All Age Gaming’s 12 Most Popular Video Game Characters

The years keep coming and the memorable characters come with them. Well, sometimes. It’s safe to say that this generation of gaming is giving us some great games, but not so many great characters, just a lot of ‘those guys’ from ‘those games’. Sure, you get some original ones like Alex Mercer and Eddie Riggs, but surely they won’t last long in the history books. Not when there are the Master Chiefs and Mario’s of the gaming world. All Age Gaming takes a look back through history and brings you what we think are the 12 most famous video game characters.

12. Solid Snake
Snake is not just the name of a hilarious Simpson’s character; it’s also the name of one of the hardest game characters ever. But you knew that right, or else he wouldn’t have been in this list? Anyway, the star of the always great Metal Gear series and victim of endless cameos, Solid Snake is eases us into the list with his trademark stealth, hand-to-hand combat and firearm abilities. A movie is in the works, and next year will see the release of the first Metal Gear Solid game on an Xbox console with Metal Gear Solid: Rising. Solid Snake only just made the list, but will no doubt remain deep in our gaming hearts forever for bringing us such gaming marvels.
Debut: Metal Gear (1987)
Most Recent: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)

11. The Prince
A nameless hero and star of a bucket load of games since the late 80’s with his arcade debut, the Prince of Persia was the benchmark for all acrobatic masters such as Nate Drake and Lara Croft to name but two. He will forever been known best for his great 2000’s trilogy which has since not been matched in pure acrobatic adrenalin. The Prince will surely go on to continue staring in great games that hopefully will be truer than the hopeful Prince of Persia released late last year.
Debut: Prince of Persia (1989)
Most Recent: Prince of Persia (2008)

10. Agent 47
Ah yes, the famed Agent 47. Arguably the greatest assassin ever seen in a game. Ever. Agent 47 is the protagonist of the Hitman series and is best known for his perfectly bald head and barcode tattoo, which is located on the back of his neck. The Hitman games are known for their amazingly extensive ways to complete a level and high level of stealth taking the form of character manipulation and disguises, and even though the games are always filled with more glitches than smooth surfaces, the series has a phenomenal cult following and it is unknown when next we will get to step into the shoes of Agent 47 again. Agent 47 was also the main character of the 2007 Hitman movie and its planned sequel.
Debut: Hitman: Codename 47 (2000)
Most Recent: Hitman: Blood Money (2006)

9. Master Chief
In the past 10 years, John 117, aka Master Chief has become one of the most popular and beloved gaming characters of all time. If the series continues, he will surely rise to the top two or three in any future lists of this sort, as in the short time he’s been around, he has been the star of three hit games, countless books, a graphic novel, a new anime series, and in the next few years, at least one feature length Hollywood movie. Most loved for his unique and intimidation look, mixed with his deep sense of mystery and quiet personality, Master Chief will forever be known as the man who made Halo great.
Debut: Halo (2001)
Most Recent: Halo 3 (2007)

8. Zelda
Although you never actually play as Zelda in any of the Zelda games, its no secret that she is much more famous than the main playable character, Link. In many of the Zelda games, you don’t actually hear Links name mentioned. And to date, Zelda has had appearances in every Zelda game but the Gameboy classic Links Awakening. She is a member of the Hyrule royal family and the games quests usually always revolve around your playable character having to save the damsel in distress from the hands of evil forces. The Legend of Zelda games are one of Nintendo’s benchmark games and some of the most revolutionary games ever created, especially The Ocarina of Time, which was the first 3D game ever to have a lock-on feature. Zelda’s name will always have a place in the hearts of anyone who has ever owned a Nintendo (which is pretty much everyone, right?).
Debut: The Legend of Zelda (1986)
Most Recent: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (2007)

7. Gordon Freeman
There is something about Gordon Freeman that you just can’t put your finger on, but you know it makes you idolise him. Is it his completely silent style and hardcore presence in any and all situations? Or his uncanny intelligence and ace shooting? Whatever it is, it makes him more man that most. The main protagonist of the famous and revolutionary Half-Life games, Gordon is known for his silence, hazmat suit, glasses and of course, the series trademark; his crowbar. The games are considered to be some of the greatest shooters of all time, and Gordon is always up for a fight, no matter who the enemy is. We are always up for some Half-Life action, and like every other true shooting game fan out there, waiting very patiently for the next instalment of the great series. Announcement please.
Debut: Half-Life (1998)
Most Recent: Half-Life 2 (2004)/Orange Box (2007)

