Talk:Player character

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First line

The first paragraph, about a PC being a fictional character, is that correct? I have played many games where the PC was a famous real life character, such as Hanibal, Joan of Arc and Michael Jackson (although some could argue that MJ is a fictional character, for the sake of seriousness he isn't). I am going to change that, feel free to change it back and state your reasons why JayKeaton 02:17, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Not cool mate, I have reverted back to my edit though. Ta JayKeaton 08:33, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
I've reverted your edit. From Fictional character: "A fictional character is any person who appears in a work of fiction." So, although there was a real Hannibal, the Hannibal you played was a fictional character. To assert that RPG characters are "real" is highly dubious, even when you're playing a historical person. Percy Snoodle 11:16, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Excuse me, you use the word "real" as an opposite to fictional, when the correct opposite is nonfictional. I think you are confusing real with nonfictional, it is like saying while watching Brave Heart that Sir William Wallace is a fictional character because he appears in a "work of fiction" (ie, a movie). Now I would like to bring to your attention the page Nonfictional character which says "A nonfictional character is a character in a story that was a real-life figure". I will not revert for 24 hours if you think you can justify your revert, but if you cannot before then I will change it back to my edit. JayKeaton 16:30, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
To use your example, I'd say William Wallace was real, but William Wallace wasn't really Mel Gibson. Mel Gibson played a fictionalised William Wallace, just as you played a fictionalised Hannibal. They were both fictional characters - characters in fiction - based on hitorical people. A nonfictional character is a character in nonfiction who is or was real - for example a character in a narrative history - one whose reported actions matched their real-life actions. Player characters' actions, when they play historical characters, rarely do so; they are fictionalised hitorical characters - or to put it another way, they are hitorical fictional characters. Percy Snoodle 21:27, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
But in Brave Heart it wasn't about Mel Gibson, it was about William Wallace. A book about William Wallace could be called fictional because it is ink on a page, or the writers imagination on page, but it is still William Wallace. Even if in a videogame you could control William Wallace, and time travel and battle aliens it would still be a nonfictional character, you are still William Wallace. It is still a nonfictional character in a fictional setting. JayKeaton 05:52, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Further to that, the Nonfictional character page goes on to say that the setting can be nonfictional but the main character can be fictional, in which case it would make him a fictional character. But why not the other way around? A fictional setting but with a non fictional character. Just because the controlable or playable actions are different, doesn't make the character fictional.
A William Wallace will always be a nonfictional character. In a book, a movie or videogame JayKeaton 06:02, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
False. A WIlliam Wallace character is nonfictional iff the story in which they appear is nonfictional. If the actions of the character are determined by the player, then it is almost certain that the story will be a work of fiction, and as such the character s fictional, per the definition at fictional character. Percy Snoodle 06:22, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

As per the nonfictional character definition, "A nonfictional character is a character in a story that was a real-life figure". Further, the definition of nonfiction states Non-fiction is an account or representation of a subject which is presented as fact. This presentation may be accurate or not; that is, it can give either a true or a false account of the subject in question. More so it goes on to say However, non-fiction need not be written text necessarily, since pictures and film can also purport to present a factual account of a subject. Are you trying to say that videogames cannot and have not used player characters to purport a factual account of a subject, whether it is accurate or not.

  • "Non-fiction is an account or representation of a subject which is presented as fact". Roleplaying games don't present their subject matter as fact. So, they're not nonfiction. QED. Percy Snoodle 08:45, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

