As many fans and gamers are aware of, the video gaming industry has changed drastically throughout the years, introducing millions to worlds of all shapes and sizes, as well as a variety of characters that have won over the hearts of many. In fact, many of these characters have become so near and dear to the hearts of so many individuals that you will see thousands of people dressing up in cosplay every year, trying to recreate the characters that they idolize and cherish. Although that it can be difficult to choose, we have come to you today to count down what we believe are the top twenty video games heroes of all time, and that continue to stand the test of time as the industry continues to adapt and change drastically. With all of that said and done, let’s get down to our count down to reveal the greatest video game heroes of all time.
Topping our list is the one and only Mario from Super Mario Brothers and the Mario franchise that has been in the gaming universe for decades. The Mario Brothers were first introduced to us way back in 1985, when they made their debut via an arcade game, and have become a household pair for Nintendo that has become increasingly popular both nationally and internationally as the decades have gone by. Mario has even spanned other gaming universes throughout the years, as well as getting his own movie projects, television series, and even a theme park to top it all off. There is honestly no talking about the video gaming universe without thinking about Mario, Luigi, and all of the other characters that have blessed us through the Mario franchise.
Also known as the ‘Ghost of Sparta’, Kratos is one of the main characters that can be found on the God of War game franchise. First being introduced to us in 2005 with the release of the game, the character is loosely based on Greek and Norse mythology, as well as other characteristics of the game in general. There are many different aspects of this gaming franchise, and when gamers enter the Greek era, they center around Kratos, and his ability to divert disasters that may strike, while also attempting to change his fate at the end of the game as well. Often more than not, Kratos is extremely violent, doing whatever it takes to get the task completed.
If you are a true fan of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise, you will be ultimately familiar with the character of Boba Fett. The character is a bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe, and is revealed to actually be a clone of bounty hunter Jango Fett, and was raised as his son. Boba was released as a bounty hunter under the command of Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt, and makes appearances in the franchise films and games of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ as well as ‘Return of the Jedi’. On a side note, it is in the talks that Boba Fett may be getting his own film based on his backstory with all of the recent reboot films that have been released in recent years, though not many details have been announced as of yet.
Sonic The Hedgehog
The character of Sonic the Hedgehog was first introduced to gamers everywhere in 1991 in the franchise of games under the same name. As the protagonist of the game, Sonic is always attempting to stop the likes of his arch rival, Doctor Eggman, along with his friends that are featured in the games as well. Sonic the Hedgehog, similarly to Mario, has gained major success throughout the decades, and has been featured in other gaming universes, as well as getting his own film and television series, and even a comic strip as well. Sonic the Hedgehog has won the hearts of many over the years, and continues to do so to this day.
Legend of Zelda is yet again one of the games on this list that has become increasingly popular over the many decades. The protagonist of the game, Link, makes his way through the game to save the character of Princess Zelda from the villain of the game, Ganon, along with other magical and mythical creatures that pop up here and there. The teenage main character also works throughout the game to acquire the Master Sword, in order to help him defeat the likes of the creatures and other things that get in his way to his ultimate goal. Once again, Link is another gaming character who has had crossover projects in the gaming universe, as well as getting his own television series and a comic.
We might get some arguments here, as Yoshi isn’t exactly considered a hero in the gaming world. However, Yoshi is one of the most iconic and well known video gaming characters of all time to say the least. We first met the likes of the fun loving and mischief causing dinosaur when he debuted on Super Mario World in 1990. Yoshi has many different charactersitics to his personality that make him stand out from the rest of the characters that we meet in the Super Mario franchise, the most prominent being his tongue, which is able to stretch to great lengths to reach and swallow eggs and other items in the game. He has also made many different appearances in other games and entertainment projects as well. In the end, you just can’t picture a video gaming universe without the likes of Yoshi, right?
Halo is a game that has made a lasting impact in the gaming universe for many years now, and one of its most prominent characters throughout the franchise is that of the Arbiter. The Arbiter is considered a rank that is given to disgraced commanders because of their many failures, who were once a part of the Covenant Elites. However, once the Arbiter discovers that the Prophet’s plan would cause all sentient life in the galaxy to utter extinction, the Arbiter character, which is playable by gamers, allies with the enemy lines to keep the Halo from being activated. The Arbiter itself is featured in many of the franchise games that have been released, and made its first debut for gamers in Halo 2 which was released in 2004.
