Today I learned about the right-wing insult “NPC” which stands for “non-player character” and is meant to refer to someone who cannot think independently (so, like, you usually see it used for liberals who are afraid of diverging from woke group-think). I basically don’t understand any of the words in this Wikipedia article about this (which, I guess this is how it begins, old age, the first time you read something and you’re just like dagnabbit it, this is all just CONSARNED GOBBELDY GOOK!), but the bit that’s most confusing to me is, if an NPC is a character that the player cannot control, then…wouldn’t that mean the opposite of a brainwashed person who can’t think for themselves? NPCs are in fact the only characters that aren’t manipulated by an external puppet master.

So I don’t get the insult on a fundamental level, and the only reason I’m blogging about this is I literally spent like thirty minutes this morning trying to determine if NPC was an insult or a compliment.

Or is this like a “couldn’t care less”/”could care less” thing where the original meaning got muddy and now the exact opposite expression means the thing its opposite used to mean?


  1. Anonymous says:

    The game master controls the NPCs. So it kinda makes sense from that perspective. NPCs are controlled by “the man”. It’s offensive in other ways since these are basically the people who tried to shut down role playing in the 80s because it was Satan Worship.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reader says:

    I think it’s a matter of agency. As the player your character is free to do what you want. But NPCs are scripted, and their behavior is predetermined.

    In a multiplayer game this is even more apparent, because you could have both other players and NPCs in the same world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Zandy says:

    When the kids talk about the NPCs in their handheld computer video games, they typically hold the opinion that it’s useless to interact with the NPCs at all. It’s possible that 9-year-olds wrote the article.

    Liked by 2 people

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