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 411mania » Games » Columns

The 8 Ball 10.02.12: Top 40 Iconic Game Characters - #24 - 17
Posted by David McGregor on 10.02.2012

Welcome to the 8 Ball for the games section of 411, I am your host David McGregor and right now I am addicted to Sherlock. The BBC TV series not the book, I am ever so common like that.

To recap we are counting down the 40 most iconic video game characters as I bow out from my time here at 411. I've only been here a year so not too big of a deal, but thought I would go out with a bang and not a meaningless column.

This week we go from #24 to 17, and without wasting anymore time we shall begin.

24th Mike Tyson

This one went in and out constantly, at first I didn't really think that Tyson was deserving of a spot on the list. But the more I think of it he is engrained in many gamers minds from his appearance in Punch Out as one of the toughest and most traumatic bosses of all time! Also Tyson has been the face of many games that have gone on to be massive successes, which is to be expected, as Tyson was the biggest thing in sports for many years.

Even nowadays Mike Tyson is showing up in the gaming world, he is plastered all over the promotion for the latest WWE game WWE 13. I said last week that Tony Hawk has the biggest impact of any outside celebrity on gaming, and I stand by that, but I think that more people will remember Tyson. I know that may seem contradictory to what I said last week, but Tony Hawk may have been the name but towards the end he wasn't the face. Tyson was always front and centre when he was in a game and more people will remember him for that.

23rd Duke Nukem

I really like Duke Nukem, he was one of the first adult games I ever played as a child and it was amazing! Most of what he said went right over my head but as a child whatever he said was cool. Do people even say cool anymore? Am I 21 and already out of the loop? Anyway, at the time Duke Nukem was what I would describe as the epitome of cool, he was an ass-kicking brute that didn't give a flying focus what he said. By the way if anyone gets what the flying focus reference is from I will personally dedicate a column to you, which isn't a great prize I know.

Back to Duke, there isn't much more to be said about the character. He was action hero turned up to 11, and I adored him for it. The games were great fun and the character was endearing in a way quite unique compared to most gaming characters at the time.

22nd Dante (Devil May Cry Series)

If Duke Nukem was our hero of the 90's then Dante was definitely the hero of the early 00's. The Devil May Cry series was one of my absolutely favourites when it was released, and at the epicentre of it all was this half demonic half human character that was just brilliant. I loved the twist of having Dante be part devil, it not only created a interesting twist to the game but also formed a distinctive character that people could get behind. Hell, it worked for Blade to be part Vampire so why the hell couldn't it work for Dante? It did work and worked damn well.

The Devil May Cry series was one of those instant hits for me, and the rest of the gaming world. It is no surprise that the guys at Capcom developed this. This actually started off life as Resident Evil sequel yet diverted so far off track that it became its own gaming series. And thank god they did because Dante was a character that deserved his own franchise and not dominated by the Resident Evil series. One of those iconic creations that I loved from the get go, even after the abysmal second instalment.

21st Agent 47 (Hitman Series)

Now how can a silent hit man be in anyway iconic? Just ask the guys who created the Hitman series and its fantastic leading man Agent 47. There is something utterly mysterious and compelling about the character that really diverts from the norm, especially when he kills people for a living. The baldhead and the immaculate suit have become one of those signature looks for one of the most interesting characters created for gaming.

I can remember how shocked I was that this guy was going around mercilessly killing people, which is weird when I have been brought up on the very same thing. It is just a fantastic concept for a game and the character is just remarkable, he is cold, silent and deadly. Oh and completely captivating in every way.

20th Ness (Earthbound Series)

This is another one of those ones that I embarrassingly have to admit; I haven't ever played an Earthbound game. Do you see why I was much more suited to doing a column over on the wrestling section? I am surprised Adam hasn't fired my ass before now. But it is reassuring when you are on your way out to know you that you can be honest with anyone that reads. I am not a massive gamer, I haven't played any Japanese games or indie darling games. I have bluffed my way through one or two entries these past 8 or so months. But it never stopped them being valid entries, just like Ness is a valid entry in this one.

The Earthbound series is massive in Japan and the character has gained a strong cult following in the west. That kind of devotion doesn't come from a generic pointless character, it comes from a strong and intriguing character that people can relate to. And a little boy in a stripe t-shirt and baseball cap doesn't get more relatable, just so happens this one is telekinetic (or something along those lines). Ness is so iconic that he got a spot on the Super Smash Bros roster, something you don't get for sitting on your arse. So I may be hideously under qualified for this position but even I know that Ness is kind of a big deal.

