Travis Touchdown

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Travis Touchdown
No More Heroes character
Travis Touchdown wears a red jacket, a white undershirt with an image on it, orange sunglasses, and blue denim pants. His hair is gelled, and he wields a blue glowing beam sword.
Travis Touchdown, as depicted in No More Heroes (2007).
First game No More Heroes (2007)
Created by Goichi Suda
Designed by Yūsuke Kozaki
Takeshi Uechi
Voiced by (English) Robin Atkin Downes
Voiced by (Japanese) Kazuya Nakai (No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise)

Travis Touchdown is an American video game antihero and the main protagonist of the video game No More Heroes. 27 years old in No More Heroes, he is both an otaku and a professional assassin, wielding a beam sword weapon. He was created by No More Heroes director Goichi Suda, and voiced by Robin Atkin Downes. He later appeared in the 2010 video game No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, which takes place three years later.

He is named after the protagonist of the film Paris, Texas directed by Wim Wenders.[1] He lives a lifestyle that is often compared to those of average people because of his obsession with anime, professional wrestling,[2] pornography, and action figures; however, this lifestyle has also been called an "uber male fantasy." He has received mostly positive reception, with MSNBC describing his appearance as "richly detailed" and "flamboyantly designed". He has also been compared to other characters in fiction, such as Tyler Durden from Fight Club and The Bride from Kill Bill.

Concept and creation[edit]

Travis Touchdown first appeared in the Wii video game No More Heroes. He was created by Goichi Suda and voiced by Robin Atkin Downes. He was illustrated by Yūsuke Kozaki, and his clothing was designed by Takeshi Uechi.[3][4][5] He was based on Jackass star Johnny Knoxville.[6] His beam sword's charging method was based on the "Schwartz" lightsabers from the parody film Spaceballs.[6] Travis' name, like other characters' names in No More Heroes, comes from its sound rather than its meaning. He stated that it is a name that sounds cool to Japanese people, but not as much to Western people. Suda comments that he sees some of himself in Travis, and wishes that he could react to things like Travis does. Travis' luchador fandom comes from Suda's fandom for the sport.[7]

Suda was disappointed with the quality of Travis' wrestling techniques, and performed some of them on the animators to demonstrate. Certain other details of Travis are based on Suda, including the sound of a key ring jingling in his pocket and his love of cats.[8] A Ubisoft contest was held to allow one winner's design to be used in Desperate Struggle for one of Travis' t-shirts.[9] In an interview with Nintendo Power, Suda stated that he wanted Travis to become a huge star, stating that this was one of the reasons he wanted to make Desperate Struggle as interesting as possible. Nintendo Power editors told Joystiq that Suda considers Travis his favorite character.[10] Suda states that No More Heroes 2 will be Travis' last appearance in the series, as his story will be completely finished. The Californian setting of No More Heroes is partially based on Travis, who Suda stated had a variety of frustrations and emotions that helped him fit in with that setting.[11]

Characteristics[edit]

Travis Touchdown is an American assassin and stereotypical otaku – his motel room decorated with professional wrestling and anime collectibles – living in near poverty in the motel "NO MORE HEROES" of Santa Destroy, California.[12] 27 years old in No More Heroes, he collects wrestling masks, and learns a number of lucha libre moves from his mentor, Thunder Ryu. He is also a fan of a mecha anime series called "Glastonbury", inspired by Space Runaway Ideon, and a moe-driven series, "Bizarre Jelly", a parody of Pretty Cure.[6] He owns a "beam katana" which he won in an online auction, as well as a large rocket-powered motorcycle, dubbed the "Schpeltiger", which he uses for transport.[13]

Travis' beam katana, Blood Berry, is Travis' primary method of attack. It is often compared to the lightsaber from the Star Wars franchise. While No More Heroes features multiple Star Wars parodies, IGN editor Scott Lowe comments that the two have subtle differences. Both can cut through any material, but the mechanism of the Beam Katana involves a beam loop rather than simply a handle, and can also be charged or shoot energy projectiles.[13] Other beam katanas, while lacking the beam loop, have unique blade designs. Travis can purchase three additional beam katanas in the course of No More Heroes from the character Dr. Naomi: the Tsubaki Mk-I, an improved version of the Blood Berry, the Mk-II, a powerful five-beam weapon, and the Mk-III, created from Thunder Ryu's katana and regarded by Naomi as the ultimate version.[13] In No More Heroes 2, Travis can wield four types of beam katanas, including dual katanas called the "Rose Nasty" and a "giant beam katana" called the Peony. The Mk. III is present as well, along with the Blood Berry[14]

Appearances[edit]

