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Trabia Garden
You May Have Seen A Million Entries About This, But This One Has Pokémon.
For Pete's Sake, Go Away. 
13th-Oct-2016 02:43 pm
I don't know why I've ended up writing such a huge entry on a game none of you have played, but, er, here you go. (The last few paragraphs of the entry still concern Until Dawn but may be of more general interest to people who play videogames.)

I ended up spoiling myself for just about everything in Until Dawn, because I was far too freaked out to keep watching when I didn't know what was going on, and it's amazing how much of a difference it made. Every QTE was terrifying when I was unspoiled; every decision felt like a matter of life or death. Once I'd looked things up, I was absolutely fine; I could just watch and enjoy this story about a group of flawed teenagers in a horrible situation without being constantly on the verge of dissolving into petrified sobs.

In a way, I do regret robbing myself of the opportunity to play the game blind, making my own bad decisions and seeing who survives to the end. On the other hand, even if a first playthrough is probably a powerful experience, I feel it wouldn't be an experience I'd enjoy.

It's really interesting to see the way the game's situation brings out certain qualities in its characters. Mike and Sam are at their absolute best when they and their friends are in mortal peril (even if Mike screws up sometimes). Emily very much looks out for herself, but she's able to stay focused and keep going. Ashley doesn't do well under pressure at all, although, to be fair, she's put in really horrifying situations. You might die! You might not! It's completely up to the person who's weighing your life against something else, and all you can do is wait helplessly!

I think an Animorphs AU for Until Dawn could work really well: it's a similar 'hey, teenagers, here's an awful situation you've suddenly been thrown into, you're going to have to think strategically to not die, good luck!' concept, and I'd love to see how the Until Dawn characters would handle it. Given that there are eight characters involved, though, it'd probably be too ambitious a project for me to attempt.

(Would Mike be the leader? Sam? Maybe Mike's the leader in name and Sam's actually the one who keeps things together.)

I don't think I'll be writing any more Until Dawn fanfiction, although admittedly I thought that after my first Until Dawn fic, and indeed after my second. But I've written 'Mike and Sam are miserable and make out', 'Mike and Sam are miserable and don't make out' and 'Mike wants to make out with everyone (and is miserable)'. Where else can I go? I can't just write endlessly about Mike being miserable, but it's the only thing my heart is interested in.

(I got a review on my Mike/everyone fic that said 'THIS WAS SADDER THAN I THOUGHT IT WAS GONNA BE. ;A;', which I'm pleased with because it is exactly according to my evil plan. The summary is 'Mike Munroe has a lot of attractive friends, and he'd make out with all of them if he could.' Hey, this'll be silly and fun! NO. NO FUN. MISERY. IT'S UNTIL DAWN.)

If I could write sex, I'd probably write a fic where Mike and Sam are the only ones left alive, they're still trapped on the mountain, and they end up banging unhappily because they're probably going to die anyway and it's the only thing they can think of to do. Alas, it's not in my skillset.

I've been skipping around and watching bits of a lot of different Until Dawn Let's Plays, and not just because I could watch Mike cut his own fingers off all day. I really like watching people slowly warm to Mike. He makes such a bad first impression (the first two things he does are 'participate in a cruel prank' and 'jumpscare you'), and I love the way a lot of players gradually progress from 'who's this arsehole?' to 'actually, I'm really invested in this arsehole's survival.'

Something I found interesting: at one point, when ChristopherOdd was playing as Mike, Jessica called to Mike for help. ChristopherOdd commented on 'the sheer terror in her voice, calling out our name'. When you play as Mike, does Mike's name become your name as well? Referring to playable characters in the first person is common enough; if Nathan Drake falls off a cliff when I'm controlling him, I'll usually say that I fell, rather than that Nate fell. Referring to yourself and the playable character together as 'us' isn't unheard of; you might say, 'Come on, Mike, let's see what's over here' (I'd never say 'we fell off a cliff' in the Uncharted example, though). But thinking of the name of the character you're playing as 'your' name strikes me as unusual.

Then again, if you saw me playing Silent Hill 2 and asked what was happening in it, I feel I might say that I'm looking for my wife. I don't know why names are specifically the point at which I feel a barrier falls between me and the playable character.

