worley in True Romance.
True Romance is packed with interesting characters, and shows what is arguably both Gary Oldman and Christopher Walken’s best acting performances. However, its Christian Slater’s character that I hold highest. Not because of the acting, I mean, its hardly an oscar worthy performance (unlike the previous mentioned actors) but simply because of the way we’re instantly made to fall in love with this sweet innocent comic book store worker, who we see transformed over a series of events throughout the story.
Clarence is a twenty-something single guy who has two loves in life, Elvis and Kung Fu movies. Every year he visits the cinema alone on his birthday for a Kung Fu movie marathon. This year he bumps into a beautiful young woman named Alabama, who also loves Elvis and Kung Fu movies! They hit it off and fall in love over night, but Alabama has a confession to make, she was hired as a prostitute by his friends in order to ‘bump into’ Clarence and make his birthday special, but she fell in love with him, for real.
After some advice from his imaginary friend, Elvis, Clarence decides to visit her flat and take her belongings from her pimp, Drexl Spivey (played by Gary Oldman), and to politely tell him that she quits. Drexl’s not the kinda guy that just lets people walk away from him and a fight breaks out. More like an attack than a fight, Clarence is unarmed but quick witted and thus manages to overturn the the odds, killing Drexl and his men and grabbing Alabamas suitcase.
One of the only disappointing aspects of True Romance is that Drexl doesn’t feature in the movie longer. He’s a complex character who you can’t take your eyes off from the moment he appears on the screen. He’s an ethnically confused, drug dealing pimp and he’s rotten to the core… which makes him fascinating to watch.
Back to Clarence though! So he grabs her suitcase and flees to his new love, only to find that the suitcase is actually full of 100% pure cocaine. The rest of the movie consists of the the two lovers attempting to sell the drugs to a top Hollywood director in order to runaway and live a dream life together, all the while being hunted down by the Sicilian Mafia (headed by the amazing Christopher Walken).
The best thing about watching Clarence’s plight is seeing how the events that take place change him and how he never once gives a second thought to the reason he’s doing it all. He’s a man consumed by love and it drives him to do crazy, but necessary things so he can live the rest of his life with Alabama.
True Romance is just what it says on the tin; a true modern day love story. Directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Tarantino, the movie is laced with clever dialogue and powerful imagery. Add to this the insane amount of A-list actors and actresses, this is a movie that almost shouldn’t even be able to exist… but it does! Every character is brought to us with amazing performances, any of which is worthy of being the star role in the show. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it now!
Another favourite character of mine (and I promise this is the last one), is the Bell Boy in Four Rooms, played by a young Tim Roth. The character has very little dialogue throughout the film, and almost every bit of communication is made through body language and facial expressions, although he occasionally lets out a little squeak or a “hmmph”. Much like Clarence, the Bell Boy that we first meet is very innocent, friendly and shy, constantly twitching and stammering any time he attempts to speak, but as the night goes on and he has to deal with unruly children, sex starved witches, jealous lovers, dead hookers and coked up Hollywood stars we see him finish his shift as a new man. His confidence grows throughout the movie, his twitch loosens and his walk changes from brisk regimental stride to a suave dance that glides across the floor. He talks more and more, no longer afraid to say or do what he wants, whilst somehow retaining the aspect of good customer service that his job requires.
This is another movie packed with great characters, and some interesting acting too. It’s no True Romance, but I’d definitely recommend it to anybody looking for a good all round visual pleaser!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that without all these beautiful characters, these would just be another interesting story to me, nothing special; it’s the characters that make these movies so great to watch again and again, and the same goes for game characters. A game can look and feel amazing, but if the characters dont grip you, you’ll probably never pick it up again.
Elements of Game Design Part 4: Environment
So here it is, the final chapter in Elements of Game Design; this time I’ll be rambling about Environments. As with every other aspect covered in this series, environments in games have become more and more important as technology has progressed. The first game I probably ever played had a very early form of environment; Super Mario Bros on the NES.
As with most games of its era, this was a side scrolling platform game, in which there was very little room to explore. Your path was set, and unlike some other games of its type, you could only move forwards ie. once the screen had scrolled across there was no going back (unlike Sonic).
Games pretty much stayed that way for a long time after too, even the uprising of first person shooters like Doom, Quake, or even as late on as Golden Eye. I mean, there was more to the environment than their predecessors, a lot more infact! The graphics at the time seemed almost photo-realistic and I remember spending a lot of the time whilst playing these games just looking around at the textures of assets. Little did I know the best was still to come (and probably still is).
The first game I really remember feeling like I was free to explore was either Mario 64 or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Both games had their limitations and the path, although somewhat less closed as previous games, was still quite restrictive. Both games had their boundaries.
Mario 64 was an amazing step up from the rest of the series. Nintendo took the bold step of changing a winning formula (platform scroller) and moved into the 3D world. Full 360 camera angles, and the ability to go up, down, left, right and diagonal. My mind was officially blown with this one! As you’d expect, the whole environment was 3D, which meant there were various different routes to travel from A to B. It featured mountains and molehills and everything in between, and you could pretty much jump on and off of everything around you. It was a real breath of fresh air and shaped the way for games to follow.
I think the first real game that I truly enjoyed exploring more than playing was Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed. The environment was based on middle age Jerusalem. It looked like a real life setting for Disney’s Aladdin! The level of detail these guys had gone into was incredible; every building was interactive, every asset infact. You could run, climb and jump of every piece of architecture. And it was so beautiful too!
I spent most of my time on this game just going out to the furthest reaches and climbing spires so I could just look over the in game world.
Again, sadly, this game had its limitations, and you often got stopped by invisible walls. The environment itself, although initially breathtaking, was somewhat repetitive (as was the gameplay). Nonetheless at the time it really pushed the boundaries of game environments and therefore deserves a mention.
The last game I want to talk about is a popular one on our course; Elder Scrolls V – Skyrim. This is another game where the environment literally took my breath away.
It really is unrestricted too (kind of). You can walk or ride to the ends of the world, through forests, mountains, villages, rivers and lakes and features every cycle of weather possible. The whole day and night cycle is really nice too; Bethesda really managed to create a convincing virtual world with this one!
The map is huge too! Infact, I’ve played roughly a thousand hours (most of which was just exploring) and I’ve still not covered every inch of the map! I’m probably only a third through the storyline too, but that didn’t matter to me cause I just love exploring more than anything.
A term I heard in one of my colleagues presentations earlier this year (based on Far Cry 3) was “Virtual Tourism”, and thats essentially what games are becoming. Virtual worlds that are so realistic that they let you experience the beauty of faraway worlds at the click of a button. Its almost becoming more exciting to roam these worlds in awr of their beauty, than to play the actual storylines themselves. But games are essentially what you make of them.(source:blogspot)