Hey, everyone! This came about 'cause James and I were talking about our favorite SOTF characters, some of whom kinda flew under the radar in their initial appearances. That got me curious about who everyone else liked. We initially considered posting in the General Discussion Thread on the main board, asking folks' top three, but we figured it'd a. derail the thread and b. not give enough space for people to get into their more obscure favorites.
That gave me the idea of reviving this thread from way back in V2. The setup is basically the same, with a few adjustments I'm making.
Basically, what I'd like is for handlers to list their ten favorite characters from any Mini or AU, from the BR AU up to and including SC pregame (but NOT including main versions, as the main site has its own thread). It'd also be pretty sweet if you say what about these characters works for you. I'd ask that you not pick your own characters. However, it'd also be cool if everyone, for a bonus eleventh, picked their favorite of their own characters to talk about with the whys and stuff too. That way, we can all be suitably humble and still have the fun of talking about our own stuff.
You can rank your list or not. I don't really care either way. What I'd like to really emphasize, though, is that this is not a place to trash on other handlers for their favs. Everyone's got different tastes, and that's fine. That said, it's totally cool to dislike characters. It's cool to talk about disliking them, too. There's nothing wrong with even politely discussing stuff that didn't do it for you in the appropriate discussion thread (convenient links: Program, TV, Virtua, Second Chances). This thread, however, is just for lists and talking about stuff you like. Oh, and maybe for suggestions on other cool characters for people to read, based on ones they've enjoyed. That's cool, too.
I'll be getting my list together in the next day or two, but I figured this topic would be a cool way to talk about some great stuff we've read.
A final thing: please, please don't feel bad if your character is not mentioned. Mini has had 265 characters over the course of its time (counting confirmed SC characters as of this second, and not counting mentors and hosts and brigadier-generals and the like, who ARE okay choices as in the original thread). That means that you get to pick your favorite 3.77% of the game. That means the percentage you can choose here is about half the acceptance percentage of Harvard or Yale. It's not a slight or anything if you're not named.
Also, preferences change over time, so feel free to post a new list a ways down the line if you find cool new characters you love. This is a thread I won'rt mind seeing revived by new members or whatever.
Well, with that... have at!
Okay. After much angsting and indecision, I've come up with a list. This was actually way, way harder than I thought it'd be. Mini has a truly fantastic set of characters and handlers, including a bunch of people from the main site and a bunch of folks who started out here. I've said it many times before in chat, but I strongly believe a lot of the writing on Mini is just as good as what we see in the main versions. In fact, I think a lot of handlers have turned in better work here than there. I've found myself emotionally invested in so many characters, and making cuts from this list was really painful.
Mini is, in a way, a pretty special site to me. It's cool and weird and kinda magical, getting to be, well, there from as close to the beginning as possible without being Elena, and getting to play in every game and watch the site grow and prosper and change and develop its own culture. I've read every single IC post on Mini (and probably most of the OOC ones too), so I've really gotten quite the taste of all the wonderful writers here. To everyone who's been on Mini, to everyone who's stopped in to read, to everyone who's helped make it great, I offer a tremendous thank you. Ten is an impossibly small number for something like this. I could probably hit thirty and still need to make tough calls.
That said, I'm not going to be listing any runners up. I'm not, temptation aside, going to be bending the rules. I may come back and post another list sometimes, if my mood shifts or once we have some more games. My feelings may vary in retrospect. For now, though, this is it.
I'm listing these characters chronologically by version. It seems as good a method as any. I couldn't begin to rank them.
That said, here we go:
Ryuhei Sasagawa (BR AU): Trivia! Ryuhei, handled by Fioriboy, scored the first kill of any character on Mini. That has nothing to do with why he's on this list, but I thought it'd be fun to bring to light a fun piece of information about an awesome character. Ryuhei was a presence, from the first post of his I read. To this day, I can't exactly harness the words to explain what made Ryuhei so brilliant, but I'll give it a shot.
A large part of what was amazing about Ryuhei was that he wasn't a conventional player. Ryuhei was a loser with delusions of grandeur, a weakling who started to see himself as more than that. He was never super competent, but that was what kept him human and lovable. Yes, that's right... despite the murders he committed, Ryuhei kept me on his side the whole way through. For all his aspirations to villainy and awesomeness, he retained just enough uncertainty that I couldn't help but feel for him. I'm still bummed that the BR AU fell apart when it did, because I'd have loved to see the conclusion to Ryuhei's tale.
Otis Adelaide (SOTF: Evolution): Otis is a character who I have a hard time really talking about. Part of that comes from the fact that he's so incredibly layered. Stef is amazing at giving characters depth and humanity in a very, very short span of time. In his first thread, I thought Otis was going to become a rather simple villain. In his second, I didn't know what to make of him. By the time he took his final bow, I found myself thinking he just might have been a hero. Whatever the case, though, Otis was a deeply flawed individual. He was at times selfish and arrogant. He was at times caring and kind-hearted. He was never, ever a boring read.
