Being a child is limiting experience. Remember being too short to reach that cookie jar or too much of a baby to play with the big kids? Childhood can sometimes be a pain because of all of things that you cannot do, and that problem usually translates to video games. Kids aren’t truly able to perform what adults can, mentally or physically, and that is often the reason why there aren’t many stories that highlight children as anything other than background characters. A few come to mind though, that even in childhood, brought an interesting color to the video games they star in.
The daughter of the main boss of Resident Evil 2, Sherry seems to pull her weight against the zombie hoard; for a good amount of the game, she’s left alone to duck and dodge infected. Mid-story the player even takes over her character, allowing us to roam the same areas that our main character Claire does, doing so creates and interesting level. She can fit in the crawlspaces that Claire couldn't and gets to places that would be impossible for a grown up. It’s refreshing to see a game capitalize on what children can do as opposed to what they can’t.
In a post – apocalyptic world, the last thing a person wants is to have or be a kid, and if you stumble across this town in Fallout 3, you’ll find a group of them. A bunch of children so sick of being passed off by adults that they form their own tribe, kicking out anyone over the age of 16. And get this, they still have childlike narrative! They perform extremely complicated jobs and weapons without sacrificing an ounce of maturity. I even vaguely recall someone calling me a poop head- it goes there. A visit to Little Lamplight is extremely entertaining, and if you get a hold of the wrong child, quite annoying.
Truly a rose growing in the concrete is our blossoming Clementine. This young lady is sweet and strong, with maturity beyond her years. She holds on to what’s right in a world of so much wrong; and in the act of being taught by adults she teaches right back to them. Clementine creates so much emotion for us because out of all of the muck and blood within the game’s progression, innocence like hers is something to be preserved.
One of the best ways maneuver around a child’s limitations is to start with a kid that just doesn't give a flying eff. For Jimmy, there are no limits. He’s got money, no parental supervision and a bike to cruise with, it’s all peachy. Bully is really unique in the way that it creates an open world for a child character, and actually manages to make it believable. There are no unicorns taking Jimmy off on a never ending adventure, it’s simply Jimmy’s no care attitude mixed with a strict private school, and the chaos that mixture creates.
In Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, 14 year old Ellie makes up the other (and maybe even better) half of Joel. She’s a sharp-tongued girl overflowing with heart, a trope that is not new, but fits so well on her. Ellie is an incredibly whole character; her narrative is of a flavorful and diverse kind. However, what really sticks about her is the things that she has to do in order to survive, jarring and disturbing, create a confusion for the player as to who the bad guy really is, or if there is even a bad guy at all.