Known as the younger, and taller, brother of Mario, Luigi has made a lasting effect on fans of the Mario franchise games as well as his sibling. Side note — In case you didn’t know already — Luigi and Mario are actually supposed to be fraternal twins. Luigi made his debut in the gaming universe at the same time of his brother, Mario, and the pair has been together ever since. Luigi is often distinguished by his green attire (unlike the red of Mario), and has made such a lasting impact on the gaming universe as a whole; In fact, from March of 2013 to March of 2014, the ‘Year of Luigi’ was celebrated in order to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the character making its debut into the gaming world. Needless to say, we just can’t picture Super Mario Brothers, or any other games in the franchise without the duo together.
Another character from the Halo franchise, Master Chief is the protagonist character that is the center of the entire series itself. The character of Master Chief himself is a biochemically enhanced and cyber enhanced super soldier character, and is always seen in his green armor and helmet, which is his distinct look. Although the character has become an icon as the years have gone by, Master Chief has also gotten some negative reviews saying that the man behind his helmet is a sign of weakness as a character and as a weapon throughout the game. However, aside from those negative vibes, the character has made a lasting impact with fans and gamers all across the globe.
Ezio Auditore da Firenze
Another popular game that has taken the video game universe by storm is that of Assassin’s Creed, and one character that is ever prevalent is that of Ezio Auditore da Firenze. The character is personified as an assassin in the game (hence, the name) during the Italian Renaissance era that the game centers around. The character himself made his debut appearance in Assassin’s Creed II, where we see him as a younger version of what we know, and where we also learn more of a backstory on who he is and his past. Ezio Auditore has also made a number of appearances in other games of the franchise, as well as a film that was recently released of the same title as the game.
Lara Croft, who we all know from the Tomb Raider franchise, is one of our only female video game characters to make the list. First introduced in 1996, Lara Croft is a tough as bones young woman who is an athletic and intelligent archaeologist who makes her way around the world, investigating many different tombs and other ruins to ultimately save the world. The character of Lara Croft has become so popular over the years that she has gained success not just in the gaming world, but also in the entertainment industry with short films, feature films (which many know starred the talented Angelina Jolie), spin offs of the games, and other outlets as well. In fact, a new reboot of the original Tomb Raider film is soon to be released into theaters this spring, starring Alicia Vikander. We are sure that this reboot is only going to make the video game franchise, and the character of Lara Croft alone, all the more popular with fans and gamers across the globe.
First introduced to us in 1992, Kirby took the world by storm with his own gaming series of the same title. The character of Kirby may seem innocent and cuddly cute at first by looks alone, but his sheer power to copy the other powers and skills exuding from his enemies makes him a force to be reckoned with in the game. Along with his ability to suck in his enemies and other creatures in order to absorb their powers for himself, he can also float and carry himself in the air by making his body larger. The Kirby series, as we said before, has made a terrific impact internationally, and has led to many spinoff games and guest appearances, and even a comic as well.
Crash Bandicoot is yet another game series that has had a great impact for fans and gamers throughout the years, centering around the life of a bandicoot, named Crash, who lives on the Wumpa Islands near the southern portion of Australia. The game focuses on Crash trying to evade the likes of his enemy, Doctor Neo Cortex, who had created Crash before, and now wants to see him dead. We first met Crash Bandicoot in 1996, and the game has subsequently upgraded to multiplatform status. Crash Bandicoot has also found himself in a comic and even a web based short series for fans to enjoy.
As a character that has hit number one status on other gaming lists in the past (in terms of character ranking among fans and gamers), it is clear that the character of Solid Snake from the Metal Gear games is a hero for the generations. As the protagonist of the Metal Gear game, Solid Snake is personified as a special skills operations soldier who’s sole mission is to destroy the models created of the bipedal nuclear weapon armed robots and machines that are also known as the Metal Gear. He completes these tasks and mission both in sole stealth mode as well as espionage missions throughout the game. We were first introduced to the game and the character of Solid Snake back in 1987, and he has also made appearances in other games as the years have gone on.
