THEY HURT EASY, BUT THEY NEVER SHOW IT: THE STORY OF THE PROTAGONIST

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October 1, 2012 by misterblank22

John Marston: The Sad One

“I have a son at home and a daughter in heaven”

John Marston’s story immediately starts off sad right as he takes his first step off of the train. He is tasked with killing his old gang members, who are his friends, to get his family back. His son and wife were taken by the government as a way to make John do what they want, sounds just like something our government would do today.

After a few missions of Red Dead Redemption I saw John as fully human. He wasn’t just a piece of code programmed by someone. John was deep and believable with all of his emotions. What John Marston does best is break away from the regular game protagonist that we see these days. John doesn’t want to go around doing the things he is doing and as the player you can sometimes find ways around doing missions horribly bad. Dan Houser, the writer who also wrote every Grand Theft Auto and Max Payne 3, made John a horribly sad character. He never says he is sad; he never cries or lets on that he is torn apart inside apart from some of his conversations especially with Bonnie MacFarlane. There is one quote that proves his sadness; it is to his wife Abigail. “Some trees flourish, others die. Some cattle grow strong, others are taken by wolves. Some men are born rich enough and dumb enough to enjoy their lives. Ain’t nothing fair. You know that.”

John Marston is also respectable, which is a trait Rockstar never makes their protagonists have. Tommy Vercetti from Vice City is a selfish killer only out for cocaine and money, James Earl Cash from Manhunt is the star of a snuff film which is about as evil as you can get. John is everything that is good, well almost he does have his “killer” impulses.

At the very end of the game (spoilers are coming so stop here if you want to ever play this game) John finally gets his wife and son, Jack, back. I thought the game had somehow glitched, the story was over with the only remaining missions consisting of gathering cattle and keeping crows from eating the crops. Jack becomes a central character here though. He loves to read everything he can get his hands on and one day wants to write a book. John tells him that he will have to teach him to read so he can read it if he ever gets it done. By now I thought I had seen every side of John but I was wrong, now came the proud father. He smiled when Jack talked to him, his eyes glowed, and he loved to listen to him talk. That’s when the ending comes. The demons John thought he had left behind were not done with him, they came for him.

Quickly he gets a horse so Abigail and Jack can escape from the men with guns lining up outside his house, the government had lied to him, they were not going to let him go free. He had just done everything they asked him to do but it didn’t matter to them. John peeks out of the barn to see the group of men ready to kill him, he knows he’s going to die and he accepts it. He takes every bullet they shoot at him. He dies in Abigail and Jacks arms.

The only way to remedy this situation was to have Jack kill those men, which you do. The game fast-forwards several years to let you play as Jack and kill these jerks. But to me it doesn’t help, it is just as sad as seeing John lying there dead. Jack gave up all of his dreams; he never wrote his novel or went to school. He became angry which resulted in him ruining his life with revenge. Jack became his father, something his father never wanted anyone to be.

“One of them machines can turn men into angels…” John says to Jack after he is told about airplanes.

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Adam Jensen: The Angry One

“If you wanna make enemies…try to change something.”

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is one of my favorite games. It is written in a way to hold the attention of science fiction fans but hidden deep within it are metaphors of body modification and plastic surgery, basically altering your body. The main question the game asks is are these procedures good, do they make you less of a human if you do get them?

In Deus Ex it has to do with “augmentations” which are mechanical and neural things implanted into a person. For instance if someone is wounded or loses an arm they replace it with a fully functional mechanical one. That is all fine but as that technology advanced in the game people began to just buy new limbs to replace their fully functional ones. Several people get neural implants to improve their knowledge. A side mission has Adam running around helping an Asian hooker who is being pressured by her pimp into getting neural implants to make her perform better. She is against it and her friend wants to help her get out of the prostitution lifestyle before she becomes a mechanical tool.

Adam was and still is completely against these advancements. His girlfriend Megan Reed has created new technology that will take the augmentation offered to a whole new level. She is a scientist for Sarif Industries who is one of the leading manufacturers of these augments.

Sarif industries is violently attacked before she can reveal her discoveries to Washington. Adam, trying to protect her and the company is torn apart by a highly augmented soldier. He is considered dead but Sarif has bigger plans for him. Adam is brought back far from human in a body that is not his or one he even wanted.

