The Silent Era: Are games more expressive when the hero isn’t yapping?

Silent protagonists such as Link from The Legend of Zelda are often seen as stubborn holdouts from the primitive days of videogames––Chaplinesque mimes who’d be better suited for a silent film than modern media. But as described by John Lahr at Culture Desk, silence can be golden

The success of “The Artist” has renewed an interest in silent films; for me, the most profound pleasure of that film was its playfulness. Silence turns the experience of film-going into a pure game of hide and seek, a sort of exhilarating scavenger hunt in which the mind’s eye surfs the image looking for clues to personality, absorbing atmospheres, savoring shapes, making thematic connections. Silence pulls you into the image rather like Alice down the rabbit hole. By contrast, with sound, the image comes to you. Silence invigorates the imagination; sound decorates it.

What do you think? Do yammering mannequins break the spell of illusion? Does it make the lead more personable (or despicable)? Is characterization even what we want out of a videogame?

-Jason Johnson

[New Yorker]