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It is interesting and I find it funny considering the recent trend in this blog about video games, so I think my first ‘non serious’ blog in a while about video games should be rather… interesting.

Now when I say ‘fail’ I am being a bit harsh, Skyrim is a pretty solid video game…just it has one glaring flaw in it.

A remarkable lack of interesting characters given the game is supposed to go on for hundreds of hours of gameplay. Sure some of their arcs might be interesting at first, but then when you get through the game, they get around and prattle on the same nonsense which gets old…fast.

And the main character himself, there is no, or at least very little connection to him (or her.) Granted you can play in a wide variety of ways and do a lot of different things with powers, talents, race, and the morality of your character…but there is no voice. Nothing really distinctive. Only clicking on a set number of options which…in a four hundred hour game (low balling it) these actions rarely matter outside of those quests. They are never mentioned and you usually forget about them or anything else you have done long before you finish the game.

So despite all the scenery, despite all the customization with character and choosing your perks despite the outstanding combat and gameplay, and the adventures you have with your companion…I can only take so much of the game before moving on. And while I want to, and will, finish it one day, it just can never have the same appeal as a Mass Effect or even, occasionally, A Call of Duty.

Which keep in mind stars the adventures of the very vibrant and distinct Soap MacTavish and Price.

To me, this is the one thing that distinguishes good fiction from bad fiction. Or Outstanding fiction from just plain good or descent fiction.

You can have all the epic explosions you want, you can have all the epic plots you need to fill a two thousand page tome, and all of this stuff does have a place and could be considered ‘good’ but without truly deep characters that cause you to care about a universe or a genre, it cannot truly stand.

Which is something that a lot of people continue to talk about. People rarely tout the Original Star Trek for its stellar plots and outstanding cinematography…but yet the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy is remembered and still revered to this day.

I do not care about Babylon 5 so much because JMS was able to create a complicated plot line which he wrapped up in a satisfying matter. I care about the characters that went along for this ride, and a deeply personal narrative where all of them had their own narratives, their own stories, their own personal problems and weaknesses that got you to sympathize with them, and yet when most of them overcame their weaknesses, or adapted to them, you were there to share in the triumph.

This is how you create great fiction, this is how you get someone to care, not by giving someone a bunch of meaningless options where no one really cares but through a deeply rich and personal narrative to explore. Not by having the characters say the same damn thing for most of the game, but by giving them unique reaction and arcs to what is going on. Not to make bland cardboard cut outs, but characters with problems, issues, that you can overcome.

If you can do this, you can make a story come alive.

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