September 14, 2012 by misterblank22
When you put the game you just bought into your console you already have a good idea who to root for, the character you are playing as. Developers almost never put you in the shoes of a bad guy, except in Grand Theft Auto but those bad guys are the good guys of the bad guys. It is the chemical makeup of a good story, good versus evil. There is no story without an antagonist, whether that antagonist is a person in a mask or a tree the protagonist can’t seem to cut down.
In BioShock when you have to beat Andrew Ryan to death with a blunt object I don’t feel any happiness as I bust his face in. I look at a man dying in front of me who built Rapture an underwater city in the Atlantic Ocean for a reason to escape the confines of the surface world. But any place that is filled with people egos clash, vanity kicks in causing friction that later leads to mass killing or war. This happened in Rapture making Andrew Ryan take all the blame. In some warped way he is actually a good guy.
With Andrew Ryan, like with most antagonists, they have a more developed back-story. All bad guys have to prove how evil they are to the player so you want to battle them or kill them. But it brings them to life; it gives them a soul that the protagonist sometimes lacks.
Walter Sullivan from Silent Hill 4: The Room comes to mind immediately. Silent Hill 4 is a hermit’s worse nightmare. Henry the protagonist is a shy 26-year-old who avoids people. One day he wakes up to see his door chained up with “Don’t Go out Walter” on the door. The windows won’t open or break leaving the hermit stuck in the only place he thought was safe. Henry decides he needs a way out which brings him into Walter’s world. His way out appears as a hole in the wall of his bathroom.
Henry the Hermit decides to climb through it to get out of his apartment, which was where he had been running to his whole life not running from. In doing so he falls into Walter Sullivan’s sick little world he created through rituals in hopes of seeing his mother who left him there in Henry’s apartment years ago.
Walter’s story is a very depressing one but completely believable. After he was born in room 302 his parents left him there as an infant, this room became his mom, or the thing he felt loved him the most. The apartment superintendent found him in the room and rushed him to the hospital. But Walter couldn’t catch a break with age. He grew up in the orphanage which would lock the kids there in little cells where they were always watched. Orphans started hanging themselves in those little rooms just to get away.
Walter was never given any kindness or emotion from anyone until he was living on the street. A young Eileen Galvin, a main character later in the game with Henry, see’s a 16-year-old Walter sitting in the subway. She walks away from her mother to give him her small doll out of sympathy, things kids do for people who are down in the dumps. Since Walter never had a mother to give him gifts or a friend he starts to cry when he is given this little doll.
Walter grows up full of rage due to his life. So he falls into the Silent Hill cult, starts slaughtering people and carving numbers into them to reach some sort of happiness through the ancient ritual the 21 Sacraments. He is arrested before he can complete the ritual, he made it to 20 sacrifices. In his cell one night he digs a spoon into his throat completing the ritual. He would have been ok if he stayed away from this cult which fed into his sadness with this one line from their warped book “By the 21 Sacraments, the Holy Mother shall appear in the countries of the world and shall bring salvation to the sinful ones.” All Walter wanted was his mom back so this little line solved his biggest problem.
Years pass with Henry moving into room 302 and Walter’s ghost coming back to the room several times. People start dying with numbers carved into their flesh causing the police to think there is a Walter Sullivan copycat killer.
Henry has to stop Walter but has no idea how. His neighbor Eileen Galvin seems clueless to everything in the world until Walter carves numbers in her too but not to kill her. He see’s Eileen as some sort of innocence due to her giving him a doll several years ago. Walter still carries the doll with him through the game until he gives it to Henry.
At the end Walter is killed, he falls to the floor, raises his hand and says “Mom…” before he dies. At the end of this game I didn’t care if Henry lived or Eileen died all I cared about was Walter, the crazy killer who you have to hate. He was never given a chance to live his life.
I guess I feel for these people, or antagonists because no one is born bad even in fiction. We’re all born a fragile little kid who see’s everyone as good but are influenced by people who can be bad. Lucky for most of us we get more good than bad but some people do not ever see a good thing come their way the whole time they are alive. We’re all little goldfish surrounded by sharks in the sea that may decide to eat us or not. It’s not up to us.