70 Best Video Game Characters of All Time

70 Best Video Game Characters of All Time
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Video games are first and foremost entertainment, from shooters and action games to RPGs and puzzles, the main goal is to be entertained. However, some creators managed to truly turn them into art, with gorgeous visuals and thought-provoking stories. What makes a good game even better are its protagonists, villains, and supporting characters and this is what we’re going to deal with today. We’ve prepared for you a list of the most iconic video game characters ever created.

Some characters managed to gain a spot on this list due to how popular and well-known they are, some lesser-known characters landed on the list because of their backstories and fleshed-out personalities, and some landed here because of their overall badassery. The list of characters is unranked and in no particular order so, without further ado, let’s take a look at our list of best video game characters of all time.

70. Vaas Montenegro (Far Cry)

Vaas Montenegro

Vaas is a memorable secondary antagonist from Far Cry 3. His rant about the definition of insanity is probably among the most quoted video game lines of all time.

69. Tommy Vercetti (Grand Theft Auto)

Tommy vercetty

Tommy Makes his appearance in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. He was based on Al Pacino’s Scarface and like his movie counterpart, he is easily one of the best-known kingpins in gaming.

68. Agent 47 (Hitman)

Agent 47

Clean, quick, professional, and most importantly innovative when it comes to assassinations. No list of iconic video game characters is complete without Agent 47 from the Hitman series.

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67. Dog (Duck Hunt)

Dog Duck Hunt

Dog landed on this list because of his popularity with older gamers. Duck Hunt entertained us long before flashy games became a standard.

66. Bayonetta (Bayonetta)

Bayonetta

Graceful, yet deadly. There are no better words to describe Platinum Games’ femme fatale. Although not the most popular character on this list, Bayonetta is sure among the most memorable ones.

65. M. Bison (Street Fighter)

M. Bison

M. Bison is the archetype of a villain with stereotypical goals of ruling the world from Street Fighter. What makes him special is his over-the-top nature and execution of his goals.

64. Sarah Louise Kerrigan (Starcraft / Heroes of the Storm)

Sarah Louise Kerrigan

Queen of Blades has an extremely tragic backstory, she started out as a Confederate Ghost operative only to turn into one of the most iconic video game villains of all time.

63. Atreus (God of War)

Atreus

Kratos’ son Atreus doesn’t have a backstory as long as most of the characters on this list are. He managed to secure a spot because of the emotional and physical journey we witnessed.

62. Fox McCloud (Star Fox)

Fox McCloud

Fox McCloud is one of the biggest and most lovable heroes of the Star Fox series. This anthropomorphic fox is on a neverending quest to save all of humanity.

61. Trevor Philips (Grand Theft Auto)

Trevor Philips

Trevor Philips appears in GTA V. He is rotten to the core but near the end of the day, you realize there is a human heart beating underneath that sweaty, sweatpants-clad exterior.

60. Gordon Freeman (Half-Life)

Gordon Freeman

Rise and shine Mr. Freeman, rise and shine. Gordon Freeman turned from a mousy scientist to the savior of humanity overnight. He develops awesome tech and tries to save the planet killing one headcrab at a time.

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59. Lightning (Final Fantasy)

Lightning

Down to earth and badass, there’s no better way to describe Lightning from the Final Fantasy series.

58. Cortana (Halo)

cortana

Cortana from Halo basically narrates your journey throughout the game and provides helpful tips. She is proof that robots don’t have to be void of personality.

57. Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell)

Sam Fisher

Sam Fisher is a resident badass in the Splinter Cell series. Although a decent guy through and through, he won’t play by the rules when his dear ones are concerned.

56. Diddy Kong (Donkey Kong / Mario)

Diddy Kong

Diddy Kong is not the most recognizable character in the franchise, however, he is one of the most endearing.

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55. Ellie (The Last of Us)

Ellie The Last of Us

Ellie was forced to grow up overnight over the course of the game. She managed to break down the stereotypes of little scared girls and proved herself to be a valuable asset in the story.

