When I was a teenager I was all for escapism but great writing especially in his medium should show a healthy amount of different perspective genre, themes and I’m kind of personally sick of seeing being the superhero the chosen one the special snowflake. I personally want to see the game where you play as an average normal person and be a high fantasy to the Contemporary world but they’re sadly lacking here. So why do you think they’re such a predominant among of power fantasy in this medium?
Most people who try their hands at starting their own WIP on this forum, I believe, are between the range of age 13-20 (including me). And I’d say, teenager love power fantasy. Makes us something we want, you see.
Doesn’t mean I’m not into literary fiction. That’s why worldbuilding is such a huge, important, and exciting process in writing, at least for me.
I’m 40 and I personally enjoy the power fantasy aspects of the CYOA here- it was lacking in what I read growing up. But I understand what you’re saying also.
As a 16 year old, it’s mostly teens who want to be super special.
Y’know what; I don’t blame em. The tropes are overdone but they ain’t bad people for wanting to be loved.
In my game you’ll start off a rookie, and will have to rely on strong teammates. You’ll get the chance to become super strong later on (or early on if you do some evil/ shady stuff) but the real point is people want to escape.
They don’t want to play as themselves-- at least not irl. They wanna be the guy that does save the world and does matter, and I can’t fault em for it
I don’t really like the “You’re completely average while everyone around you is infinitely better.” angle myself.
It’s not only that in most of those “You’re a normal person” is it just a lack of abilties. I don’t feel like I should be smart enough to see hours ahead of time how the main character is being stupid and then be forced to go through with something I’m aware of stupid.
I loved Persona 3 and 4, but my god. They were bad for that. It drove me insane for the character getting all supposedly shocked by things that it took me about four seconds to realize. (Adachi is the killer, Naoto being a girl for instance.)
Also really. Who wants to play as the aquaman to superman? Unless…you do like a game where you have a SEEMINGLY useless power that everyone laughs about…then you use it to wipe the floor with both the bad guy faction and hero faction.
But yeah. Ultimately, I’m not big on the “This loser is you.” trope. Even regular people can at least have moments when they don’t suck. But games tend to up play the idea that every normal person must be completely bad and incompetent at everything they do, and it’s just irritating.
Power fantasies are popular in games, especially video games because it’s very effective at giving the player empowerment. You don’t get the same kind of rush power fantasy usually gives people from more static forms of media, because it gives the sense that the player (you) is the one doing said actions.
That said, I don’t think games here are true power fantasies because you can still fail. Horribly, spectacularly so. CoG’s mostly aren’t about winning; they’re about telling good stories (at least in my opinion).
Power fantasies simply aren’t the stories that come to mind when I write. But I have no problem with them. Heck, Tally Ho! Is one of my favorites, and it’s quite solidly escapist in its bent. But the biggest thing is, sometimes people need escapism.
Life’s scary y’all. There’s a laundry list of things that you can’t even see that might kill you one day. Often people have control over your life. Often, you commit to a course of action, only to realize it’s useless, and that you’ve wasted months or even years of your life on something you shouldn’t have started. Sometimes you need to be in a headspace where you can do the right thing, where you can be powerful. Life can get depressing otherwise.
It’s worth noting how much of CoG/HG’s audience is made of marginalized folks who don’t have the berth of media that cis white straight men do. There aren’t a lot of places where queer and/or POC audiences get to see a person like them be the big hero, and that can change a person’s perspective when it comes to whether or not powerful protagonists are overdone
And honestly, are stories where the main character is some kind of chosen one really all that common? Accepting that just in the concept in a choice-based game, a CS game will have a main character with some kind of sphere of influence, and as you play the game your choices will, well, influence it … honestly I don’t see that many games that I feel are pure power fantasy, especially not any that I’d describe as “chosen one”. I could see an argument for Heroes Rise falling under that banner but otherwise I’ve never really felt like the CoG/HG community has a leaning towards games where the main character is the most important person in the world. I actually feel like the collective CS library has a pretty solid variety in terms of how big the main character’s sphere of influence is, between games called “Aether: Life as a God” and “Sixth Grade Detective”
I think I’m in the same boat when it comes to the whole “chosen one” premise. I’ve never really been a fan of it, because… Well… If it’s your destiny to defeat the dark lord and vanquish the forces of evil, then you kind of don’t really have anything to worry about. You know everything’s going to work out in the end, because the magical prophecy told you so. Surely it’s way more impressive for an average Joe to get involved. They could die at any minute.
