The most memorable video game characters are a subjective matter to start with. Your favorite character might be a villain from an indie game and chances are high that it has a special place in your head and heart. Even if someone might say some characters are just overrated than memorable, some examples are hard to argue about their cases.
So, it is important to go through this list with an open mind. If your beloved character is not high in the ranking or worse, not even on the list, keep that in mind that it’s just a matter of perspective. We tried to list them by their impact on players and the game industry as a whole.
These names have left their mark on our gamer-hood life and without them, a lot of our beloved games wouldn’t be the same as they are. Some of these characters are the reason that you are a gamer today, or one of them may be the first video game character you have ever controlled. So, let’s kick in the list and traverse through memory lane together.
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Portal is truly a strange IP and as a habit of its strange nature, it introduces some of the most peculiar characters in gaming history. But there is one character that outshines and makes her worthy of mention on this list: Glados.
Claptrap is the mascot of stupidity and hilarity in video games. A CL4P-TP general-purpose bot that somehow, always finds his way to bother you with his nonstop jibber jabber.
But on the other hand, his expressions of loneliness and cowardice push that empathy button in your brain. You must save him, it is an unwritten rule of Borderlands; and when it comes to that, you do that wholeheartedly.
28. Guybrush Threepwood
Everyone’s favorite handsome and silver-tongued pirate. This sun of a gun finds his way around every slim picking he finds himself in; frankly, he’s responsible for half of those situations!
Monkey Island series is the adventure game that everyone has played or at least has heard of, and it is no shocking matter that its main character is on this list.
27. Isaac Clarke
The engineer with one of the most awesome suits of all time is as badass as he is unlucky. The master of mangling alien creatures and technical corridor crawling. The story of Isaac is as tragic as it is thrilling, and most importantly for our cause, it is so adrenaline-rushing to experience.
Dead Space is now one of the big names in the horror genre and we can not exclude Isaac and his impression as one of the main reasons for it.
(Speaking of Isaacs, let’s give an honorary mention to Isaac from Binding of Isaac, whose story is even more horrifying than Mr. Clarke.)
26. Big Daddy
Welcome to Rapture, where nothing goes as you expect. Bioshock is the modern classic of Ken Levine and you can’t talk about it without mentioning Big Daddy. The word memorable is the one you can use for a Big Daddy. You just can’t forget about these heavily spliced human beings whose attire is based on steampunk-inspired diving suits.
Their arsenal is made of rivet guns and drills, rocket launcher, and ion laser and they protect little sisters who could have their place on this list as well. Their powerful presence in the game leaves us no chance to not include them on the list.
25. Marcus Fenix
Everything about the Gears of War series can carry the “memorable” adjective; Among all those things, one thing stands out. Of course, it is better to put it this way, one “man” stands out: The one and only Marcus Fenix. Bandana wearing-huge volume of muscles and badassery, the COG soldier, represents everything about this game in the best way possible.
His deep voice and knack for tearing apart locusts and their organs with a chainsaw which is attached to his bulky gun define his character. Maybe someday you forget his name, but surely you can’t erase that “SWEET!” sound from your memory.
24. Vaas Montenegro
The OG antagonist of the Far Cry series has made this series pop more than ever. His bipolar and unstable attitude toward Jason could make you uncomfortable. It was like he was shattering the fourth wall as well as our hero’s sanity.
His iconic role is copied by Ubisoft throughout the sequels and following titles, but Vass is truly in another league.
(As an honorable mention, we can mention Joseph Seed as a good example of a memorable villain in video game history as well. His ordeals for the hero of the story and sense of sacrificing everything for his creed make his case worthy of mention.)
23. Garrus Vakarian
The lovely Turian with impeccable loyalty toward Shepard and his crew. He is a sharpshooter, engineer, confidant, and true friend. How can you not love this being who stays cool under any circumstances?
Garrus is a masterclass of RPG character design and we sure miss him as hell. But we can say with utter certainty, he is calibrating a ship somewhere in the galaxy.
22. Handsome Jack
Yes, it is yet another character from Borderlands; but to be fair, this list would be lacking without having his name somewhere on it. The villain from Borderlands 2, one of the best games of all time, is a lovely maniac with a tragic backstory.
When you get to know his background in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel title, your empathy grows more than ever toward him. From the wild roster of characters of the Borderlands series, this handsome villain steps out and showcases a new class of performance among video game industry antagonists.
21. Captain Price
Call of Duty games is one of the bestselling franchises of all time. Among the numerous titles of the series, Modern Warfare games are just on another level. Thanks to a solid roster of characters, the old MW trilogy is the most popular one among the fans.
Among the characters of the Modern Warfare series, Captain Price is the defining character; both for plots and fans as a remarkable veteran. Even the new Price from the Modern Warfare Reboot series offers a solid performance.
We can say that developers could have established a solid portrayal of his character for him yet again. But let’s be honest, when someone mentions Captain Price, that old hardened soldier with a chunky mustache is the one who comes to mind in the first place.
20. Sam Fisher
Three green spotlights, a handgun with a suppressor, a silent deadly force of nature; if you hear the latter phrases, even without mentioning his name, you know who I am talking about. Sam Fisher is one of those characters that is hard to forget.
