A common criticism levelled at modern gaming is the extremely generic character design. And whilst one can understand a desire to not repulse players with characters they can’t connect with, this often leads to faceless heroes like the master chief – an action figure that be moulded to any situation or play style. But these publishers and developers have to turn a profit and often their decisions are led by focus groups that flatten out the bumps into lowest common denominator heroes. But this doesn’t mean you have to make the same decisions!!

When I see the majority of players leaping around multi-player levels with cookie-cutter character designs (often even blander than those thrown up by the 3.5 hour single player campaign) it makes a little part of me die inside. Do people realise that the graphics for the bulky body armour offer identical protection to a string vest (if only that was an option)? In a room full of near identical space-marines wouldn’t you rather be the bright green nun? There’s a psychological advantage to be leveraged here too. Surely the opposing teams would assume you were so batshit mental that even pointing a gun in your general direction wouldn’t end in a good way?

Of course it’s not always the players fault; often the selection of designs to pick from is deeply un-inspired. You can’t create a 7 foot carrot in FIFA and even attempting something remotely resembling Danger Mouse in Call Of Duty quickly leads to frustration. Hell, even I’d be prepared to grind through hundreds of grey and brown FPS levels if the promise of a golden hat in the shape of an owl was waiting for me at the end.

But even in games where you can go crazy with the design it seems most players won’t. Granted, it gives me great pleasure when my WWE wrestling ballerina frog knocks seven bells of shit out of yet another giant angry looking dude or when my little cloud mini in Motorstorm hurtles by the skull emblazed monster trucks for the win. I often feel like a lone bearer of colour and style, even despite the obvious tactical disadvantage of glowing orange in the jungles of Vietnam. I’m destroying the system from within, I’m getting Rage Against The Machine to number one, I’m making you feel bad for being killed by Sooty.

So how do we buck this trend and bring some real characters onto the battlefields? Fear not as I have some ideas. Firstly instead of the game automatically generating teams of players, how about we pick teams like we did at school? Now, I know this might seem like the very wrong practice of judging people solely on their appearances – but bear with me on this one. A captain is chosen and the players line up to be picked, no info is available (like level, kill streaks, rank etc) so each player will be picked purely upon their choice of glad rags. Players are ranked on how awesome their clothes are and the most dandy of the crowd get first pick of the big guns/cars/jet-packs etc. Are we having fun now? You betcha!

Now I know that developers may not be that qualified in fashion design, so here’s where phase two of the plan kicks in. Bring in some amazing people to help design the clothes. Who wouldn’t want to be kicking-arse and taking-names dressed in a selection of pieces from Brix Smith-Start? You see, it does all make sense.

But until then join me in being a peacock amongst the camouflage. Every win will feel like a real victory and you’ll be firing a rainbow of joy into other player’s hearts alongside all those well gauged headshots.