In No More Heroes, Travis becomes a hitman, referred to in-game as an assassin, after he runs out of money to buy video games. He accepts a job from a woman named Sylvia Christel to kill Helter Skelter, also known as "the Drifter," which earns him rank 11 in the United Assassins Association, a governing body of assassins that Christel supposedly works for. Realizing that he has now made himself a target for aspiring assassins, he sets out to secure himself as number one in the UAA. After defeating the nine assassins above him, the final assassin, Dark Star, claims to be his father in a manner reminiscent of Darth Vader. However, he is subsequently killed by Travis' half-sister, Jeane, who details how she had previously murdered his parents because of his father's sexual abuse. Travis wins against Jeane because of the assistance of another assassin, Shinobu, whom he had spared. A mysterious, Irish assassin named Henry professes to be Travis' twin brother as well as Sylvia's husband, also explaining that her true identity is that of a con artist who had set up the UAA as a scam and helped Travis exact vengeance on Jeane. The game ends in the midst of a battle between them.

In No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Travis rejoins the UAA to avenge the death of Bishop, his friend and the owner of a video store. After the last game, it is revealed that Travis has become a legend among assassins as someone who managed to walk away from the Number One Rank. Some referred to him as The Crownless King or The "No More" Hero as a result of this, and he is seen in graffiti as a figure similar to Che Guevara. With Bishop's death, however, Travis became increasingly angry and frustrated not only with himself but the assassination scene, vowing to tear down the UAA once he kills the man who ordered Bishop's death. At the very end, Travis reconciles with Sylvia, and the two become lovers. Their ultimate fate, however, is unknown.

In "No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise", Travis Touchdown's first story (from the Wii game) can now be played by PS3 owners and is compatible with the PlayStation Move. Though performed by Robin Atkin Downes, the voice work is characteristic and similar to that of the Metal Gear series' Raiden (Quinton Flynn) who in No More Heroes voices Touchdown's "twin brother" Henry thus being yet another indicative relationship between Suda51 and Hideo Kojima. The International PS3 version is uncensored like the Japanese Xbox 360 version and is also published by Konami.

Reception[edit]

MSNBC editor Scott Taves praised Travis Touchdown's design as richly detailed and flamboyantly designed.[15] Jason Hill of the Sydney Morning Herald described Touchdown as an "absurd, shallow, and pitiful creature", commenting that he is an analogue to gamers.[16] Sean Ewing of The Star-Ledger called Touchdown the poster-child for what anti-video game extremists like Jack Thompson think gamers are like.[17] Nintendo Power listed Travis as their 15th favourite hero, stating that he is kind of like them, except that they aren't "lewd, beam katana-wielding assassins".[18] Game Zone editor Stephen Woodward compared Travis to everyday people living in an uber male fantasy, citing him being an otaku and being a luchador fan.[19] PALGN editor David Low described Touchdown as what gamers want to be, though commenting that Suda 51 "accidentally" incorporated the nerdy aspects of his personality into his character.[20] Tampa Bay Online editor Doug Bell found the character rude and detached, but not funny or cool, calling the other assassins better characters.[21] Game Informer editor Matt Miller suggested that there is a connection between sex and extreme violence with Travis, citing a scene where he waits to confess his love to a woman only after she has blown her head off with a grenade.[22] GamesRadar listed him as the seventh greatest assassin, commenting that in spite of his social awkwardness, he is actually a pretty competent assassin.[23] In discussing the "brooding pretty boy" cliché, they used him as an example of the opposite of this cliché, stating that while he has some qualities of this character type, his personality sets him apart.[24]

Travis has been compared to other characters in fiction, primarily action characters. Game Revolution editor Jesse Constantino comments that while Grasshopper Manufacture tries to portray him as punk, he's no more punk than his grandmother's doll collection, comparing him to Sam Spade of The Maltese Falcon.[25] He was also described as what the love child between Fight Club's Tyler Durden and Kill Bill's The Bride would be.[26] Game designer Steve Gaynor compared Travis' clothing to Durden's as well.[27] He has been compared to another character from Goichi Suda in the video game Flower, Sun, and Rain called Sumio Mondo.[28] Gaming Nexus editor Matt Mirkovich praised the voice work of his voice actor Robin Atkin Downes, calling it one of the best works in gaming.[5] Game Style editor Garry Webber described him as an unashamedly geeky otaku as well as an amoral contemptuous assassin, but added that this was why he was so likable.[29] G4 TV editor Matt Kiel stated that Travis is an especially noteworthy aspect of the quality plot, adding that while he's amoral and a jerk, he is one of the most likable video game characters in a long time.[30] Fox News editor Lou Kesten described Travis as the Wii's most ridiculously violent hero.[31] He was awarded best new character of 2008 by GamePro magazine, and was nominated by GameSpot for the same award.[32][33]

