The time has finally come.  With all the exposition out of the way in my previous blog, I can now get straight to the juicy character list hopefully somebody other than me has been waiting for.

First, I forgot to thank my buddy Heropon in my intro blog for publishing his own character list (which you should totally read) because it gave me both the idea and the motivation to right my own.  Second, I should specify this list will be limited exclusively to characters that originated in a video game unless their character was altered substantially and depicted differently by a video game they appeared in.  Finally, each character installment will include a photo or art of them, one of their well-known or memorable quotes (if applicable), and a hyperlink to their leitmotif or character theme on Youtube, so you can listen in while reading about them.

Now without further ado, let us start this long and epic list!

100) Wilson Percival Higgsbury

Appeared In:  Don't Starve

"I will conquer it all with the power of my MIND!"

Many of us are lucky enough to live comfortable lives with all the advantages of modern society at our disposal, which is why the tried-and-true trope of throwing some shmuck in the wilderess and having them evolve into a skilled survivor is as popular a tale as ever.  Of all the video games I've ever played, Wilson embodies this trope better than anyone else.

A self professed "gentleman scientist," Wilson is tricked by an evil entity into being transported to an extraordinarily dangerous wilderness in exchange for "forbidden knowledge."  With naught but the clothes on his back, his mastery of science and the very helpful advice to "not starve," Wilson forges a path through the wilderness attempting to survive when literally the entire world is against him.

Wilson is the first playable character of Klei Entertainment's delightfully macabre survival rougelike "Don't Starve," and he has always been my go to character thanks to his well rounded stats and ability to grow a comically large beard to stay warm in the Winter.  Don't Starve and its characters look like something Tim Burton would doodle and this, coupled with the stylistic choice of making his voice clips sound like a trumpet (think, the adults from Charlie Brown) make him an endearing character you can't help but root for.

Playing as Wilson is always an inspiring experience.  Scientists in video games are usually relegated to the role of "helpful NPC," which is a shame, as I have a great amount of respect for scientists and what they continue to accomplish for society's sake.  So to be able to play as one and survive when pitted against the elements, savage beasts and hunger is a great experience for me.

Wilson isn't a particularly deeply written character, but his endearing design and mannerisms, coupled with the appeal of helping an arrogant scientist survive in a world where death greets him at almost every corner left enough of an impression on me to grant the gentleman scientist a spot on this list.

99) Captain Olimar

Appeared In:  Pikmin and Pikmin 2

"The vivid color of this red stone reminds me of my wife's eyes when they burn with rage."

On the topic of smart people surviving in an inhospitable wilderness, the next character of my list is none other than the main protagonist of Nintendo's Pikmin franchise.  While Nintendo has created countless video game mascots over the years, Olimar is one of the few who has a substantial mount of depth and interesting dialogue to his name.

Olimar is an alien hailing from Planet Hocotate who crash lands on an inhospitable planet while taking a vacation from the Hocotate Freight Company.  Over the course of the series this planet has increasingly less subtly been alluded to as being Earth.  So why is it inhospitable you ask?  Well, aside from oxygen being toxic to Olimar's species, he's only about as tall as a quarter.

Stranded on a planet where even six inch tall insects are gargantuan to him, Olimar has no hope for survival until enlisting in the help of Pikmin, a helpful plant and animal hybrid species whose members follow Olimar's every command.  Assuming control of Olimar is an interesting experience because he's frankly quite helpless and pathetic on his own, incapable of doing anything but punching foes for the absolute minimal amount of damage.  He relies on the Pikmin to fight for his safety and survival, meaning his own wits, skills as a commander, and bond with his Pikmin is what stands between him and death.

The first Pikmin game takes on a surprisingly bleak tone, as Olimar's life support systems will fail after just 30 days, giving him a very small amount of time to find the missing parts of his spaceship and escape certain death.  Olimar is also surpisingly talkative for a Nintendo protagonist, and at the end of every in-game day, his journal will describe his feelings.  Depending on the player's progress, Olimar could display increasing joy over his escape looking ever more likely, or increasingly anxious and even depressed at the prospect that he could be facing certain death, doomed never to see his family again.  Again, surprisingly morbid for a Nintendo game.

