Games, Talk, and Whatever Else

GOTY 2016 – New Characters

Game of the Year 2016 – Charlie Hunter

2016 has been over for a little while now, but I just now got around to writing all of my thoughts of video games in 2016.  So I am posting all of my thoughts in five installments.  This fourth one is a list of my favorite new characters.


The Games of 2016 – New Faces

Characters can make a game, and we had some really good ones this year.  I wanted to take some time to call out some great characters that made their debuts in 2016.  This is an unordered list, because I just couldn’t pick.  Some of these may end up sounding a little vague, so maybe I’ll do a full spoiler version later that gets into the nitty gritty of each character’s arc.

Warning: There may be some mild spoilers.  I’ll be touching on plot setups and character qualities and struggles.  It is pretty hard to talk about why these characters are great without going into details, but I’ll try.


Alex – Oxenfree

Alex, the player character in Oxenfree, is a high school student who winds up on an abandoned island with a group of friends for a night of shenanigans.  And after some beachside campfire truth or dare, and a cave investigation, things start to get really weird.  Alex is smart and cool.  She responds to social drama with nonchalance, but takes things seriously when she thinks the situation requires it.  And the mystery on the island forces her to face both outward enemies and inner demons.  In any medium, it can be really hard to make a fantastic lead character that shines.  That goes double for video games, where the lead character has to be somewhat open for the player to project themselves into the character.  But Alex somehow manages to have it both ways – to be clearly defined and yet variable enough to give the player ownership of the experience.


Delilah – Firewatch

Henry has experienced some real pain, and also caused pain to others, and he knows that part of it is his own fault because of how he has handled events in his life.  And finally overcome by guilt, he runs away from his problems and heads to the Wyoming wilderness to take a job as a firewatchman in Shoshone National Forest.  This is where he meets Delilah, his boss from the next tower over (several miles away), and companion only in voice, over the radio.  Delilah is able to understand Henry in a way that no one ever has before, because she has been doing the same running away Henry is doing, but for over a decade.  Delilah is sarcastic and funny, but it seems that is to hide her fragility.  As Henry learns more about Delilah, he is able to see through her initial confidence starts to find pain and regret.  The decisions and actions Delilah makes throughout the story reveal that she is terrified to face her past.


Lillie – Pokemon Sun/Moon

Lillie is a companion of the player character as they journey around Alola on their island challenge.  She is somewhat mysterious at first, and doesn’t reveal much about herself, other than that she is caring for a strange little creature named Nebby that she keeps in her duffle bag and is somehow connected to the Alolan deities, the Tapus.  Lillie is dainty, but determined to care for Nebby.  She initially seems overwhelmed by the thought of battling Pokemon, but after experiencing the struggles of the journey, her resolve is strengthened and she ends up playing a huge role.


Rafe Adler – Uncharted 4

Rafe is a smarmy little weasel who is after the treasure of pirate Henry Avery.  He inherited his parents less than legal business, but wants everyone to realize that he is his own man.  Rafe wants the treasure and he wants to be the one to find it.  And he definitely doesn’t want to hear about how great Nathan Drake is.  Rafe is obsessed and is willing to do anything to get what he wants.  And he’s a total jerk, and I just want to punch him in the face.  There is such a fine line between Rafe and Nate, and the way Uncharted 4 shows both their similarities and differences makes for one of video games’ best villains.


Sam Drake – Uncharted 4

Nate’s long lost brother Sam shows up on Nate’s door after 15 years of Nate thinking he was dead.  Nate is out of the adventuring game, but Sam is in desperate need to find the treasure of pirate Henry Avery in order to get him out of a bad deal he made with a South American crime boss.  So Sam and a conflicted Nate set out to find the treasure.  Sam is a little shifty, and his insistence to leave Nate’s wife Elena out of the loop on the treasure excursion puts Nate in a bind.  Sam causes problems for Nate on their adventure together, but he grows a lot on the journey, and also is the catalyst for Nate to really grow, too.

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