Monday, August 21, 2006

General RPGs' Villains' Laughs

If you've ever watched a cartoon, sat through a movie, read a comic book, played a game, or experienced any other dozens of forms of entertainment, you're quite familiar with the Villain Laugh. Although obviously not an RPG-only cliche, I have noticed that RPG villains seem to be especially prone to it, just bursting out in raucous bellows of amusement at any given time of day.

Frankly, I think it's fucking stupid.

I do my best to understand villains. You know, get why it is that they're being dicks, and see where they're coming from. This doesn't mean that they're not still dopes for being evil assholes, or anything. But I can at least figure out exactly how and why they're stupid jerks. But that damn laugh I can't get.

I mean, okay, let's think like someone evil who is out to destroy at LEAST the world. Probably more--you know how these villain types are just never satisfied. And it's going well! You're collecting whatever mystical relics of an ancient civilization you need at a good pace, your henchmen have not yet started failing in every single task you assign them (they will soon enough, though, don't doubt it), you've killed some innocents, you've destroyed some property, and you've just finished explaining your ingenius plan to/using mind games to torment the leader of a group of heroes who stupidly tried to stop you while at Level 12. Morons. They'd need at LEAST 40 more levels to stand a chance.

In other words, you've got a good, evil buzz going on. You're walkin' on whatever the evil equivalent of sunshine is, baby. And so, you laugh like a ninnyhammer.

You've got evil plots to follow through, henchmen and accomplices to praise, berate, and/or kill, and each passing moment you spend here heightens the chance that some random person will show up to rescue the heroes you just pummelled in a way that is oh so convenient to the plot. But do you choose to just leave, maintaining your evil dignity and position as superior to these weaklings? No. No, you just throw your head back and scream with laughter as though someone just told you that they enjoy Final Fantasy 10-2 for its exquisite plot and thoughtful characters.

I mean, I can accept this when the game's villain is as loopy as a 4-year-old's self-portrait. Final Fantasy 6's Kefka giggling at mayhem and destruction that he's caused? It helps reinforce the idea that he's off his nut (not that you needed the reinforcement). Luca Blight from Suikoden 2 laughing happily as he personally murders civilians he's taken prisoner? It really works for him, because you just believe that he honestly does feel a sick mirth at such a hateful act.

But in general, the laughter thing just comes off as pointless. Regular, non-demented people, even evil ones, just don't do it every single time something good happens. Think how dull and monotonous (not to mention hoarse) you would be every day if you laughed on cue whenever good things happened.

"I passed my test! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
"Muhahahahahaha, they have a 2-for-1 special going for AA batteries today! Excellent, hehehehe!"
"My is...GOLDEN BROWN! PERFECT! All is going according to my plan...TO MAKE MYSELF A BLT! YAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

What part of this is supposed to be cool? Do game writers really think that this is a fear-inspiring behavior? If some evil twerp tried that routine with me, I'd just watch them guffaw for a minute and then punch their stupid teeth down their throat.

1 comment:

  1. No vocal display by a villain will ever surpass Lynx from Chrono Cross simply inhaling while forming a smile. Say what you will about that game, that moment was the touch of a master.