Well, I missed multiple deadlines.  I doubt anyone's surprised.  A combination of work, cleaning up my video game backlog, and some new video game characters that I really like questioning the accuracy of my current list have lead to a delay in this installment of my favorite video game characters list, but as is my motto with college papers, "better late than never!"  Some people have been waiting long enough to see this entry (at least, I hope so), so let's get started right away!

80) Damon Gant

Appeared In:  Phoenix Wright:  Ace Attorney

"There are only three people I look out for:  Me, Myself, and I."

One of the reasons Ace Attorney is still a series I hold in such high regard is due to the outstanding villains it's crafted throughout the years.  From somewhat sympathetic killers with intriguing motives to one dimensional cold hearted killers, there are a myriad of wicked people to take down and prove guilty in tense battles of wits throughout the franchise, and it's a sensation that hasn't grown old even six games later.  However, I personally believe the best of these villains can be found in the very first Ace Attorney game, and his name is Damon Gant.

Damon Gant leaves an unforgettable first impression.  He shows up on the witness stand during the first day of a trial and simply stares into the player's soul for almost a minute.  It's an uncomfortably long period of time, and it led to many players, myself included, panicking that their DS had frozen.  However, after realizing he had zoned out, Gant immediately explodes into a cheery persona, expressing great joy at being able to testify and immediately coming up with endearing nicknames for the defense, prosecution, and judge.  It turns out that Gant is the Chief of Police, and all too happy to help the sparring lawyers find the truth of who killed one of his fellow detectives.  At this point in the case, Gant is a riotously fun character, spontaneously erupting into spirited applause when the player finds mistakes in his testimony and all around being very encouraging - a true rarity for Ace Attorney witnesses, who would probably murder Phoenix if looks could kill.

However, it's eventually revealed that the current case being investigated is tied to another murder several years ago, and when asked about it, the previously cheery Gant immediately becomes curt and stone faced, refusing to supply the player with any helpful information.  It comes to light that Gant himself was responsible for both the murders in the past and present, and it falls upon the player to prove this in court.  Realizing that Phoenix Wright knows his secret, Gant is far less helpful the following day in trial.  While he retains his cheery sprites and demeanor, underneath them you can detect real malice.  His nicknames, once playful, now feel mocking.  His clapping, once a sign of encouragement, now feels sarcastic.  And he switches between a silly smile and an evil smirk at the turn of a hat.

Gant puts up one hell of a fight in this trial, especially since this is early in the series chronology and both Phoenix and the player are still relatively inexperienced in Ace Attorney trials.  As the Chief of Police, he abuses the law to avoid testifying outright and can even imprison Phoenix for slander, so just dragging him on the stand and avoiding his wrath is difficult enough.  What follows is a long, grueling, and tense battle of wits, and the only way to defeat Gant is to skillfully use the own laws he was sworn to protect against him.  And when the player is finally able to catch him, after having one of the most hilarious breakdowns in the whole series, he actually sincerely apologizes for his actions and laments that he'll no longer see his friend, the judge once more.  He displays a surprising amount of remorse for his crimes, a rarity in the Ace Attorney series, and this almost gave me an iota of sympathy for the ruthless man.

There have been plenty of fantastic witnesses and villains in the Ace Attorney series, but nothing can top the thrill of defeating Damon Gant at his own game.  Using evidence law against him was an unforgettable moment, and the way in which the game twisted his once cheerful demeanor into something far more sinister in the second trial was unforgettable, and showed multiple sides of a very interesting character.  The Ace Attorney series still going strong, but while I look forward to where it takes us next, it has quite a challenge ahead of it if it wants to top Damon Gant with one of its new villains.

79) Javier Garcia

Appeared In:  Telltale's The Walking Dead Season Three:  A New Frontier

"I love you, brother."

I have to admit, I wasn't the biggest fan of Season Two of Telltale's The Walking Dead, despite Season One being one of my all time favorite games.  While I enjoyed getting to see the world from Clementine's perspective and how much more dangerous the apocalypse was through the eyes of a 12 year old, the season was devoid of interesting characters.  Aside from Kenny, Clementine didn't really share any interesting relationships with the survivors she found herself caught up with.  On the contrary, I very much enjoyed Season Three, and that is in large part thanks to its compelling new protagonist.