And please don't quote the first line from fictional character again, that will be the next thing I change. Please do try to back up that anyone in a work of fiction HAS to be a fictional character. JayKeaton 07:24, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Again I will add more, to quote the fictional character page A fictional character is any person who appears in a work of fiction. More accurately, a fictional character is the person or conscious entity we imagine to exist within the world of such a work. An entity we imagine to exist in the world of fiction, but if that entity was a real life person then we imagine that etnity to exist in our world, not just in the world of fiction. The fictional character page needs to be changed from "any person who appears" to something far less general. My key point here is that a fictional character must be someone we imagine to exist in a fictional world, but nonfictional characters we imagine to have existed in our real life world, not soley existing in a fictional world. JayKeaton 07:52, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Inocorrect Percy, if you had bothered to look at what I changed you would have seen that I only added the following text In contrast, a non-playable character, often called a NPC,, so please check before making such accusations. Second I never said you couldn't quote fictional character, I only meant that I was sick of hearing your argument based soley on one line of text, rather than a range of different examples. I was not telling you what you can and cant do, I was only stressing that I understood that you were quoting that one line the first time. I think this discussion is reaching an end, if you have nothing further to add I would like to change it once and for all to my original edit JayKeaton 13:12, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
First off, apologies - I didn't mean to accuse you of a WP:POINT violation, but rather to say that to change fictional character in future to support your argument would be. It was a response to "that will be the next thing I change".
Although I agree that neither of us have much new to say, I don't see that you've established that your proposed edit isn't incorrect. Percy Snoodle 13:22, 4 July 2006 (UTC)


Actually, having said I've nothing new to say, I'll point out the Unusual uses section of fictional character, which discusses real people as fictional characters. Percy Snoodle 13:31, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
I do not believe that anything in that unusual uses section supports your argument and I do not believe that it is trying to say that real people are fictional characters, rather that a version of a real person, like the Harrison Ford we are used to seeing on screen, rather than the Harrison Ford that drinks, hangs out with his friends and is just a normal guy. Even still it comes under nonfiction meaning, Non-fiction is an account or representation of a subject which is presented as fact. This presentation may be accurate or not; that is, it can give either a true or a false account of the subject in question. Meaning that you may see John Malkavitch on the movie, presented as fact, even though it may not be how the real John Malkavitch acts, say it was wasn't accurate, or it was a false account of john malkavitch. JayKeaton 04:15, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
"Non-fiction is an account or representation of a subject which is presented as fact". RPGs are not presented as fact. Therefore, RPGs are not non-fiction. The "Unusual Uses" section isn't saying that real people are fictional characters, it's saying that characters in fiction who are based on real people are still fictional characters. Much as I know you don't like to hear it, "A fictional character is any person who appears in a work of fiction." Even if the person they're representing within fiction is real, the character is fictional.
I don't think you're making the correct distinction between the character and the real-life person they represent. To use an analogy, think of the character as a pointer to the real-life person; the pointer exists in fiction, so it's fictional; even though if you dereference it you get a real-life person, who isn't fictional. Percy Snoodle 09:38, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

RPGs never really occured to me, I was talking about gaming in general, like the Michael Jackson games of the 2D era JayKeaton 10:44, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Fair enough. I doubt any game has been "presented as fact", though. That the player can control the character means that the character's actions aren't constrained to factual ones. In answer to your earlier question, "Are you trying to say that videogames cannot and have not used player characters to purport a factual account of a subject, whether it is accurate or not?", yes, I am saying that games cannot and have not used player characters to purport a factual account of a subject. Percy Snoodle 10:50, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
How about Playboy: The Mansion?JayKeaton 10:53, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Nope - although the real Hugh Hefner did build the Playboy Empire, the player character Hefner can choose to do so differently, or even fail. The game doesn't present those alternate Hugh Hefners as fact, so the character is fictional. If the game forced the player to build the empire in exactly one way, with no choices, it could present that way as fact; but then the character in it wouldn't be controllable by the player Percy Snoodle 11:18, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
I also remember playing a game based on a character from the bible, going through his journy and making the walls of Jericho fall down (game made my christian organisation). Well, actually I personally do not believe in a God, so I think that is all fiction and fairytales anyway, but you get my point JayKeaton 10:57, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Likewise, if you could fail or diverge from the biblical story it wasn't presented as real (the Bible probably counts as "presented as real", irrespective of its actual reality), and if you couldn't then the character in it wasn't a player character. Percy Snoodle 11:18, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Actually, it was impossible to fail in the bible game, it was strictly linear. Presented as cold hard facts, although I am not a religious man by any means. Also there are a few sports games that let you play as a famous sportsman, but if you fail a season that he was meant to win, such as in road to glory, then you simply have to restart that game. Set path, cutscenes the same, the works JayKeaton 13:46, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
OK, so the character in the biblical game was (depending on your religious stance) non-fictional, but he wasn't a player character, as you couldn't control him. As regards road to glory, it would depend on whether you could play differently to the real-life sportsman within seasons as to which sort of character it was. If you can, it's a fictional character who's also a player character; if not, it's a non-fictional character who's not a player character. A player passively observing a character doesn't make them a player character. Percy Snoodle 14:15, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, you could control him. I do firmly believe that player characters can be non fictional characters, but if only to keep this talk page and the player character page clean, attractive and easy to read I will leave it. For the next 3 years I will devote my life to creating an epic game where the player character meets your exact criteria for a non fictional character, until then take it easy, so long and all that JayKeaton 23:18, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