His methodology of conquering the battlefield is phenomenal and makes him so special. Even controlling him makes you feel like a badass.
We truly should be thankful to Tom Clancy for creating such an iconic character. Come on Ubisoft, instead of including him in every title you have, give us the next Splinter Cell!
19. Geralt of Rivia
Butcher of Blaviken, our favorite silver-haired character (alongside Dante from Devil May Cry of course!) must be on this list. There is something different about this battle-scarred witcher of Kaer Morhen; his rugged handsomeness alongside his cold and calm attitude and professionalism makes him one of the icons of video game history.
In a nutshell, you literally can’t just omit his name when you are writing about the most memorable video game characters. We can’t wait for the next The Witcher entry in the series and swinging swords as the most talkative introverted character in video game history.
Speaking of Dante, here it is, his entry of course. Son of Sparda’s saga is one of the most action-packed series of all time. This cool handsome man and his arsenal of demon-slaying tools have a special place among hack-and-slash genre fans.
This fan-favorite character with a roller-coaster of different titles is a homerun of character design. Every detail about Dante exudes awesomeness. His wardrobe collection and attire play a huge role in immortalizing him as one of the most memorable video game characters of all time.
17. Nathan Drake
Sony PlayStation has a lot of great exclusive titles and every one of them includes some memorable characters. Some characters define PlayStation titles, as the likes of Joel, Ellie, Ratchet, and so on; but then there is Nathan Drake. The modern-day-not-stop-talking Indiana Jones!
This beloved thief and treasure hunter has given us some crazy stories, from finding El Dorado to the legend of Shambala. As the main character of the Uncharted series, one of the best franchises in the video game industry, he surely stands as a memorable character in our book.
16. Ezio Auditore da Firenze
The master assassin and one of the most famous Italian characters of all time. The dedication of the Assassin’s Creed series to show us his history leaves us no choice but to know him as the most remarkable character of the franchise.
Ezio is the one that we know everything about and can’t forget the time that we have spent with him as an assassin.
From his tragic backstory to his reunion with Altair in Assassin’s Creed Revelations, we’ve been with him through everything. When a character makes such an entwined connection with the audience, he is condemned to be on this list.
15. Leon Scott Kennedy
Resident Evil or Biohazard (the Japanese title for the franchise) is one the most well-known video game titles out there. As one of the main pioneers of the survival horror genre, RE still goes strong as an IP.
As a famous pioneer of the genre, any character from the franchise has a chance to become a fan favorite; but our Rookie policeman who starts his career as bad as it is humanly possible takes the cake. Now, that rookie has a successful career as a zombie-killing machine and is an American hero.
With different hairstyles and strong portrayals in the most prestigious titles of the series, Leon is the most beloved character in Resident Evil games. Even today, he is acting as the main selling point for Resident Evil side projects, such as its animated movies or series. This much show-time has led to this point that we absolutely can’t forget him as one of the most memorable video game characters of all time.
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It is hard not to talk and be this popular among gamers (I know who you are thinking about! Just wait for a little more!). Doomguy or Doom Slayer is the protagonist of the Doom franchise.
As one of the first 3D games out there, his presence goes back to 1993. Yeah, he’s been around that long and that makes him a frontman of gaming history.
It is said that a Mayker by the name of Samer infused Doomguy with some power to make him strong and never age; that’s why he is still going strong through hordes of Hellish demons.
13. Agent 47
With his distinguishable attire and dead-silent approach to eliminating human beings, Agent 47 plays a major role as a memorable video game character.
The innovative patterns of murder provided to him by developers make it a thrill to complete contracts as our bald guy. The Hitman series is now stronger than ever, and the new reboot series made Agent 47 more popular than ever among the fans.
12. Cloud Strife
Final Fantasy is a big name in the video game industry. Its numerous titles have sold millions of copies around the world and Final Fantasy 14 is the most popular MMORPG as of now. But there is one title that stands out from the crowd and has its remake: Final Fantasy 7.
As the main protagonist of FF7, Cloud Strife is a mascot of the video game industry. With his strange hairstyle and cool outfit, and his Buster Sword that makes every YouTube unboxer jealous, he stands tall among the titans of gaming history.
A man with a burning passion for revenge; literally! Scorpion is one of those characters that even non-gamers are familiar with. As an unwritten tradition for fighting games, there must be a frontman for every game in the genre.
Jin Kazama plays this role for the Tekken series and Ryo is the one who does that for the Street Fighter franchise, but Scorpion is the most famous mascot of the fighting games genre.
His counterpart character, Sub-Zero is almost as famous as him among people, but there is something different about Scorpion. Every Mortal Kombat game includes Scorpion and many of their arcs are based upon him and his story.
As far as the story goes, the story of Hanzo Hasashi and the treacheries he has gone through is a good selling point for the series. So, if Ed Boon sees Scorpion as his main mascot, there is no reason for us not to do as well.
P.S.: for a good measure: “Get over here!”
