You know, the real tragedy here is that I have to write "Beyond Good & Evil" next to Jade's name in the title of this post because if I didn't, you all would have likely thought I was talking about that other Jade. You know, the one that's been going through an identity and body image crisis over the years. No, today's crush goes to Jade: the photo-journalist.
Here's something you'd know if you search Wikipedia for Jade:
She was created by Ubisoft developer Michael Ancel with the goal of creating a character resembling a real person, rather than a "sexy action woman."
You'd also know that Jade's character was inspired by his real life wife, Alexandra, who was a character artist for the game. If you haven't visited the Wiki site, do yourself a favor. It's a good read.
So what is it about Jade that has us crushing on her today? Well, besides the fact that the game she stars in, Beyond Good & Evil, is utterly fantastic, Jade is one of the few video game characters that we honestly wish was a real person, along with Isabelle from Animal Crossing New Leaf (oh snap, future #wcw spoilers!). She's incredibly genuine and when we grow up, we want to be just like her. The story of the game introduces Jade, the main character, who takes care of a number of orphans who live with her and her pig uncle, Pey'j, in a lighthouse while she is simultaneously trying to uncover a massive conspiracy. That's all the plot you're going to get out of us so no spoilers. The bottom line is that Jade is the epitome of a good person. She doesn't roll over when she sees injustice or mistreatment. And she doesn't jump the gun either. She goes out of her way to find the truth and help others. That pillar of journalism is perhaps her most admirable quality: a desire to find the truth. For Jade, it's about finding the truth behind the military occupation of the Alpha Section who have been given absolute power to protect the citizens of the planet Hillys (where Jade lives) from the evil alien invaders known as the DomZ.
Believe it or not, Jade found it odd that for every 1 person the Alpha Section managed to save, another 10 would seem to vanish. The Alpha Section also restricted or quarantined several areas of Hillys in the name of keeping the population "out of danger." The orphans that live with Jade at her lighthouse are there because they've lost everything in the conflict. The majority of the population seems to believe what the Alpha Section is telling them, but Jade chooses to dig deeper in search of the truth. There's an important lesson to learn here, particularly today, and that's not to believe everything you hear just because you heard it.
Remember #gamergate? Remember all the noise that went out around that? All of the conflicting messages, loud voices, and general tomfoolery that was flung all over your social media timeline for weeks on end late last year? There was a lot of conspiracy talk back then, and some remnants of it are still floating around today. Outside of games and into more serious matters, what about #blacklivesmatter and all the turmoil around that movement? Florida. Ferguson. New York. How do you think Jade would go about those situations? Many of us are quick to choose a side. We're dismiss things as black and white and be judge and jury. Sometimes we take the shortest possible route to the most logical explanation we can find and stick with that when in reality, something entirely different could have happened. I've always been of the opinion that people should be treated fairly with love and respect—that you should do unto others are you would have them do to you—and anything outside of that just isn't good for anyone in the short or long term. Regardless of the outcome, we would all do better to slow down and dig a little deeper.
The issue doesn't even have to be as widespread as #gamergate or #blacklivesmatter to be relevant. Maybe there's a rumor going around about someone at your job or your school. Everyone knows about it, but what's actually true and what's just plain not true? Have you been quick to condemn others, or have you taken the time to step back, look at the small details of the big picture, and find the truth before making a decision?
You might not have a magic staff, a cool hovercraft, or an incredibly rad pig uncle, but we can all benefit from slowing down, being quick to listen and slow to judge. Take a second look. You might be surprised what you see the second time around. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to return to rocking back and forth in the corner while I wait for Beyond Good & Evil 2 (and Half-Life 3) to be released.