The perfect hero(ine) for the job

Who’s perfect?

What makes a person perfect?

Can we bottle down who would be the perfect [size=200]generic player character[/size]?

I’m not just saying “average”. I’m saying “average” and “capable”. In as clear terms as possible, of course.

What kind of person can we drop into any IF as the lead and expect to make it out alive/victorious/successful?

of course this will be different for everybody. but do tell me your thoughts!

[size=150]AFGNCAAP aside[/size], what I’m looking for is character elements. curious? biased? confident? racist? opposed to the established hegemony? brutally foul? unhygienic? fan of barry manilow? stuff like that.

Perfect in the practical sense: being perfect for the job (of pretty much the average IF).

I’m so not planning a FO4 promise.


'Nuff said.

(I really do think Zork: Grand Inquisitor is one of the best things Activision ever did)

EDIT - In my defense, I posted this before Wes said "AFGNCAAP aside.

As soon as you say “generic player character”, you are, by definition, getting something generic as an answer.

on the one hand, i agree.
on the other, each of you is clever enough to get what i’m trying to say. Is my assumption which is fact because it is correct.

obviously i’m not phrasing it correctly. help me find the words?

i want to know the key element of what makes a player character, in a narrative set, successful at their undertaking, whatever that undertaking may be.

Rampant kleptomania and unrepentant curiosity, barely tempered by omniscience and a healthy dose of short-range time travel.

Ellen Ripley.

I was not joking. Someone who is perfect for all situations? Someone who would resolve every genre of IF? Someone to kill aliens and create diplomatic bridges with them, be the perfect murderer and the perfect detective, the hero of the kingdom and its king and its plucky, adventurous heiress, as well as the protagonist of a story about domestic abuse? Someone who is excellent at following rules AND breaking them?

There is no such one character, therefore, AFGNCAAP - tailored, at times, to the story that’s being told.

HAVING SAID THAT, I totally second Merlin Fisher.

This is kind of a weird question to me. What would this character ever be for? Whatever protagonist you write will only ever be in the game you put them in, so why do they even need to be suited to everything else?

In seriousness, I think one likely feature of a good game is having a specific PC, giving players the chance to get into the mind of someone/something.

With a few exceptions, IF is basically roleplaying. Most stories are in second person. There are games where you get to customize an avatar or “you are the star of the story” as in, the real life you. But I like it better when the story specifies who “I” am playing as, because that gives my imagination something to grab. I was frankly annoyed by the numerous (cough) recent spate of games that feature a vaguely troubled anonymous PC who never actually explains who it is, nor what it is troubled about. As the actors say, “What’s my motivation?” I spend enough time as me in real life, I read fiction to visit people who are not me and try on other roles. So give me a concrete role to play, plz.

One really good take on a concrete yet empty PC, in a rather “meta” fashion, was the main character of “Slouching Towards Bedlam.” The most important mystery in the game (to me, anyway) wasn’t “what the hell’s afflicting the loony bin,” it was “who am I and what happened to me?” The main character’s amnesia isn’t merely a convenient narrative trick, it’s the linchpin of the whole plot. I say it’s “meta” because the game also hints at why you can


as part of your backstory, which was just mind blowing. I kind of had that in mind when I joked about time travel earlier, actually.

But yeah. Normally, I don’t get a lot of thrills from AFGNCAAP. I can take it or leave it, and it’s a fine choice for adventure-style games where play is all about external actions that don’t really depend on who I am. I can crash dungeons, solve puzzles and explore pretty worlds as AFGNCAAP. But if the story is of the psychological head trip genre, as so many of those newfangled ones are, there better be a head for me to inhabit.

Excellent point.