10. Commander Shepard
It is truly the art of character design to make a customizable character one of the most iconic gaming heroes. The commander of Normandy and savior of the galaxy, Shepard is one of the most prestigious characters in the RPG and space opera genre.
The main difference and the most important point about Shepard is that your Shepard is only yours; because you can customize him/her as much as you like and truly make him/her yours.
Impeccable voice acting and providing a perfect lore for this character to shine, can be counted as main reasons why he/she remains as on of the most remarkable protagonists of all time.
9. Lara Croft
The growing population of female protagonists in video games is a fantastic thing. It is always good to see more diversity in any medium. And we all know that the title of the most famous female video game character goes to Lara Croft. This British daredevil woman has been around for a long time in the gaming scene.
It is no secret that reboots are more popular than ever; without a doubt, Tomb Raider series stands as one of the most successful video game reboots of all time.
The renewal of Lara Croft has been done splendidly and showed us that this character has even more potential than we ever could imagine. We can say that Lara Croft and her successful image of a great video game character are the main reason for more acceptance of female protagonists among gamers. As the bearer of such a highly prestigious role, she stands for everything a memorable character should offer.
8. Crash Bandicoot
After all those robots and humans, it is time for an animal to show up on our list. Without a doubt, Crash Bandicoot is one of the most famous animals, not only in the video game industry.
For many of us, this hilarious spinning bandicoot forms some of our first memories of gaming.
Crash has never seen better days than now; with his new titles showing up alongside great remakes of the previous titles. We hope to see more and more from this memorable character. Just don’t forget the fact that he is a bandicoot as the name suggests, not a fox!
7. Gordon Freeman
The half-Life series is one the most important products of PC gaming history. Valve’s masterpiece introduces one of the most iconic video game characters of all time: Doctor Gordon Freeman. He is a theoretical physicist who is forced to defend himself and the human race throughout the incidents of Half-Life 1 & 2.
Thanks to his iconic HEV suit, nerdy glasses, and red crowbar, it’s even hard to forget his silhouette let alone his memorable role as a protagonist.
6. Master Chief
There is no need for providing reasons why Master Chief is on this list, and why he has such a high ranking as well. Microsoft may not have as many famous gaming characters as Sony, but oh man Master Chief seems more than enough.
This enhanced super-soldier is a Spartan. They are raised and trained from childhood for combat. We haven’t seen his face yet in any Halo titles but he is portrayed by Pablo Schreiber in the Halo television series.
Although there has not been a clear sight of his face, his iconic green suit and helmet represent him in the best way possible.
The almighty God of War himself. From his early days as a Spartan (totally not the same thing as Master Chief) warrior to a wandering father in the north, he has truly made some memorable portrayals throughout the years. The ashen tattooed son of Zeus is without a doubt PlayStation’s biggest mascot for gaming.
His endeavors and journey are so peculiar and engaging to experience. The amount of violence in God of War titles is ridiculous and that’s totally fine and fitting for such a character. Actually the paradigm shift of his almost calm portrayal in reboot series’ story, makes it special; and by calm, I mean at least he’s not yelling at every moving thing around him!
The video game industry would have not been the same without his presence and that’s why he’s on the top tier of our list.
4. Solid Snake
Hideo Kojima has created many characters in his career. As a lover of cinema, his writing style for video games is heavily inspired by it; that’s the main reason he creates such deep and complex characters. Among all these numerous characters, Solid Snake and his arc stand as the most important part of the Metal Gear Solid series.
Every aspect of his character is well-developed. He is the master of stealth strategy and tactics on the battlefield. His traits such as his love for cigarettes, clever choice of words, and introverted approach in conversations help him to leave his mark on our minds. The espionage master vividly stays in every gamer’s memory.
His tragic story is one of the best and most well-written arcs of video game history. If it weren’t for the impact of the following cases, he could have easily won first place on our list.
Nintendo is a magical company. Their titles just have that X-factor that drowns the player into a world of amazement. The legend of Zelda series is responsible for a huge chunk of this magic. Every entry in the franchise is just a standard-maker for the video game industry.
As the main character of the series, Link stands as a mascot for gaming. He is a Hylian, which is an elf-human hybrid. Canonically, there are no elves or humans in Hyrule and Zelda lore, so you can say he is neither and should not be addressed as one.
Although he seems like a teenager, his first appearance goes back to 1987; Since then, he has always been the main protagonist of the Zelda franchise. You can not just think about video games without including Link as a memorable character.
Modern-day gamers may have not heard about SEGA as much as the veterans of gaming, but that doesn’t evaporate the importance of this company. As the mascot of SEGA and his gaming franchise, the blue hedgehog still goes strong as ever, relatively speaking of course.
Some of the entries in the series are just solid let-downs, but that doesn’t change the fact that our fast lovely Sonic is going to lose his place as one the most prestigious game figures of all time.
If you ask any non-gamer person about video games, they will come up with a statement that leads to one character: Mario. The Italian plumber defines what a memorable character is.
Whether you like him and his games or not, he is the frontman of the gaming industry and as it seems, always will be.
Even if we wanted, we could not go out of our way to include a controversial choice to make this article more engaging; so, as you expected, Mario is our top pick for the most memorable video character of all time.