My dear friend Angie of backlogcrusader.com tossed out this challenge to the WordPress Gaming Community. The mission: It’s the year 2050. You are an educator in a high school teaching Video Game Literary Classics 101. You are teaching some of the greatest video game classics of all time to your students. We needed to choose […]
A Cat’s Library wrote a wonderful post analyzing Okami. I played it on the PlayStation 4 and I adored this game! I enjoyed learning more about the art style and the characters featured in the game. I also did not know that Okami means both wolf and god! Read the post here and learn more about this amazing game!
Foreword This article was written as a part of a Community Colab, by Angie @ Backlog Crusader called “Video Game Literary Classics 101.” You can find her original post here. This write up will be a bit more formal/essay-like in structure, in order to explore the question “Which video game title(s) would you choose for literary […]
Megan Plays Games wrote a fantastic post that closely looks at the major themes in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I really enjoyed her analysis! I played the game for the first time in college on my Nintendo 3DS and I did not really think of how much emphasis there was on childhood and growing up. I could not have played the game at a better time considering I was transitioning to adulthood in college! Check out Megan Plays Games post here and enjoy her analysis of The Legend of Zelda; Ocarina of Time!
Bioshock Infinite is one of my favorite games on Steam and I have yet to talk about it on my blog! This was actually inspired by Hiram Lodge from Riverdale. I have been watching the series recently and I really like how they portrayed Hiram Lodge as a villainous figure and wanted to focus on a villain in video games. There will be spoilers in this post so please do not read unless you have finished the game or do not mind spoilers!
I chose Comstock as the villain because he is an iconic one for me. He was the first villain I remember really angering me when I was playing the game. So here is my post about why Comstock is a complex and interesting villain
Utopia and Bigotry
Comstock built Columbia in the sky and at first it comes off as breath taking. You see these huge clouds everywhere you go and the sun is shining. Everyone seems happy and content. You just want to stay in this world forever. Then you see how ugly it is.
The utopia fades when you win the lottery and your prize is to be the first to hit an interracial couple with a baseball. The town is clearly racist. From there the Columbia quickly turns into a nightmare with guards chasing you claiming you are the False Prophet. The city is in the sky because Comstock wants to be free to rule Columbia without outside influence.
Before you even meet him, you already are angry to see him making such a hateful world where he is worshiped like he is a God because he claims he is The Prophet of God. He builds this world just so his ideas can be practiced and so he could be seen as this great religious ruler of Columbia.
Comstock comes across as being a megalomaniac. He acts like he is this chosen God. I believe that he is convinced that he is this holy person, this chosen Prophet. He is so lost in the idea of being a Prophet that he will even use his daughter to get his wishes to control both Columbia and the world. Columbia is distorted by him using faith to corrupt others into following him and his ideas.
The Mistreatment of Elizabeth
He is so focused on his delusions that he does not see the harm he is doing to his daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth is locked in a tower because she can tear through time and he wants to use her powers to create his perfect world. She is also later captured and in an alternative timeline where she is tortured and forced to destroy the United States.
When she is locked in the tower, she is so desperate to escape and live a normal life. She is trapped and she is never allowed to socialize so she only sees the world through books or her paintings. When you first free her, she is in awe of everything because she has never seen the outside world before.
This is an interesting scene. Normally when you have a villain like Comstock, you expect a huge showdown. You expect a long boss fight. Here it is all done in a cutscene. Comstock deliberately pushes Booker by grabbing Elizabeth and keeps yelling at her to ask Booker about her finger. Booker looses his temper and drowns Comstock for torturing and locking Elizabeth in a tower all her life.
Comstock expected this to happen which is why he labeled Booker as a False Shepard and tried to get the people of Columbia to kill Booker. He believes that his role was to end with Booker killing him because he does not fight Booker. He also was able to convince Elizabeth that Booker was hiding something from her and also himself
The Twist Ending
Elizabeth reveals to Booker the truth at the end of the game. The truth is that he and Comstock are the same. Booker gave Elizabeth to Comstock to get rid of his debt through a tear and she lost her finger when he tried to grab her back. It turns out that you were playing the villain all along. This explains why Booker sometimes gets nosebleeds during the game because he was taken out of his timeline as Booker and went to Comstock’s world to basically fight an alternative version of himself.
