So, the last time I wrote about how games show us the possible end of the world scenarios. This got me thinking about the “bad guys” the revel in these situations and how the media are filled with these kind of people. The thing is, sometimes we actually like the “bad guys” if they’re done well.
I read something about this. I forgot the exact quote but it went something like this: “You’ll hate a good villain. But you’ll love a great villain.” And I honestly believe this to be true. A great bad guy is extremely charismatic and taps into that certain part of you that wishes you can do what he or she does. They don’t have to be nice about it; they just have to be really cool in doing it. Not many villains can make this balance of evil and charisma.
The first villain that does come to mind would have to be Batman’s archenemy, The Joker. While most renditions of the Clown Prince of Crime have been spectacular, the most memorable one for me would be the one that appears in The Dark Knight. When he interrupts the mobster’s meeting and showed us his “disappearing pencil” trick, I was horrified but I also found it funny at the same time!
That’s was just the tip of the iceberg with the Joker’s incredibly heinous acts! He devised a plan to corrupt Batman and he actually succeeded in driving Harvey Dent insane. Although those acts show that he’s truly evil, the Joker was still extremely likable because of his attitude and actions! I didn’t think I would like him but I actually liked him more than the so-called hero of the film!
Even though we never did find out the real origin of the Joker (he keeps making them up on the fly), there are times when a tragic backstory can make you sympathetic towards the villain. Sarah Kerrigan from StarCraft is a perfect example. She was a loyal Ghost but was left to die by her comrades. When she changes into the Queen of Blades and takes control of the Zergs, well, she’s understandably pissed!
Even when she is rescued and returned to her human state, circumstances has her returning to the Zergs to get revenge again. I guess after the events of StarCraft II, she may not really be a villain anymore. Still, Sarah Kerrigan was already a pretty cool character as a Terran Ghost but because of the things that happened to her, you can’t help but feel sorry for her!
In fact, you don’t even have to be alive to be a likeable villain! GLaDOS from the Portal games is living proof of this… if she were a living thing, that is. I actually don’t think she’s intentionally being malicious. I mean, she was programmed to run the tests and, well, she’s just doing what we told her to do. Not her fault she’s actually good at her job!
GLaDOS may be devious in creating testing rooms with the intention of killing off or trapping the player but she’s still bound by her own rules to give us a fighting chance, which is pretty decent of her. Also, even though she is a machine, she comes off as extremely witty and self-centered; very human traits! Not only that, she’s got a killer singing voice!
I know there are more bad guys out there but these are the three that really stick out for me. But it’s not fair to just talk about bad guys. I think we ought to talk about the great good guys! But not the ones who are the main characters. Rather, I’d like to talk about the ones that help out the main guy! And that’s next time!
Any particular memorable villains I forgot? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below!