games / Columns

The 8 Ball 09. 25.12: Top 40 Iconic Game Characters #32 – 25

September 25, 2012 | Posted by David McGregor

Hello and welcome to another edition of the 8 Ball, I am your host David McGregor and

Last week I started the countdown of the Top 40 Iconic Gaming Characters and seem to be going well so far. No one had any great issues with the list, yet. The only one people seemed to enjoy was Croc, who to be honest I had completely forgotten about even though I really enjoyed the games he was in. I don’t know if I would have put him on the list because he is sadly quite forgettable but I can understand why someone would remember him fondly.

Anyway, this week we are moving on down the list as we count down from number 31 to 24! Let’s begin.

32nd – Tony Hawk (Tony Hawk Pro Skater Series)

At the beginning of this one I never imagined that I would have anyone who was a real person depicted in a video game, it seemed cheap. But when I was compiling the list I realised that Tony Hawk wasn’t a celebrity depicted in a game he was a celebrity because of the game. I had no idea who the hell Tony Hawk was until the Pro Skater series was created, and I don’t think I was the only one who was scratching their head when Pro Skater was released. But as soon as the game took off he was one of the biggest sporting celebrities in the entire world, and that was all off the back of this game.

For a long time Hawk’s name was a huge commodity in the gaming community. Right now it doesn’t seem like Hawk will ever return to his peak, but regardless his impact on the genre is unparalleled. There is no other celebrity who has had a bigger impact on gaming, some have voiced characters brilliantly and others have leant their faces to promote the game but no one has had the kind of success Hawk has had.

31st – Nathan Drake (Uncharted)

I don’t think I have ever played a single game in the Uncharted series, even though I have had a PS3 for a number of years. It doesn’t really make sense as it has constantly been paraded as one of the great titles for the PS3, yet still I have never gotten round to playing through it. But even I know that Nathan Drake has become a modern day iconic character in gaming, even if I am a little unsure as to why that really is.

The Uncharted series came around at a time when we were saturated with awfully similar first person shooters, and it was all a bit boring after a while. And then this Indiana Jones style game came out and caught a lot of people’s attention. So much so that it almost saved the PS3 from being a total flop as the first year of the PS3’s release was a complete disaster, everyone was expecting the PS2 but Sony disappointed on every level. There were some great games in that first year but no real big exclusives that made the console a must buy. Nathan Drake changed all that by being the first true exclusive star of the PS3’s reign, and since then it has gone from strength to strength. The Uncharted series isn’t the only reason the PS3 survived but I am damn sure that Sony were mighty glad it took off in the way that it did, for their sakes.

30th – GLaDOS (Portal)

This is a new one on the block, but definitely a character that has had a tremendous impact on the gaming community. I will admit that the portal guns are what are most famous in the series, but GLaDOS makes the series for many others and me. The continuous one-liners and humour that comes from GLaDOS is what makes this game more than just a simply dull puzzle game. I have said before that I don’t really see what makes Portal that great as a game, but I cant deny that GLaDOS is one of the most entertaining and iconic characters of the last 10 years without a doubt.

This character is basically the difference between a great concept and a great game. Sure the idea of Portal is brilliant and very innovative, but it would have gotten old very quickly if there weren’t that character in the background bringing the entertainment factor to the game. GLaDOS is just a perfect example of bringing a concept to life and making it entertaining.

29th – Sephiroth (Final Fantasy)

The biggest problem with doing a large list like this is that you have to put character into it that I am not overly familiar with. And I am sure you are all aware now that I am not the biggest fan of Final Fantasy, I seem to say it at least once a fortnight on this article, but I am not an idiot and realise that there are characters from the series that deserve to be included on this list. Sephiroth is one of those characters, I don’t really know what makes him iconic first hand but I do know that he is a classic character in the Final Fantasy series.

I have experienced the character in the Kingdom Hearts series, which I think is fantastic, but obviously the character was massive long before that series was even thought up as a concept. There was others on the list from FF but I thought we may as well begin with a true great of the franchise, at least a I think he is great anyway.

28th – Prince of Persia

I can remember the first time I played through Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and thinking the game was unlike anything I had ever played before, it was one of those games in which you were just in absolute awe at. I had no clue the series was older than Sands of Time so I thought this was a completely new concept and character that was taking the entire gaming world by storm. But as many knew the Prince had a long history in the gaming world, and when you can reinvent your series so magnificently after such a long run you have to be doing something special.

The character and the series are now in gaming legend, and that mostly has to do with the Sands of Time game, as it was just so different to what we were all playing at the time. The Prince character has been an ever-changing one but an extremely important one in gaming history.

27th – Gordon Freeman (Half Life)

Seen as these are my last few weeks on this website for the foreseeable future I am just going to be completely honest with you guys, I have never played Half Life either. I know as a games writer I should be up to date with the great games but I just never bothered, in fact the only reason I have a PS3 and a Wii is because I am waiting of GTA V to be released. And the Wii is there for god knows what reason; I gave up doing Yoga on that bitch years ago!

Anyway Gordon Freeman was a big character that I couldn’t leave out without people threatening to kill my children. Also my friends seemed to think this was a big one to miss out as well, so under peer pressure I included it. But I will be straight and say that I don’t know why the hell he is here, I don’t even know enough about him to write a proper blurb. I do apologise.

26th – Marcus Fenix (Gears of War)

Gears of War was the true definition of making a name for yourself, even though the market is definitely saturated beyond belief. When GOW was released there was enough first person shooters to play a different one every day, and most of them were carbon copies that didn’t deserve the time of day. So what we needed wasn’t another one to add to the pile, but Microsoft definitely didn’t agree as they promoted GOW like it was the second coming. And like a sheep I ate it up, I wanted to see what the hell this was all about. Come Christmas Day when I got my copy I realised that the game was something different, it didn’t just add to the pile it did something different and special with the series. It made its mark.

Marcus Fenix was at the very heart of the game, a Duke Nukem lookalike that was a hit. He was the kind of hero of old, he was muscular and intimidating and most importantly he could kick arse! I will admit that Fenix isn’t the most original character but he is definitely one of the most memorable of the modern day.

25th – Bowser (Mario)

I love Bowser, I know you aren’t supposed to root for the bad guy but I always thought Mario was very arrogant and deserved to be taken down a peg or two by King Koopa. Bowser has just became the stereotype villain as he has been there for a lot of people growing up, he was the force we battled as children and then continued once puberty hit and even sustained the battle when alcohol and boobies (or muscles in my case) came onto the scene. We have all been battling Bowser for over 20 years and yet many others and I will never tire of doing so. He is one of the most likeable villains yet he is still one of the absolute greatest of all time.

It is very difficult to ever put a definitive answer on anything in gaming, things change so much and history can be altered due to nostalgia, but Bowser is absolutely on everyones list as a true great villain. I wanted to put him higher on the list, but there are just way too many icons in this community that Bowser doesn’t even get in the top 20. But at least he is the top of his own section, even if it is 24 places away from 1st. Bowser is just one of those constants that has been there throughout a lot of our childhoods and that has to be respected.

YouTube Video – Scottish Comedy at its Best!

Next week we see Duke Nukem, Kratos and a few others. Just 3 more weeks left of the column!


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David McGregor
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