We’re pairing 8-bit music thematically, rather than based entirely on series. You can find this track and more Tater-Tot Tunes on YouTube! Stop by and jam to some great tunes.
Normal Happenings is proud to present The Characters That Define Us, a year long collaboration of 52+ incredible bloggers!
We’d like to take some time to talk about this current world moment, specifically about how in a rare moment of human history the entire world’s population is dealing with a crisis. Anxiety is high for many, and a great number of people are suffering due to COVID-19.
However, this affords us, humankind, the rare opportunity to all come together as a common force. This disease knows no race, no socioeconomic class, and no geography. Therefore, our hope is that, when all is said and done, this event we’re facing will become a unifying catalyst, rather that yet another dividing factor.
What can you do to help? Hang in there. Be strong. Whether you’re an essential medical practitioner on the front lines fighting this, or ordered to stay at home to prevent the spread of this pandemic, hang in there. Believe things will get better. Because they will.
We at Normal Happenings have assembled our own unifying collaboration, and we’re pleased to welcome newcomer Shooting for the Stars to the scene. This amazing writer/journalist/blogger knows no limits to their love of the Ratchet and Clank series, and has been excited to see their work in print since last October! We see no reason to delay any longer, as it is a most excellent piece! Let’s do this!
Before I fell in love with the Ratchet & Clank series back in 2014, I’ve always been a cat person and I’ve always preferred cats than dogs. In fact, in the far-off future, I’m hoping to own a cat one day and if I do somehow manage to get one, I’m hoping to name it after Ratchet but it depends on the colour of the fur, the colour of the stripes and whether the cat have stripes or not.
As a legendary girl band and a singer once said respectively, “All I want is something new, something I can hold on to” and “Too much of anything can make you sick, even the good can be a curse (curse)”, if there’s anything I learned from the Ratchet & Clank series is to try something new or different even if I’m unwilling to. Not only did it pave the way for me to try out new or different things in the future, it also opened the doors to other franchises I haven’t tried before or missed out on. Furthermore, it helped me break through the shackles of Nintendo that bind me and the tiresome, repetitive monotony the Mario, Kirby and Animal Crossing series were plagued with. If my passion lies in new hobbies and interests and I no longer have the excitement, enthusiasm and motivation for past hobbies/interests, it’s best to move on to pastures anew in this book of life. Furthermore, I couldn’t bring myself to be excited for Nintendo games, consoles, merchandise, peripherals etc anymore as my excitement is transferred over to new pastimes/interests. After all, there is more to video games than continuing to play the same couple of franchises over and over again. More on that in my Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet article within issue 2 of the Film Stories magazine.
Due to my mental illness, I feel lonely, despite I have a humongous circle of friends and family. This is why Ratchet is more relatable than any other video game character. He may have allies in high places and have a large circle of friends, he’s still the last Lombax in existence and the last of his kind. I’d be lonely if there isn’t anyone who looks like me anywhere in the universe in terms of species. The only Lombaxes Ratchet met were Angela Cross (who first appeared in Ratchet & Clank 2: Locked and Loaded) and Alister Azimuth (who made his first appearance in Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time), who is Kaden’s friend and the closest Ratchet have to a father figure. According to the news reporters, Kip Darling and Pepper Fairbanks, Angela is presumed missing in action due to trying to escape from Tachyon’s Cragmite army and Alister sacrificed himself to save the universe after he realised The Great Clock isn’t a time machine. This means Ratchet is the last Lombax in the universe while the rest of his kind fled to another dimension in the wake of Tachyon and the Cragmites seizing control of the Polaris Galaxy.
Since the first Ratchet & Clank game, I see a lot of myself in Ratchet, considering he lived on Veldin (it’s the Solana Galaxy’s equivalent to the middle of nowhere) in isolation for years. Since he didn’t have a family to call his own or people to care about him, he grew up alone. As a result, he becomes bitter and resentful. This is why he is selfish and self-centred and why he mistreated Clank after Captain Qwark betrayed him and his robotic companion. Therefore, he only had himself to trust. Due to years of loneliness, he finds it difficult to search for companionship and to befriend people because of his endangered species. This caused him to be an outcast within the Veldin population. Lombaxes are so elusive and rare, it’s nearly impossible to search for another one. Trying to uncover one is like finding a needle in a haystack. Because of my mental illness, I’m still feel unsatisfied in spite of achieving many accomplishments and fulfilling countless dreams in my life.
While I’m still talking about the subject, he have no knowledge of where he originated from, his parents and so forth. Because of this, he becomes a violent, selfish, angst teenager and assumed his parents abandoned him. It isn’t until Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction and Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time he learned about his origins about his true home planet, who his parents are, the name of his father, the whereabouts of his race and why they left him behind, the downfall of his species, how they disappeared and where they vanished off to and so on.
