Oct. 13th, 2016

rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
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!