Wednesday, 18 February 2009

emotional easter eggs

Yes it's early, no I'm not fussed. Observant readers have noticed I missed a post out in the characters and characteristics specifically on emotion so I am compelled to finish the job. As this is an extra feature, I'm going to address easter eggs as well because I can. Yes it's early. Consider it balanced.

Emotions are another characteristic which provides colour to a character; recall Elric and his gloomy melancholy or the anger of the Incredible Hulk (in this case anger is green - or grey or red of late) and it's a matter of time before we get as many Hulks as we get colours of kryptonite. Part of the Hulk's identifiability is his colour which is at odds with those around him - this isolating attribute sets him apart from a community of garishly costumed individuals (and superheroes) as a real lone wolf.

The emotional spectrum of a character is indicative of traits and attributes; it helps provide context and energy to decisions and actions. An example is Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, whose 20 year quest for vengeance leads him finally through drunken despair to frenetic energy in the short space of one book. It can emphasise either by compliment or contrast. A good example of this is the Sin City story 'The Hard Goodbye' which contrasts Kevin serene joy with Marv's implacable rage - yet both have common traits, psychopathic hunters yet their emotional stances (among other things) contrast them.

Easter Eggs in this context are secret bonus scenes or bits of information which had to be found. The practice originated in software development where code including additional information or functionality were provided and were not obviously linked to. These 'easter eggs' could be tracked down using 'secret' codes or navigating to a particular area. The most notorious example outside of the flight simulator in Excel97 was the 'Hot Coffee' mission in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Unlocking access to these eggs can provide extra stuff for gamers as well as possible competitions.

This kind of knowing in-joke can be found in a number of areas and can provide enough information to form it's own minigame. Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) can use these snippets extensively and information of this kind has appeared in a variety of formats; from text-based illustrations through to mini-websites.

Finally, here is a little bonus character worksheet for your perusal. You can use this to help brainstorm that certain someone using techniques used in the blog and mentioned in the sources.

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