The blank slate hero

There is a kind of video game protagonist that I like a lot. Some call it the silent protagonist, I refer to it as the blank slate (or blank canvas) hero. Basically, it is a kind of character who doesn’t really talk, often doesn’t have a name so you have to name him/her, and his/her personality is based on your actions and choices which you make throughout the game. This trope appears particularly (but not necessarily commonly) in role-playing games, and some great examples of it include the Megami Tensei series.

The nameless protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei.

With the blank slate hero, one can interact with the game via one’s choices, which can be based on one’s personality and personal compass. However, it has its limits regarding execution. Don’t get me wrong, you do feel like you are inserting yourself into the game (usually, depending on the limits imposed by the game but not necessarily technology), but there’s still ways that personality customization, self-insertion, and how you can affect the game with that can go much further.

Since I do have dreams of working on video game design, I feel I should make it my goal to test the potential of self-insertion and personality customization, and create better ways for it to affect the story of the game and ending outcomes. Increase your ability to customize your character’s personality, or a greater ability and new ways to insert your personality into the game character, coupled with real demand to answer moral dilemmas and situations with what your own moral voice says, what you really think is right. All this and the game’s story progress being based on your choices you make, which are based on what you think is right, rather than what missions you complete (which I believe produces more outcome planning, which is fine but kinda takes away from the point), then just imagine what kind of game, or games, could be produced. Think of the artistic glory.


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