Are there any studies on when people refer to playable characters in the first person? Does it happen more with customisable protagonists, with silent protagonists, with protagonists that share the player's gender? Does having more than one playable character in the game affect it? (I feel I don't generally use 'I' in Final Fantasy games, for example, where you can usually control the actions of multiple characters.) Does whether the player likes the protagonist affect it? It's a difficult subject to Google, unfortunately. I don't want to know about first-person videogames; I want to know about people talking about videogames in the first person!
13th-Oct-2016 02:41 pm (UTC)
You could write fic about Mike having to deal with having chopped his own fingers off. (Is it all the fingers or just some of them?). Like he'd probably be pretty weak from blood loss, and people would probably be very shocked and concerned, and he'd have to learn how to manage and do things differently, and I don't know how sterile it was escaping from the bear trap so there'd be an infection risk, and I'm not being a good influence, am I? (I actually love your tastes in fiction are what they are. Among other things, it makes me feel better knowing that such a kind, sweet, lovely, fun person can have such dark tastes in fiction.)

You're good at writing stories where sex happens. Like you don't do detailed sex scenes, but you incorporate them into the narrative well.
13th-Oct-2016 02:58 pm (UTC)
It's the ring and little fingers of his left hand! I worked mentions of his finger situation into After, but I don't know if I'd be able to write an entire fic about it. (It was... probably not a very sterile setting, or indeed a very sterile machete, although at least there were medical supplies nearby that he used to bandage his hand. I suppose Mike being delirious after his experiences could be fun. He can't tell whether he's home and safe or he's still trapped in that hellish night.)

Relevant to my rambling about referring to videogame characters as 'us': I just looked up a video to double-check which fingers he loses (or at least that's my excuse). It's a 'trophy guide' video, because APPARENTLY YOU GET A VIRTUAL TROPHY FOR THIS, and the narrator of the video says, 'You get this [trophy] by cutting off your fingers.' You're not making Mike cut off his fingers; you're cutting off your fingers.
13th-Oct-2016 03:01 pm (UTC)
Ah. Between the broken internet in Kinshasa and the international flights (and one impressively good and very long party) I haven't had a chance to catch up on anything long recently.

You get a trophy for it? Wow.
13th-Oct-2016 03:09 pm (UTC)
It's all right; I wouldn't expect you to read my fanfiction for a game you haven't played! (Although of course you are welcome to read it if you happen to be in the mood for contextless misery.) And I definitely didn't fully explore what losing his fingers would be like.

Someone had commented on the video with 'aww it's a silver poor mike', which I enjoyed. Poor Mike; your fingers aren't even worth a gold trophy.
13th-Oct-2016 03:14 pm (UTC)
I'm interested, and hope to check it out when things calm down here. (A friend is getting married, and there's a lot going on.).

I was picturing all of the fingers, which would obviously be more complicated. Although there is a novel I like that has a major subplot around the main character losing a couple of fingers. (He's on a magical quest, and ends up on a beach far away from home where lobster-monsters eat some of his fingers and toes, and he gets a near-fatal infection while questing around with some untrustworthy allies and it's very dramatic.).

How bad would it need to be for him to get a gold?
16th-Oct-2016 12:09 pm (UTC)
It's the ring and little fingers of his left hand

...okay, I know nothing about this game and these characters, but clearly Mike-from-Until Dawn is the next bearer of the Subtle Knife.
16th-Oct-2016 12:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow, he is, isn't he? I suppose world-hopping might seem pleasant and unstressful after a night spent trapped on a mountain, trying (successfully or unsuccessfully, depending on the playthrough) to prevent himself and his friends from dying.
16th-Oct-2016 01:54 pm (UTC)
Perhaps not if he had to fight Metatron and go through literal hell and then leave his first love behind forever? (Yay beautiful fiction with child characters who go through horrible, horrible things.)
14th-Oct-2016 01:57 am (UTC)
I know a lot of otome game players refer to the heroines in the first person, but then, that might be more due to the alleged wish fulfillment aspect. And some of the heroines are dumb as a sack of bricks, hoo boy. In other games with silent protagonists, the only ones I can think of offhand that are usually referred to in first person are the Pokemon games. Which also have a certain wish fulfillment aspect, but not in a marketed way.
14th-Oct-2016 07:33 am (UTC)
I was thinking about the Pokémon games when I was writing this entry! I usually play them as a boy, and I don't name him after myself, but he's still me and his Pokémon are still mine. If I said he just caught a Farfetch'd, I'd sound like a maniac. I caught a Farfetch'd. It's my Farfetch'd.
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