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Article - 'Passion and Apathy' by Wina

An item about Game Design posted on Jan 14, 2004

Blurb

Original article exploring the themes of Passion and Apathy in relation to characters in RPGs.

Body

Passion and Apathy/Apathetic


By looking at the title most of you might think this article is about love - but you're wrong. I’m going to state what my literature teacher told us once in class, passion’s meaning has been twisted over the years from its original meaning to connect it with love but what it really means is something that gets a character fired up into doing things. For the Passion I shall use four characters from Final Fantasy to display the point.

FFVII

Passion Barret
Apathy Cloud


In Final Fantasy VII, Hold up! I didn’t define apathetic yet! The word apathetic means not caring for anything and acting non-chalanty to nearly everything around them (there.). In Final Fantasy VII we have two very good examples of Passion and Apathy: Cloud and Barret.

Passion: Barret

Barret’s passion is basically wanting to save the world and return it to how people remembered it before Shin-Ra came about. Now we see that this passion drove him to frantically opposing a world power and blowing up things, killing numbers. Passion may sometimes cause people to do, not think, but to do many things unexpected. Don’t go making a game when a samurai kills his warlord’s enemy and say it was passion that drove him to it. No way! First of all it’s the samurai’s job/bushido to do that (little history lesson there.) but if you had changed the situation into that the samurai had killed his warlord and the enemy because his family was going to die if he hadn’t (I know, a great run-on, little language lesson there) now that’s what you call passion (phew!). Barret killed to end Shinra for the planets sake (driven by that purpose) likewise the samurai killed to save his family. After all the passion that drives most of you to make games is to become a game developer one day.

Apathy: Cloud

This is about Apathy not Apartheid (little joke there-huh? Hey lighten up I was just joking, put the blade down!). Apathy is not caring about anything but just living your life and maybe not even seeing a purpose to life but just to live and die. Cloud didn’t care about the planet in the beginning but the only thing he was caring to do was to kill sephiroth till he met Aerith. Then he wanted to save the planet and get his revenge. (No wonder Tifa got to Cloud, conspiracy anyone?) Cloud was only a good example of Apathy at the beginning not like my next example.

Final Fantasy VIII

Apathy: Squall

Squall was an Apathetic person who didn’t cling on to matters in life and wanted all out of his inner life. The basic workaholic guy who doesn’t give a damn ‘bout life. Example were layed out in the game of how Squall was Apathetic such as:

His attitude

Questioning how serious were the Timber Owls (your choice really)

When they thought Seifer was dead, all he did was think about himself.

Square did this game very well because in FF 7 Cloud was one hour Apathetic and the other caring. (Reactor to Tifa’s 7th Heaven not really an hour) In FF 8 Squall had time to change his attitude to become like someone else who I am going to talk about.

Passion: Rinoa

Rinoa was the second most passionate person in Final Fantasy VIII beaten by Selphie. Why did I choose Rinoa then? Because when they showed one of Rinoa’s passionate moments you could feel in yourself. One of these examples was the Timber Mission., No matter how Squall was going to talk she was based upon the idea of freeing Timber rather than giving up and joining the Galbadian side like her father. The second time you knew she was passionate was when they had been given the mission to assassinate (I know I’m using big words, don’t complain) the sorceress and she wanted to be part of it so bad she went to confront the sorceress alone. This had shone that the idea that if no sorceress equals freedom burned her heart so much she had gone to face an evil that needed to be killed far away. Even though all of Squall’s apathy she had kept her passion going on and on throughout the game you came to the conclusion that Timber was freed. (What happened to Zone and Watt? Tune in on the next episode of FF 8)

How to bring apathy and passion into your game

Apathy

Don’t go copying Squall and Cloud to make your own character though that’s basically the only one but what about making a character who never joined in with the party’s conversation and even though a friend was injured he/her went along to finish the mission (I know sounds like Lulu with her advice about things).
Get creative, you can’t have a guy who doesn’t care about the planet’s future until he meets a girl, that’s just plain cliché.

Passion

There’s a lot to make passion out of because in life many things drive us to do actions that others didn’t expect to see. I could give you an example right now, It was my youngest brother’s birthday party and he had invited friends so my other brother (Maxwell) and I decided to invite our friends. Maxwell invited these two friends of his, two halves of a whole idiot to me. And I invited my two friends. Now the one that everyone’s afraid of at school, my friend (Don’t worry we’re not bullies, in some cases) left. So Val and I start playing soccer against these kids. I decide to go hardcore with my moves and I make a fool of Max’s friend, I do just that and the idea that I had dribbled him completely took over him like a bush fire,. He punches me and runs away.

Moral is don’t dribble kids. Anyway the driible was the start the idea was the passion and the punch was the exertion of the passion.
That’s all Folks!

-Wina
“Life with no moral is a game with no data”