Video games now play an integral part of a person’s lifestyle. Video games are no longer reserved for kids or the young at heart but are now a mainstream form of entertainment for people of all ages. And especially now that video games are no longer confined to high end gaming consoles but are now also found on highly portable devices such as laptops, tablets and even mobile phones and multimedia players.
Moreover, game titles nowadays cater to a more flexible fan base. Aside from the classic game genres that include adventure, racing and puzzle, there are now first person shooter games, role playing games, survival horror, simulation and strategy games. Graphics have also improved immensely throughout the years as newer and more powerful hardware are now available to ordinary people.
But apart from the excellent graphics and great storylines, a major factor that make up a good game are the characters where the story of the entire game is centered. Throughout the history of computer games, there have been numerous characters that have made a name for themselves as iconic symbols of a generation or as admired characters with almost celebrity-like statuses.
In today’s edition of You! Be Inspired! we are going to take a look at (in no particular order) 15 of the most successful, most popular and most recognized video game characters that have graced our computers, handheld gaming consoles or other gaming devices one might have played in the past.
Gordon Freeman is the main protagonist in the highly successful first person shooter game – Half life. In the game, he works as a theoretical physicist at the fictional Black Mesa Research Facility, a research laboratory involved in various hi-tech experiments, one of which lead to the accidental creation of an inter-dimensional portal that released a legion of hostile aliens into the facility. As Gordon, the player fights through the facility alongside other employees against aliens and a black-op military unit sent to contain the situation and eliminate any witnesses.
PRINCE OF PERSIA
Prince of Persia is a video game franchise first released on October 3, 1989 and was created by Jordan Mechner. It was originally made as a two-dimensional platform game, but was later improved and recreated as a series of 3D games which were developed and published by several different companies. Because of this, the entire franchise has undergone several reworkings and a number of different stories are told throughout the different games, but the theme remains relatively the same. That is the game is set in ancient Persia and features a prince with amazing acrobatic skills which he uses to save the main plot element.
Tekken which means Iron Fist in Japanese is a fighting game franchise developed and created by Namco in 1994. As a fighting game it features a myriad of characters from mixed martial arts experts, a weird looking samurai and even a giant panda. But the franchise’s most popular character would probably be Jin Kazama. Jin was designed by Aye Takamura and voiced by Isshin Chiba.
RYU OF STREET FIGHTER
Ryu is the main protagonist in the Street Fighter franchise. He was created by Manabu Takemura and has been voiced by more than a dozen different people both in its English and Japanese versions. Ryu’s first appearance was on the first street fighter game which was released in 1987. Aside from video games, the Street Fighter franchise have also allowed Ryu to and the rest of the characters of the game to be known in other forms of media such as in movies, animation and manga.
Donkey Kong is one of the gaming industry’s classic characters. Being one of the pioneers in the business, Donkey Kong first appeared in the 1981 video game of the same name. He was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and has been voiced by Koichi Yamadara and Takashi Nagasako. Donkey Kong has also appeared in various Nintendo games, mostly in Mario franchises like Mario Kart and the Super Smash Bros. series.
Leon Kennedy is one of the most notable characters in Capcom’s Resident Evil game series. His first appearance was in Resident Evil 2 as a police office in Raccoon City. Leon’s creators, Hideki Kamiya and Noboru Sugimura originally envisioned him as a senior police officer but were later changed when the original plot for Resident Evil 2 was scrapped. Leon’s design was inspired by the bloodhound of Isao Ohishi in Resident Evil 2 but was later modeled in Resident Evil 4 after Christian Deurre, the game’s animation department director.
Dante is the mercenary and demon hunter protagonist of Capcom’s Devil May Cry video game series. He was designed by Hideki Kamiya as a half demon who is tasked to exterminate demons and other malevolent supernatural foes as he tries to pursue the demons that killed his mother and corrupted his brother.
Pacman is the main protagonist of the Pacman game franchise which was created by Toru Iwatani for Namco in the 1980s. According to its creator, Pacman’s design came from the simplification and the rounding out of the Japanese character for a mouth – kuchi, while its name was based on the Japanese folklore character Paku who was known for his appetite. In the original arcade game, Pacman was represented as a 2D yellow circle with a large mouth. In today’s version, Pacman is seen as a full-three dimensional character with hands and feet.
Another very popular game character in gaming history is Mega Man. Mega Man otherwise known as Rock Man is the main character in Capcom’s series of video games of the same name. The Mega Man franchise is one of Capcom’s most successful game series with over fifty releases throughout its production. The character of Mega Man was created by Akira Kitamura, Tokuro Fujiwara and Keijii Inafune and was first released on December 1987.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
Sonic the Hedgehog is the pride and glory of the Japanese game developer Sega. His first appearance was in his self-titled game on June 1991. According to most history books, his creation was primarily Sega’s response to Nintendo’s flagship character Mario way back in 1991 when Sega needed a mascot to rival Nintendo’s Italian plumber. Since then, this blue hedgehog designed by Yuji Naka has appeared as a playable character in numerous game titles and has achieved celebrity status and become one of the most well-known video game characters in history.
LINK OF THE LEGEND OF ZELDA
Another super popular game character is Link from the Legend of Zelda. He is usually depicted as a young boy from the Hylian race who combats creatures and evil forces in the game to save Princess Zelda and her Kingdom from the primary villain of the game – Ganon. Link first appeared in the game Legend of Zelda in 1986 and was created by Shigeru Miyamoto.
Samus Aran is another product of Nintendo and is the main fictional character of the Metroid game series. He was first introduced in 1986 and is depicted as a large man fitted by a powered armor suit equipped with weapons like beams and missiles. In the series, she executes mission given by the Galactic Federation while hunting Space Pirates and Metroids.
Cloud Strife was created by Tetsuya Nomura for the Final Fantasy VII game and several of its sequels and spin-offs. He is characterized by having a spikey blond hair, striking blue eyes, dark clothing and wielding a massive sword. Cloud Strife was created by Tetsuya Nomura in 1997 and voiced by Takihiro Sakurai, Kenyu Horiuchi and Nozomu Sasaki in various game titles.
Lara Croft is another Square Enix’s creation and plays the primary character in the Tomb Raider game series. She was created by Core design, a defunct game developer back in 1996. She is usually depicted as an intelligent, beautiful and athletic English adventurer who ventures into ancient temples and ruins in search of treasures and valuable artifacts.
Mario is the Italian-American plumber of Nintendo’s Mario video game franchise. This character was created by Shigeru Miyamoto in 1981. Mario has appeared in over 200 video games since his creation and has been considered as one of the most popular and iconic video game character in history. In terms of design, Mario is usually depicted as a short Italian plumber who resides in the Mushroom Kingdom where the turtle-like villain Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach in order to take over the kingdom. Aside from the classic adventure game, Mario has appeared in several game genres including racing, puzzle, party, role-playing, fighting and sports.
Solid Snake (Metal Gear) – Source
So there you have it. Which video game character is your favorite? Do tell us by leaving a comment below.