Come to think of it, the games failed to show whether he likes to be a loner sometimes or not and if he likes to have some alone time occasionally.
When the Zoni kidnapped Clank at the end of Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction, Ratchet becomes devastated and distraught. Without Clank by his side, he doesn’t know what to do with himself. This game and the other instalments didn’t show what really goes on in his mind and whether he suffers from separation anxiety or not. Since he’s been with Clank for countless years, he might be dependent on him. This isn’t the only game when he is a lovable asshole (he’s lovable because he’s a cutie patootie and I can’t go a second without staring at his adorable feline face and he’s an asshole sometimes because of his unfriendliness towards his first and best friend). The other times he’s being hostile to Clank is in Ratchet & Clank and Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters. Despite his rude attitude, it’s refreshing to see a hero who isn’t always a goodie two-shoes sometimes.
On that note, there is more to Ratchet than him being mean to Clank in the first Ratchet & Clank game. It’s either Ratchet isn’t too keen of being a hero to begin with seeing as he is a civilian or he may have (mental health) issues such as possible childhood trauma. Seeing as he didn’t have anyone to care for him, he didn’t know what it’s like to have a friend or someone who cares for his wellbeing. Hence why he didn’t know how to be considerate. That, and he’s still a teenager.
If there is anything I’m jealous of him is he’s brave enough to travel to anywhere in the universe, either by himself, with Clank, with an ally or a group of companions. He’s the kind of guy I can hope to aspire to be one day: brave, fearless (to not allow any barrier prevent him from leaving the comfort of his home) and strong. Unlike me, he didn’t let anything or anyone stop him from exploring any location to his heart’s content.
He occasionally can be an enigma. There isn’t a backstory about how he survived and how he grew up alone on an almost deserted, backwater planet for numerous years, what his real name is (in my headcanon, if he have a real name, the name “Ryan” suits him but if he’s female, I find the name, “Rachel”, to fit him nicely), the name of his mum, what he looked like as a baby, whether he lived in an orphanage or not, if he did have any adoptive parents and if he lived with them or not etc.
Just like my father, I share a stubborn streak with him but I also share it with Ratchet. Because of this, I tend to keep a schedule in my head which is a force of habit or sometimes I get into arguments with a friend. If I’m being forced (normally by someone such as a family member) to change my agenda, I’m too stubborn to change it. Besides the stubbornness, I’m also short but what I find embarrassing is I’m five or seven centimetres shorter than him. According to Jak X: Combat Racing, he’s 5”0. He may be short but I’m even shorter than him. On the bright side, I almost have the same height as him… if only I’m a little bit taller. This is why Ratchet (and Clank) is the perfect cosplay for me.
Speaking of his personality, my personality is almost similar to his, except for the courage and the fact I usually plan things in advance and ahead of time. So, I do possess a few Clank-esque personality traits. However, there were times when I didn’t manage to plan ahead of time properly. For example, when I sometimes underestimated how quick a convention can creep up to me, within a blink of an eye. But most of time, I’m nearly just like Ratchet when it comes to personality traits. For instance, I can be persistent and I never give up until I get what I want, I occasionally go out of my way in order to go to great lengths to obtain/achieve something but this sometimes leads me into trouble, I don’t listen to my parents or anyone, I have a short attention span and I hate to admit I’m wrong sometimes.
There is just something that I like about him. He’s cute but in a “I want to pet/stroke/nuzzle you” kind of way. All the more to want a cat one day. I can’t quite point it out but it’s at the tip of my tongue. It might be to do with his physical feline appearance, his enormously large, flat furry ears, his emerald eyes, his tail with a tuft of fluff at the end, his soft-to-the-touch, chubby, fuzzy cheeks or his nose. Since he’s a feline, there were times when I feel like I want to give him eskimo kisses but the closest thing to him are the plushies of him. Said nose makes me want to “boop” it.
I already know first-hand what it’s like to put up a façade to hide my true feelings and emotions. I usually bottle up my emotions ‘cause I didn’t want anyone to worry about me and I’m worried how my friends or my family will react or respond. Unlike me, Ratchet has different reasons to hide his feelings. I assumed he conceals them ‘cause he doesn’t want to come off as being weak and he didn’t want anyone to worry about him. Not to mention, his enemies might use his feelings and his emotions against him if they discover he have weaknesses. Even the games don’t show his emotions upfront and how the struggles he experiences affect him. For instance, he didn’t cry when Alister sacrificed himself to save the universe and when he revealed his backstory in Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time.