More First Line Problems

It read "A player character or playable character (PC) is a fictional character in a game who is controlled or controllable by the player via a game controller." For an entry that's supposed to be as applicable to roleplaying games as it is to video games, doesn't that seem a little one-sided? I don't remember using too many game controllers last time I sat down with my friends to play D&D. I'm removing the last four words from the sentence. Please feel free to revert if there's a true reason to imply that roleplaying games like D&D are played with "game controllers" while sitting around a tabletop rolling dice.

Fourth paragraph

Looking at this paragraph: In tabletop and live-action role-playing games, there is little advantage to be had by selecting consistently high attributes, as a gamemaster can make enemies and obstacles that the character must face more dangerous, or make the statistics irrelevant in other ways. More commonly, they will simply not allow the player to have high statistics. Also, role-playing can be about social interaction and imagination. Purely played on the basis of the numerical mechanics, it is a narrower activity, though many still enjoy this aspect. Many such players tire of this method of gameplay and either move on to more three-dimensional and realized characters or abandon the hobby entirely.

This seems somewhat unclear or at least unfocussed, only semi-relevant, poorly written and somewhat POV. I don't see how it's contributing anything of value, but I am reluctant to delete it outright without some sort of discussion, perhaps with an eye toward a revision.

Also, the last sentence is false, or at least no more true than the exact opposite statement would be, according to what little market research has been done; though it's a common belief among players of certain RPGs that people start out playing mostly mechanically and move on to "deeper" character-based play, these styles don't in fact have any correlation to how long someone has been playing, according to the study; apparently people change in the other direction just as often (and in fact, it is moving from less mechanical to more mechanical play that I have seen in several of my own circle of gamers, including myself).

Agreed. I've removed those paragraphs. If they belong anywhere, it's on Attribute (role-playing games). Percy Snoodle 11:22, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

What the heck?

Come on you guys, original research like this is no good. Not only was most of this article not interesting in the least, but most of it (particularly the information of characters in role playing games) is covered in greater detail in the articles concerning NPCs and role-playing games. I appreciate that you fond your own little niche on wikipedia to pontificate on the nature of what a 'character' is, but it's getting a little existential for what should be a concise article on what the hell a player character is. Server overload costs money, you know.

I took the liberty of shortening it to a clean paragraph. Johnnyfog 01:48, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

  • You also made this page a stub in doing so. TTFN! BlackSlivers (talk) 10:10, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_%28computing%29 70.156.244.8 (talk) 23:27, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

It seems to me that the whole article is badly in need of better grammar/punctuation. And seriously, why is the talk page longer than the article itself? not a good use of server space. -guest

"unlockable character"

I was directed here by clicking on a link "unlockable character", but the term "unlockable character" is not mentioned anywhere in the article. This is not very helpful as one is left guessing whether it is simply a synonym of "player character", or a special type of "player character", or some other related concept. It would be helpful if this was explained. 86.130.66.40 (talk) 02:57, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

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