That said, it's not bad being short, either. I never hit my head on door frames or overhead lights. Low ceilings don't particularly bother me, aside from design aesthetic. I can fit into literally any car on the market; there's never a problem having to squish my legs under a steering wheel. Plane seats have plenty of room for my legs, which is great on long flights. I have smaller hands, so my dad constantly asks me to pull things out of tight spaces, thread needles, or mess around with teeny-tiny wires and screws.
That said, it's continually kind of weird to look at all the short races in video games and see characters that aren't taken particularly seriously.
Warcraft is full of short races -- and the moment gnomes were mentioned as being friendly and cute, my mind leapt to the goblins, who are only friendly if it somehow presents a profitable advantage, decidedly not the standard definition of cute. But then I started to think a bit more about that and about the other, non-playable short races of WoW.
We have the gorloc and the wolvar, both introduced in Wrath and both pretty much primitive races with odd and charming cultures as demonstrated by the Oracles and the Frenzyheart. We have the pygmies of Cataclysm, who seem to be a primitive sort of heavy-metal-inspired dudes with rocks for brains and no intelligible language. We've got murlocs, who on the one hand seem to be dead set on killing players; on the other, we're given a weird, serious storyline in the Blasted Lands that was uncharacteristically out of place.
They don't appear in cinematics. I remember a giant uprising by the gnome fans of WoW to have a gnome included in a cinematic. It's not bound to happen -- because while gnomes are cool, they just aren't epic enough to be taken seriously.
Which made me wonder ... Why is it that height seems to be a requirement for being serious? Is this a normal thing? Does a race need to be tall to be taken seriously, and is this just a video game thing or a reflection of society in general? Now before you pull out the pitchforks and skewer me for taking a game too seriously, let me point out I'm not particularly offended by this phenomenon in one way or another. I'm just sort of perplexed over it.
So I'm opening it up for discussion, just to see what the general public has to say and whether this is just a commonly accepted fact of game design. Is it possible to have a small race that's presented completely seriously and taken as such, too?
Filed under: Analysis / Opinion