In all stories characters play the most important role in stories as they are the key aspect of a story that viewers will latch on to, characters can be made to fit into a wide range of archetypes in order to fit the roles they have in the narrative. Furthermore there are also characters types present in video games they have a similar function to the ones in literature however they are mostly there to aid or obstruct the payer. It is important to have an understanding of the various archetypes present in literature in addition to the traditional character types present in games as they can help to further develop the story being told.
An archetype in literature is when something is repeated throughout various stories these are usually universally understood due to their usage worldwide, an archetype can be a symbol, theme, setting, or a character a very basic example would be the traditional usage of Good vs. Evil often in literature this archetype is commonly used to tell simple morality stories that seek to endow the reader with some lesson in morality. Here’s are a few of the character archetypes that are commonly found in literature. In video games character types are derived mainly from literature and as a result are very similar however there is some variation on archetypes in gaming as the medium approaches storytelling in a vastly different way due to its unique interactivity.
The Hero is the protagonist of the story however it is important to note that the term Hero, in this case, doesn’t have to be a Hero as there are subsections of the archetypical Hero like the Anti-Hero for example which have a differing morality to the typical Hero. Traditionally hero’s have been males whilst females were relegated to the role of the damsel in distress however it is common to see a twist on these archetypes nowadays. The main goal of the hero is to defeat or overcome any obstacle that stands in their way in order to complete their objective. The hero is traditionally depicted as being morally good with an unwavering attitude towards adversity and danger often risking their lives in order to save another. In video games the best example of the archetypical hero is Mario as he is a hero through and through, his whole story revolves around him rescuing a damsel from a dragon he is the embodiment of the classical interpretation of the hero archetype in literature.
The Mentor/Hint Giver
Alongside the hero is usually The Mentor they are the ones providing the hero with knowledge and aid through the story. The mentor is usually depicted as an older person that surpasses the hero in almost every way and will occasionally directly intervene in dire situations. It is not unusual for the mentor to be removed from the story or surpassed at some point as a way to signify growth within the hero. In video games there are two forms the mentor usually takes they are either the traditional mentor or they are the Hint Giver, this role is usually used as a way to introduce the player to aspects of the game within the game these characters will often break the fourth wall by asking the player to perform particular actions like pressing a button to perform an action this is the role that peppy hare played in starfox64.
The Everyman/Silent Protagonist
In literature, the everyman is a stand-in for the viewers this archetype is usually just an ordinary person who finds them in an extraordinary situation in which they must overcome great odds despite their lack of preparedness. The everyman is usually neutral when it comes to morality because their main focus is survival rather than outright heroism. In games the character type that falls best into this archetype is the silent propagandist as they are an empty vessel for the player to inhabit they usually have little to no characterisation as a way to make them easier to inhabit, developers may also add a character customisation system to further cement the player as a part of the character. Link is a good example of the very man as usually in he lives an ordinary life till he is forced into action after discovering that he is predestined to stop the antagonist.
The Innocent are characters that are pure despite their environment these characters are morally good, this is what allows them to repel the evil of other these types of characters aren’t oblivious to the evil they are wholly aware yet they refuse to let this stop them from being good. Traditionally women and children were used to depict this archetype as they were often seen as incorruptible at the time. In video games this type of character is often used for NPCs (Non-Playable Characters), technically every single character present in a game that the player can’t play as are NPCs, however, the term is often used to describe characters that