The best character may not always be the strongest or even the smartest, but I think that most can agree that the best characters in gaming are the ones with memorable qualities that keep them close to your heart long after you put down the controller.
Best Of The Best: 11 Of The Most Memorable Video Game Characters Of All Time
It's a tall order to say the least, coming up with a list of the best characters of all #VideoGames ever. But, after a great deal of blood, sweat and tears... it's been done. Check out my list of the best video game characters known to mankind.
Beware: There may be some spoilers!
11. Josh Washington From 'Until Dawn'
Josh Washington, one of the (sort of) playable characters from #UntilDawn is the delightful epitome of a multi-dimensional villain. While his presence and suspicious behavior turn out to be more of a distraction than the key to the truth in the end, it's hard not to be pleased by such depth of character in a horror game.
After losing his twin sisters during a tragic visit to the mountains with friends, one year later Josh and the gang return to a rural cabin to bond in honor of the twins. Absolute madness ensues as we learn of Josh's inner-darkness and the anxiety that has haunted him since his sisters' disappearance.
Once all is said and done, it's hard not to feel a great deal of sympathy for this loving brother and faithful friend.
10. Albert Wesker From Resident Evil
Why? My answer to you is, why not?
#ResidentEvil's Albert Wesker is not necessarily a multi-dimensional character, but he does have many lives... more than the average villain. I know that it doesn't sound like this is a good point of judgment for the best video game characters out there, but what is a video game character without that inherent multiplicity of life?
Here are the ways that Wesker did not die:
- Injecting himself with prototype virus (Resident Evil 1)
- Impaled by a tyrant (Resident Evil 1)
- Blown up by a rocket (Resident Evil 5)
- Thrown into lava (Resident Evil 5)
- Flaming pillar falls on his face (Resident Evil: Code Veronica)
- Injecting himself with Uroboros (Resident Evil 5)
...need I say more? There is no better way to keep a series alive than to make its main villain un-killable. And how could you want him dead anyway with all of those cheeky one-liners he's got?
9. Samus Aran From The Metroid Series
Samus Aran is a classic badass and I just couldn't imagine this list without her. Introduced in the 1986 game #Metroid, Samus has been kicking butt and taking a few names as a bounty hunter in space ever since.
While she's certainly on the more mysterious side of the spectrum compared to some of my other favorite characters, the few things that we do know about Samus only serve to increase my admiration.
Some fast facts:
- She's 6'3''!
- The original instruction book implied that she was a man, yet the game itself revealed otherwise... but there's also an ongoing debate about where she is male, female, or neither.
- Her character was inspired by Ripley from the Alien series.
All of this Samus business makes me wish there was another game in the works...
8. Luigi From 'Super Mario Bros.'
Luigi is no doubt the better half. Always showing up to save the day when it counts, Luigi is the one that tops the charts in my eyes. Sure, Mario can save the princess. Sure, Mario can clean up the island. But you don't see Mario relegated to riding a dinosaur for the entire game and you definitely don't see him being forced to hang out in a house full of ghosts twice equipped with nothing but an old vacuum!
Luigi is the fitter, funnier and greener of the two. This makes him the best, and I for one will not be the person to deny him this honor.
Solid list so far, right? Brace yourselves, it only gets better from here.
7. Mileena From The Mortal Kombat Series
Next up, sharp-toothed, sai-wielding, ethereal lifestyle extraordinaire Mileena, sister (or clone) of Kitana... friend of none. #MortalKombat's own princess hopeful faces tough competition for the best character of the game, let alone the best character ever. But, ultimately, her skill and sheer willpower solidifies her place above the rest for me. There is nothing more humanizing than the desire to escape the shadow of a parent or sibling. In Mileena's case, she strives to do just that by killing her sister and shaking clone status once and for all.
Sure, there are some cool dudes in the MK roster that many out there would include in a list like this without hesitation (I hear you Sub Zero and Scorpion fans). However, even the game's co-creator has described the Kitana/Mileena pair as being the feminine Sub Zero/Scorpion equivalent... so there's a method to the madness! More to the point, I don't see Scorpion or Sub Zero trying to squeeze into the ridiculous rags they've got Mileena sporting these days. I rest my case!
