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The Importance of A Bad Girl

The "Bad Girl" is an interesting device used in modern media. They are used to represent lost love, convey a sense of corrupted beauty, and so forth. Many just pass off the "bad girl" character as sexual exploitation, but if done correctly, the effect can be very, well, effective. Allow me to explain.


Two examples of the "bad girl" character done right would be Nia in the popular anime series "Gurren Lagann" and the character Kirah in "Gitaroo Man". In Gurren Lagann, Nia is always the cute, innocent girl with an overwhelming sense of good. When her character is suddenly flipped halfway through the series and she becomes evil, it has a huge impact on the story, and one of the biggest twists I've ever seen. This was executed because, primarily, Nia had such an established character concept as being good. This was an extremely well-done dramatic effect, and I would like to see it in more games.

Now, for my second example, is Kirah from Gitaroo Man. For those of you who have played the Gitaroo Man games, you would know that there is little to no story in the game. None of the characters are very well-established, but the interaction between U-1 (the main character) and Kirah (a mysterious girl who appears seemingly randomly) is genuine. U-1 finds an acoustic guitar on the beach, and Kirah pretty much randomly appears and asks him to play it. This sends the player on a stage unlike the other guitar battles in the game; you serenade Kirah with the acoustic guitar, which was a neat idea and is very cute at that. A few bosses later, U-1 finds himself trapped inside an arena. Floating above him is the final boss, saying that there is a new challenger awaiting him. And guess who that challenger is: Kirah. What ensues is an incredible guitar battle between the two. Halfway into the battle, U-1 suddenly quits fighting as Kirah pleads him to keep fighting. U-1 refuses and, instead, starts playing the same ballad he played for Kirah at the beach, but in electric guitar form. After a bit of playing, Kirah gives up and the two do a duet. This was a spectacularly heartrending moment for a game with such a simplistic story. This part totally blind-sided me; it had a horrible set-up, but had a near perfect execution.

Image by Daltair. Nice work!

Now here's an example of a "Bad Girl" situation that kinda, well, flopped. I love the game No More Heroes, and I really wish it had a great story to go along with the great gameplay. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Towards the end of the game, Jeane, Travis's childhood love interest and half sister, confronts Travis. She explains her past to Travis and, for some unexplained reason, she decides to fight Travis in what is a pretty epic boss. After defeating (and horribly maiming) Jeane, Travis is devastated in killing his former love. He is extremely upset in the fact that she became evil. But you aren't. Because you never knew she was good in the first place! You learned this literally 10 seconds before you decided to slice her with a beam katana. That doesn't work.

What I'm trying to get at here is that the "bad girl" character, if used effectively, can be a great device to strengthen some games' stories. So, maybe we should see more "bad girls" in more games.
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Jonathan Holmes   1



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About TheDRMasterone of us since 8:37 PM on 04.19.2009

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