Ahh, St. Patrick's Day. A day when people who couldn't point to Ireland on a map proudly declare their Irish heritage. "I'm three eighteenths Irish," they slur. "My mother on my ex-wife's side met an Irish once—she said they talked all funny," they spew, trying to force a Guinness on you (I hate that curdled meal of a drink). But mostly people try to bring themselves closer to our culture by embracing, as they see it, the ancient Irish tradition of getting blind drunk.
And while a nice 'ole pint is a mighty fine way to wrap up a week, and we Irish most certainly do enjoy a good old trip to the bar (or just planting our faces on them after a few too many Jägerbombs), I wouldn't say we're very good at getting drunk. Scratch that, I mean being drunk. You seen Dublin on St. Patrick's Day? Must be what the rapture'll be like!
Anyway, in commemoration (commiseration?) of the day when people dress as leprechauns, break their legs while trying to dance "all Irish-like" and sing the praises of the man who chased the snakes out of Ireland (lad did no such thing), I'd like to highlight some of the Irish people you might never have known were actually from the land of ceili dancing. Well, technologically speaking anyway. And I'm making an alteration...
The Irish Video Game Characters You Never Knew (And Definitely Knew) Were Paddys
There are surprisingly few Irish characters in games. In fact, #VideoGames themselves tend to avoid the island all together! Unless people are playing golf, and who the f*** buys those games? However, there are a few notable exceptions!
But you should know that while there are a ton of characters who claim to have "Irish heritage" in games, we're going to leave them out until their papers come in. These are the real thing.
M. Bison (Street Fighter Series)
Capcom did a decent job of concealing the nationality of the series's most prolific antagonist. The man doesn't even attempt a jig! And that's really saying something coming from the people behind Dee Jay and every fighting stage in Street Fighter II. But, believe it or not, this muscled giant descends from my homeland. He was apparently abandoned by his Irish missionary parents in Thailand. Alright Capcom...
Patrick Mcreary ('Grand Theft Auto IV')
On the opposite end of the scale sits a literal fighting Irishman. Trust Rockstar to go straight for the stereotype-jugular. Packie (as he's lovingly referred to) is actually one of the more memorable characters in this impressive GTA installment. He's part of the McReary crime family, a damn fine gunsman and even an employable heist member in GTA V! Nice one.
Frank Bilders ('Far Cry 2)
I'm going to cut Frank here some slack and include him on the list despite his hailing from the British-owned North—it's all the one island, friends. A smidgen of a stereotype, Bilders, Fermanagh born, grew up in an IRA family smuggling arms through the Republic of Ireland. Maybe a bit more than smidgen, huh? He likes breaking kneecaps and shooting people. Sound fellow.
Irish ('Red Dead Redemption')
I was wrong about Patrick being a stereotype. Irish is a stereotype. Named after the whole bloody island, he fights, is a dysfunctional alcoholic and tells a load of tales that go nowhere. He's also a coward. Thanks Rockstar.
Though Atlas isn't actually, well, Irish, for the time that he actually is, he's pretty amazing! He's so well written, utters the game's signature slogan, "Now, would you kindly?" and has a pretty damn good Dublin accent! In fact, when Irrational Games tested BioShock originally, people didn't like the original voice for Atlas. So it was eventually changed to make him Irish! A damn fine change if you ask me... we're so claiming this guy by the way.
Sean Devlin ('The Saboteur')
A fiercely underrated game, The Saboteur stars the strangely compelling Sean, a flat cap-wearing Irish-to-the-chore patriot. The man singlehandedly leads the resistance of Nazi-occupied France, and he's not even from there! What a badass.
Nina Williams (Tekken Series)
My relationship with Nina is simply this: I laughed my ass off at the sounds she made when she died in Tekken 2 on the PS1. Now that I know she's Irish, I wish I'd paid more attention to her other attributes, like her hilarious laugh when she wins:
What a woman.
(Dis)Honorable Mention - Aiden Pearce ('Watch_Dogs')
The one video game character I'd like to punch above all others, Aiden Pearce claims Irish heritage. His general lack of personality and aggressive banality is an affront on the Irish people. He's as bland as the game he leads. Harsh, but you know he deserves it. Dick.
So there you have it, people! Some decent (and lazy) Irish video game characters to go well with your drunken stupor of an evening. With any luck the alcohol will make you forget the whole thing. So, as we say in Ireland, "Go n-éirí an bóthar leat." I wish I could hear you all pronounce that. Enjoy your Paddy's Day, gaming friends!
Any other Irish characters you like in games?