Memorable characters are always at the core of the best video games. These characters, like those in literature or films, possess certain qualities that are powerfully endearing. They are sometimes memorable for their humor and being light-hearted, while others are remembered for more serious virtues such as fortitude and patience. Whatever the qualities, these characters pull us into their worlds; they make the video games they inhabit more fun to play. The following list consists of a mix of such characters, and each has become a legend that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Sonic The Hedgehog

How many countless hours did we all spend chasing those rings in Sonic the Hedgehog? When gamers think of“Sega”, they likely picture Sonic the Hedgehog. This super-speedster remains the best-selling character that Sega owns.

Pikachu

Nintendo’s Pokemon franchise was huge in the 1990’s. It sold millions of games, was made into a handful of different movies, and even had its own TV show. At the heart of the franchise was Pikachu, the reticent yet lovable pokemon character.

Sephiroth

Sephiroth was the main villain in Final Fantasy VII, which is arguably the greatest RPG of all time. Sephiroth was originally a hero with uncanny abilities, but when he found out the truth behind his origins, he went mad and sought to end the world. Even though he was defeated, he left the surviving heroes permanently scarred.

Lara Croft

The first Tomb Raider game, which debuted in 1996, was one of the first to feature a strong female protagonist. Since then, the series has had numerous installments featuring the independent and strong-willed female, as well as two movies. Recently the series had a reboot that explores her origins, and another installment is on the way.

Ryu Hayabusa

Ryu Hayabusa made his first debut on the original Nintendo in 1998 in Ninja Gaiden. Recently he’s had a few contemporary installments, and he’ll likely go down as the greatest ninja in video games when all is said and done.

The Nameless One

This was the main character in 1999’s Planescape: Torment, and he likely has the most intricate back-story ever given to a character. He’s an immortal, but the ironic twist is that he suffers from amnesia – he’s unable to remember all the lives he’s led.

Garrett The Thief

Garret, the main protagonist from the Thief series, is iconic not only for his skills as a thief, but also for his depth of character. By nature he is a lone wolf, a rogue only looking out for himself. But as his story progresses through the games, he becomes the classic reluctant hero forced to put his skills to good use.

Ryu From Streetfighter

Ryu is the main face from the epic Street Fighter series. His look hasn’t changed much over the years, nor has his“Hadoukens” and “Shoryukens”. He’s the ultimate warrior who dedicates his entire life and time to developing his skills as a fighter.

Minsc and Boo

Minsc and Boo are two characters from the epic Baldur’s Gate series. Minsc was a mercenary who provided comic relief mingled with a charming, remarkable loyalty. He carried around Boo, his pet hamster, which made him even more hilarious and endearing.

GLaDOS

GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disc Operating System) will likely go down as the most iconic A.I. intelligence in gaming history. The A.I. is renowned for its depth of character. It starts out as a seemingly benign construct, but over the course of the game it slowly becomes a demented villain. It is reminiscent of HAL from Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Guybrush Threepwood

This iconic character hails from the era of point-and-click adventure games. He’s a would-be pirate who, because of his ineptitude and awkwardness, often finds himself in humorous situations. However, he always manages to save the day and beat his nemesis, the dead pirate LeChuck.

Pac-Man

No matter how intricate and bizarre video games become, certain characters will never be forgotten. One such character is Pac-Man, and the Pac-Man arcade took the world by storm in the 1980’s. The game was so addicting that by the 1990’s, the arcade machines had made an estimated $2.5 billion in quarters.

Donkey Kong

This is another ancient character. He made his debut alongside Mario on the old Atari 2600 game. Since then, along with Mario, he has evolved as the games have evolved, and he will likely be around for some time to come.

Cloud Strife

The main protagonist from Final Fantasy VII, this character will likely go down as the most memorable from the whole franchise. People loved his character, especially his Buster sword (which is probably the most iconic sword in gaming history), and his interesting story as a cloned warrior.

Samus Aran

This is the main protagonist from the Metroid games, and the character took the world by storm when, after the final boss was defeated in the original installment, the character was revealed to be a woman. She was the first female protagonist in video games, and she paved the way for Lara Croft.

Solid Snake

The main star of the Metal Gear series will long live in gamers’ memories. Not only were the games themselves remarkable and progressive, the games and characters actually had substance. Solid Snake will always be remembered for his fortitude, nobility, and his uncanny abilities as a soldier.

Master Chief

When Microsoft released the first version of the Xbox, they needed an exceptional franchise to launch with it. They certainly got what they needed with Master Chief and the Halo franchise. Though a character of few words, gamers certainly appreciate his strong, silent-type personality. And plus he’s simply a badass who completes missions no matter what.

Gordon Freeman

Gordon Freeman is the main protagonist from the renowned Half-Life video games. Like Master Chief in Halo, Gordon Freeman is a man of few words – actually, he never speaks at all! He’s a theoretical physicists who’s forced to become a gun wielding hero when a portal opens to another dimension, which allows demons through to his world.

Link

The silent hero of the Zelda series of games, this character debuted in the iconic game The Legend of Zelda in 1986, and since then he has continually saved Princess Zelda and fought with his nemesis Ganon. Fortunately Link’s story and battles are far from over; he is so popular that new games starring him are still being made.

Super Mario

Since his debut in 1983, Super Mario and his cohorts have reigned supreme. The most iconic character in video games isn’t some gun-wielding, strong silent-type character, but a plumber who jumps on turtles and other bad guys and eats mushrooms. Games starring Mario have sold about 260 million copies, making him and his franchise the most successful in history.