Wasted Effort: The Application Of Children In Video Games

When I see a child in a video game, I feel what is palpable to a knee-jerk reaction and get in a sour mood. This shouldn’t be what occurs, yet my experience of children in video games has generally been abysmal with only a few select experiences to the contrary. This shouldn’t be the norm, but the sad fact is that this is what has become of children in video games.

Rarely are children presented as anything other than their sole negative points in video games. They whine, need protection, don’t listen to what you say and are often rude brats or, for lack of a better word, crybabies. While all of these things can be attributed to children, it is wholesomely unfair to put anything in a consistently negative light, especially if that is the only window we get. I don’t get to figure out why they are so condescending and mean to people for no reason, I see only the end result and never delve any deeper. While I can see that from one perspective children are the easiest to put in as the “weak and need protecting” role, it almost always seems to exist for only that reason, and that is such a waste.

In a PS3 port of a game known as Tales Of Graces F, I found myself in a city covered in snow and smog, an industrial land that barely supports itself. In this town I found a child whose mother had not been home in a while due to work and was suffering from a bit of an illness, nothing terminal just feeling a bit under the weather. You gain a side quest to bring this girl plushie toys that can be found throughout the game world and make feel a bit better. This has stuck with me so strongly even after a good year or so from touching the game, it strikes at the emotional desire to protect and care for someone who needs it. While this didn’t have to be a child, it benefits in my mind from doing so, I’m more open to kindness to a child suffering than a adult, it is just in my nature.

There will always be our Walking Dead Clementine kids, our glimmers of innocence in a dreary world. They bring out our desire to nurture and protect those who don’t deserve to be exposed to the harsh realities of the world. But does it always have to be symbolic of something bigger? I found that collecting those plushies for that sick little girl was the greatest thing I’d done for another person in video games for the longest time. After being around the children in Skyrim who bring out the murderous side in me, seeing an opportunity like this made me feel joyous about the inclusion of a child in the game.

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A incomparable curiosity, finding tremendous joy in the simplest thing, reminding us of our sweeter and weaker times, children display all this and so much more, to the point that this post would border the thousand word mark, a mark I tend to avoid if I can. I have always loved children, we get along so well and I get such a warm feeling smiling back at them or hearing them giggle. The positives that an infant can bring seem to be glossed over so often in video games and to a certain extent most media. Not everybody likes children or wants children & that is fine by me, but don’t ignore the positives of frankly anything because you don’t like it or vice versa.

Anybody got some nice thoughts or memories to share game related or otherwise about time with children? I’d love a look into what makes other people adore them, I already know why I do! Thanks for the read!

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  1. #1 by ryz0283 on November 4, 2014 - 8:51 pm

    Ellie in The Last of Us is a great child character. She is a fully fleshed out character in her own right, but she still displays her vulnerabilities, and a parental instinct kicks in to protect her and guide her. It’s so well done because you spend such a large amount of time with her that the game is able to flesh her out as a fully rounded person, so your care and affection towards her develops naturally and doesn’t feel forced.

    Like

    • #2 by Prof.mcstevie on November 4, 2014 - 9:31 pm

      I haven’t played it myself, just finished watching a full Lets Play of it and waiting for them to move on to the DLC. Oddly enough while I do get the appeal she has, stupid things like whining about not having a gun and not even thinking to mention the stuff like army training or asking for a chance to practice on say inanimate objects bugged me.

      She may have grown up in post apocolyptia, but she still can’t gather her thoughts well enough and realise whining is the LEAST likely thing to persuade someone, it would generally just rub me the wrong way, but I know if I was in Joels position I probably woulda lost my temper.

      Like

  2. #3 by Jack on November 3, 2014 - 3:25 am

    Reblogged this on Tome and Tomb and commented:
    Tru dat

    Like

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