The Big Bad: Basics of Videogame Villain Design

(Disclaimer: I don’t own any well known content that might appear)

How is a good videogame villain designed? This is the question that is going to be answered. Some of this is going to be very rudimentary stuff, and one can go a lot deeper if they really want to study this. Smart people have been making great villains for a long time. However, it is surprising how many games would benefit from applying some of the most surface level rules of villain design. Depending on the game being made, it is generally going to have one of two villain types. They are the mechanic villain and the narrative villain.

The mechanic villain is there to drive the action. They give the reason to use the game’s mechanics. These are characters like Bowser from Mario, Ganon from The Legend of Zelda, and Dr. Wily from Mega Man. These villains don’t need to be very complex. Functionally, they are more of a final boss then a character.

The important part of these guys is that the player feels good about challenging them. The player using all of their skill with the game’s mechanics should feel that, within the game’s narrative, what they just did could not be done by anybody with less skill than them. This is often why game designers resort to unknowable aliens or supernatural evils bent on humanity’s destruction. Continue reading

Darkness in the Game: Short Circuit (chapter 1)

Chapter 1: The Plan

Once in a lifetime, there is a time you feel like something is out to get you. Well, that something has happened to Brent Stevens. One sunny, warm afternoon, Brent Stevens was sitting on his beanbag chair in his bedroom playing his Xbox. Brent was shooting aliens, killing zombies, just about everything a fifteen year old boy enjoys in video games.
In the midst of his action-packed shooter, his mother called, “Brent, your father and I are going to the grocery store. Do you want us to get anything for you?”
“No, thanks,” Brent answered, never taking an eye off of his game.
“Alright, we’ll be back later,” Brent’s mother called.
“Okay,” Brent replied, again never taking an eye off of his game. About ten minutes went by and it was complete silence, aside from the sound effects from the game. Then, something strange happened. The T.V. screen was replaced by a bunch of static. The ground began to rumble, shaking the whole house aggressively. Then, in a blink of an eye, the power went out. “Are you kidding me?” Brent yelled. There was silence. “Are you kidding me?” Brent repeated, angrily. This time, there was an answer, but the voice wasn’t human.
“No. This is enough. I will not be used as entertainment anymore,” the voice said.
“What? Who are you?” Brent asked, horrified. “Show yourself.”
“Alright. Here I am,” the voice replied. “Look down.” There on the floor, was where the voice was coming from. Laying on the wooden floor of Brent’s bedroom, was Brent’s Xbox.
Brent laughed, “this is a joke, right?”
The Xbox stared at him. “No. This is not a joke. This is the beginning of a new ruler of Earth…”
Brent looked at the Xbox with confusion.
Xbox gave Brent a stern look. “Technology. Technology will erase everything there is about humans and wipe them off the face of the Earth.” The Xbox looked down, then right back at Brent. “Hey, if you help me, you can stay on Earth and rule with us. Are you in?”
Brent looked back at the Xbox in disgust. “You’re insane. That will never happen.”
“But it is happening, Brent. The human race is going to be wiped out in 3 days from now. You can’t stop it, Brent. No one can. So, what do you want to do? Join me and live? Or back down and die, along with all of the others?”
Brent hesitated. “I, uh…”
“When you figure it out, I’ll be at Just Press Play,” the Xbox said. With that, the Xbox walked out of the room without another word.
In a few minutes, the power went back on, the T.V. screen turned on, but all it showed was a dark screen. That’s what the Xbox was. Dark. Brent looked at the screen, then out the window at the Xbox, then back to the screen. “Dark. The Xbox is dark,” he said aloud. “I know what I have to do. I have to destroy my Xbox.”

Where I’m From

I’m from Lancaster County.

I am from Germany and Ireland.

I smell the farms throughout the county.

I am Washington Boro Park.

I am Susquehanna River.

I am my living room and my bedroom.

I am my family. My dad, my mom, my aunt, and my two sisters.

I am pop music.  Gotye and Adam Lambert.

I keep my memories in my head and on pieces of paper.

I am mashed potatoes, burgers, french fries, and Ramen Noodles.

I am Nintendo.

I am video games and Nintendo Wii.

I am books.

I am reading.

I am me, and I am where I’m from.