IKR! I love playing as the average Joe, that’s the reason dilemma and a day off work are amongst my favourite games. My explanation as to why power fantasy games is a misanthropic explanation, but take it as you will. People like to think they’re individuals, unique, but they’re really not. Society shapes us, from advertising to government etc. So these factors tell us power fantasies are what we want, and we unquestioningly obey(well I don’t…at least I don’t think I do ). I get that minorities don’t get too much representation. But on that front I like a relatable/more realistic representation. I see very few characters like me, but my favourite character is Daisy from the film How I live now. When you play as a superhero or what not it’s enjoyable for different reasons, but at least on the premise or theme it’s harder to relate.
Guys, uhh… can we stop with the chosen one?
I don’t want myself to snark at myself since I’m writing a chosen one story, myself ^^"
I’d say chosen one stories aren’t necessarily power fantasies, and neither are necessarily bad. Being an Average Joe with no background or conne tions to any prophecy and defeating the Dark Lord with the power of friendship smacks as much of power fantasy as the long-awaited Chosen Hero doing the same thing.
Plus, Wheel of Time would make even less sense if Rand was just an Average Joe who happened to also be the most powerful wizard in existence and a master swordsman in the span of a month.
i think OP answered their own question with their post. cog and hg titles are pure escapism. it’s why you can literally make your character any way you want.
if it’s for escapism, of course a bit of a power fantasy creeps in too, it’s not a trope for nothing, hahah.
I prefer progression
Clarification on my view points.
I personally don’t enjoy characters that are just genuinely useless compared to literally everyone else in whatever game I’m playing. I don’t feel connected or like I relate to them. I just feel like they are useless and should let everyone else do their job.
I don’t care for games where everybody BUT my character is badass except for me. I don’t ever feel like I relate to it.
Also, escapism? Not quite the word. But games(ideally) are made for entertainment.
The novelty of playing a character who can’t do half the things everyone else around them can do and only about a quarter as well, wears off really quickly.
P.S. I don’t know if this should be labeled under Game Development.
It’s been proven that most people consider themselves as better than average (which is statistically impossible) so people can relate to “better than average chosen one” more than with an character even if that’s who they really are in real life. Ultimately you want a game that others will not only play, but enjoy enough to pay for it so i guess you tap into what the people want.
For example I kind of want to see games like The Great Gatsby like Siddhartha Lord of the Flies David Copperfield All Quiet on the Western Front etc. Instead of you know the normal young adult power fantasy which is sadly the common thing I see on here it’s not wrong I enjoy it but this is a medium that needs more variety. Or how I would love to see something like the pillars of Earth to the world end and its third one which follows a family through generations all interconnected in each novel.
Or realistic power fantasy what do I mean by that look at people that actually became powerful from low social status look how they got there and you see it is complicated in many factors. The common theme is they get lucky they truly do and it could be something small but they get that break that allows them to developed and this is big among anyone that ever became powerful in real life they get a network. For example you can make a game about a person that comes off completely normal they could have an interesting career in a realistic time. They could be at the right place at the right time and does it have to be some Grand battle a mystical experience but how that moment goes they can that normal blank slate Average Joe people can perceive them something more. Off the top of my head I would think of Kit Carson looks completely unassuming you would never expect him to done or did the things he has.
I seem to like doing deconstructed power fantasies… like, ok, you are the best, but what problems does that cause for you? What did that cost you?
You are all making very wonderful points though is also the particular demographic see this medium but it is growing. And we are seeing a growing up but I think it does Pander once in awhile with that power fantasy in some fashion. Personally there’s some games on here that I have found and vastly interesting settings. But then make the protagonist and individual that exists outside of the social structure setting instead of being an embedded part of it.
To me, that also depends on the writing.
Perhaps the biggest trope I don’t like is the whole “I just want to be normal” when a character has just about everything much better than a normal person.
If their powers cause other problems, that’s different. But the whole,
“Woe is me. I’m immortal, can fly anywhere and can lift buses over my head! I can’t be like everyone else! How could my life get any worse?”
That kind of thing really annoys me.