Even when faced with a tough situation involving inactivity, Stef handled Otis with grace and creativity. I still find his death to be one of the most touching in Evo. Heck, it's one of my favorite things in SOTF, period, and I was massively privileged to be able to read and interact with Otis.
Katherine Black (SOTF: Evolution): Kate Black is another amazing character from Evo, a game packed to the absolute brim with amazing characters. Kate was a somewhat unlikely protagonist. She pulled the short end of the stick when it came to powers, and she clearly lacked the killer instinct present in some degree in so many of SOTF's big heroes. That said, Kate was a truly moving, deep character. Surrounded on all sides by reminders that humanity was slipping (and being stripped) away from so many, Kate persevered, planning for the future and refusing to give up hope.
Kate was also notable for her brilliant reactions to other characters, and the way she played so well off the other people she came across. In fact, that leads very directly into the next person on this list...
Taryn Gregory (SOTF: Evolution): ...because you can't have Kate without Taryn (or Taryn without Kate). Taryn provided the edge to the partnership. She was the one who did have that killer instinct, who was willing to get her hands dirty of she had to. Taryn wanted to survive, and she was willing to fight for that, to keep her and Kate safe. Taryn, like Kate, is not a typical SOTF hero. She has way more than her fair share of dark moments, killing several other decent people due to misunderstandings.
Still, Taryn was, at heart, a good person. I feel that the two most essential exchanges between Taryn and Kate came when the girls promised to visit New York together, and when Taryn revealed that she had been using Kate, and Kate forgave her and refused to abandon her. Evo, for the first time ever, brought together only kids who'd never met before. I find it amusing, in light of that, that it gave rise to perhaps the truest, most believable friendship I've read in SOTF. I recommend Evo as a whole to anyone (and will take a moment to plug the prettied up, chronologically-organized archive), but even if you don't have time or interest in the whole thing, you can't go wrong reading Taryn and Kate.
Bryant Carver (The Program): I'll fully admit right now that Bryant Carver is a character I have a hard time talking about for reasons entirely different from Otis. Bryant was, flat out, one of the best characters I've read. A large part of this came from the fact that 'foxd took the Program universe and ran with it, creating a sort of anti-hero who wouldn't work quite as smoothly anywhere else. Bryant was a rude, racist, violent boy who cared deeply for others and, at the end of the day, showed a who lot of courage and strength. He was a layered character, and what makes that so much more impressive is how much of Bryant's character isn't stated. 'foxd is a master of showing, and of showing in only a few el-chosen rules.
Now, to the reason I have trouble talking about Bryant: I'm sure everyone knows that he got rolled out shortly before the end of the Program, and that a lot of folks were kinda bummed by that. I really, really want to make clear that I am in no way disparaging the characters who are in the finals. I just really, really wish Bryant could've been there right along with 'em somehow. I think I took Bryant's rolling harder than I've taken most of the times my own characters got rolled, because I just couldn't get enough of the guy.
'foxd, you've made a character who I consider one of the iconic faces of the Program, and one of Mini's all time greats. You should be very, very proud.
Megan Jacobson (The Program): Program was host to many great character (in fact, I cut several in getting this list down to ten, and felt pretty bad about each one). That said, one of the most unique characters was Megan Jacobson, wielder of Helmut von Slappenstein. Normally, it takes a lot for a silly character to win me over. I think it bears noting, here, that despite the moniker she gave her weapon, Megan was far from a silly character.In fact, Megan was a character who ran the whole range of emotions, showing some of the most touching kindness and the most believable anger I've ever seen. I'm half inclined to call Megan the true hero of the Program, and that fact made her eventual fall into despair and her choice to die rather than live in a bad world all the more crushing.
Megan, like many on my list, was a special character because of her humanity, believability, and the amazing quality of Casey's writing. Megan's getting a second run in Second Chances, and so far her pregame moments rank high on my list of memorable stuff. SC is too new for me to put any of the characters on this list, but I highly anticipate seeing Megan's next journey through SOTF.
Jared Clayton (SOTF-TV): Jared's probably the oddball in my list, being as he's not exactly a typical character. He wasn't a contestant in any of the (RPed) games, but that really doesn't matter to me. He's one of the best things about Mini, and he's one of Elena's finest writing moments (and trust me, that is saying something). Jared positively oozes attitude, yet his arrogance manages to be charming and endearing, simply due to the fact that he's right. He's the most developed mentor, and I hope to see him developed more.
Jared is, to put it simply, a deep character. At first glance, he doesn't seem like it, but if you dig, he becomes more and more fascinating. To complicate matters a bit, a good deal of Jared's story comes from the wiki and his twitter account. Both are worth a read.
Beyond all of that (and this is not why Jared is on this list), Jared represents a lot of things about the TV universe. He shows what can happen to winners of the game. He shows how people interact with the pop culture. Perhaps most significantly of all, he shows the huge, huge possibilities of the TV world, the hidden corners to explore, the ways in which lore can be created and woven together. Without Jared, TV just wouldn't be the same.