19th Kratos (God of War Series)

Greek mythology never looked so cool and interesting. Ok maybe Disney's Hercules, that was a great film. But in the gaming world we never really had the cool retelling of the Greek myths and legends, and there is plenty there to sink our teeth into. It actually surprises me that a game on Greek mythology wasn't this popular before now. Sure there have been attempts at bringing Greek elements over to gaming but it never worked on the level that God of War did.

Kratos is definitely a massive influence on that success; he is one of the most uniquely styled characters I have ever seen. Sure at the end of the day he is the same huge action hero, but design wise he is completely brilliant and enthralling. There is nothing quite like playing through an action packed game with a character that is cool, it makes the whole experience more entertaining. James Bond for example is the epitome of coolness, and has been in some stinkers yet I would still happily play through them because I was bond. And that's the way I feel about Kratos, only his games are fantastic and the bosses are humongous and awe-inspiring to play through.

18th Master Chief (Halo Series)

This may piss some people off. I think a lot of people would have put Master Chief loads way higher on this list, as some are hopelessly devoted to this game. But I am not and just don't think the character is all that great, in fact he is very generic. This could be any suit in the entire world. But I can't deny that the series and the character haven't had an impact on the gaming world, in fact they have had a massive one. Halo is the saviour of the Xbox and Master Chief is its poster boy, basically screaming, "I told you so" to every other manufacturer in the gaming world.

It is pretty self evident that when the history of the Xbox is written that Master Chief will be plastered all over the front cover. The character defines the company as a successful gaming company, more than any other game in its history Halo made the biggest impact. And for Xbox lovers, Master Chief is legendary.

17th Crash Bandicoot

I love Crash Bandicoot. Simple and to the point he is my ultimate favourite gaming mascot of all time. There was just a wonderful craziness with the character that was so 90's that it was as if it was just meant to be, like destined in the sands of time. The games were also brilliant; the first couple of games were true classics on the PlayStation. One of the reasons why Sony were so successful with their gaming ventures was because of those first couple of Crash games, he was instantly likeable to the demographic that mattered. Once you get that market targeted and interested you are set for life, if you make sure to keep them interested. And that was a big if.

That was something that Crash never lived up to. While he was white-hot in the 90's after Naughty Dog left so did the soul and interest in the series. Had Crash kept it going he would absolutely be in the Top 5 iconic characters of all time, but sadly he was wasted and everything that was great in the first few games is gone. If only Naughty Dog had kept the license and kept producing great games, Sony could have created the next Mario.

The Comments Section

If Tony Hawk is getting listed then so should John Madden.

Posted By: Guest#5571 (Registered) on September 25, 2012 at 03:24 PM

I don't know if you have read before but being British means that I am in no way shape, form or fashion interested in the Madden series. We just don't think it is a big deal. So regrettably he will not be in the list.

"There is no other celebrity who has had a bigger impact on gaming"
tom clancy would like to have a word with you
Posted By: Guest#9509 (Guest) on September 25, 2012 at 04:03 PM

He can have any words he likes with me it will never make his impact on gaming any greater. Plus I don't really consider Tom Clancy to be a celebrity in that sense. Had an impact sure but Tony Hawk games were massive worldwide, Clancy games didn't really have the staying and selling power that Hawk had for a while.

It's criminal to own a PS3 and not have played an Uncharted game. I hated the third one, but the first two are all time classics.
Sands of Time was a great game but I didn't feel like the Prince had much personality.
I'm a week late on this one, but calling Scorpion a "yellow Sub-Zero is blasphemy. When he threw his spear and yelled "get over here!" that was iconic. When he pulled off his mask to reveal a skull and incinerated his enemy with one puff, that was totally badass. He is infinitely better than Sub-Zero and his twenty different incarnations.
Mario is clearly most iconic but I'm firmly in the camp that Mario games peeked in the NES era and have LONG been surpassed.
If Mike Tyson isn't on this list the whole thing is bogus.
Posted By: Jason Douglas (Registered) on September 25, 2012 at 09:57 PM

I always do look forward to your comments, even if you don't agree with what I say.
Firstly, to be honest I have diverted away from gaming for some time and that's why Uncharted never got my attention. Now I only really play big releases like GTA whenever Rockstar move their arse and get the game out.

Secondly, I may have given the character more precedence because of the game. But he does have a certain something that has stayed this long now.
I have always been in the camp that Sub Zero was better than Scorpion. It does seem to be a personal taste; you either prefer one to the other. I've always thought that ice power characters were always must more entertaining and "cool".
Tyson is only on this list because you reminded me of him, initially I had completely forgot about him.

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