I wanted to put you as number one, to be honest. But it felt like a bit of a cop out. For me, personally, the best video game characters are the ones that we get to create and digitally embody. We’re the heroes of those stories – whether we’re a space traveling alien or a blood-thirsty Orc. Through our created characters we can live a life that we’d never get to lead. But that’s not to say that character’s created by developers are any less powerful.
19) Pikachu (Pokémon)
Pikachu is a bit low down the list. But within the world of Pokemon, Pikachu is a pretty big deal. In the games, people always go out of their way to catch him. Even in Pokemon GO, people would judge their self worth by how many Pikachus they had, or if they’d managed to do the method of getting him from the start.
18) Reznov (Call of Duty, World at War)
That Russian scallywag. He’s rough. He’s tough. He’s mean. But, for some reason, he’s very lovable. He’s probably my favorite character from the CoD series – mainly because of his one-liners. Sure, he may have lost his mind a little during his time spent in a Gulag. And yes, maybe he indoctrinated Mason in Black Ops. But, in general, he was a good guy. Maybe.
17) Big Boss (Metal Gear)
Metal Gear is one of my favourite game series. For me, the hero of the hour will always be Solid Snake (sorry Raiden). But, as far as bad guys go, Big Boss is pretty solid. I love the twists and turns of his character, and the backstory that we have unearthed over the years in new iterations of the games. You even get to play as him in The Phantom Pain – which is easily one of the best Metal Gear games ever released.
16) Elizabeth (Bioshock: Infinite)
Usually, in video-games, ‘follower’ characters are pretty useless. They’re either always in the way, never to be seen or constantly dying. In Bioshock: Infinite, though, Elizabeth was the real deal. She’d throw you ammo and health in those dire moments, and she never got in the way. Plus the story between her and Booker (the player character), and the twist at the end – genius.
15) Marcus Fenix (Gears of War)
Marcus is a badass. Let’s face it. He’s the sort of guy you wouldn’t mess with – even as a Locust. He’s also the sort of guy you’d love to go down the pub and have a pint with – even if his stories would be a little harrowing for a Friday night.
14) Princess Peach (Mario)
Princess Peach would probably be higher up the list, were it not for the fact that she’s always in need of saving. Not her fault, of course. It is nice that in Super Princess Peach, she gets the chance to flex her muscles – with Mario and Luigi playing the damsels in distress.
13) Lee Everett (Telltale’s The Walking Dead)
Lee is probably one of the most memorable characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing as. The wonderful thing about Telltale’s The Walking Dead series is that you can make the protagonist whatever you want, within reason. If you want Lee to be an all out good-guy, you can. If you want him to be a dick who calls it how it is, you can do that too. He’s incredibly well written, and fantastically voice-acted by Dave Fennoy. In general, he’s a top notch protagonist.
12) Nathan Drake (Uncharted)
He’s pretty much the male version of Lara Croft. Just not as awesome… or British. Well, maybe if Lara Croft and Indiana Jones had a love child, and that love child was a little underwhelming in the light of their parents. My favourite thing about Drake is that he’s a bit of an everyman. He’s just a likeable guy, who seems to understand the slight absurdity of the situations in which he finds himself.
11) Vaas (Far Cry 3)
He has one of the best monologues in gaming history. His speech about the defenition of insanity is incredibly powerful, and very believable. But, as a villain, Vaas is probably one of my favorites. He’s unhinged, but I never felt like he was pure evil. He’s pretty much the Negan of the Far Cry universe.
10) Master Chief (Halo)
Does Master Chief really need explaining? We all know who he is, we’ve all heard of the games in which he’s the protagonist. As far as a faceless hero goes, Master Chief is probably the most recognisable. He has his iconic armour, and that’s enough for most fans.
9) Trevor (GTA V)
What can I say about Trevor? Other than that he’s probably the most loveable psychopath to ever grace the video-game screen. The Trevor character made GTA V for me – well, the story at least. You could never decide what he was going to end up doing next. My feelings towards him fluctuated from admiration to downright disgust. He really is the Swiss Army Knife of game characters
8) Clementine (Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Seasons 1 and 2)
It’s not often that gamers get the opportunity to see a strong, young female protagonist – but Clementine, from Telltale’s The Walking Dead, is just that. The great thing about Clementine is that you can experience the apocalypse with a sense of naivety, through her eyes. But, at the same time, influence her decisions, and the decisions of those around her, by applying your own outlook on things. Not only that, we fans of the series have almost watched her grow up, and will continue to do so throughout the third season (releasing at the end of December).
7) Spyro (Spyro)
Much of the top 10 is made up of the ‘elite’ of video-gaming history. And the next few are pretty much the royal family of the medium. Spyro the Dragon was one of my favourite games on the PlayStation. This mischievous, energetic little dragon is so damn loveable – he’s pretty much a staple for many platformer fans. Sure, his games haven’t been as popular of late, but I’m sure he’ll be making a comeback sometime soon.
6) Link (Legend of Zelda)
Nintendo tend to make the best video-game characters. Or, at the very least, the most memorable. Maybe it’s down to great design. Or maybe it’s down to the fact that they release so many sequels that it’s hard to forget them. Either way, Link is probably one of my most favorite Nintendo characters.
5) Crash Bandicoot (Crash Bandicoot)
Ooga booga! You can’t beat a bit of Crash Bandicoot. The original PlayStation game was, by far, my favorite platformer. Smashing crates and speed-running maps was relatively novel at the time. It’s almost commonplace, now. A PS4 remaster will be hitting the shelves, shortly. I won’t say no!
4) Sonic (Sonic)
I’d say that, in the battle between Sega and Nintendo for most recognisable platform based character – Mario beat Sonic to the punch. But Sonic isn’t just loved for the games. He’s also featured in a popular TV show, and he too has transcended the barriers of platform – to reach millions of gamers.
3) Mario (Super Mario)
It’s-a me, Mario! What can you say about Mario? Other than that he’s probably the most recognisable character in gaming history. You could make him out from his silhouette. From the theme song to his games. Even from the sound he makes when he jumps.
2) Solid Snake (Metal Gear)
The Metal Gear series defined the stealth shooter genre. In fact, it probably made it. Solid Snake, for his gruff voice, fierce stare and penchant for cardboard boxes, is probably one of the greatest characters of all time. He’s loved, he’s lost. He’s even lost limbs. But yet he’s still around, tapping on walls and hiding in plain sight.
1) Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
In my opinion, she’s one of the most iconic and recognisable character in the gaming world. Yes, Mario may be more recognisable, and he’s certainly been around the longest, but Lara has been on so many platforms in loads of different iterations. At first, she was seen as a sex symbol. But, over time, she’s evolved into a strong, powerful female role model. That’s quite a transition, for one character.
So there are my 20 favourite video game characters. Quite the list, and looking back I could easily add or remove some. But how about you? What would be your top 20, 10, or 5? Let me know in the comments below!