Javier Garcia is the star of season three, a disgraced baseball player with an estranged relationship to his family.  Javier and his brother David have a muddy relationship at best - they both clearly love one another, but their contrasting personalities mean they both have a hard time showing it.  In the wake of their father being diagnosed with cancer, Javier finds staying with his somewhat abusive brother and increasingly sick father impossible and abandons them in their time of need.  Though he tries to be there in time for his father's final passing, he doesn't make it, only further angering his brother.  However, this conflict is cut short prematurely by what else but the zombie apocalypse!

After a series of events, Javier and David are separated, and Javier ends up travelling the ravaged countryside with David's wife, Kate, and David's children from a prior marriage, Gabe and Mariana.  This strange blended family shares a really unique dynamic over the course of the season that does a great job of telling a compelling character driven story in comparison to Season Two.  Presuming David to be dead, jokesters Javier and Kate could end up eloping depending on the player's choices, which makes David's inevitable return much more complicated.  Though he is only his uncle, Gabe ultimately ends up viewing Javier as his true father, displaying a degree of compassion and respect rough army man David never could for his son.  And of course, Javier and David themselves share a compelling dynamic.  The dialogue is extremely well written, and the game does a great job of depicting two brothers that almost feel like they aren't meant to get along in spite of the fact that they do care for one another deep down.  It's a very realistic and compelling relationship.  In particular, there is one scene at the end of the season where David begins to brutally fight Javier in a fit of rage over Kate having feelings for him instead.  The player as Javier can choose not to fight back and instead insist they love David, their brother.  And what follows was one of the most heartbreaking and raw scenes I've seen in a video game, as Javier simply can't quell his brother's rage in spite of his brotherly love.

Choosing which familial ties to nurture most as Javier in the heat of the apocalypse made for a really compelling story, and it also helps that in comparison to Lee and Clementine, Javier has a multitude of responses that allow you to role play multiple takes on the same character.  Will you be a loyal and compassionate brother to David?  A charming and optimistic romantic with Kate?  A strong father figure for Gabe?  Or just a selfish jerk?

I feel that The Walking Dead fanbase is a bit too hard on Season Three; just because Javier isn't fan favorite character Clementine doesn't mean he's poorly written by any means.  On the contrary, I found the bonds he shared with his brother, sister-in-law and and nephew to be really compelling, and deciding how to develop each of these bonds as a very malleable and likable protagonist was some of the most fun I've had in a Telltale game.  It's difficult to say where the next season of Telltale's franchise will take us next, but I hope that it'll provide characters with relationships as interesting as the ones Javier had with his family in a New Frontier.

78) Godot

Appeared In:  Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney:  Trials and Tribulations

"No matter the man, we all wear masks.  Either on our face, or over our hearts."

To continue my previous gushing about Ace Attorney characterization, on top of providing players with a large number of memorable killers to take down in court, the series has also consistently created interesting prosecutors to face off with.  Unlike the villains, players would verse these attorneys for most of the game, as they skillfully counter your defense and twist your own claims against you in a passionate effort to find your client convicted.  Because they are main characters, the prosecutors also get a wealth of characterization and growth throughout the game they appear in, and none are perhaps more interesting than Trials and Tribulations' rival attorney Godot.

For much of the game, Godot is a man of mystery.  He has a huge bone to pick with protagonist Phoenix Wright; however, Wright has never seen the man before in his life.  Godot is a prosecutor who has never lost a case, and chose the profession solely to take down Phoenix in court one day.  The rationale behind Godot's hatred for Phoenix isn't revealed until much later in the game, and it's one of the most complex motives of any Ace Attorney character.

Before he took up the mantle of Godot, Diego Armando was a mentor and lover to Mia Fey (another excellent character I talked about in the last character list installment).  After failing to catch a ruthless killer named Dahlia Hawthorne, the two attorneys made a pact to track her down and find her guilty of the next murder that she would inevitably commit.  Ultimately, Mia was successful in doing so... but not before Dahlia managed to poison Armando's coffee and plunge him into a coma that would last several years.

When he finally woke up, Armando was eager to reunite with his lover and celebrate their victory over Hawthorne.  Except... Mia wasn't there to greet him.  And she never would be.  She was murdered while Armando was in a coma.  Armando sunk into despair and blamed himself - if he hadn't fallen for Hawthorne's trick, he'd have never fallen into a coma and would've been there to protect Mia.  As misplaced as this self blame is, Armando buries it quickly, instead deciding to blame Phoenix for Mia's death, as Wright was her student at the time and in Armando's mind, he should've been there to protect her.  This is what encourages Godot to become a prosecutor - to defeat and embarrass Phoenix in court as revenge.