Olimar returns in the game's sequel, Pikmin 2, which takes on a much more lighthearted and charming tone than its predecessor.  As it turns out, Captain Olimar is the only remotely competent employee for his company, and in his short absence, his employer has gone bankrupt.  In an attempt to salvage his livelihood, Olimar hastily returns to the planet of the Pikmin, but this time his life support system will last indefinitely.  With his death no longer hanging over his head, we get to see a much more lighthearted take on Olimar's character.  The "treasures" he salvages are actually remnants from human civilization, and are basically junk or trinkets by our standards.  They range from pickle jar lids to pieces of video game controllers, but from Olimar's perspective they are priceless artifacts.  At the end of each in-game day, players can read Olimar's journal entries for every one of the over 200 treasures they've collected.  These journals are surprisingly humorous as Olimar sheds more details on his life, including complaining about his boss, complaining about his wife, complaining about his aching back... I'm sure it hits close to home for some people.

At any rate, Captain Olimar breaks the mold for Nintendo protagonists.  He's an interesting character who succeeds based on his intellect, micromanagement skills and trust of the Pikmin.  And getting to see a more humorous side of him once his life was no longer in peril was an interesting experience.  I'm not sure what Nintendo has in store for the Pikmin series next (aside from a seemingly lackluster 3DS installment), but I do hope they give us the chance to don Captain Olimar's space helmet in a proper strategy game once more.

98) Wario

Appears In:  Wario Land and Warioware series

"Either way, I'm still a cad!  I hate everybody!"

Wario is a jerk.  He's selfish.  He's greedy.  He's unhealthy.  And I can't imagine he smells very good.  He's really not a very likable person at all.  And that's exactly why I like him as a character... minus the stench bit.

Wario was originally conceptualized as the antithesis of Mario, with Wario being self-absorbed and obnoxious in comparison to Mario's kind and heroic nature.  And frankly, that's exactly why I find Wario so endearing.  Countless video games have as star as heroes, moral paragons who deeply care about the well being of others and are trusted implicitly by those around them.  And role playing a hero is great fun, but because of how common that is, Wario's existence is all the more refreshing.

Since his debut in the Game Boy classic Super Mario Land 2:  Six Golden Coins, Wario has become the star of two of his own series (that Nintendo has since pretty much abandoned):  Wario Land and Warioware.  The former are platformers that are a welcome departure from Super Mario Bros., as Wario gets by using his girth and brute strength to literally squash enemies and crush obstacles rather than nimbly maneuver around both.  They're also entertaining adventures since unlike Mario, Wario never embarks on them for selfless reasons.  He's only out to make a quick buck and whatever good deeds he does, such as saving princesses, is done purely by accident.  Not to mention his plans for riches often fail or backfire in the most hilarious ways.  This selfishness also extends to the Warioware series, where Wario tasks his oddball friends with making video games to earn a profit, only to screw them all over and try and keep it all for himself.

Wario is the kind of person you would hate in real life, but I feel that's precisely what makes him an entertaining video game character.  From the obnoxious song he sings in the pause menu of Wario World to the way he ignores the plight of the helpless until there's something to gain from it, he makes a perfect foil to the ideal video game hero, and for this reason I hope Nintendo takes him out of retirement and thrusts him into another greed fueled adventure some time soon.

97) Happy Mask Salesman

Appeared In:  The Legend of Zelda:  Majora's Mask

"You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?"

One of my favorite literary techniques is ambiguity.  When you don't explicitly tell the reader or player things about your story and instead leave them up to individual interpretation, you ensure your story will be relevant for a longer period of time as people continue to debate or theorize about its ambiguous aspects for years to come.  This is precisely what I enjoy about the Happy Mask Salesman as a character.

