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Questioning vs Tropes 2: Part 4 , Death - Destructoid

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A qualified Environmental Chemist who happens to live in a fairly dense city with no real environment or chemistry industry.

I review indie games on another blog and you'll see them pop up here if I think the review is a good or interesting one (along with a shameless bit of self promotion)

I also operate another blog reviewing films and I mean t pick that back up when I can.

I've been gaming since the SNES days. I've been in the pro scene before for tribes 2 but hate the present pro scenes and have no interest in going back into it.

I tend to get into quite a few Betas and love ones without NDA as it means I can write about them. I have even beta tested an xbox 360 game in my time (and no not a normal public Beta one )

In gaming I'm normally the guy looking at the shelf below the AAA titles first to see if there are any great hidden gems.

My gaming drug of choice: Timesplitters in any flavour (Why won't you make Timesplitters 4 Crytek, why ????? I need my fix of insanity )
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Warning


This article may contain content some readers find disturbing and discussion of issues that are to an extent†sensitive and or controversial†in nature.†


Spoiler Warning in this article for Romeo and Juliet, Green Lantern, Spiderman One more Day, and mild spoilers surrounding Batman, Superman and Spiderman comics. Early game Lollipop chainsaw and Mystical quest a Legend (SNES)

Strong language will be present.

The majority of this article was compiled as best as I could from my own drunken notes having watched Damsels in Distress part 2

This article will assume some level of familiarity with Damsels in Distress Part 2 of Tropes vs Women in Videogames (Warning it has its own spoiler list) as such its suggested you watch it, though how sober you wish to be is up to you

This second series of articles is going to go to some darker places which many might find uncomfortable this is the first part which is going to go to darker places it will not be the only one as at least the next full part will also delve into some pretty serious dark topics.

Also for the record I have watched part 3 and will be addressing that later when the time comes


If you missed part 3 of this series here's a link to it



Trading life for character development





Death is the great levelling device, no-one beats death normally. †The issue with this trope is that by claiming that its only wrong when a female character is killed off for character development is again a problem as male characters do end up being killed off too for just the same tiny amount of plot development. Their deaths sacrificing what until then was a lot of ground work to make them a good character in some cases. Above is possibly one of the more famous examples of killing off a character for a small amount of plot development and also the origin of the Damsels in refrigerators trope.

In comics weíve had Batman die what twice now, I think Superman is at three and spiderman has died about 4 times maybe more depending on the univserse. To claim this symptom of the trope is bad outright is to deny effective use. Yes many lazy writers will kill good characters for minor story gain but again that is bad writers using it. In Superhero comics its quite possible to look at lists of all the characters who have also been killed off or died most often for character development of others or simple plot reasons.


To name but one thing that sensationalises a Male death and infact turns it into a huge plot point similar to video games. Romeo and Juliet the Death of Mercutio. This sequence can be analysed so much as the death of the comedic side character who we know little about however its the trigger for the main action in the book. To say the death of a character who hasnít been made deep and meaningful shouldnít happen is honestly to contradict whatís held up and one of the great pieces of story telling of all time. The extent Mercutio is in the story and justification for the impact of his death are , heís Romeos best friend, heís innocent and not involved in this struggle of houses and not of either house, he introduced and indirectly allowed Romeo and Juliet to meet and explain about women to Romeo. Hardly a deeper justification than the person in love with the main protagonist who is also innocent. So does that mean Romeo and Juliet has no merit or place in existing ?



(what can I say I like the Baz Luhrmann version ok)

With many people Death has an impact, be it wanting revenge or completely shutting down. To claim a death in game is not sufficient reasoning for these actions questions how well you can empathise with the characters. In the past 12 months Iíve had two members of my family die, to say I was shaken up would be very true however in my case I was aware the deaths would happen or not overly shocked when they did as I wasnít overly close to them both socially and geographically speaking. If when I had been with my ex something had happened to her I would have been devastated, so do video game characters not get to do this either ? Is it wrong to impart this bit of realism in characters ?



Damsel in the refrigerator................. The trapped soul motivation.†


Iím not a religious person by any stretch. Iím actually very staunch atheist in my beliefs and have shocked people before when asked about how I see religions. Iím not someone who will claim a person is wrong or bad for their beliefs but I will hammer the religion itself. The idea of the dead and trapped soul is a further extension of the idea of death causing turmoil. If you lost someone you love and were very close to, what would you trade to get them back ?