While this sounds serious and on the cusp of edginess, the reason Godot occupies a spot on this list because in spite of his depressing backstory, he's actually a hilarious character.

Godot claims he never lost a case... but that's only because he just became a prosecutor and had never taken a case before the events of Trials and Tribulations.  He claims to have a seething hatred for Phoenix Wright... but he doesn't even know his proper name, humorously addressing him as "Trite" throughout the game's trials.  But more than anything, Godot is remembered for his crippling coffee addiction.  He drinks no less than 17 cups in every trial, randomly engages in monologues about the "allure" of black coffee, throws cups of it at Phoenix when angered, etc.  His coffee "shtick" could have easily felt like a gimmick, but it's more often than not hilarious.  Godot comparing his soul to a cup of black coffee is meaningful, but the game presents it in a way that feels more silly than anything, and the ability to walk a fine line between humor and drama (much like the series as a whole) is what makes Godot such a memorable character.

Godot also has one of the best send offs of any prosecutor in the series.  In the game's final case, he catches wind of a plot to kill Mia Fey's younger sister, Maya.  Rather than alert the authorities or seek help from Phoenix, who was good friends with Maya, Godot instead devises an elaborate plan to assassinate Maya's assailant and pin the blame on someone else.  Why?  Because he wanted to be the hero of his own story.  The crippling sense of being responsible for Mia's death was eating away at him, and he felt that by protecting Maya, even through as terrible a means as murder, he could somehow find redemption.

When Phoenix unravels the truth of the murder and finds Godot guilty, he apologizes for blaming Phoenix for Mia's death, and the two share one final cup of coffee together, before he is inevitably arrested and possibly executed.

Godot is Ace Attorney writing at its finest.  He's an interesting character with a compelling and depressing backstory, but he's also a constant source of humor, and the ability of the writers to constantly go back and forth from getting players to sympathize with him as a character and laughing at his strange mannerisms gives him an interesting niche among all the video game characters on this list as a whole.

77) Klavier Gavin

Appeared In:  Apollo Justice:  Ace Attorney

"Achtung baby!  It's no holds barred!  Let's rock!"

If Godot earned a spot on this list for being a deeply written and intriguing prosecutor to verse in court, than Klavier made his way here for almost the exact opposite reason.  In stark contrast to Godot in Trials and Tribulations, the following main series Ace Attorney game had a more simplistic and entertaining foe to fight in court, though that made him no less interesting and memorable.

Klavier Gavin is Apollo Justice's prosecutor rival, though in a surprising and refreshing deviation from the norm, there is little bad blood between the two, even when they initially meet.  While Gavin's nicknames that poke fun at Apollo (most notably "Herr Forehead") and creative insults when Apollo makes a poor argument ("Welcome back to reality!  We've been waiting for you!) get under the latter's skin, the dynamic these two have in court is more teasing than malicious, as both are determined to seek the truth, albeit through different means.  While many Ace Attorney prosecutors are out there to find the defendant guilty by any means necessary and to win, Klavier simply wants to find the truth, to ensure justice is maintained by the true culprit getting punished, even if they're not the defendant.  Surprisingly, Klavier is even willing to work with the defense to make that happen.

A common trope in the Ace Attorney series is that the leading prosecutor of each game usually has a connection to one of the main characters and some kind of tragic past to uncover.  On a superficial level, Gavin appears to have both, but this trope is subverted in a very refreshing way.  Shortly after the events of Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix is disbarred for using falsified evidence in court.  This is meant to be a shocking revelation as the player, assuming the new role of Apollo, is shocked that the noble attorney we've come to know and love would stoop to such a level.  It turns out that Gavin was the prosecutor for the case where Phoenix used the forged evidence, and being young and full of vigor at the time, gladly cut Phoenix down for breaking the law and ensured that his badge was lost.

However, it turned out that Phoenix was set up by Klavier Gavin's older brother, defense attorney Kristoph.  Klavier didn't actually do anything wrong because from his perspective, Wright really did break the law.  Interestingly enough, when this comes to light later in the game, Klavier feels immensely guilty about his mistake and owns up to it, a character trait I always find very respectable.

Gavin's thirst for the truth is something he carries with him for the whole game.  Two of the murders in the game turn out to be one of his very good friends, and even his brother, but he doesn't evade his values to protect either of them, instead assisting Apollo in ensuring justice is delivered and both find their ways behind bars.  Usually, such a scenario would create a cliched inner character conflict where the character struggles to decide whether to uphold the law or protect their family, but to Gavin, the choice is clear - persecute the guilty, no matter who they are.

