Posted by: getocoolaid | November 17, 2011

Coolaid’s Korner – Character

Mama always said MYM was like a box of chocolates. All the little peices are different.

 

Greetings, fellow Earthakins! This is Getocoolaid, and this is Coolaid’s Korner, a sporadic series of  articles that I will post whenever I get the chance. This is basically my soapbox, where I will provide my own (hopefully interesting) opinions on everything MYM, whether it be aspects of movesetting, community, movesets themselves, or MYMers (positive or negetive). Today, I wanted to talk to you about that old, controversial (?) topic, character. Should it be the main focus? Or should playstyle be your main priority? What is character anyway? What does it mean to be in-character or not? Let’s explore.

So, lets start with what character is. Simply put, character is the personality of a character made physical with the character’s moves, whether it be effect, interaction, animation, or how it affects a character’s ultimate “playstyle”. What does this mean? Well, in more direct (yet slightly more vague) terms, it’s how well the personality of a character is represented in every aspect of a moveset. Yes, you read that right. Every aspect. Moves, strategies, even such trivial (in some MYMer’s minds) aspects as organization and writing style. Your character should almost be able to jump out of the moveset and right into SSBMYM as soon as we start reading. If done right, the character should be inseperable from your moveset.

This leads me into this: what does it mean for a moveset to be in-character? Simply put, to me anyway, is exactly what I said above: it’s how well the personality of a character is represented in every aspect of a moveset. What does it mean for, say, a move to be in-character? Well, the easy answer is that a character performs it in it’s source material.  Easy enough, and most movesets will make a character’s signiture ability a centerpiece. Again, easy. But then, what if a character only performs a certain amount of moves or doesn’t fight at all, or whose abilities are rather undefined by the source material? That’s where things get murky. Let’s take a recent moveset as an example: Pennywise the Dancing Clown by BKupa666. Pennywise’s moveset is all about fear by using clones, invisibility, blood, baloons, floatiness (oh, he FLOATS) pulls it off extremely well. This is proven by the fact he came in second (on the unaltered raw list, too!) in the MYMX Top 50, obviously meaning he was extremely popular.  But was he in-character? Some have argued that no, he isn’t, because he uses abilities that he never used in the movie/book. This is all well, and these people are entitled to their own opinion, and we should respect that. However, I’d like to present my counter-argument.

Pennywise’s powers in the novel are pretty ill-defined. He’s an ancient alien/god that fell to Earth millions of years ago. He enjoys feeding off the fear of anybody, and generally causes the very hostile mood in a small town, eating those he scares for nurishment. That, and it had babies, and it wants the fear to last so that it’s offspring can eat. It can shapeshife, seemingly appear anywhere it wants (in two places at once in some cases), and make objects or matter appear at will (albiet they are onlyu visible to who it wants them to be). Now, let’s look at the moveset: clones, invisibility, blood, baloons appearing out of nowhere, etc. It’s all there. Yes, Pennywise never actually created clones in the novel, but it has the ability to appear wherever it wants. I can stretch my imagination far enough (which isn’t very far) to see this as being an ill-worded interperetation of this ability, or that Pennywise (having the power of a god, basically)  can’t make clones anyway? Invisibility? Mind-tricks, appearing out of nowhere, etc. It’s not any stretch that Pennywise can make himself visible or invisible to whoever he wants. And the way they all come together? Creating constant fear and paranoia from the foe, much like he did to the characters (and the town) in the novel. Pennywise, by my definition at least, is one of the most character-heavy movsets I’ve ever read. It’s moves ooze Pennywise, in both animation and effect, and it’s overall playstyle fits whaty the character’s motivation in it’s souce material. This is the best example of in-character in every aspect I can think of from recent times, and really, a standerd for those who want to mae their movesets in-character. You don’t need to copy-paste abilities and make modifications to fit smash, you need to draw from the character’s personality, motives, fears, flaws, actions, words, EVERYTHING. If you can make the character come out in everything you do for a moveset, and have a deep understanding of their character (unless they are villains from a one-shot Loony Tunes picture).

Let’s move on to priority issues. What should be your top priority? Character, or Playstyle. This, my friends, is an issue that i cannot even begin to make a definitive statement for. It’s up to the MYMer. What’s more important to you, and idea, or the character? What do you do first? Choose your idea or see the character? It’s not my room to lecture. I can, however state MY opinion. Do not take this as a persuasive statement, or as a way for me to get you all to convert to Getoism or become Coolaidian or whatever fucking title you want to give it. Here’s my opinion: One should not be able to be seperated from the other. Yes, playstyle and character are the same thing. Your playstyle, no matter what it is, should reflect on the character, take his/hers/its personality, motives, or whatever and make it a fighting style. Their playstyle shoyuld be the MOST in-character read in the entire moveset. It’s where your reader should sit back, and realize: it couldn’t have been done any other way. It SHOULDN’T have been done any other way. What we’re making here, it’s not an art form, certainly. But it’s sort of like poetry in the way it should perfectly capture it’s subject (in this case, the character) in a surprising, shocking, skillful, and perhaps even beautiful way. We’re not making ideas. We’re making tributes to characters we adore to be put into a game that we all share a love for. It’s really a beautiful thing, no?

And that's all I have to say about that.

 

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Responses

  1. A few minor points;

    1. I have made the argument that Pennywise is out-of-character because IT is really a shapeshifting monster, and Pennywise ignores that almost entirely. IT likes to scare people through shock and awe, assuming the most terrifying form possible, which makes Kupa’s set seem a little bit off. (Before I get attacked here, that’s not a major detracting factor to me because it would be nigh impossible to make a decent set for IT or Pennywise without treating it the way Kupa did. I still very much like the set, and in fact SV’ed it)

    2. “It’s where your reader should sit back, and realize: it couldn’t have been done any other way. It SHOULDN’T have been done any other way.”

    I don’t wholly agree with this. Given the same character, Smady, Junahu, Kupa, Rool, and MW would write entirely different movesets, and none of their approaches is inherently worse than the others’. One of the things I love about MYM is how differently we all go about movesetting, and I have faith that different approaches can create different well-characterized movesets. As I have said many times (though I’m usually dismissed as a madman), I would love to see a big project where a lot of MYMers all independently made sets for the same character.


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