A Pointless Challenger…

Conflict is only meaningful when the outcome is in question.

Often, computer game challenges are against foes who have a noticeably different in-game status from the player character. The player character has depth, while the foes are hardly characters at all. It isn’t even a challenger. It’s just a challenge. Even the most difficult challenges, the “boss” foes, rarely have any out-of-plot motivation, duty, or even activity that they engage in. There are several causes for this (not that it’s any excuse) all of which are more or less surmountable.

Character background is difficult to convey and generate.

The rise of multi-player direct competition games has illuminated this difficulty even more by demonstrating what happens when player characters to compete against each-other.

It doesn’t mean anything to challenge a non-entity, nor does it signify to crush an inferior. “Boss” characters are often meant as a game-play challenge, but as they are presented as characters, they often fail on that merit.

Reducing the player’s character to the level of other in-game characters is important for verisimilitude. Giving the player special powers makes them special, but also adds exceptional expectations which can often not be met.

The player should compete against evenly matched foes. Whether this is symmetrical or not, there must be a balance of forces or there is no need for contest.

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