Adam is depressed that Megan is gone and that he failed to protect her during the attack. Now he is alone in a strange body being told what to do by David Sarif, the head of Sarif Industries. In a nice side mission you can search for information on Megan’s death for her mother. Depending on the dialogue choices you choose you can be mean to her mother telling her that the loss of Megan has hurt him more than it hurt her. As this mission progresses you find that Megan’s death and disappearance has been covered and corrupted, it gives Adam a slight feeling that Megan may be ok.

He hides his anger and hurt well during the beginning of the game but as it progresses it becomes harder for him to hold his tongue. People get hurt, lies are told to him by everyone. If you decide to be a jerk you can let some key people die out of revenge. Adam was taken advantage of and when he finds Megan the lies only get deeper. Megan used him as a test subject for her new devices with samples of his DNA. What a great girl.

Eliza Cassan, in a strange way, is really the only truthful character in the game. She is a computer program that runs the news. She is a complete lie, she acts human, but her lie is for the good. She can hack into anything she wants to get a great news story; with this ability she helps Adam in various ways to expose the truth.

Adam’s story is full of anger about his situation, or better put the situation he is forced into. Depending on the ending you pick Adam’s story may end well. But he always has a great thing to say on his experience through the game. Here is my favorite ending quote.

“Albert Einstein said: “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of pathological criminal.” Took me awhile, but I finally see his point. How often have we chased the dream of progress, only to see that dream perverted? More often than not, haven’t the machines we built to improve life shattered the lives of millions? And now we want to turn that dream on ourselves, to fundamentally improve who we are. Experience has shown me how dangerous that can be. How many times, in the call of duty, did I almost fall into the trap of taking shortcuts, abusing my abilities or the resources at hand? I resisted – barely at times – because I valued human lives and considerations. But can I truly despise others who fall? Technology offers us strength, strength enables dominance, and dominance paves the way for abuse. Darrow understood this. He knew that using technology to become something more than we are risks losing our ability to love, aspire, or make moral choices – the very things that make us Human. It also risks giving some men the power to make others what they choose – regardless of the cost to human dignity. The suffering Darrow inflicted is not the end of the world. It is merely the seed for change. And change never comes without pain.”

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Big Boss/Naked Snake: The Tough One

“Real heroes are never made public.”

Naked Snake is the dad of Solid Snake, Solidus Snake and Liquid Snake. He was not a playable character until Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater which takes place during the Cold War. I chose Naked Snake over Solid Snake because I feel Naked Snake was stronger than Solid Snake and was also hurt more mentally and physically (Not just because he gets tortured)

Naked Snake is sent into a jungle in the USSR to rescue a scientist named Sokolov who is creating a metal gear type weapon called the Shagohod. In the Metal Gear games these weapons are bad, very bad so America cannot let this technology fall into the wrong hands.

Naked Snake ends up being beaten up and severely wounded by his old mentor and trainer Big Boss, who is working for the USSR, he is later given her name. Naked Snake is shocked, hurt and saddened by these turn of events. How could she have betrayed him and their country in such a way?

After Naked Snake recovers he makes a return to those jungles. Here he meets Eva a double agent working with Volgin from the USSR and the USA. This is where love strikes the tough soldier. But since he is tough and prefers to stay away from people and their emotions this love affair starts off with Eva pursuing it and Snake changing the subject.

Throughout the entire game Naked Snake battles crazy soldiers with strange powers which is in typical Metal Gear fashion. Each boss battle takes a different set of skills to complete. So the ending comes bringing with it an emotional rollercoaster. Big Boss has to be killed, Naked Snake’s mentor. By this point we learn that Big Boss is really working for the US but has to keep all of that a secret to complete the mission.

At the end when Big Boss is defeated she is laying in the field of white flowers looking up at Naked Snake. Big Boss had to die to complete the mission, she had to take her secret with her to the grave, she was a hero that died a traitor. The white flowers surrounding her all turn a blood-red.

This hurts Snake deeply but what adds to it is Eva’s betrayal. After the two escape Naked Snake finally opens up to her and they do what lovers do. When he awakes the next day she is gone with a recorded message she has left lying next to him explaining her betrayal. But Naked Snake does not cry or show any signs of sadness apart from a slouched sitting position.

At the end of the game after he accepts his medals for his service he walks alone to Big Boss’s grave. Planted near her are the same white flowers that surrounded her as she died earlier in the game. Naked Snake lets a tear roll down his check. That is the only emotion he ever allows himself to show.

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