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Article - 'Conflict...' by Terin

An item about Plots/Characters posted on Aug 9, 2003

Blurb

VB Runtime -- Fatal Conflict Error 57

Body

Imagine walking down the street. Now, someone comes up to you and steals your wallet or purse. Are you angry? Next to this, they decide to have their cronies come along with sleeping gas in ninja-smoke-bombs and toss them at your feet. You wake up only to find them with a rusty spoon, carving out your eyes... Have a little conflict?

Indeed. Most people will recall this from English, however, I will tackle other types of conflict that were not discussed. In reality, there are some new ones that I just thought up. So, without further adieu, I present you with... conflict. (because I just stole your... erm... just kidding. -.^)

There are four basic types of conflict. They deal with man (or the hero/heroine) vs. him/herself, society, nature, or the supernatural. For those of you who haven't heard of these, I'll go over them, and then go to the more interesting types of conflict.

Man vs. Himself -- The character has a past, lie, alternate personality that they constantly battle. The fact is that the character could be a little nervous from fighting in a war and feeling a guilt trip thinking, "I killed all of those people, I'm such a bad person." The character will doubt themselves about things. My best example is Fei from Xenogears. Not only does he have split personality issues, but he also can't remember his past, and hates himself for killing the people of Lahan. Does that fit this... just a little bit?

Man vs. Society -- This is usually used in something that is criticizing society. Pretty much, the idea is that society has some wrong-doings and the character is the underdog of this society, where they persecute him for being different. A good example for this would be someone who has different opinions, and for the sake of Easter, I'll use the example of Jesus. He came about preaching new things that people just didn't believe and was killed. According to the believers of the Christian faith, he rose from the dead and guaranteed anyone who believed in him would live in heaven forever. See, there is a happy ending to things, people.

Man vs. Nature -- This can sometimes be melded into one subject, like Man vs. the Supernatural. The idea here is that the natural forces of the Earth (or more simply put for other planets/existances -- Physics) that harm the person. For example, Man vs. Nature could occur when a Wallstreet man gets stuck on the street, bumming money from people, but then getting abducted by aliens and set in the forest to fend for himself. Kind of like NYSE Survivor, just not quite. By the way, if you haven't checked that game out, you really need to.

Man vs. the Supernatural -- This is the basic concept of the hero/ine fighting the forces that aren't defined by Physics. Together, they're kind of like "Man vs. Fate" or something of that nature. Anyway, this would be where the primary character is involved in fighting things that are beyond our existance and understanding. Again, for Easter, let's use Jesus. Jesus supposedly fought the devil for three days in the underworld and ignored his temptation for 40 nights, and so forth. Now, here's the good question, would that be Supernatural vs. Supernatural, or Man vs. Supernatural... That all comes down to what you believe, I suppose.

Now, here's where it gets really interesting boys and girls. When you mix these up and not include man, you get a theme or motif. Don't believe me? Let's try an example...

Society vs. Nature -- People are cutting down trees and destroying the biosphere of Earth. Animals, without homes, come, invading cities in the masses and most of Humanity dies out as a cause. Isn't that a theme?

Nature vs. the Supernatural -- Some God has chosen the idea that a species has gone too far, and must be destroyed. Therefore, he utilizes nature or himself (so it could be Nature vs. Nature) to destroy off this species.

See how nifty this is? So, you could pretty much randomly choose two of these things and create a plot. If you notice, most games actually follow a Man vs. Man plot because it's simple. Throw a war here and there, add some carnage, a couple of weapons of mass destruction (tm) and you're set! In something like Nature vs. Society, make the character a boy raised in the wild that fights off society, whom is trying to purge it. The possibilities are endless.

Also, I'm sure someone will mention the fact that I used Jesus , etc, here. Seeing as the Bible is also considered a piece of literature, (European and American) schools will ask you to relate things to it. Now, to anyone who is deeply offended by it, go based off of that. To others who are not offended by me using a name like that -- Happy Easter.