While his firm devotion to justice from the get-go makes Klavier an interesting prosecutor, he's cemented a place on this character list because he's a riotously fun character.  This is because though Klavier is a full time prosecutor, he also is a part time guitarist in a band, and these two aspects of his life blend together constantly.

He comes to court dressed as if he just got out of a concert.  His celebrity rock star persona bleeds into that of a firm prosecutor.  He randomly performs air guitar routines in the middle of a trial.  And he's even a europhile; though he isn't actually German, he sprinkles random German words into his vocabulary, a trait that humorously annoys the hell out of some of the characters.

I feel as though Klavier is proof that a character that is technically an "antagonist" doesn't have to be villainous at all.  Though he often butts head with the player and Apollo due to the nature of his job, his willingness to work with them if he realizes they are both pursuing the same culprit makes him an admirable character, and his "rock star prosecutor" shtick somehow never grew old.  There's something about seeing a prosecutor randomly jam on an air guitar after making fun of you for bluffing in court that's so surreal, so distinctly "Ace Attorney" that I couldn't help but give Klavier a much deserved spot on this list.

76) Manfred von Karma

Appeared In:  Phoenix Wright:  Ace Attorney

"Wrong.  There is only one thing you need do here.  You will slam down your gavel and say the word 'guilty.'  That is your role!"

Okay, you're probably sick of reading about Ace Attorney prosecutors if you're not a fan of the series, but I assure you this is the last Ace Attorney character to show up on this list for a while!

In many ways, Klavier Gavin is a complete inversion of everything Manfred von Karma stands for.  While the former is motivated to pursue the truth and is willing to lose a case if it means the true culprit being apprehended, Manfred is a perfectionist who will use any means necessary to insure he finds the defendant guilty and wins.  He cares not about the suffering of any innocents, only the continuation of his perfect courtroom winning streak.  By the time players encounter him in court, he has never lost a single case in over 40 years of prosecution.

When rookie defense attorney Phoenix Wright takes up the case of defending Miles Edgeworth, he finds he's able to do so facing little resistance from other attorneys because they are too afraid to verse von Karma in court.  And for good reason; von Karma may not be a deeply written character in the slightest, but he's possibly the most intimidating prosecutor Ace Attorney has ever had.  As a courtroom veteran, he is able to see through Phoenix's thinly veiled tricks.  Trying to press every one of the witness' statements for more evidence will cause him to object and find a way to prevent the witness from talking because the information is "irrelevant to the case."  When the player finds even the smallest possible lead, von Karma immediately comes up with a counter argument and completely crushes the defense.  And so on.  It feels like it's impossible to make any progress in a case with von Karma prosecuting on the other side, and trying to stump a man with that much presence and intelligence made for a fierce and satisfying battle of wits.

However, von Karma also has a very disturbing connection to the main plot of the first Ace Attorney game; the story of the original Ace Attorney revolves around the relationship between Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth.  As children, the two yearned to be defense attorneys when they grew up, but after losing touch and reconnecting years later, Phoenix is shocked to find that Edgeworth has become a ruthless and unforgiving prosecutor.  As it turns out, this is because von Karma had murdered Edgeworth's father Gregory, a defense attorney and the only lawyer to ever get Manfred a penalty in court and stain his flawless record.  Consumed with vain rage, von Karma murdered Gregory.  Worse still, he ends up adopting Edgeworth (who is oblivious to the fact Manfred is his father's killer) and trains him in his methods of prosecution, molding him into a younger and equally callous version of himself.  It's bad enough that von Karma was driven to kill by his obsessive perfectionism, but the fact he adopted his murdered rival's son and turned him into a man that went against all the noble values his father stood for is a very chilling thought.

Naturally, Phoenix is able to defeat von Karma in court and save Edgeworth's corrupted soul, but the struggle to get to that point was long and difficult.  However, the sheer satisfaction of making the once intimidating figure literally break out into a sweat with panic when you start to win and bring to life his crimes was an extraordinary moment.  When I crafted this character list I tried to think of all the villains that stood out to me the most in my gaming career, and von Karma immediately came to mind.  His motivations may be petty, but he made for a fearsome foe that required creative thinking and logic to take down, and the cruel way in which he raised Edgeworth is bone chilling to think about.  In many ways, while Klavier Gavin showed us antagonists don't have to be villainous to be compelling, von Karma demonstrates that sometimes a one dimensionally evil villain that is a challenge to take down can be incredibly satisfying and unforgettable in its own right.