You may not recognize the name of this character at first glance, but we know for sure that you will recognize the look of the character that is so familiar from Street Fighter. The muscular, martial artist character from the famed game is known by name as Ryu, and he was also first introduced to us back in 1987, like other characters that we have seen on this list, via an arcade game machine. As the main protagonist of the game itself, we often see Ryu focused on his martial arts training, and his ability to smash cars and enemies like no man’s business, fighting his way through the levels. As the years have gone by, Ryu has made many other appearances in other game spinoffs and other gaming universes as well. The game was so popular that in 1994, a live action film of the same title was released, along with other animated movies soon after.
Shadow The Hedgehog
We can’t mention Sonic the Hedgehog on this list without also listing his counter part and arch rival throughout the franchise, Shadow the Hedgehog. First making his debut in 2001, the red and black hedgehog uses the ability of his self propelling shoes in order to get him ahead of the ranks of Sonic in many different forms. He is often depicted as the villain within the games (which is obvious just by his appearance alone), and even an antihero who suffers from a tragic and heartbreaking past. Throughout the years, he has continued to make appearances in many of the spin off games in the franchise, and even at one point had his own self titled game. Although the self titled game didn’t receive the warmest of reviews, the character is still prevalent in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise to this day.
Everyone knows and loves the giant monkey an/or ape like character that is Donkey Kong. The character was first debuted to the world back in 1981 via an arcade machine game, just like so many of the characters that we have seen today. This game also gave us the first look at the character that we would come to know as Mario himself, who hadn’t quite been introduced into his own game and franchise at that point in history. Another side note — Donkey Kong is actually considered the “pet” of Mario. The rise in popularity of the Donkey Kong games has led to many spinoff games and appearances over the years. The character has also been featured in television series, film, and even a documentary about the game itself.
We eluded to the character of Princess Zelda previously when talking about the character of Link, and she has made our list as she is the one of the main characters of her game. The character made her first debut 1986, and she is often depicted in earlier games as the damsel in distress. However, as the games have adapted and evolved over the years, Princess Zelda has found herself developing alter egos, becoming a more self sacrificing character to help save her people of her kingdom. The character has also been featured in other spinoff games as well as various guest appearances as well. The popularity of the game has also led to an animated television series, books, and comics as well.
As part of the Warcraft series, Arthas Menethil is one of the main fictional characters that players will meet. He was once the crowned prince of Lordaeron, but ended up becoming one of the most evil, sinister, and powerful in the history of Azeroth, ultimately leading him to becoming the most prominent of the antagonist in the Warcraft universe. His positive reviews from fans and audiences has also led to the character becoming a playable character in other games as well, and also continuing his presence in spinoff games of the Warcraft franchise.
There is no denying that almost everyone is familiar with Batman, and the role that he plays in the entertainment industry and in all of the facets that are centered around that. Although he was technically first introduced to the world in the many comic books published about his stories, Batman has also been featured in his slew of video games throughout the years. Not only that, but the character has also been the center of a multitude of feature films, television series (both animated and live action), books, and many other media forms that are out there for fans to see. It is clear that there is no stopping Batman, and the major effects that he has on fans, gamers, and people all across the world.
Of course, there are hundreds of video game characters that could have easily made this list as well, and that deserve the honorable mentions that they deserve. As video games continue to adapt, evolve, and become bigger and better than ever, we are introduced to more and more heroes that stand the test of time with fans old and young. These fans, in a way, devote their time and energy in their down time to these characters and their roles in the games that they are centered around, whether it be through just playing the game, or cosplay that inspires others as well. Whatever the case, it is clear that the impact these video game characters have on gamers and fans all across the globe is phenomenal, and is in no way stopping any time soon.
With all of that said and done, we have officially concluded our list of the top twenty video game heroes of all time in our eyes. Whether you agree with our list or not, it is clear that these many characters have made their way in the gaming universe for the last few decades, and continue to do so as time goes on. You can find out more about these characters, their stories, and the many games they are featured on both online and at any local stores that sell the timeless video games themselves.