Week 02: Favorite Game Character?
words by DrJohnGalt
A retro blog I follow (https://iheartoldgames.wordpress.com/) has posted the 52 Week Challenge. Are you ready?
This week’s question: Who Your Favorite Video Game Character?
Like the Week 1 Challenge, this question is easier asked than answered. There are so many different characters I’ve enjoyed playing over the years. Picking just one favorite is like picking a favorite a favorite song; so much depends on context. For the sake of my post, I’m picking only from playable antagonists around whom the game focuses. No NPCs, no minor characters. And no “unnamed” create-your-own characters like the Hero in Fable, or anybody I’ve played in favorite franchises like Elder Scrolls or Fallout.
So, who is my favorite?
Mario? Sonic? Link? Snake? BJ Blazkowicz? Agent 47? Master Chief? Lara Croft? Conker? Nathan Drake? Niko Bellic? John Marston? Trevor Philips? Geralt of Rivia? What about Aloy?
I like a lot of them, but none are my favorite. I decided to look to some my top games instead of going for the same easy answers I expect so many others to choose. I skipped over the NES champions and modern-day heroes completely and jumped right into the XBOX era.
The Stranger: The lead from one of my favorites, ‘Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath’ (originally released January 2005), introduces title character/cowboy/bounty hunter The Stranger. Nobody knows quite who The Stranger is. Is he a good guy? A bad guy? He reminded me of Joe Camel kitted up like Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. He’s not a talker (except a few one-liners and a “hooya” every few steps) and there’s not a lot of personal introspection in the game. We don’t have a lot of backstory and don’t get much character growth either in terms of story, stats, or gameplay. But over the course of our adventures I did form an odd bond with The Stranger, and by the big twist at the end he’d become one of my favorite characters. I’d always hoped to see The Stranger again in another Oddworld game, but alas, despite critical praise the game was a commercial failure.
Razputin Aquato: Next up is Double Fine’s ‘Psychonauts’ (originally released April 2005). Raz — created by Tim Schafer and voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz — starts his adventures in an odd summer camp for psychics. As we weave our way through puzzles and platforming action we unlock an interesting backstory and meet a whole host of colorful characters. (Side note: Agent Cruller just might be on my shortlist of favorite NPCs). It’s a great game in terms of both story and playability. Despite poor commercial sales on its original run, ‘Psychonauts’ has become a cult favorite and Raz has since made several appearances and cameos outside the franchise.
I’ll leave it here for now; I have a few other favorite characters (both playable and NPCs) that I may talk about in upcoming entries.
So who’s your favorite video game character? Let me know in the comments below!