What’s better: fruits, or NPCs saying custom names?

Last time, you decided that wall running is better than breaking the fourth wall. So we’ve settled what should be done with walls, then. Something to build on, or at least within. Next comes a question of purpose or identity. What’s better: fruits, or NPCs saying your custom names?


Swords slicing coconuts, pineapples, and more fruits in a Fruit Ninja VR screenshot.

Before video games were corrupted by the pursuit of filthy lucre, all anyone wanted was the healthy snack and big points offered by fruits. Cherries! Bananas! Oranges! Apples! Pears! A video game wasn’t a video game if your character didn’t scoff an entire fruit salad every level, earning all sorts of points and abilities with every munch. I respect it greatly. It was all downhill after the introduction of the coin. Now video games want me to collect ammunition, gold and silver pieces, vendor trash, and goodness knows what else. None bring as much joy as a colourful fruit which makes a good noise. The fruit is such a pure and joyous object. It’s a shame Fruit Ninja didn’t spark the fruitennasance the industry sorely needs.

If you’re a fruit fan yourself, I must point you towards Fruitaku, a blog whose dilligence and editorial voice I still miss.

NPCs saying names you picked

It is a simple thing: a game letting you enter a custom name for a character, then having NPCs use it. But isn’t it a great thing? Whether you’re turning yourself into the hero, mocking a party member by naming them Derek (sorry, Dereks of the world), or ha-ha-hilariously using this to make NPCs say a rude word, it’s always a feature I appreciate.

This has grown less common with the rise of voice acting, with talkies unable to simply slip text into sentences. Some games do impressively come with voice lines recorded for some common names – and even a few joke ones, like Fallout 4’s Bort. That’s great. Some games with voice acting side-step the problem by letting you choose a first name but having everyone refer to you by your surname, as BioWare did with Shepard and Hawke. That’s tolerable. And a very few games with synthesised voices can read your names in wonky robot voices. But who knows, with the rise of deepfakes, maybe one day we’ll have lines from big-shot actors filled out with perfect pronounciation of custom names. Just think: Patrick Stewart could greet you with “Hello, Iloveyou.”

But which is better?

Another toughie for me. As much as I like fruits, I don’t know which way I’d go if I had to choose between fruits or their spherical counterpart, orbs. Hmm. Yep, NPCs saying my name.

What about you, reader dear? Name your winner and make your case. Or at least share the ha-ha-hilarious times you’ve made NPCs say cuss words.

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