Mario has his cap and mustache, Sonic has his spiky blue fur, Mega Man has his mega buster, Ryu has his Hadouken!, Solid Snake has his bandanna, and Pac-man has…Well it’ Pac-man! And there is the cast of each Final Fantasy game full of characters that you grow to know and love (or hate) by the time you’re done.
So what do all of these characters have in common? They are iconic characters that have stood the test of time and are easily recognizable to gamers both familiar and not (though not always) with their franchises.
With the First Person Shooter genre being so popular right now and the multiplayer modes in them being the main time sink as opposed to the campaign it got me wondering are game characters as iconic as they used to be? I mean if you’re playing a first person shooter you never see what your character looks like and from the shooter’s I’ve played this console generation if you were to go off of dialog alone very few of the characters are worth remembering and others have me scratching my head why people like or can identify with them at all (Gears of War I’m looking at you).
Or maybe it’s the other things in the games that are iconic. Bioshock has big daddies, little sisters, and amazing settings each game. Portal has Glados antagonizing you as you make your way through the test chambers, and Farcry 2 has ambient sound and amazing scenery that makes you feel like you’re in Africa. The Prince of Persia game with Elika and the Prince seemed iconic to me yet didn’t succeed enough for Ubisoft to want to continue that universe of the franchise and yet each new version of Need for Speed seems to do just fine with silent protagonists or wannabe fast and furious types though I guess racing games are more about the cars then the characters in them so that makes some sense. In any case don’t just limit your answers to First Person Shooters I was just using that paragraph as an example.
So do you think game characters are as iconic as they used to be? Or if you haven’t been playing games very long do you think they are iconic at all? Which characters are or aren’t to you? And which franchise characters do you think do the best job of standing out from the crowd?