Hello adventurers, and happy hump day! It’s the middle of the week and I’ve gotta tell you, I’m really feeling it.
With Christmas and New Years on the horizon, I have planned to take a vacation as long as it is approved by the upper management at my agency. Of course, having a potential break this close means that I am anxiously awaiting the end of the work week moreso than normal. On top of that, my son and I are both dealing with colds right now. I’m managing pretty well as I basically just have a cough and sinus pressure, but he is thoroughly miserable and it’s making the evenings a little rough. All this is to say that today is Wednesday on steroids, so I need a pick-me-up to help me finish out the week.
Luckily, Adventure Rules is fully immersed in a community event called Charming and Open, where thoughtful readers just like you have posted interesting questions for me to ponder. Today’s question comes from Fed over at Fed’s Life, so be sure to head over and check out his content – particularly as he’ll be posting a response to the question I asked him as well! Fed hit me with a question that I have discussed time and again at many lunch tables across the land. My answers have changed many times throughout the years, so let’s take some time to explore the topic to see which video game character would win my favor now!
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: MEGA MAN
As a kid, the Blue Bomber seemed like the coolest hero ever. He had a sweet robot suit (yes, I know the original Mega Man IS a robot, but kid me didn’t know that) with a wicked blaster that could shoot all kinds of weapons. Now I was pretty into Mega Man X growing up, but the game that really made me fall in love with the series was Battle Network. This tactical RPG fit my style of gameplay a lot better and featured more detailed stories. It also featured Lan Hikari, an elementary school boy, as its protagonist – and I was an elementary school boy! Wow!
If you’re not familiar with Battle Network, in these games Mega Man is a computer program that lives in a device called a PErsonal Terminal, or PET for short. Think a modern smartphone, but before they were developed, so it’s like what people in the 90’s thought technology would be like in 2050. PET are used for all modern conveniences like gaming, phone calls, e-mail, homework, operating doors or machinery – the list goes on. The programs inside the PET are called Net Navis (short for internet navigators, I assume) which interface with all of the devices that the PET can operate, and also serve as virus protection in the most literal interpretation of that phrase you can imagine. It’s like a Tamagotchi with weapons.
I went back and forth on whether I thought it would be cooler to be an operator like Lan or a Net Navi like Mega Man. Of course, to be a Net Navi I’d have to die and then have my DNA somehow preserved as data so my consciousness could manifest as an artificial intelligence (spoilers for a 16 year old game), but as a kid I didn’t care about that sort of thing. Because being a Net Navi would mean that I could have an arm cannon and a laser sword, and how freaking cool would that be?
MIDDLE SCHOOL: GOHAN
Okay, so technically Gohan is a character from a manga, adapted into a television show, adapted into a video game. But some of the Dragon Ball Z games are pretty well received, so it’s not like those other movie-based games that just quickly try to capitalize on the popularity and then fade into obscurity; I’m looking at you, Chronicles of Narnia. Anyway, I started really getting into Dragon Ball Z at the tail end of the Frieza saga and watched the entirety of the Cell saga. If you don’t know what that means, all you really have to understand is that it was the perfect timing in the show for me to look at Gohan as a role model as opposed to his father Goku.
I was entering those pre-teen years and so having a cool teenage hero to look up to made Gohan really appealing for me. I loved the idea that everyone saw Goku as this crazy powerful person, but he truly believed that Gohan was the only person capable of defeating the evil Cell. Seeing Gohan grow into that role and defeat a villain that seemed totally impossible to finish off made me look up to the little Super Saiyan even more.
Another part of Gohan’s appeal for me is that he tended to have abilities in the video games that appealed more directly to the way I played each game. In Legacy of Goku II, Gohan’s special physical attack is easy to combo and gives him excellent forward momentum for busting up bad guys. The Masenko allows him to lob energy like a grenade at enemies, allowing him to attack at odd angles that most other energy blasts can’t reach. And then there’s the Kamehameha wave, which deals continuous and high damage against any target trapped in its wake. Because of his role in the show and his power in the games, I thought it would be very cool to share the powers of Gohan in real life.
HIGH SCHOOL: COLE MACGRATH
Up to this point, the powers I chose were based mostly on interest in a specific character and chosen almost exclusively on “coolness.” As I got a little older, I came to have a different mindset on choosing powers. Sure it’d be cool to have a variable blaster or to shoot laser beams out of my hands, but what good would that do me? When do I ever need to do those things? It would be a lot better to have powers that had applications in my day-to-day life. This is what made me consider that I might want the abilities of conduit superhero Cole MacGrath.
