What Makes it Lovable
Over the past little while I’ve realized something interesting.
You can spend your time designing a perfect character with all of the good design qualities, but that certainly isn’t all there is to a character, to make it lovable.
Lately I’ve been playing a game called Moshi Monsters, a cute kid’s pet website with all kinds of monsters to adopt and collect.
At first, I sort of scoffed at the site. The designs were terrible! I tore apart most of the designs in my mind. There were a few golden ones and that’s what got me interested (that little volcano guy is GREAT), but for the most part, I felt the designs were weak and thrown-together. (what even IS Luvli?) I even STILL think that about some. However, Moshi Monsters currently has over half of all British children and millions of kids around the world playing and loving every bit of it.
Why? I thought to myself, as I watched a video of a young girl exclaiming “She’s so cute, she’s so fun!!” about a new pet she received. The pet itself was just a heart-shape with eyeballs and a mouth on it, but she loved it. I boggled over the fact that the most popular fan-created pets being voted over in a contest were an egg, and a piece of toast with arms and legs.
Gosh dang this is a sad-looking “moshling” to me.
However, lately, I’ve begun to fall in love with these monsters. In fact, I have a paid account there, have bought several magazine, pre-ordered the music album they released, and continue to draw fanart.
What was doing that? What’s the draw? Why do I love it, why does everyone love it??
And that’s when I realized it, a good design can mean nothing without good CHARACTER.
It’s as simple as that! The context, personality, and what a character DOES is just as important as a good design, in all aspects. Why do the kids love that stupid heart with eyes? Because it does a little dance and song when you click on it! It’s a rare one you can only get by becoming a paid member as well. I’s got a little story behind it, and a reason to want it, it does something fun, and THAT’S what the kids love.
A lot of the characters have grown on me just from finding out there back stories, or seeing how they talk and move, all those little things make them lovable.
I’ll give another example of something more familiar, that gave me this similar feeling. In Pokemon Black and White, I remember being apprehensive about a few of the new Pokemon designs. When I first saw a picture of Scraggy and Scrafty, I thought they looked kind of weird. “What even are these?”
(click Here and Here to see the animations, darnit tumblr.)
But then, I saw it in-game. And WOAH. what was that move it did? It’s beat boxing? It’s like a little punk! That’s awesome! It’s younger form pulls up it’s little baggy pants! Adorable!!!
Suddenly, these two Pokemon became AWESOME when they were put into context, when they gained more than just the visual first-look.
First impressions are important. You want to be able to tell what a character is like and what they are at a glance. However, it’s CONTEXT to the character that also make it shine. Both of these aspects are important. Making your character look lovable is one thing, but truly giving people a REASON to love your character is another.
It can make the difference between “That Poppet up there is a really boring-looking cat…” to “Holy crap, it’s doing a little dance in it’s little boots!? I have GOT to have that thing!!!”