Characters in Computer Games: Toward Understanding Interpretation and Design


Interpretation of characters is a fundamental feature of human behavior. Even with limited information available, people will assign personality – even to inanimate objects. Characters in computer games will be attributed personality based on their appearance and behavior. The interpretation of these characters affects the whole game experience. Designing the protagonist character in computer games is different from the design of static characters (e.g. film or literature), because the player’s actions will affect the nature of the character. There are, however, many ways to control and guide the actions of the protagonist and thus the character’s nature. By setting goals, scripting pre-defined actions and choosing what kind of actions to implement, the game designer can restrict the player’s freedom. This, together with the characterization of the character, will affect the interpretation of the character.