This also leads to one of my favorite endings in video games. What separates Comstock from Booker is a baptism. When Booker is baptized he becomes Comstock, when he refuses the baptism he stays as Booker. So all versions of Elizabeth drown Booker so he will not become Comstock which means that Comstock, Booker, and Elizabeth are all no more.
I remember being so shocked by the revelation and I just stared at the screen and cried at the ending watching all the Elizabeths disappear and the credits roll.
Will the Circle be Unbroken?
This song plays as soon as you enter Columbia and I love this song! But, it also has a different meaning the second time you play. Comstock, Booker, Elizabeth. They are all on a never ending circle. Elizabeth broke it at the ending of the game.
It was surprising to know that I was fighting Booker’s alternative future. That this villain went mad because of a baptism causing him to become a overzealous Prophet that made Columbia. The game truly shows how just one small event can transform a person’s life.
What did you think of Bioshock Infinite? What is your memorable video game villain?
The Nancy Drew mystery series is definitely not a series you would associate with typical beginner gaming. They are all point-and-click games where you solve mysteries as Nancy Drew. I have played a lot of the games growing up with my last game being Shadow at the Water’s Edge.
My first game was when I was 8 or 9 and it was Message in a Haunted Mansion. The game was featured in the Scholastic magazine because these games are educational. You can learn about anything from the Mayans to Italy to Japan.
This particular game taught me all about Victorian mansions. I loved it because the protagonist was a female and she was so like me. We both were sassy and we both loved puzzles. It felt amazing to be playing someone that I could relate to! So I am going to make a list of all the things Nancy Drew taught me for my first series into gaming!
Lessons From Nancy Drew Games
Women can Enjoy Games
These games’ target audiences were women. They were educational, but they were still fun games that girls of all ages could play. The protagonist was also this strong female character who you could easily envision yourself as. Her appearance is only slightly hinted at throughout the series so you can easily pretend you are Nancy Drew instead of her having a set look.
These games can be tough at times for a kid. Some of the puzzles are tricky and took time to learn. There were also difficulty settings to make the game even harder if you wanted them to be! The earlier games made you take notes on everything while the later entries used cell phone cameras or automatic notes to make things easier.
I remember in Message in a Haunted Mansion, I had to keep notes which I took on computer paper. I would write down passwords or any useful information to solve puzzles. I would be so proud of myself when I finally solved a tough puzzle because I worked hard to figure it out!
Nancy Drew gets herself in all kinds of trouble. The game has so many game over screen from when she gets herself in danger. But, she had courage to see the mystery solved. The games could definitely get scary, but I still worked my way to solve them.
An example would be Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake. There’s a scene at the beginning of the game where you stay in a house to solve a mystery when these big glowing dogs attack your house and then you hear them every night! It was so scary as a child and every time I had to play the game at night, I was afraid the dogs would get me.
Still I saw the mystery through and it turns out that those dogs were nothing to be afraid of. No spoilers, but that’s what I loved about those games. If they did a horror game, you would eventually find out that there was nothing to be afraid of!
Nancy Drew helps out so many people throughout her mysteries. You have to talk to people to gather information or help them out. It was so nice when you can solve a mystery and help a family!
I think my favorite example of this is Shadow at the Water’s Edge because you help out a nice family with a ghost. You also learn about Japanese culture by hanging out with the grandmother who teaches you things such as calligraphy and origami. But, the villain is treated with kindness here. Instead of having your typical, mean and nasty villain, this one genuinely feels bad for what they did after realizing the damage they have caused. You even have multiple endings depending on the amount of kindness you show to the villain.
Importance of Bonds
Nancy Drew is never truly alone in these games. You can always ask her friends for help and hints! You can call them whenever you need them and they are there for you. Just by using your friends as guides, the games show that it is important to create strong bonds with others and ask for help when you need it. Nancy Drew wouldn’t be able to completely solve the case without her best friends and boyfriend being there to support her and offer her advice!
Thanks Nancy Drew!
These games were such a great comfort for me which is why I attribute them to what got me into liking video games. I had played other video games long before Nancy Drew, but I related to her the most. She was confident, sassy, and intelligent and I wanted to be like her when I was older! I would say that I have definitely gained confidence and sass, but Nancy Drew has way more knowledge than I’ll ever be able to learn! She is a computer and book character after all so she is much smarter than your average person!
What was the series that got you into gaming? Have you ever played a Nancy Drew game?