As part of last month’s Getting to know you post, I asked everyone to share the video game characters that most annoy them. I kind of feel sorry for Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends now as they appeared several times in the comments. I can’t say I disagree though, particularly when it comes to Amy; a character who exists solely to flirt with the protagonist and say things like ‘If I had to choose between the world and Sonic, I would choose Sonic!’ is bound to get on everyone’s nerves.
My own pick was one I can imagine a lot of gamers disagreeing with and is surprising considering I’m a fan of the adventure genre. But there’s something about George Stobbart and Nicole ‘Nico’ Collard from the Broken Sword series that grinds my gears. Don’t get me wrong, The Shadow of the Templars is a classic and everybody should experience it; but I’ve ended up coming away hating this annoying couple just that little bit more after working through each instalment.
Since starring in their 1996 debut, the American lawyer and French journalist have appeared in all four sequels and even hold a world record for being the longest-running graphic adventure protagonists. They met when George was a tourist visiting Paris and an explosion at a café pulled him into a conspiracy being investigated by Nico; and although initially uninterested in his attempts to woo her, the dangers they faced around the world pulled them together as a couple.
But they’re bloody annoying more than they’re love’s young dream. George is a bumbling idiot who views himself as a crusading superhero with a mission to root out evil. Rather than going for a sensible fix for each problem, he’ll unhelpfully explain how he can’t do that and will instead opt for the most awkward solution available. And it’s almost as if he believes his his laid-back outlook on life entitles him to tell an unfunny five-line joke about a golf-club, when all you wanted was a description of an object.
As for Nico, she’s snarky to the point of being rude – plus incredibly lazy. Need to investigate the scene of a crime in Paris and track down a terrorist clown? Get George to do it for you. Have to travel to Ireland to find a gem depicted in an ancient manuscript? Just send George on your behalf. Not looking forward to that trip to a village in Syria? George to the rescue! It could be that Nico doesn’t like flying and would rather her partner handle the planes, or it could be that she’d just prefer to sit on her butt.
Which is absolutely ridiculous, because there’s no way I’d put the fate of the world in the hands of such an idiot. George is the sort of guy who believes it’s ok to leave his work colleague to deal with the henchmen banging down their office door while he disappears into the backroom to escape without him – and then thinks locking the entrance is going to stop his pursuers. The fact that he has managed to make it through all five Broken Sword games is both a miracle and a curse.
The thing about this couple that annoys me the most is their on-off status. Most of the entries in the series start with them temporarily apart but they’re usually back together by the end of each game. This is clearly an unhealthy relationship: Nico ‘innocently’ arranges for George and her ex-boyfriend Andre to work together and wind each other up. And George leaves Paris after the end of The Shadow of the Templars due to the death of his father – without telling Nico. What kind of people do that to one another?
Guys: take a good, hard look in The Smoking Mirror and book yourselves a relationship counselling session immediately. Or better still, just call it quits. Let each other go for once and for all, live your own lives and have separate adventures; because maybe then you’ll stop frustrating the hell out of each other as well as annoying the rest of us with your idiocy.
There, I said it. It was good to get all that off my chest. Feel free to use the space in the comments below if you need to vent about your own most irritating video game characters!