The top 10 most unlikely videogame heroes

Not all videogame protagonists can be alpha males with rippling muscles like Marcus Fenix. So here are our ten most unlikely game heroes…

Some people are destined for greatness, you can tell by the way the light glistens in their eyes, or the precise 90 degree angle of their muscular jaw. Other people, well, they’re just as destined for greatness, it just happens that no one will believe it until the greatness itself occurs.

Here are ten of the least likely candidates. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

Gordon Freeman (Half Life)

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Speccy, bearded, and hardly a dab hand with a machine gun, Gordon is a prime example of the everyman – albeit an everyman who just happens to work in a top secret scientific facility that’s experimenting with trans-dimensional technology.

Just as we’re thrown into the deep end when things go wrong, so is Gordon – untrained and unaided save for a special suit and a crow bar, the bumbling scientist makes a nice change from the well necked archetype of modern gaming. Gordon is a reluctant hero thrown into the middle of a situation he doesn’t understand and forced to fight for his life. That’s something we can all empathise with.

You (EyeToy)

EyeToy puts you square in the middle of the action, thwacking bad guys left and right with a wave of your digitised arm.

Let’s be honest, when it comes down to it, we’re none of us your normal hero type. Chiselled good looks, rakish haircut, massive tactical weapons hefted around by our rippling and nonsensical arm muscles, these are fantasies at best. At least EyeToy allows us to live out our Godzilla dreams, placing you in the centre of a tiny ninja attack and allowing us to beat them into history with a well-aimed arm wiggle. Just don’t stand too close to the camera, that’s cheating.

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Francis (Left 4 Dead)

Another of Valve’s everymen, Francis represents the part in us all that bubbles and boils with unrestrained hatred. Thrust into the centre of a zombie apocalypse, Francis refuses to accept his lot, and instead complains, incessantly, about every single thing he sees. So much so, his attitude became an internet meme. In any other situation, he would be viewed as an annoying jerk, but with zombified hordes clawing at his heels, he can be forgiven.

The Mario Brothers

They’re plumbers. What are they doing saving a Princess from certain doom? There’s a hierarchy for this sort of thing, and I’m pretty sure that plumbers reside somewhere above IT technicians but below trainee accountants. What kind of crazy world must the Mushroom Kingdom be if it allows its skilled manual labourers to rescue its damsels in distress? I mean, who fixes the pipes whilst they’re gallivanting around neatly ordered sections of the world?

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Sonic The Hedgehog

At least the Mario Brothers make sense in a physical way, unlike their arch corporate nemesis, Sonic, who, in real life, would fail miserably at almost everything he attempts in his game. The reason Sonic is a hedgehog is because they’re so rare in Japan, unlike in the UK, where they’re widely regarded as slow, ponderous things that curl into a ball at the slightest sign of trouble and remain there until said trouble has moved along. Hardly the most heroic of animals, I think you’ll agree.

Isaac Clarke (Dead Space)

Sure, Gordon Freeman may be a scientist, but Isaac’s an engineer. A space engineer. And he’s not just thrown into the middle of a storm of aliens, he’s thrown into the middle of a storm of twisted human alien hybrid things that he can only kill by chopping them into lots of little pieces. If you stop and think about it, it’s hard to fathom out what he’s doing on the USG Ishimura in the first place. Surely you’d send some soldiers in, not a glorified welder with a couple of his friends.

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Most main characters in JRPGs

It’s very rare that JRPG leads start off as particularly heroic. In fact, quite often they start off as children. Those with a few years behind them are usually cowards, or just average joes, bumbling through life with nary a care in the world. That is until something cataclysmic happens and forces them to face their destiny and blah blah blah. Inevitably, the spiky haired wastrel discovers something inside themselves that turns them into a hero, but it doesn’t stop them whining about how unfair everything is.

Stubbs the Zombie

Eating brains isn’t particularly heroic, nor is using a person’s spine as a melee weapon. Still, the stumbling undead deserve digital representation as much as the rest of us, so it’s only fair that Stubbs get the chance to gnaw on some innocent bystanders. Stubbs isn’t your run of the mill heroic type, he’s just hungry. Hungry for your flesh. And your brains. And probably the delicious marrow in your bones.

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Guybrush Threepwood

Pirates are mean. They are mean and they have scars, peg legs and the sort of teeth that would make Shane MacGowan wince. They are not nicely spoken, well groomed skinny boys whose wit is sharper than their rapier. Nevertheless, the absurdly named Guybrush decided that pirating was the life for him, and in doing so became one of the best-loved characters in video game history. Not bad going at all. He’s even made it through a remake unscathed.

Tim (Braid)

There may well be spoilers here, so if you haven’t played Braid yet, then you should stop reading at the end of this sentence. Tim is on this list because he has a big fat head and a black jacket. Have you gone? Good. Tim is on this list because he may or may not be a nuclear physicist who created the atom bomb and in doing so unleashed untold evil on all of mankind. Or he’s mental. Or possibly a physically abusive boyfriend. Whichever way you look it, two things remain crystal clear: Tim has a big fat head and a black jacket.

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Leave your own thoughts in the comments below…!