Oh and Iím not taking in a Spiderman one more day ďIíll trade my marriage and happiness for my aunts lifeĒ bullshit Iím talking the amount of times people have claimed they would make these trades.†



With death sending some people off the rails the idea that the person is still alive or could come back is heavy coping mechanism and driving force to keep them going. Accepting someone is gone and not coming back can be one of the hardest things to do if you were extremely close to them. Heck a simple break up with me caused me to throw myself very heavily into my work at the time and some might say to the expense of other aspects of my life such as for a time avoiding socialising to avoid being asked how I was getting on with my girlfriend (as not everyone was aware Iíd broken up for a while after.)†

The idea of Freeing the soul at the end could be simply described equally well as a person beginning to move on and accepting the person is gone.†

If you want to suggest death canít send some people off the rails I offer as an example my ex having at the time lost her grandfather, who phoned me at 4am on a Wednesday morning to talk about things during which in she said how badly it hurt to have lost him and how she was considering starting on drugs to try and cope with the pain. This is a girl who definitely not straight edge would normally not have considered drugs ever who has now phoned me at 4am and was asking if I knew anywhere she could get some.............. so yes death messes people up.





Too late / dead already Damsels

This is a particularly interesting part to me as it brings different interpretations and questions again if death is acceptable in games. The idea of being too late in itself is a separate trope but again the specific implication here is because itís a female character itís happened to then its sexist.


I again have to ask why ? surely the same could be done to Male characters to, in Lollipop Chainsaw the main character beheads her boyfriend right at the start in just such a mercy killing style. Numerous examples of infected people in zombie games could also be brought up where they end up having to be put out of their misery. I strongly question again why the implication of sexism is brought up when the trope can be applied to either gender just as well. The trope also again links back to the idea of death, except now its not an uncontrolled death its a choice between two horrible scenarios.†



This is concept of terrible choices is very much present in Many of the Saw films. The idea of survival at what expense and picking which of the evils you will go for is almost a separate trope on its own. The idea of killing the character makes sense because in Mystical quest a Legend on SNES the character not being killed simply sticks round as a constant irremovable show of the Heroís failure. While you can say this makes them a deeper character by having to constantly face this failure and have it almost thrown back at you itís debatable how enjoyable this really is when in the fantasy setting youíre trying to be this perfect Hero.Death as Iíve said is a more permanent end to this.†

The example of Prey being brought up involves a woman not in control of her own actions and being forced to harm the person she loves. Having being incapacitated with the potential to be revived / restored and forced to fight again she asks for the player to kill her, because as many of you will know and say, you will do anything to protect those you love from harm if need be. In this case be killed to prevent it, I will be delving a little further into this concept in part 5.


Saying thank you with their dying breath is not for the violence itís for ending the perceived pain/ suffering being caused.†

The idea of placing the personís life in the hands of another is simply because of the human spirit. I wonít go too deep on my personal experiences because as mentioned before I really should be on a couch explaining this to a psychiatrist trying to sort out the many character defects Iíve got, however the human brain is a rather determined thing and overcoming ingrained survival instincts is far harder than many realise.†

The concept of placing your life in the trust of someone else to end it is actually something far more logical than attempting to overcome your own survival instincts and having to fight your own brain over this.

This really isnít a matter to bring up here though, honestly itís more one for governments and courts to decide if ending pain in a rather final way can ever be justified. For some it actually is to them while others will no doubt claim the sanctity of any level of existent life. *Proceeds to hit a fly* damn things been annoying me all night, now what was I talking about, oh yeh the sanctity of life. What this asks is, is if any quality of life is worth it no matter how much a person is suffering, with places like the Dignitas clinic allowing terminally ill people to end their lives on their own terms to an extent or to escape their suffering. As I said though this is a far bigger issue than me as just one blogger alone and is almost a global issue being tackled by many governments world wide.


So I'm going to tell you what's coming next time before I've finished off fully this time as I'd rather get the last of the dark stuff out of the way before the ending.

In Part 5:
-Domestic violence †



Ok it seems only appropriate here to quote Monty Python as part of the rounding up of this part.
"Life is a laugh and Deaths the Joke"†
and to leave you with something of a joke after what's been a rather dark part.
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