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"Main Character", "Protagonist", and their labeling in video games:
Two questions: [1.] The Protagonist The definition of the protagonist in TV Tropes list it as the main character (this is what wikipedia lists it as too but wikipedia doesn't really cite sources). However here http://storyfanatic.com/linked/the-confusion-between-main-character-and-protagonist http://storyfanatic.com/articles/story-structure/redefining-protagonist-and-main-character It lists the protagonist and main character differently. (Basically Protagonist aim to end the conflict of the main storyline while the main character is like the view point character) I also find a lot of other pages listing protagonist different from main character (if I google "main character vs protagonist" for example). Now are there any more sources regarding these terms and what's accepted? [2.] Gameplayand Story Segregation (sort of) Background info - this started out as me (+ someone else) wanting to put a hottip on Lightning's status as "main character" as debatable (as a lot do consider the cast of FFXIII an Ensemble Cast). However in this case how do we define who the main character is in video games? If we take main character as the view point character, Lightning isn't the sole focus or perspective (from the story perspective). Same situation with "protagonist". If you look things only from story, it's an Ensemble Cast (see above). If we take account gameplay, things get tricky. Lightning is the most forced played character in FFXIII (she is forced as leader, gameplay wise that is, the most out of other characters). (Of course this is not counting Chapter 10-13 where you can switch characters.) In this case how would we define it? Do we take into account gameplay instances too or is it story only or both?
edited 25th Nov '11 5:08:45 AM by Goldfish2
The 11th GroverWell, TV Tropes is, at the moment, using the dictionary definition of The Protagonist. The Protagonist for a main character; a viewpoint character that doesn't drive the story is The Ishmael). For the second point, the problem is that you're too rigid in main character status - namely, the problem is that you're arguing whether or not Lightning is the main character. The question is whether or not she is a main character. She isn't the only one to get a bunch of attention - but the definition of "main character" isn't that they're the only one to receive focus, just that the story focuses on them. In the case of Final Fantasy XIII, I'd call Light one of the main characters, and the one who spends the most time as the central character (to the game's detriment, I'd argue - Fang and Sazh were much more interesting, but that's just my opinion). But she's not the only one.
edited 25th Nov '11 8:48:32 AM by 32_Footsteps
Given we have a trope called Supporting Protagonist, the definition the OP links to probably won't fly on this wiki(flop 'em around they might work, though).
Yeah, unwritten rule number one: follow all the unwritten procedures. - Camacan
To clarify my position as posted in the link to my website (OP is a _bit_ off): Main Character - viewpoint character which INCLUDES personal baggage tied to the story's central inequity Protagonist - character who PURSUES the successful resolution of the story's goal regardless of an intimate look into any personal baggage Sometimes one and two are the same (most American films), but not always. Neither The Ishamel nor the Supporting Protagonist as defined by this site includes that key component of personal baggage. Audience Surrogate sounds closer to the Main Character concept described above, but again I can't find reference here to the requirement that there be personal issues pertinent to the story at hand. That's the key. In Shawshank Redemption, Red not only provides the narration he gives us an intimate look at what it is like to go with the system. He is an institutionalized man and shows up to each parole board meeting with hat in hand, saying what he thinks he should say. This is the same problem everyone else in the story has to deal with. From the fresh fish not following orders to shut up to good 'ol Tommy doing what he can to help the Warden out, everyone in Shawshank suffers from the effects of supporting the powers that be. But we're seeing their stories from afar, from a third-person objective perspective. Andy, who clearly is the one driving the story's successful resolution and thus is the Protagonist, spends an inordinate amount of time in the hole, yet we never get to feel what that is like. He goes in, he comes out and suddenly he's a different person. We are not him. Red's journey, however, we see from a very personal very first-person perspective. Andy's surprise is our surprise. We even walk through the jail doors into his parole board meetings! We're with him every step of the way. The dissonance created between the two perspectives gives the story meaning and is why we feel compelled to watch it over and over again. In short, it is giving us something we can't get in real life — a simultaneous look inside and outside of a problem. Same with To Kill A Mockingbird. Scout is more than simply the narrator. Yes, Atticus is a "man of action", but that is his role as Protagonist - trying to resolve the issues of injustice that sit at the center of the story. Scout, though, has her own personal issues revolving around justice, particularly within her relationship with the boogie man, Boo Radley. Sitting in her shoes we get a very intimate look at what it is like to be prejudice, or unjust, towards another. We get to see it from within through her, and from without through Atticus. Again, that dissonance between the objective and subjective gives us as an Audience the meaning we can't find in real life. That's what makes stories so great.
edited 7th Dec '11 12:01:09 PM by jimhull
Yes, a protagonist is the principle character. Nothing more. "Main character" is pretty vague. Main by what criteria? I'll fix our definition to address that. The fanfic articles cited are trying to make a point by changing the meaning of the term. Don't get me wrong, I dislike the phrase "main character, " too. Specifically because of the vagueness, though, not because it being mistaken as a synonym for protagonist.
Cure CandyPOV Character or Player Character would be better terms I think.
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