Shawn Morrison (SOTF-TV): I think a lot has been said, by me and by others, about the tone of SOTF-TV. It varied from maddeningly lighthearted to dramatic in the extreme, and not all the stops along the way did it for me. Some characters, however, rode those waves perfectly. Shawn is one of them, perhaps the ultimate example, in fact. Shawn was among the first batch of Mini characters to receive extensive pregame time, and it shows, because he entered the game well settled in his personality and with a positive wealth of relationships and friends. Shawn has, throughout TV, been a beacon, a centerpiece. He's one of the protagonists, and what I truly admire about Shawn is that he's that way naturally. Keaka, as a writer, never sets out to steal the stage. If anything, Shawn takes a backseat a good portion of the time, and yet he is never a nonentity.
Shawn is a legitimately good character, in all meanings of the word. He's weird, but in a cool way. He hits on a lot of things I don't see nearly enough of in SOTF. He's a hero without being a tough guy. He does what he has to without being vindictive or cruel. He cares for his friends without being completely selfless. Heck, Shawn grieves when people he cares about die. He gets down, and he has his little coping mechanisms. He's just a solid, believable character. It's no accident that he's one of TV's faces, and whatever happens in Endgame, I think Shawn's gonna leave a mark on Mini and on the TV world. Rock on.
Mason Ross (SOTF-TV): At first, I felt bad about including two of 'foxd's characters on this list. Unfortunately, excluding either Mason or Bryant would have made this list untrue, as, quite simply, they have both been some of the most striking characters on Mini to me, as well as personal favorites. Mason is a tough guy to analyze. At the start of the game, he was a pretty lighthearted presence. He made jokes, made alliances, and tried his best to keep himself together emotionally. It wasn't long at all until the cracks started to show, though. I'm not sure I can think of a character who's been so thoroughly devastated and yet remained so strong and true to themselves outside of perhaps Adam Dodd during Version One. Mason has lost his groups repeatedly.
What really impresses me about Mason, though, is that he screws up a lot. It sounds weird, but Mason's a really believable guy because he makes the wrong choices a lot of the time and then suffers for them. Sometimes he makes the right choices and suffers for them, too, because sometimes that's how the world works. Mason's a guy I can see being a real person, and not even a super special real person. He's got that very high school mix of personality traits about him, and seeing him stuck in such a horrible situation, watching him trying to pull himself together and find a little humor and keep his humanity, it's all so touching and amazing.
Of course, a lot of that, as usual, is down to 'foxd's writing. Small posts often leave me wanting more. 'foxd's post with Mason sometimes do too, but not because there's anything missing or left to guess that shouldn't be. No, I'm just greedy and want to read some more of some of the most solid stuff I've ever had the privilege of reading on the site.
Samuel Wilson (Virtua SOTF): Sam's last, but absolutely not least. Actually, when I first starting thinking up this list for Mini, he topped it. Iceblock's writing was darn solid at the start of TV, but it's just improved at almost unbelievable speed since then. It's pretty hard to believe that Sam is somebody's second character, because he's one of my favorite characters of all time, Mini or Main. Seeing him get rolled was easily the suckiest moment of Virtua for me. Sam's a hero in his own way. While some go questing for revenge, or to protect their friends, Sam went looking for a killer to talk to her and see what he could make of how she'd changed.
Sam would be on the list either way, but the sheer arc of his story is crushing. He's lost close to everything, and he's going to die, and throughout it all he's just been handled so wonderfully. He's despaired over his choices, he's faced indecision, he's changed his mind. He's existed, and he's been human, and you know what? I don't care if Virtua's a video game or whatever. Sam's one of the most real characters SOTF has ever seen.
Phew. That took longer than I thought, and I still feel guilty for leaving folks off the list. I'm gonna go ahead and toss my fav of mine in like I said to, in the name of making more choices I don't really wanna tonight.
I guess, of mine, my favorite Mini character has been Karen Ruiz (SOTF-TV): Karen was a character I almost didn't write. She started out because I was whining and was given a friendly challenge, and writing her turned into a crazy roller coaster as I fumbled my way through writing a player without a single clue as to what I should be doing. Karen ended up being my most involved character on Mini, and gave me the most opportunities to work with a bunch of really amazing handlers. She also let me do something I'd not had a chance (or even really the inclination) to do before, and writing her gave me a ton of respect for characters I'd have otherwise overlooked.
Really, though, why I'm picking her as my favorite of mine is that I don't hate all her stuff. I am a super picky reader, despite my gushing about the ten characters above, and that extends to my own stuff. I like some of what I've written, but I've only got two Mini characters who, on the whole, don't induce altogether too much cringing on my part, and Karen's the one I ended up doing more with and pushing myself more for.
And that's a wrap. Sorry for rambling! I'm excited to see who everyone else has enjoyed.