54. Jill Valentine (Resident Evil)

Jill Valentine

One of the most resourceful characters in gaming, Jill Valentine from Resident Evil is everything you need to prevail against Umbrella Corporation. She is easily one of the most recognizable female characters of all time.

53. Big Boss / Snake ( Metal Gear)

Big Boss

Even though Big Boss followed a traditional path from hero to villain due to betrayal, he is still easily one of the most recognizable characters in the series.

52. Spyro (Spyro)

Spyro

A protagonist of one of the best platforms games of all time. Spyro is the most recognizable dragon in gaming, and there are a lot of dragons in gaming.

51. Ezio Auditore da Firenze (Assassin’s Creed)

Ezio Auditore da Firenze

We’ve played through many characters over the course of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, none are as memorable as Ezio however.

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50. Scorpion (Mortal Kombat)

Scorpion Mortal Kombat

When you think about Mortal Kombat Scorpion is one of the first characters you can think of. Obviously, he is on the list due to the pure badassery of being an undead ninja.

49. Marcus Fenix (Gears of War)

Marcus

Marcus Fenix is a convict-turned-weapon-turned-hero. He pushes the classic “tough guy” narrative and we love him for it.

48. Joel Miller (The Last of Us)

Joel Miller

Joel was mostly criticized for not trusting humanity, sadly by the end of the second game he was proven right. There’s barely anything left to save.

47. Chun-Li (Street Fighter)

Chun Li

Badass female character from Street Fighter with killer moves. She is the aforementioned M. Bison’s worst nightmare.

46. Duke Nukem (Duke Nukem)

Duke Nukem

Snarky narcissist Duke Nukem managed to win everyone with his infectious and humorous personality. He is one of the most iconic action characters of all time.

45. John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)

John Marston

John Marston is a perfect “grey” character. On one hand, his shady past perfectly fits the villain narrative, and on the other hand, he would do everything for his family and you can almost see where he’s coming from. John is an example of a perfectly written Western character.

44. JC Denton (Deus-Ex)

JC Denton

JC Denton from Deus-Ex is a definition of a stoic rebel. What started as a classic story of blind loyalty turned into a fight for freedom of epic proportions.

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43. Kratos (God of War)

Kratos

Kratos is sometimes a villain sometimes a hero. The character definitely presented us with a complexity we would never have expected from a game of this caliber.

42. Big Daddy (Bioshock)

Big Daddy Bioshock

Bioshock is most known for its unique settings and interesting characters. Big Daddy is just one of the intelligently designed but menacing foes you will encounter in the game.

41. Kitana (Mortal Kombat)

Kitana

One more deadly gal on this list. Her unique and well-fleshed-out storyline easily makes her one of the most recognizable female characters in video games.

40. Tom Nook (Animal Crossing)

Tom Nook

Tom Nook is an embodiment of greed that hails from the Animal Crossing franchise. If you consider Nook to be an exploitative opportunist, millions of players agree with you.

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39. Luigi (Mario)

Luigi

Luigi is the less popular of the two brothers from the Super Mario franchise, however, that doesn’t mean that he is not instantly recognizable by well, almost everyone.

38. Commander Shepard (Mass Effect)

Commander Shepard

Depending on how you decide to play him Commander Shepard can be a noble self-sacrificing hero or a ruthless and calculating operative. No matter what your choices were, he got the job done and managed to save the planet way or another.

37. Pikachu (Pokemon)

Pikachu

Pikachu is a rat-based Pokemon that comes to your mind when you think about Pokemon in general. There’s no denying that he is one of the most iconic fictional characters in general not only in Pokemon games.

36. Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher)

Geralt of Rivia

Master Witcher! A brooding, stoic monster hunter with a heart of gold. Even though he is quite recent on the gaming scene, Geralt managed to win the hearts of many.

35. Master Chief (Halo)

Master Chief

Super-soldier from the Halo series and a resident tough guy. Master Chief is the most recognizable character from the Halo franchise.