Goichi Suda stated that he would not mind seeing Travis appear in the Super Smash Bros. series. Joystiq editor Randy Nelson agreed, stating that he would love to see Travis with his beam katana in the next title.[10] Destructoid editor Jim Sterling stated that he would love to see Travis included just by the virtue that it is a creation of Suda's, who he is a fan of. He commented that the close relationship between Suda and Hideo Kojima, whose character Solid Snake is already in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, makes it possible that he could appear.[34] Inc Gamers editor Tim McDonald described Travis as a good fit for the Super Smash Bros. franchise.[35] Kombo editor David Oxford stated that while he did not want to see the cast of the Super Smash Bros. series diluted by third party characters, he could easily see Travis not only fitting into the series, but being fun to play with.[36] Escapist Magazine editor Keane Ng expressed the opinion that while the two third party characters included in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog, were highly popular characters, Travis is an unlikely character due to being far less recognizable. He added that while Snake was from a Mature-rated video game, he fit in well; Travis' personality would make him too difficult to include, despite his fighting style being similar to other Smash Bros. characters. As such Travis Touchdown was not added to the final cut of the game.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Afterwords: No More Heroes 2". Game Informer. Retrieved 2010-02-11. 
  2. ^ "IGN: No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle". IGN. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  3. ^ Lumb, Jonathan (2006-11-30). "No More Heroes Preview". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  4. ^ Davis, John (2998-05-08). "Takeshi Uechi Interview". IGN. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  5. ^ a b "No More Heroes - Review - by Matt Mirkovich - Gaming Nexus". gamingnexus.com. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  6. ^ a b c Hayward, Andrew (2009-05-21). "Nordic Game Conference: No More Heroes' film influences". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2009-05-21. 
  7. ^ "Wii Interview: A chat with Suda 51". Computer and Video Games. 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  8. ^ Leone, Matt (2009-09-17). "No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle Preview". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  9. ^ "No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle due Jan. 2010". CIO. 2009-08-29. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  10. ^ a b Nelson, Randy (2009-07-08). "Suda51 'loves' Travis Touchdown, hopes he becomes a 'huge star'.". Joystiq. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  11. ^ Barnhott, Ray (2009-09-21). "Goichi Suda Interview". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  12. ^ Fletcher, JC (2007-08-29). "Travis Touchdown has a comfortable home life". Joystiq. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  13. ^ a b c Lowe, Scott (2008-10-09). "Weapons Locker: The Beam Katana". IGN. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  14. ^ "PAX 09: Gameplay Upgrades Featurette". GameTrailers. 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  15. ^ Taves, Scott (2008-01-31). "'No More Heroes' is a Wii game for grown-ups". MSNBC. Retrieved 2009-09-18. /
  16. ^ Hill, Jason (2008-04-03). "No More Heroes". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  17. ^ Ewing, Sean (2008-12-30). "Best of '08: The Wii". NJ Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  18. ^ Nintendo Power 250th issue!. South San Francisco, California: Future US. 2010. pp. 40, 41. 
  19. ^ Woodward, Stephen (2008-02-11). "No More Heroes Review". Game Zone. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  20. ^ Low, David (2008-04-13). "No More Heroes Review - Nintendo Wii Video Game Review". PALGN. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  21. ^ Bell, Doug (2008-02-08). "Video Games". Tampa Bay Online. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  22. ^ Miller, Matt. "No More Heroes". Game Informer. Retrieved 2009-09-18. [dead link]
  23. ^ "The Top 7... Assassins | GamesRadar". gamesradar.com. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  24. ^ "The Top 7... Lazy Character Clichés | GamesRadar". gamesradar.com. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  25. ^ Constantino, Jesse (2008-02-07). "No More Heroes review for the Wii". Game Revolution. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  26. ^ "No More Heroes Preview for the Wii". Cheat Code Central. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  27. ^ Gaynor, Steve (2008-02-01). "Opinion: Punk's Not Dead - Why No More Heroes Matters". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  28. ^ Razak, Matthew (2009-09-03). "Review: Flower, Sun, and Rain". Destructoid. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  29. ^ Webber, Garry. "Review: No More Heroes (Nintendo Wii) review". Game Style. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  30. ^ Kiel, Matt (2008-01-30). "Critical Reception: Ubisoft/Grasshopper's No More Heroes". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  31. ^ Kesten, Lou (2008-10-15). "The Week in Games: Oct. 13, 2008 - Science News". Fox News. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  32. ^ Rudden, Dave. "Review: No More Heroes for Wii". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  33. ^ "GameSpot's Best of 2008: Best New Characters". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  34. ^ Sterling, Jim (2009-07-08). "Suda 51 wants Travis Touchdown in Smash Bros.". Destructoid. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  35. ^ McDonald, Tim (2009-07-08). "Suda 51 Wants Travis Touchdown In Smash Bros". Inc Gamers. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  36. ^ Oxford, David (2009-07-08). "Suda 51 Would Like to See Travis Touchdown Appear in Next Smash Bros.". Kombo. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  37. ^ Ng, Keane (2009-07-08). "Suda 51 Wants No More Heroes' Travis in Smash Bros.". Escapist Magazine. Retrieved 2009-09-21.