What makes characters likeable?

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Lumen_Astrum
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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#31 Post by Lumen_Astrum » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:17 am

To me, uniqueness.
Or maybe out of the stereotypes.
Every person's different. And plus I don't want a passive main character or a character that's a bit too aggressive or crazy.
Yet, somehow, I still like stereotypes XD I mean, they can't be avoided, can you?

Like Gear, I also like characters that I can relate into. Somehow, that has the similar feelings in life like I do. :)

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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#32 Post by azureXtwilight » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:23 am

Lumen_Astrum wrote:And plus I don't want a passive main character or a character that's a bit too aggressive or crazy.


ORLY? >D
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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#33 Post by Lumen_Astrum » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:37 am

azureXtwilight wrote:
Lumen_Astrum wrote:And plus I don't want a passive main character or a character that's a bit too aggressive or crazy.

ORLY? >D

My definition of "crazy" varies XD
Mixing both "aggressive" and "crazy", I might like.
"Crazy" with "scary," I'd surely like. hurr durr >D
But crazy people who seems to qualify in a mental hospital... that's a no-no. ._.

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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#34 Post by modesty » Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:09 pm

I don't think stereotypes is the right word, but TROPES are what you mean. There are certain tropes that suit a game story and people find appealing because they "understand" that character.
For example, the trope of a valiant brave knight. This very short description has already conjured a preconception in the mind of the reader. They get the "gist" of this character and people like things that are familiar.

Tropes are a base to work from because you want to make sure your reader understands that character. If they understand, they connect, and then personal preferences take hold.

One of the creative exercises we had to do in my creative writing course was to create a character based off a trope. We had to add ONE detail that would be unexpected. One of the examples was a Super Model who drove monster trucks.

In short: Familiarity, Believability and Personal Preference make a character more or less likeable.

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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#35 Post by Snow Blossom » Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:11 pm

I like characters who aren't too extreme, but have a lot of different sides to their personalities. Characters with dark pasts or emotional problems are always a favorite, but not if they become totally obsessed with their problems and basically break down into wimps. D:< So I guess I favor a character who has problems but either accepts them or tries to change them without whining too much?

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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#36 Post by curlymonster » Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:02 am

It almost sounds like people decide on a stereotype, then flesh out the character... Well, many great characters are made with a certain stereotype (to some degree) in mind or as a starting point, I'm just trying to bring another opinion to the table.
In real life, not many people "are" stereotypes. Or even close. Okay, some people try to be a stereotype, either because they want to, or because they feel like they have to. (Well, If you pick any stereotype and deepen into different reasons why they behave like this, you'll probably end up with a quite deep character. XD)

People are so deep, that they can't be described with a label or a stereotype. I think that stereotypes and labels, are quite similar, in a way.
Humans are scared of all things unknown. Well, when you think about it, it's natrual to be scared of things that are unknown, since they could also be dangerous... (I'll stop there.)
But if you can look at something, recognize it as something that you know what to expect from, it removes a lot of stress, in comparison of having no idea what's going on.
Labelling things is a way to shrink the masses of "The Great Scary Unknown" to a comfortable level by making yourself expectations about how this person is going to be, and what is going to happen. (And thus racism and prejustice was born...) Playing with expectations is a great opportunity stereotypes give you! Out from what people say here and my opinion, it really makes things more interesting.
I think that it's a good idea to look at the characters past, figure out what motive(s) he/she has, what people have surrounded this person, what expectations have been placed on the character, challenges/problems, rolemodels or people he/she looked up to...
There's a thon of things to consider and tap into, if you want to deepen a character.
About anything that can affect a person, both their past, decisions (and the concequences of them), opinions they've made...
Just think about what has affected you/changed you as a person? Ask some people, or just observe them. As people have mentioned, people often have a "facade" behaviour, and a more private behaviour. (Sometimes there are more "layers", but then again, people aren't exactly onions either...)

People usually behave differently from whom they're with. Though this is probably because people behave differently depending on what they feel is expected from them. Example, not everyone would behave like they would with close friends, like they behave around their parents, grandmother sometimes even partner or love intrest.
There are likely to be different exeptations from all of them, and the person will probably differently with the expectations, depending on what (the character think) is expected of him/her, or whom is expecting.
But then again, real people are deeper than fictional characters. (If it had been the other way around, it would be really tragic...)
What people seek in a game might vary, from person to person and time to time. Or more importantly, what the creator seeks to create, or tell others.

What I originally intended to say is: What about shaping the personality first, and then bring in the stereotypes, if you have to?


I get Otomeweekend's point, about that there's "nothing new under the sun", but I kinda disagree. In real life? Yeah. Earth has a loooong history. But art in general? Or in visual novels like a medium? The possibilities are endless, and if nothing is original, the combination can be. (I like to believe that there are so many aspects of all arts to explore and experiment with. XD)
I don't think it really matters how unoriginal things (legally) get, or how stereotypic things get as long as it doesn't come off as boring or repetive.
On top of it all, what others care about is useless, as long as whoever made it enjoyed making it. That's what really matters, in the end. :)

Sorry if this wall of words rant is kinda off topic... Dude, I keep sidetracking myself. (Please bear with me! >_<'')
(I also seem to be kinda stuck up with prejustices and expectations. I just personally feel, (and from what I observe in people too) that it really has a lot to do with how people behave/feel.)

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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#37 Post by Gear » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:46 am

Stereotypes are, by definition, generalizations about groups of people. While stereotyping is bad, all stereotypes start with a kernel of truth in their commonality. No one just dreamed up that smart people wear glasses, but it is something you see somewhat frequently. Or at the very least, you tend to notice it. Is there any scientific evidence to back up that smart people wear glasses for a reason? No. But it's become a cultural standpoint.

Starting with a stereotype in mind isn't a bad way to go about it. The trick is to start there, then slowly pull the character away from the stereotype, but leave that thread attached for relatability or identification purposes. Keep pulling the character away until you throw adversity at him/her, and (s)he responds the way you want him/her to. Then you know you've made progress.
If Myst has taught me anything, game making is more about story, atmosphere, and thought than fancy mechanics, explosions, and branding.

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Stereotypes and stories

#38 Post by pinkmouse » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:58 am

Okay. The first thing to do is to draw a clear line between real life and storytelling. In real life, stereotyping people is bad because it means that you drop them into a little tiny box and ignore anything that doesn't fit. This is inhumane and leads to social injustice.

When creating stories, stereotypical characters are a useful storytelling tool. They're social shorthand: a ready-made cast of instantly recognizable minor characters. If you're writing, oh, say a story about a family fighting over a will, and how that will first arrives in the story isn't important, then the jolly postmistress stereotype may be exactly what that story needs: a one-line description that lets you conjure up a character, say "There you are, dear," and vanish, letting the story move on. In this case, adding more depth and detail to this character (her love of dogs, experiences in the war and hostile relationship with her mother, perhaps) would be bad storytelling because it would waste the reader's time with unnecessary, irrelevant detail.

Major characters need depth and complexity because we have to sustain the audiencer's interest by either gradually revealing that character, or putting the character through a series of experiences and showing them growing and developing as a result. This is why using a stereotype as a main character produces unsatisfactory stories: stereotypes don't have the necessary internal machinery for growth and change; they're essentially static. Psychological snapshots rather than movies, if you like.

That's not to say that you can't use stereotypical elements as part of the design of a major character in order to help the audience get oriented, as MugenJoncel did with eyeglasses=intelligence above; conscious use of this tool is fine. It's only the lazy substitution of the part for the whole that has gotten stereotypes such a bad reputation in fiction.

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