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34. Adam Jensen (Deus-Ex)

Adam Jensen

One of the most popular lone wolves in gaming. Adam Jensen rarely relies on others but you can bet everyone around him can rely on him at all times.

33. Link (The Legend of Zelda)

Link

Link was the first encounter with a classic archetypal hero for many people. He will forever be remembered for his selfless nature.

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32. Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong)

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong is hands down, one of the most famous animals in gaming in general. This loveable brute started out as a villain and over the years made a transition into a true hero.

31. Lara Croft (Lara Croft)

Lara Croft

Lara Croft is one more femme fatale on this list. Even though her character evolved over the years she still maintained integrity and originality, breaking off from classic stereotypes.

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30. Pac-Man (Pac-Man)

Pac Man

You would be surprised that the memorable character from the iconic arcade game, Pac-Man, is a loving married father of two children. In his free time, he relaxes by devouring tiny dots on the screen.

29. Arthas Menethil (Warcraft)

Arthas Menethil

Arthas created a mold for many tragic heroes to come. He started out as a gallant prince loyal to his people, but desperation and evil forces turned him into one of the most iconic villains gaming has ever seen.

28. Sylvanas Windrunner (Warcraft)

Sylvanas Windrunner

Who better to follow Arthas than our Dark Lady? Sylvanas sacrificed everything including her own sanity to ensure the survival of her people. The only thing that Sylvanas ever wanted was peace, either to be alive and breathing again, or properly dead.

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27. Captain Price (Call of Duty)

Captain Price

The immortal Captain Price hails from the Call of Duty franchise. Marked with his glorious mustache, he is the biggest badass in the franchise.

26. Mordin Solus (Mass Effect)

Mordin Solus

Our favorite Salarian scientist. Mordin has one of the best and most impactful side stories in the whole Mass Effect franchise.

25. Nathan Drake (Uncharted)

Nathan drake

Roguish Nathan Drake comes from the Uncharted franchise, he is one of the newest characters on this list, and yet with his infectious personality, he managed to win the hearts of many.

24. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog)

Sonic the Hedgehog

The most famous speedster in gaming. This blue hedgehog has seen many adaptations due to its enormous popularity.

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23. Dovahkiin (Elder Scrolls)

Dovahkiin

Dragonborn landed on this list due to the general badassery of the character. A mortal man, or woman with the ability to devour dragon souls? Sign me up.

22. Doom Guy (Doom)

Doom Guy

No story, no character development, no intricate dialogue, just a chainsaw and demons ripe for slaying. Doom Guy is the most badass character in gaming.

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21. Max Payne (Max Payne)

Max Payne

Max Payne is a man with nothing to lose, on a path of revenge, taking part in one of the grittiest stories gaming has ever seen.

20. Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption)

Arthur Morgan

Arthur placed his loyalties on the wrong person and paid the ultimate price for it. Still, he was loyal and honorable till the end.

19. Illidan Stormrage (Warcraft)

Illidan Stormrage

Those of you familiar with the Warcraft universe know how complex the story of Illidan Stormrage has been. From being dubbed the worst betrayer his race has ever seen to the savior. He has been through a lot. He was constantly in his brother’s shadow, in love with a woman that could never love him back in the same way. Still, he has risen above the circumstances and sacrificed everything for a chance at survival.

18. Caius Cosades (Elder Scrolls)

Caius Cosades

Caius is the first friendly face you will meet in the alien and ruthless land of Morrowind. He does have a bad Skooma habit but he never ever lets it interfere with his duties as a Blade.

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17. Deckard Cain (Diablo)

deckard cain

Deckard Cain is the last living human in the world of Sanctuary. His unique views and first-hand accounts helped shaped much of what we know about the world of the Diablo franchise.

16. Thrall (Warcraft)

THrall

Thrall is perhaps better known under his nickname “Green Jesus”. He single-handedly managed to unite the Horde and establish the Earthen Ring. He represents the true values every Orc should aspire to.

