My husband started playing Overwatch on a free-to-play weekend around Thanksgiving. He opened the game and started scanning through the playable characters, asking me, “Which one should I play?” Neither of us knew anything about the characters at all, neither backstory nor in-game abilities, but several of them looked cool. Then he pulled up one defensive character, and I started squealing: “Her! Pick her!”
I had discovered Mei, my Overwatch doppelgänger.
Basically, I am Mei and Mei is me. Here are some details that illustrate my point.
Let’s start with the name:
- You may notice a similarity between “Mei” and my screen name “Mei-Mei,” but it’s actually even better than that. Mei’s full name is Mei-Ling, which you may recall is exactly the name of the anime character I took my pen name from (Li Meiling from Cardcaptor Sakura).
Moving on to appearance:
- I’ve already stipulated that I’m not Asian, but I am a girl, and I also wear nerdy glasses.
- Mei’s default “skin” is a blue parka, and my favorite color is blue.
- Speaking of the parka (which Mei wears because she was cryofrozen and now does ice attacks), I am always cold, and I would love to wear such a parka and boots all the time. Especially since we are getting plenty of lake effect snow this weekend.
- Unlike your standard female video game character, Mei is…not skinny. She has a very real-world-normal body type, and it reminds me a lot of mine. (Overall, I think Overwatch did a great job with body diversity in all the characters.)
- She has the cutest hair pin! I would totally wear that!
Now regarding personality:
- Mei clearly has a dorky sense of humor because one of her emotes is “A-Mei-zing!” She also has a few ice puns (a la Mr. Freeze). I’m not really one for puns myself, but I do have a quirky sense of humor.
- Another classic emote is her “Sorry, sorry, I’m sorry, sorry.” This is totally me–I’m one of those people that apologize for everything, even when it’s not my fault.
- She has a cute little robot-pet-thing that assists with her abilities, and I could not live without my pets (currently two cats, one of which looooooves to “help”).
- Aaaand last but most important: Mei is a scientist, specifically concerned with the environment. I am also a scientist, and though I’m a biologist and not a climatologist, I have long been a supporter of environmental conservation.
There’s one more thing that interests me about Mei that has to do with her style of gameplay. I’ve come to learn she’s actually one of the most hated characters in the game. Mei is a “defensive” character, who freezes opponents and puts up ice walls to block access to areas. Consequently, when you are playing against an effective Mei, your offensive characters can be shut down pretty well, and it can feel like you aren’t actually doing anything at all (one of the most frustrating feelings for a gamer).
But it’s worse than that; Mei trolls her teammates as well. Because her ice walls affect everyone on the field, if you are playing with a bad Mei on your team (or are just unlucky), you can be cut off from your healer or tank, or prevented from making a killing shot, or unable to reach the target, or…see what I mean? Playing with a Mei can occasionally be as frustrating as playing against one.
This feeling towards Mei perfectly encapsulates how I think people are feeling about me every time I play a game with Internet strangers. I am so self-conscious and have such low confidence in my gaming abilities that I feel like I’m going to ruin the game for everyone, and my teammates are going to jump on my mistakes and blame me for screwing them up. (Remember what I said about “sorry sorry sorry?”) It took me months to group with random people in SW: The Old Republic, the MMO I used to play.
SO that’s the story of how I found myself in a video game. And after all that, my husband B has played as Mei for a grand total of about five minutes. He normally plays Lucio, the Brazilian rollerblading support, because no matter what game, somehow he always ends up playing the bard.
Do you guys have video game doppelgängers? And who’s your favorite Overwatch character? What do you think of Mei?
ETA: If you want to go slowly insane, check out this video featuring clips of Mei.