Speaking of which, Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction and Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time didn’t outright show Ratchet sobbing but the fact his eyes were shiny or glossy, they look like he’s tearing up, he’s on the brink of tears or he’s holding them back. When Clank got taken by the Zoni, he’s looking up at the sky in not only despair, but in a manner which looks like he’s going to cry or tear up. Similar to Ratchet, I normally try to hide my sobs but I read from somewhere on the internet that it’s okay to cry sometimes (and I shouldn’t be ashamed to do so, regardless of my age). It isn’t fair that my mum (or both of my parents) shout at me whenever I burst into tears but when my younger sister cries, she comforts her. If this isn’t favouritism and abysmal parenting, I don’t know what is. It’s truly not fair when my younger sister gets away with nearly everything and I tend to get the blame. Nowadays, I rarely cry. I guess just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to shed my tears. My mum explodes with rage whenever I cry because she assumed I shouldn’t break down into tears since I’m the oldest sibling.
Since Ratchet is the spitting image of his father, when Alister told Ratchet, “And you, my dear boy, you look just like your father”, during their first encounter, reminds me of the last time I went to Hong Kong with my family. Once we were there, I’ve been bombarded with comments from a lot of the members from my father’s side of the family, they think I look just like my dad, not just personality itself. I suppose to them, it’s like looking at a mirror. Not only that, but my physical appearance took them by surprise. They were expecting me to be tall and not underweight.
One of the characteristics I share with Ratchet is he snores, especially during one of the cutscenes in Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction when he and Clank escaped from Tachyon’s armada via a stolen spaceship. While they were in the spacecraft, he fell asleep upon coming into contact with a cryosleep mist/gas, results in him snoring. However, Clank is immune to it, considering he is a robot. Although, I didn’t admit it years ago. There are occasions when my mum accused me of snoring but I refused to admit it. It’s unknown what is the cause of my snoring; it’s either I’m not getting any younger, it’s sleep apnoea or snoring runs in the family.
As for Ratchet’s life-long friendship with Clank, it’s something I can definitely relate to. Marium and I established a friendship back in 2006 at high school during computer club (which takes place after school). Little did we know it lasted for an exceedingly long time but unfortunately, all good things must come to an end when David drives a wedge in our friendship upon encountering him inside the Waterstones store at the Arndale Centre in 2017. There is just something about him which rubbed me the wrong way, similar to there’s something about the Pussycat Dolls which rubbed me the wrong way.
Marium and I watched the Ratchet & Clank movie to celebrate our 10th anniversary of our friendship bond. Our falling out caused my mental health to spiral downwards to an all time low and went to darker places I cannot imagine in my lifetime. Luckily, my spirits were perked back up when I found a best friend-esque buddy in the form of Selena when I met her at Animeleague Big Geek Meet/Manchester Halloween Minicon. Although, our sisterhood didn’t properly establish until we met again at a Disney cosplay meet at MCM Comic Con Manchester 2017. She attended the Disney cosplay gathering as Anna whilst I went to there as Elsa. These days, Selena and I acknowledge each other as “sisters” in a spiritual manner, not to mention we’re cosplay partners. She’s the Anna to my Elsa.
This is identical to the fact Ratchet and Clank may not be biologically brothers but they share a brotherly bond. Just like how Selena and I may not be biologically sisters but we share a sisterly bond. Selena is, honestly, no Marium but just like my ex-best friend, Selena and I did everything together.
My former long-time friendship with Marium is bittersweet to look back on. I still don’t understand what she sees in David as a friend. There is this one point when one of my recent cosplay friends told me to steer clear from him and I can see why. Apparently, he and David just so happen to know each other at their college back then. From what my cosplay pal told me, David used to follow him (to the ends of the Earth) which annoyed him to no end and drives him crazy. So, my suspicions and assumptions are correct. David doesn’t know when to shut up and he doesn’t understand the basic concept of privacy or personal space. If there’s anything I hate, it’s chatterboxes.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to share company with my friends but sometimes, I merely want to spend some time alone. If I have to be honest, I reckon I can get a lot of tasks and errands done quickly if I’m on my own.
Personality wise, I’m similar to Ratchet in more ways than one. At first, I thought Mario and Kirby were relatable characters to me but now that I think about it, not in the slightest. Sure, they may be short and small characters but when it comes to personality traits, this is where the similarities end. Fast forward to now, I didn’t realise Ratchet is the embodiment of my personality and my mannerisms and I didn’t know how much he made an impact on my life until I write about him. Thanks to the Ratchet & Clank series, it taught me what it means to be a friend, how to be loyal to my pal until the bitter end and when the goings gets tough and to maintain a friendship bond for many years to come. Anyone can learn a thing or two about companionship and camaraderie from the franchise. If anybody wants to learn anything about friendship, this series is a perfect example.
P.S. Shooting for the Stars wanted us to link this for you all to enjoy. 🙂
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*COMING SOON! … FOR REAL*