Essay on villains (and video games)

I wrote a long piece on villains – as they appear in video games, but it doesn’t necessarily apply solely to video games. I’ve had this villain stick that I’ve been beating my favourite creative medium with, for some time.

I’m considering turning this into an ebook for Press Select (a digital publisher aimed at critical video game writing) – but I’ll need to judge interest and other factors.


  1. Psychopomp Gecko says

    Mentioned it to Web Fiction Guide and gave them a link to it. The writing aspect and how to think about villains could be useful to a website of free online fiction for when the writers are thinking up villains. Not everyone has a problem with it, but it’s there all the same.

  2. miles says

    Very nice – haven’t played spec ops (sounds like I missed out on something truly interesting if disturbing) but definitely have experienced the “blahdeeblah” villain where no thought has gone in to how they got that way or what their motivation is. Or it seems kinda tacked on at the end.

    Even the batman Arkham Asylum/City games (I don’t follow the comic book but I assume the origins are similar) went to some lengths to give a psychological profile and background and explanation to each of their villains… and yet it’s pretty clear that the villain came first and the rationalization later.

    A few villains I was impressed with…
    *The main character’s brother in Fable 3 – once you overthrow him, it becomes incredibly clear why he’s such a monster and it is difficult not to follow in his footsteps if you really want to save the kingdom.
    *The main character’s father in Assassin’s Creed 3 – the true believer, who thinks he’s the good guy. And he’s not just nutters – he makes some very valid points and really makes you question if maybe YOU are the bad guy in all this. I haven’t beaten it yet so maybe that’s not all, but 80%ish of the way through, that’s the impression I’m getting.
    *The end boss in Witcher – I can’t remember the name he used. This is old enough I don’t feel bad about a spoiler but SPOILER WARNING… hearing your own words of encouragement thrown back at you as you climb the slopes to fight him… an alert player is suddenly aware that this is a monster of their own making.
    *Mark of the Ninja (awesome game if you haven’t played it) – I’m actually unsure who the villain was. I guess that’s the point.