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The Story Telling and Character Design Elements in Max Payne Essay

The elements of story telling and character design are central to the worldwide sensation that is Max Payne by Remedy Entertainment, gaining thousands of players made available for various gaming consoles, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, and consequentially to a film adaptation of the game that has currently been released in theaters. Other elements of Max Payne, most especially the gameplay mechanics are not far-fetched not innovative from the ordinary. For instance, gameplay mechanics is intent on simply shooting targets that each stage or level in the game will require.

This does not entirely differ from other gameplay mechanics. However, the story telling and character design that exists within the game establishes the distinctiveness given off by Max Payne. Perhaps the centrality of the game to the story telling element and the character design was explicitly hinted through the name of the game. Max Payne is the key character in the game, and the flow or continuity of it revolves around his life. The story of Max Payne’s life establishes the backbone of the entire game – why the game exists and how the player will control and compete within it.

The entire game is full of icons and images, in the form of comic strips and audio support, that comes in between tasks or undertakings that establish the essence, and not to mention elevate the excitement, of the game. The character design of Max Payne reflects various human emotions that will seem appealing or attention-grabbing as the story unfolds in each stage or level. Playing the game starts off with a narration of how the life of Payne took a sudden turn that became the motivating factor or goal of the game.

Payne’s dialogue as opening credits for the game was full of emotions and portrayals that becomes the inspiration to play and finish the game. The game starts off with an introductory clip or narration of some events. Payne was a policeman for the New York Police Department. He came home one evening to find his wife and new born baby brutally murdered by individuals who were apparently high and disoriented from drug addiction. His loss crept within himself in the form of grief, despair, and extreme anger that led him to seek for revenge and justice for the death of his innocent loved ones.

The stages or goals begins at this point, and brings gamers to a particular mission after every narration of parts of Payne’s thoughts and memories. Payne became an undercover agent for the New York Police Department solving and discovering crimes that are related to the increase in crime rates within the city limits triggered by the proliferation of drugs and paraphernalia, including the murder of his wife and offspring. Payne’s case was focused on the Punchinello family, a mafia that is responsible for manufacturing and distributing Valkyr – a type of drug – all over the city.

The rigidity of events took its turn when Payne met up with a friend and a colleague in the subway. Upon his arrival, he witnessed the assassination of his friend and colleague right before his very eyes, and his presence in the scene of the crime denounced him as the primary suspect for the slaying. Obviously, the entire situation was a set-up. To worsen the scenario, his cover was blown and the Punchinello family that he was investigating learned about his allegiance to law enforcement, suddenly making him a target that the mafia should eliminate before things got out of hand.

Eliminating the Punchinello family and their followers and associates became the ultimate goal for Payne. The carry-over from each stage to the other is forestalled by Payne’s thoughts as he communicates what he thinks and needs to do, step-by-step or stage-by-stage to obtaining his ultimate revenge and slaying the root of all his sufferings – the Inner Circle. It was a wild goose chase, uncovering the hierarchy of individuals or groups that are involved with the distribution of Valkyr.

Getting to the bottom of it all was Payne’s ultimate quest in the game. Without the story that directed the flow or theme of the game, it will cease to be interesting and exciting as it represents everything the game is all about. The character design of Payne was intended to express human emotions darkly, appealingly, and realistically. Payne’s quest was hugely motivated by pain, anger, and revenge that constitute overpowering and overwhelming feelings that most people can relate to.

These feelings and emotions are channeled by playing the game quest after quest, that the player becomes a medium or a channel by which the intense feelings and emotions of Payne are released. The character design of Payne was intended to be that way, occupied and consuming. Perhaps, the violence and rage arises from them. Max Payne completely differs from other games that also have the same gameplay mechanics, such that the intensity of feelings is slightly emphasized, if not present at all.

For instance, Hitman is another target-driven computer game that allows the gamer to accomplish missions as an assassin. Although the assassin, Agent 47, in the game also has a story to tell and a character design that gamers are expecting to uncover through the series of missions, they do not influence the entire gaming experience as the elements in Max Payne have. Hitman is directed toward a goal, and gameplay mechanics overpowers the elements of story telling and character design in establishing the distinctiveness of the game.

(“Hitman Facts,” 2006) Gamers will find themselves caught up within the missions themselves, aside from the implications of the missions on how the story of Agent 47 will turn out. Moreover, the missions do not entirely depend on the story line that constitutes each event or activity by Agent 47. s As discussed, the elements of story telling and character design are central to the essence or meaningful gaming experience that Max Payne has to offer.

It would be difficult to imagine the motivation of Max Payne gamers to continue on with the game without the story and established character of Payne. It would similar to doing tasks or missions aimlessly without understanding its hidden goal or objective. Without the story and character of Payne, there would be nothing interesting and distinct about the game, except that the goal is simply to shoot targets and survive each stage to accomplish the task. The story telling element and character design gives meaning to the entire gaming experience.

References “Hitman Facts. ” (2006). Retrieved November 16, 2008, from Eidos Interactive Ltd. Website: http://www. thehitmangame. com/about-hitman. php? s=aff94426 “Max Payne. ” (2008). Retrieved November 16, 2008, from Rockstar Games. Website: http://www. rockstargames. com/maxpayne/main. html Miller, S. (2003). Max Payne: The Making of a Franchise. Retrieved November 16, 2008, from Typepad. Website: http://dukenukem. typepad. com/game_matters/2003/11/max_payne_the_m. html


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