The following is a repost from a Facebook post I made on 26 March 2015. Some edits are made to make it a more interesting read, and/or with additional commentary
How many times do we stop and listen?
From Dragon Age and Mass Effect, to Persona 4, I always loved that you can get to bond with your companions. Sure, your character may sometimes be a blank slate, but being able to interact with them in the off time really sells the pitch that these are not just random characters, but people that we can relate to.
The best thing I learn from these experiences is the ability to listen. Some people just want to pour themselves out to someone they trust. Sometimes they want feedback.
Sometimes it’s just to feel the relief of telling something, and by listening, you are appreciating their presence. It makes them grateful to be there, knowing trustworthy people can understand them.
And in the aforementioned videogames, appreciating your friends unlocks more powerful things at your disposal. Neat!
So, the next time you meet your friends, try and listening in what your friends have to say. Save your crazy life stories for later and maybe, just maybe, you learn a thing or two about new experiences, or how to treat them better. And if there’s someone in your group doing it, ask them to speak up, they are being too humble to keep everything up to themselves, and in the long run, might just get depressed because no one returns the favour to listen to them. You never know what sorts of things you will unlock from them.
Again, listen. Listen, listen, listen.
[Why I referenced Persona and Mass Effect/ Dragon Age specifically? Well, I played those games, and in these games, your character is important, your character IS the center of the world.
Your protagonist in Persona 4 has the ability to summon multiple personas- those cool looking monsters whilist your companions have only one- that reflects their inner insecurities. The explanation is spoiler-heavy, but you are indeed a part of setting the events of the game in motion in a large way.
Commander Shepard from Mass Effect is a living legend, with remarkable achievements made for humanity, and the entire universe actually hinges on his/her decisions on how to deal with its utter destruction.
The Grey Warden, Hawke, and the Inquisitor are all major players of their storyline, shaping the world of Thedas through major conflicts and events in the Dragon Age series.One involved in fighting the darkspawn (think undead demon things, in huge hordes) and stopping them. One is a key player of a rebellion that shakes up the religious institution that govern most of the world, leading to chaos across the land. Another helped created a force to stop a demigod sort of being from destroying the world.
Despite that, they all have companions that are willing to share their part of the story, and as the player, willing to listen so you could better grasp the world and its inhabitants. Some even asked for your input or opinion, and that can change their own outlook.
Your willingness to hear them let them comfortable telling you about their personal problems, and you can go help them. As a game, it motivates you to spend time with companions to get more things to do, like side quests. But would you do the same to your friends in real life? Would we care enough to help them?
Do we really need to be motivated by the fact of a reward upon helping out? It’s a nice thing yes, but was that the payout?
If we invest in our game companions as much as like our real life friends, I bet those extra perks or quest reward was just the icing of the cake. Having a friend feeling great afterwards is the cake.
Yes, the commentary takes a different conclusion than the original post. But both my points still stands.]