Opinion: Second or Third Person Dialogue

Second or Third Person Dialogue

  • Second

    Votes: 5 71.4%
  • Third

    Votes: 2 28.6%

  • Total voters
    7

oriongates

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Dec 26, 2019
Messages
81
Reaction score
10
First Language
english
Primarily Uses
RMMV
So, I'm curious about something...is it unusual to have a fairly traditional ensemble JRPG with first person second person dialogue related to the actions of the protagonist?

For example, "you reach into the hole and are bitten by a rat."

vs.

"[Blank] reaches into the hole and is bitten by a rat."

I'm curious, because my inclination is to write first-person second! person, but for some reason it felt weird and, upon reflection, I honestly couldn't recall whether or not such games typically have first or third person descriptions.

Note that I'm specifically referring to scene description, not the terms used by other characters when speaking to the protagonist.
 
Last edited:

Ossra

Formerly Exhydra
Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2013
Messages
965
Reaction score
708
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Well, I suppose that kind of depends on the game. Some games might be narrated by the character, speaking as if whatever is happening had happened to them in the past ("I reached into the hole, but little did I know that a rat was going to bite me.").

I prefer third-person for descriptions or explanations, and so on. But it really just comes down to personal preference and/or how the game is being narrated.
 

PixeLockeT

Demon Lord Lady
Veteran
Joined
Jan 11, 2020
Messages
63
Reaction score
71
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
Your example is more like second person, instead of first..........if the character is a "blank slate" protag, that might work.
 

cloud8111

Warper
Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
First Language
english
Primarily Uses
N/A
Well, I suppose that kind of depends on the game. Some games might be narrated by the character, speaking as if whatever is happening had happened to them in the past ("I reached into the hole, but little did I know that a rat was going to bite me.").

I prefer third-person for descriptions or explanations, and so on. But it really just comes down to personal preference and/or how the game is being narrated.
Agreed :uhappy:
 

oriongates

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Dec 26, 2019
Messages
81
Reaction score
10
First Language
english
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Agh, my stupid, stupid brain. I meant second person dialogue, not first person ("you" not "I").
 

CraneSoft

Filthy Degenerate
Veteran
Joined
Apr 16, 2016
Messages
110
Reaction score
94
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
This is pretty normal in games with a nameable, silent protagonist which is supposed to represent the player themselves instead of an actual video game character. Eg. Undertale and Persona games both used second-person dialogue and narrative for this exact reason. (You gained 1 EXP!)
 

Wavelength

Pre-Merge Boot
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
4,626
Reaction score
3,892
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
@oriongates I've fixed the first -> second person mistake in your poll options, poll title, and thread title. (If you liked having the mistake there, feel free to change it back.)
 

oriongates

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Dec 26, 2019
Messages
81
Reaction score
10
First Language
english
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Thanks, I appreciate it.
 

TheoAllen

Self-proclaimed jack of all trades
Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
Messages
4,724
Reaction score
5,405
First Language
Indonesian
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
I feel like it's weird to have a second person narration when I don't make my own character or control how it behaves (choosing dialogue, choosing an action, etc). But I don't mind the second-person narration for gameplay.

For example "You found a potion" (gameplay) is different than "you knocked the door and wait for the answer" (narrative) while how the character is acting is not controlled by me, it's linear, and it behaves the way the dev want to behave. The game said "you" but the character is not actually "me". It may be better to just use the first person or third person altogether. I remembered I stopped to play a certain game because of this reason. it feels weird.
 

Punamaagi

Hero on their own terms
Veteran
Joined
Jan 23, 2016
Messages
198
Reaction score
300
First Language
Finnish
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I think that second person narration can work in adventure-type games and/or in cases where the protagonist is a blank slate of kinds. The first games which come to my mind is the old McVenture series (with Shadowgate being the source of my nightmares my favourite), but there are RPG examples, too, like the previously-mentioned Undertale.

Still, if a game used second-person narration rather than third-person, I admit that I'd expect some kind of twist in the plot or the protagonist's backstory. It could work in other cases, too, but at least then the narration would have to be consistent - which would mean to me that the protagonist has to be silent. Choosing from dialogue options might work, but fully-fleshed dialogue would feel like someone was putting words into my mouth, given that the protagonist is supposed to be me.

In a typical RPG, I'd probably avoid narration as much as possible. The example scene in the initial post could be turned into a character monologue (e.g. "Hmm, I wonder what's in that hole... Ow, a rat bit me!").
 

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,275
Reaction score
4,496
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
It largely depends on your writing style and preferences.

Much of the cutscenes in my game simply have dialogue in them. My players are meant to "use their imagination" in most instances.

Your scene with the rat would play out thusly in my game:

Character A: "There's a hole here" [Animation to indicate they are checking the hole out]
[Damage sound effect]
Character A: "Ow! HOLY CRAP!" [Animation of character turning away from the hole and maybe backing up a square]
Character B: "Are you okay? What happened?"
Character A: "Something bit me! It freakin' hurts!"
Character B: "Let me take a look." [Animation of character b walking over to character 1 with maybe another sound effect.]
 

Milennin

"With a bang and a boom!"
Veteran
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Messages
2,258
Reaction score
1,353
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
One of the few times I refer to the player like that is like when getting an item, which I use "you found/obtained/acquired/received [item]" for. I like to refer to the player doing the action, not the character. For actual events, if possible, I prefer to make the on-screen actions speak for itself, rather than using text to describe the action. It's not always feasible with tiny sprites without putting in a bunch of animation work, so if I do use messages, I refer to the player making the action, and not the character.
 
Last edited:

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

Helldivers is so much fun!
Suitemate: "Do you have detergent"
Me: "Ya, the spray kind"
Me: *realizes he said detergent, not deodorant*
Me: "Guess I'll die!"
If there's one thing I hate about myself, it's that I procrastinate. Ever since I started looking stuff up on how to properly balance and create armour, weapons and skills; I've let myself down in progress.
So I was at the dentist yesterday and she said,"I'm gonna propose to Dr. Anderson...(Then she paused as she thought what to say). And I said,"I think he is a little old for you." She laughed good naturedly. Then she jabbed sharp things in my mouth for the next 3 hours.
Update on my experiment with uploading my Android games to the Amazon app store: made about $45 in 2 months, but 0 sales for the past 3 weeks. Not sure its worth the effort.

Forum statistics

Threads
94,608
Messages
922,301
Members
124,485
Latest member
Shangri
Top