In a game already filled with weirdos, the Happy Mask Salesman stands out as especially strange, as even 17 years after the release of Majora's Mask, there's still no consensus over what his deal is.  When the hero Link initially stumbles upon the alternate dimension of Terminia, he is cursed by a Skull Kid wearing the titular Majora's Mask, transformed into a lowly plant like creature known as a Deku Scrub.  It is only thanks to a magical song imparted by the Happy Mask Salesman that he is able to regain his true form at all.  From this point on, Link relives the same three days of his life over and over again to attempt to stop a massive moon from crashing into the world at the end of the three day cycle.  Though all of his valiant heroics are reset every time he rewinds time, the Happy Mask Salesman oddly enough remembers everything, and seems to be fully aware of Link's manipulation of the timeline.  What's more, if Link runs out of time and fails in his quest, the Happy Mask Salesman will rewind time himself to save him, acting like nothing unusual happened afterward.

The Happy Mask Salesman possesses great power, but his motivations are a mystery.  He is the one who unearthed Majora's Mask, a cursed and powerful artifact once used in ancient hexing rituals, and it being stolen from him by the Skull Kid is what launches the events of Majora's Mask in motion.  At the end of the game, the mask is returned to him and grateful that he has been reunited with the artifact, the Happy Mask Salesman disappears in thin air to lands unknown.

To this day, preadolescents and adults with high pitched voices alike theorize about the Happy Mask Salesman's motives on Youtube and the like, but Majora's Mask doesn't drop enough clues to give a definitive answer about the source of his powers, his motives, or his origins.  He is quite literally a walking enigma.  Thus, coupled with his strange character theme, erratic mannerisms and wild mood swings make him an unpredictable and unforgettable oddity.  Though he almost always wears a smile on his face, the Happy Mask Salesman still has an odd sinister air about him, and it's difficult to pinpoint exactly why.

While every other character is on this list because of what I like about who they are, the Happy Mask Salesman is here because of what I don't know.  Every time I replay Majora's Mask, I'm taken in all over again by his mysteriousness, and the fact we'll probably never fully understand his character ensures he'll be a fascinating enigma for years to come.

96) Crono

Appeared In:  Chrono Trigger


Crono is probably the only character on this list who is here for little more than the shallow reason "I'm super nostalgic for Chrono Trigger and he's got a kick ass design."  But this is my list, so I'm rolling with it.

No matter how you slice it, Crono's design is a cut above that of other JRPG protagonists.  Crono was designed by Akira Toriyama, who is most well known for designing many of the characters of Dragon Ball Z.  It really shows in Crono's design too, as he looks like a super cool blend of a Dragon Ball Z character with a traditional samurai.  In battle,  Crono wields a samurai and lightning based magic, and is able to utilize these to pull of awesome moves with his teammates, such as zapping his friend Frog's sword as if it were a lightning rod after he plunges it into the enemy.  As the protagonist, Crono also has well rounded stats and there's little reason not to use him in battle...even after using him becomes optional in the wake of his death.

Yes, Crono dies during the events of Chrono Trigger.  When he and his party are forced to fight the impossibly strong parasitic alien Lavos, he boldly takes a lethal attack that would've demolished his whole party, sacrificing himself so that they could live.  While this is a video game, and you can complete a side quest to revive Crono, Square Enix was bold enough to make bringing Crono back to life entirely optional.  Despite being the main character, Crono can die for his friends and stay dead, which was both a bold move in the 90's and still a unique idea to this day.

Still, I could never bring myself to leave Crono dead.  He may be a silent protagonist, but he's still a likable character; his friends' mourning over his loss is too depressing to leave be, his battle capabilities are too good to pass up, and his killer design doesn't deserve to go to waste. 

Chrono Trigger is an endlessly replayable game, and I frequently return to it to travel back and forth through the edges of time with Crono and co.  But no matter how many times I play it, I'll never pass up on the chance to revive my main man Crono.

Check out the next page to read about the next five characters!