6. Lara Croft
Lara Croft. Just her name makes men’s heads everywhere turn, and some may say that she is known for all the wrong reasons. Famed for being a over-proportioned and sultry heroine of the Tomb Raider series, Lara sure is one gal with just as much brain and brawn as looks, as she is the to this day the most mesmerizingly energetic acrobat, as she scales mountains and explores the deepest and trap riddled tombs around. The Tomb Raider movies were perfect fit-ins for the game and covered every aspect that the game was known for perfectly. Her games may be lacking these days whenever a new one is thrown at us, but the classic few Tomb Raider games will always be some great, very genre-defining games.
Debut: Tomb Raider (1996)
Most Recent: Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008)

5. Duke Nukem
Since the early 90’s, there hasn’t been a more downright awesome character as Duke. Originally an angry TV viewer (angry cause his shows were being interrupted), and later turned into the now famous bulky, wise-cracking, hard-hitting vigilante machine he now is. Since before I could even understand the things Duke Nukem was really about (which really shouldn’t be for kids, mind you) I idolised him more than anything, but didn’t know why. Since 1997, Duke Nukem Forever has been in development hell, and only just recently officially cancelled, and now the best way to experience the Duke is to get your hands on a downloadable copy of the great Duke Nukem 3D from Xbox LIVE. Always a fan of sticking’ it to the man and getting the babes, Duke really knows to let Earth invading, women-enslaving aliens have it, and is always sure to complete every fight with a street-smart, and usually very offensive comment, and that’s just why he was always destined to be famous, not to mention a fan favourite. Duke Nukem forever. Really.
Debut: Duke Nukem (1991)
Most Recent: Duke Nukem Advance (2002)

4. Sonic The Hedgehog
Sonic is known for his trademark speed and ring collecting escapades, and having some of the first speed orientated gaming. All the levels in a traditional Sonic game are made to be completed at very fast speeds, apart from a puzzle or two here and there. Sonic is the most well known Sega character ever without a doubt, and still has enough fans to support a steady stream of less-than-great games that keep getting spat out on the last few generations of consoles, bar a few original titles that take the series in a different direction, usually with a big of action and exploration traits and a bit less of the high speed foolery. Sonic has a tough and loyal entourage and most Sonic games let you play as a few of these guys and gals. The lovable hedgehog (that’s right, Sonic is a little blue hedgehog, and as much sense as that doesn’t make, it certainly doesn’t stop him from being an awesome character), was also good enough to get himself a pretty popular and successful TV series and cameos in more Sega and Nintendo titles than every character but our number 1.
Debut: Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Most Recent: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (2009)

3. Donkey Kong
Here we have the most famous gaming character that’s an animal, coming just in front of the blue blur. We all know Donkey Kong, and we all love him. Since way back in the early 80’s, DK has earned and deserves every gamers respect as a fun-loving and don’t-mess-with-me monkey. And despite first being seen as Mario’s arch barrel-rolling enemy, DK is now one of the good guys and has been so in over 20 of his own games and is another hapless victim of the cameo game, where he has appeared in countless Mario and Nintendo games. Not only is he known for his great games, but Donkey Kong also had his own 3D animated TV show (seems pretty common for Sega and Nintendo characters doesn’t it?). Long live the king of the jungle, and this time, it’s our good gorilla friend Donkey Kong.
Debut: Donkey Kong (1981)
Most Recent: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (2009)

2. Mario
Any game character list, from Most Popular to Most Annoying usually includes this little Italian man. We all love him for his games, but his bad accent and high-pitched ‘Yippeeeeee!’ sounds can curse your very soul. That fact aside, Mario is the most prolific game character of all time, starting in well over 200 games, which instantly puts him high on the list. But add in his genre defining originals and revolutionary 3D games, as well as one of the most enjoyable racers ever and a fan-friendly movie with a great cast and a TV series to top it all, Mario towers over all other characters. Well, almost all others, being beaten only by just one on our list. Mario will never die and his games never seem to get old and boring, with each being more and more enjoyable and still ever so fresh. Keep it up Mario!
Debut: Donkey Kong (1981)
Most Recent: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (2009)

1. Pac-Man
Pac-Man is not only the most famous character ever, but the most famous game ever besides of course the original Pong, mainly because it took the world by storm with its addictive and fast paced gameplay and genre creation credibility. Pac-man really doesn’t need any explanation, and his reputation precedes him out of the gaming world, with 94% of American consumers being able to recognize him, which is more than any other brand, including Coca-Cola and Ford. Pac-Man has starred in over 30 licensed games and spin-offs not to mention to countless rip-offs and third party remakes, and in the early 80’s was also the star of his own popular animated TV show, despite being a very awkward character. One thing that sure, is that Pac-Man is the most popular character in video game history and will remain that way for a long time, if not forever.
Debut: Pac-Man (1980)
Most Recent: Pac-Man championship edition (2007)

There you have it. Think we missed someone or just want to share your opinion? Then feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.

Article Written By John Elliott

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