While Cole’s powers seem exclusively destructive at first, they have a lot of useful real-life applications. His ability to produce electricity at will allows him to charge electrical objects and get them functioning. He heals whenever he absorbs electrical energy, which is great for an accident-prone guy like me, and somehow his body is totally immune to the impact of falling (yet not immune to other applications of blunt force – I’ll never understand superhero logic). Other powers in Cole’s suite include shockwaves to push things away, protective shields, the ability to glide by rocketing through the air, hyper-leaping off of cars – these abilities would be great for getting around!
The thing is, Cole’s abilities come with some very practical drawbacks as well. It’s not safe to interact with certain flammable everyday objects – cars being the most relevant – because the electricity in Cole’s body sets off an explosion. His electrical body is also an issue because water conducts electricity, which makes drinking water tricky business along with other water-related tasks like taking a shower or swimming. If Cole gets too wet, the resulting reaction will cause him to shock himself to death. For me, that became a dealbreaker for gaining Cole’s powers.
You can’t beat the classics, amiright? Link is the biggest hero in Herotown for good reason: he’s courageous, powerful, kindhearted, and he’s so freaking handsome that everyone in Hyrule has had a crush on him at some point. If he were a real person, he’d be the guy you want to hate because he’s so perfect but then he’d help you change your tire when you’re stranded just outside of town at three o’clock in the morning and you have to admit that you can’t hate such a genuinely nice fella. I’ve looked up to Link as a hero since I was a kid, but only as an adult did I consider that having his powers in real life would be pretty sweet.
I am particularly drawn to the huge range of applications for the Ocarina of Time. Don’t like the weather? Change it. Need to go somewhere? Play a ditty. Want to stretch out every possible moment with your paramour before you head your separate ways? Inverted Song of Time just before your date. The Ocarina of Time has songs for communicating long distance, putting people to sleep, waking them up, instant transmission, repairing things, and turning the broken souls of total strangers into masks that then allow you to harness that person’s powers as your own. It is the pinnacle of practicality!
The main downside here is that Link’s “powers” are generally tied to sacred/magical objects which are the actual vessel of the power itself. Link isn’t capable of anything I just listed without the Ocarina of Time. On his own he’s an excellent swordsman, instantly understands how to properly use any tool he picks up, can carry and infinite number of things, and is smooth with ladies (and gentlemen) of all shapes, sizes, and species, but he doesn’t really have “powers” per se. At least, not the powers I’d want to borrow from him.
ADULTHOOD: NOCTIS LUCIS CAELUM
I played nearly all the way through Final Fantasy XV towards the beginning of this year. For me it had both positives and negatives, but one thing that really stood out to me is the magic of Noctis, the game’s protagonist. Noctis has a lot of cool magical stunts that he can pull off that are overt and obvious, things like warping from place to place, momentary phasing, and preparing concoctions from the raw elemental forces of the world that are effectively grenade versions of classic Final Fantasy spells. But Noctis has more capabilities than those that meet the eye.
Being able to summon items instantly into your hand is a pretty nifty skill. While Noctis applies it to weapons, I could see myself using it for things I want to have with me but consider an inconvenience to actively carry on my person. I always forget, for example, to carry an umbrella with me in case it starts raining – with this power I could simply summon it into my grasp. On top of that, Noctis’s magic allows him to turn ordinary substances or objects into magical ones – his powers are the justification for the magical healing properties of items like potions, ethers, and phoenix down. All of these abilities are very practical – teleporting, calling items instantly to my grasp, turning mundane things into more useful magical things, and phasing past people in large crowds are all things I could see myself using on a daily basis.
Here’s where these powers get really cool, though. Noctis can actively share them in two ways. The first is through his family line – because the powers are tied to the royal bloodline of Lucia, his father before him could use them and chances are Noctis’s child would gain these abilities if he were to have one. Me, I have a child already, so by choosing this as my power my son Silas would have all of these very convenient capabilities as well. Noctis can also share his powers through friendship and training – it has been shown through some of the extended universe stuff for Final Fantasy XV that a member of the royal line can train their royal guard to teleport, and the game itself shows that proximity to Noctis allows his allies to summon objects instantly to their hand as well. Additionally, any flask that he fills with magic or object he enchants can then be used just as effectively by any other person. Not only would I be able to share these powers with my son just by virtue of being his father, but I could teach my wife to use these powers as well. Or even our friends. That to me adds even more benefit to choosing the powers of Noctis as my real-life superpower!
There you have it, folks, the video game character whose powers I would want in real life! I hope you enjoyed this adventure through my various stages of answering this question, and I encourage you to leave me your answer in the comments below. Remember to check out Fed’s Life for his answer to my question and the rest of his excellent content, and be sure to return on Friday to see my answer to the next question down the line. Thanks for reading, adventurers!