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5. Toroko No More

Kaes Delgrego

If art imitates life, it might explain why gaming seems to be short on popular characters who are compassionate or even tolerant of those who are different. In "us versus them" games, most participants respond to the opposing side with something in the range of stoic indifference to raging blood-thirst. It's not often that one comes across a character with great acceptance and optimism, even in the face of difficult situations. In the ridiculously amazing indie sensation Cave Story, such a character is present in Toroko. While the Mimigas are terrified of the evil forces kidnapping them, Toroko shows an unyielding belief in the goodness of all. So when she is kidnapped, it punctures a hole in the balloon of sanguinity.

When you finally come across the captured Mimiga, she is forced to eat the monster-transforming red flowers. But first, to make the situation even more horrible, you must fight the transformed Toroko. And assuming you are victorious, Toroko loses her life. It's a depressing statement but a harsh reality: persistent optimism can be naive. Being posthumously reminded of her child-like good nature can bring a sniffle to even the sniffle-less-iest of noses (it's a word, probably).

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