This prompt (silent) brings to mind three separate things to talk about and they’re totally not related at all. So yeah, y’all are gonna get some rambling up in here. ^_^ The first is a quote that I heard a long time ago, but haven’t found an attribution: Of all forms of miscommunication, silence is the most common. I can’t say where I picked it up from, read it, heard it, saw it… whatever, but it struck a chord with me. Because it’s totally true. Some people just don’t talk to each other. They assume that everyone else in their lives knows what’s going on — that their friends and family know why they’re mad/sad/upset/happy — whatever! and should act accordingly. And when the people in their lives don’t act accordingly, they get angry, but they still don’t say anything, because they assume (again) that others should know. Silence. It’s pretty awful.
I made a conscious decision when I was in my teens — after I read/heard the above sentence to never be silent about my feelings. To never assume that anyone outside of myself would know what I’m feeling. Because it’s a stupid assumption to make. I mean, I have no idea what anyone else is feeling. I can make a good guess based on body language and facial expressions, but even then, I could be 100% wrong, because acting. People all around me are damned good actors. I’m a good actor. I can be in so much pain it hurts to breathe and no one would know it to look at me. How can I expect anyone to know what’s going on unless I tell them? How can they expect me to know unless they tell me? And even then, I have to trust that they’re not lying. It’s a delicate dance.
The second thing that came to mind with the daily prompt was a different quote which (I think) came from Mark Twain… let me look that one up. Okay, according to this site, they don’t know who said it, but the version I know goes like this: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and to remove all doubt. But it has been attributed to Mark Twain. So yeah. That’s a hard one to follow sometimes, because there are many occasions when I really want to say something but what I want to say adds nothing to the conversation — it’s just added noise. And I know that I don’t know everything, but every once in awhile, I just want to be heard, dammit! Then I start gabbering away and I feel like person in Math class who’s talking about Ancient Greek Civilization… the topic, while interesting, has nothing to do with the subject at hand and everyone just wants them to shut the hell up so they can get back to learning Math. Did you ever have that person in your class? I hated that guy. I hate it when I am that guy.
So anyway, the third (and last) thing that came to mind was video games, and there are two parts to this one. The biggest part is how I feel about voiced/silent protagonists. I play — basically — two video games. I know, exciting, but what can I say? I want to actually finish the ones I’m playing before I embark on a new adventure. I’ve tried a few others, but have gone back to these two… well, back to Skyrim actually. I like Skyrim. Skyrim’s protagonist — the player character (PC) which you (as the player) control — is not voiced; but he/she is not exactly silent either. In other words, there are dialogue choices for the PC to make which further the game along. I’ve watched other people play games with truly silent protagonists — Prey being one of them — where the PC has no voice at all. Non Player Characters (NPCs) will have one sided conversations with the PC — in Prey, this was done through the transcribe, which is something like a cell phone, where the NPCs would call the PC via a headset, speak, then hang up — but there are no dialogue choices for the PC to make. I think it’s okay… but I haven’t played the game, so I don’t know if I’d like it. I have played one game — Dragon’s Dogma – Dark Arisen that’s kind of like that, I mean there were some choices in DD-DA where the PC can interact with NPCs to shop and get lodging, but there weren’t any real dialogue options that moved the story along. Mostly just kind of “yes, I’ll take this mission, or no, I won’t” then the NPC bugged the PC outside of dialogue (like if the PC came within a certain distance of the NPC) until the mission was accepted. I didn’t like it. I’d rather have dialogue choices. Even if it’s an illusion of choice.
The other game I’ve played the most of is Fallout 4, which goes in the opposite direction and has a voiced protagonist. And I have to say… I’m torn on that, but I’m leaning hard towards not liking it. For one, it leads to having very little in the way character creation. Something I really enjoy about Skyrim. Since the voice actors are one male and one female then the voice has to pretty much match whatever character you build or it’s just not going to work. And the way they implemented the dialogue, the PC might as well have been a silent protagonist I mean the choices were often basically “Yes, a different yes, no but will lead to yes, and sarcastic yes” It was stupid. And the sarcastic option was so poorly implemented that it was pretty laughable. I know sarcasm. It’s my second language. What they used as “sarcasm” was a piss-poor attempt at humor that fell flat, and I often felt like the voice actors weren’t told “this is the sarcastic option.” because yeah… just… no.
Here are some of the er… better sarcastic options.
And one of the other problems with their dialogue is that even if your PC choses to be a sarcastic asshole, it makes no difference in the game. The NPC you’re talking to just says something stupid back at the PC and the game continues on as if you hadn’t spoken at all. Why bother putting these in if there’s no consequence? Might as well remain silent in my humble opinion.
I like playing Fallout 4, and I’ll play it again when the studio stops updating it and killing my load order with their stupid Creation Club (a whole nother kettle of fish). I totally mod the hell out of it to make it playable.
Okay, one last thing, so see these guys in the picture? They’re called the Thalmor in Skyrim. They’re an occupying force and the reason for the civil war that’s going on within the timeline of the game. My characters generally pick no side in the civil war — they are usually not native to the land and have no dog in that fight, but every single one of them will not like the Thalmor because I don’t like the Thalmor. Why? Well, on my very first playthrough, they killed my PC because I tried to release their prisoner. I just had a feeling that they were up to no good. That gave me an unreasoning hatred of their faction. I have nothing against the high elves (the Altmer) themselves, only the Thalmor. Because they’re self-righteous bigots, and the prisoner they often have with them probably committed no crime other than being a Nord (the native race of Skyrim). So anyway, for many of my first playthroughs, I would just have my PC kill these guys on sight and get a bounty in whatever hold they were in — unless you have your PC kill all witnesses, because that’s how the game is scripted. ^_^ Then I learned that you can totally have your PC pick a fight with these guys. Ah, the world was so much more fun then. And one of the dialogue options (see? it ties in) is “remain silent” after which they’ll accuse your PC of being a heretic and “sentence” them to death and attack. Then you can happily kill them all without a bounty. For such an advanced race, they’re so easily killed too. I’m normally not bloodthirsty, and generally play what they call a “true neutral” character, but these guys… they get my goat. There are many other times in Skyrim where one can “remain silent” but that’s my favorite. ^_^