15. Princess Zelda (Legend of Zelda)

Princess Zelda

If one thing Princess Zelda is known for it’s her readiness to sacrifice herself for the good of her people. She is a benevolent ruler who offers comfort and care in times of trouble.

14. Jack of Blades (Fable)

Jack of Blades

Jack of Blades hails from the Fable series. He is a creature that crawled from the void and now uses his iconic mask to spread his evil across Albion.

13. Raiden (Metal Gear)

Raiden

Raiden had a difficult upbringing and was forced to do horrible things when he was just a child. Over the years the lines between right and wrong managed to completely blur for him. He was a mentally ruined person and one of the characters in gaming that handled the PTSD theme the best.

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12. Booker DeWitt (Bioshock)

Booker DeWitt

Booker DeWitt is no hero, he has few redeemable qualities, and that’s what makes him perfect for the role of anti-hero in a setting such as Bioshock: Infinite.

11. Marcus Holloway (Watch Dogs)

Marcus Holloway

Marcus Holloway is the main protagonist of the Watch Dogs franchise. He is calm, calculated, an excellent strategist, and a visionary. He is easily the most famous hacker in video games on this list.

10. Paarthurnax (Elder Scrolls)

Paarthurnax landed on this list because of his exceptional accomplishments. It’s not that he managed to defeat Alduin twice (with the help of Dragonborn of course). It’s not even the fact that he was at one point the third most powerful dragon in the world of Elder Scrolls. What Paarthurnax managed to do, very few characters in gaming accomplished, he managed to rise above his evil nature and side with the underdog when every fiber of his being is telling him to dominate the world.

9. Senua (Hellblade)

Senua

No character in gaming managed to do for mental illness awareness what Senua from Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice did. Her experience became so real and so immersive you could imagine yourself in Senua’s boots as you travel through the dark underworld, a product of your own struggles and psychosis.

8. Guybrush Threepwood (Monkey Island)

Guybrush Threepwood

Extremely funny and resourceful Guybrush Threepwood is the main protagonist of the Monkey Island franchise. He is also a talented Swashbuckler and a mortal enemy of a zombie pirate LeChuck.

7. Edward Kenway (Assassin’s Creed)

Edward Kenway

One more pirate on this list, Edward Kenway is the main protagonist of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. At the start of the game, Edward seems like your run-of-the-mill thug and classic archetype of a pirate. However, as the story progresses you realize that something ultimately was sacred for Edward, his daughter and he did everything to ensure the best possible life for her.

6. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy)

Sephiroth

Sephiroth set the standard for most JRPG villains. He is egotistic, narcissistic, and self-serving. Under these bad qualities, however, lies a former hero who set the standard for most “hero-gone-bad” tropes we see in the genre today.

5. Tiny Tina (Borderlands)

Tiny Tina

Tiny Tina is a supporting character in the Borderlands franchise. She is iconic because of her over-the-top personality and tendency to handle dangerous weapons and materials.

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4. Alucard (Castlevania)

Allucard

Alucard is a dhampir that hails from the Castlevania franchise. Like many characters with a good storyline, he also managed to get his beastly nature under control and take up arms against his own father to stand up for what is right.

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3. Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy)

Cloud Strife

We had Sephiroth on this list and it would be a shame if we don’t include the main protagonist of this legendary franchise as well. Cloud Strife is instantly recognizable by his giant sword and roguish nature.

2. Solaire of Astora (Dark Souls)

Solaire of Astora

All of us can learn a thing or two about unwavering faith from Solaire. Solair’s hope and determination to find every trace of light in an otherwise dark and hopeless world can serve as a true inspiration in times of trouble.

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1. Mario (Super Mario)

Mario

What can we say, even though the list is unranked we’ve still decided to reserve the number one spot for Mario – the most famous plumber in the world. Even the people who never touched the games can recognize his mustache and red and blue attire.

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