6. Bella Goth From The Sims Series
If #TheSims series had a mascot (other than the plumbob), it would be Bella Goth. Appearing first as the matriarch of the Goth family in the original 2000 game that started it all, Bella has been featured in almost every release since. Her signature elegance and affinity for all things paranormal has made her a well-respected inclusion. Whether it's a key role in the plot (usually on handheld Sims games) or a clever reference, Bella and the rest of the Goths are never far from our minds.
Favorite Bella Creepypasta: There are two versions of Bella in The Sims 2—Strangetown Bella and Pleasantview Bella. Pleasantview Bella is only "accessible" in the game's code. Her presence is confirmed only by the fact that she's in Don Lothario's in-game memories: a rejected romantic advance and a photo of her on his deck before her disappearance. In Strangetown, Bella does physically appear and can be made playable through marriage or roommate status, but this iteration of her Sim does not have any memories of her past, unlike all other Sims in The Sims 2.
5. GLaDOS From The Portal Series
GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) is the villain-turned-ally (sort-of) of the Portal series. In the first game, GLaDOS is there to remind us how small and useless we are as we work our way through a seemingly endless and increasingly difficult string of puzzles. Though we eventually defeat her by incinerating her parts, GLaDOS returns in Portal 2 as a potato and accompanies us through part of our journey against a new computerized villain.
Like Bella, GLaDOS' story does feature some mild Creepypasta that has actually been confirmed as truth: her character is said to be based on the appearance of a bound woman.
4. Clementine From Telltale Games' 'The Walking Dead'
Introduced in Season One of Telltale's #TheWalkingDead, Clementine was the ward of the protagonist, Lee. I think I speak for most when I say that no one likes an escort mission and the first season of this game seemed to be exactly that—but once Clementine chopped off the bulk of her curly locks and learned to use a gun, it became clear that things were about to change.
Clementine continued to hold her own in Season Two of The Walking Dead as the game's lead and only playable character. In this season, we see what remains of Clementine's innocence washed away by trials she faces as a leader among a new group of survivors. Even after watching her grow through the story, you can't be quite sure which version of Clementine we will encounter in the next chapter. Her depth and continuing evolution are what makes her one of the most interesting protagonists in this list.
3. The 'I' Tetronimo From 'Tetris'
For any seasoned #Tetris vet, this block is a true VIP. While its horizontal usage is a great way to get rid of a single row, some careful planning could put you in the position to clear an entire level in one move. The promise of the 'I' tetronimo and all of its glory becomes the most coveted strategic advantage a Tetris player can hope for.
Contrary to popular belief, the blocks that the game generates for you are not based on the tetronimos that you need the least, but some pretty intense randomness algorithms that vary from developer to developer. If you play your cards right, the 'I' tetronimo could be the four-line devastator and 'Tetris'-maker that you needed all game long. No one gets this excited about the 'S' block, that's for sure.
2. Henry Townshend From Silent Hill 4
One thing that video game protagonists love to do is kick down doors. When they're stuck, they find a way out or they die trying with their guns blazing and their health bars (or peripheral vision) blinking red. But not, Henry.
At the start of the fourth #SilentHill game, he's already been locked in his room (door chained from the inside) for at least a week with his windows stuck shut and without a working phone. Somehow, this instills not fear but bravery in Henry's soul and it is that bravery that affords him the ability to take the big leap and climb through a massive wormhole-tunnel-thing in his bathroom.
Throughout the game, we get to know the real Henry as he asks all of the right questions, takes a sword to his enemies, and not once does he raise his voice. As a matter of fact, the monsters in the game do more screaming than Henry does.
So, to all of the naysayers, I say "no". Henry Townshend is not a mere husk of a human, devoid of any personality or purpose. He's a real hero—cool under pressure with few-to-no words to say for the majority of the game and an impeccable sense of style. He's the Nathan Drake of horror and must never be overlooked.
1. Tommy Vercetti From 'Grand Theft Auto: Vice City'
It's the man, the myth and the legend of the GTA games. Forget #GTAV (and Trevor), Tommy Vercetti and his crappy button-up set the standard for open-world protagonists by letting us live out our Scarface-themed fantasies in one of the most well-developed and immersive worlds in gaming.
No matter how large and convoluted Grand Theft Auto's maps and stories become, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is going to be the one we always come back to and it's all thanks to Tommy Vercetti.
Honorable Mentions: Sora from #KingdomHearts and, of course, The Invincible Lara Croft.
Which of my inclusions did you find the most shocking? Would you have replaced anyone?