Or:  Unsung Heroes Of Gaming, The Quest-Giver...

Every day or so you can find another top-whatever blog here at GIO.  They range in topic from heroes to weapons to games to you-name-it.  Until now however, I've never seen one praising those who make our continued adventures in these digital worlds a reality.  The quest-giver comes in many forms.  Sometimes it's not even called a quest.  Whether you call it a task, objective, mission, or quest, our beloved characters would never advance in the story without the help of some very special people.

Brucie's the kind of guy who's ass you would wish you could kick if he was real.  Whether preaching the health benefits of shark testosterone or loudly defending his heterosexuality, Brucie is far from your typical quest-giver.  As annoying as he gets, the payoff for listening to his cut-scenes is the sweet exotic car theft quest line.  Listening to his rambles goes from amusing to annoying pretty quickly, but you've got to give Rockstar credit for coming up with yet another unique character for their worlds.

Three Dog is the pre-eminent disk jockey of the capitol wasteland.  You start hearing his voice over the radio pretty soon into the game, but some exploration is required to track him down and meet.  There's also a pretty good battle with a behemoth super-mutant.  Three Dog's upbeat attitude and willingness to tell you what direction your father went make him pivotal (although, being a Bethesda game, you can avoid the meeting if you want) in the early to mid portion of the game.

Skyrim's Hermaeus Mora is the baddest of the Daedric princes.  Not only do you have to explore nearly to the end of the map to find him, but he makes you murder (or at least collect the blood of) quite a few people to access the end of the quest-line.  It's also one of few quests requiring extensive delving into dwarven ruins.  His Oghma Infinium is arguably the greatest treasure in the game, giving you several bumps in an entire set of skills of your choosing.  Probably one of the better quests in a game full of good ones.

"What're you buying?"  With that simple line, the merchant from Resident Evil 4 became one of the coolest side characters of all time.  While only a quest-giver in a loose interpretation of the word, he does allow you access to an early special weapon.  While remembered more for cashing in your treasures in order to afford the pricey weapon upgrades, his cool factor alone earned him a spot here.

Another gem of a character from Rockstar, Rosenberg is your first contact in Vice City.  A perpetual coward and coke junkie, his dialog is beyond hilarious and his missions get you acquainted with the mechanics and locations of my arguable favorite in the GTA series.  Without Rosenberg, this would've just been another Scarface rip-off of a game (albeit with some amazing game-play).

"Ragazzo!"  Giving your character a nickname I don't understand was one of Morrie's less unique traits.  Square went out of their way to create a memorable character for the underappreciated Dragon Quest 8 in Morrie.  Whether it's flirting with the ladies or giving you bizarre encouragement as you move up the ranks of the monster arena, he adds flair and humor to an already great game.  It doesn't hurt that the monster team gained by working with him ends up being one of your most powerful attacks.

From Final Fantasy Tactics to Skyrim, no quest-giver shows up in more games than the bartender.  A staple of all fantasy games and many of other genres, the bartender can lead you to some of the most secret places and most powerful artifacts in gaming.  Almost always anonymous in name, the quests gained by listening to a rumor or two or accepting the notice from the jarl have kept many an adventurer up past his or her bedtime.  One thing I've never understood is the nearly limitless funds fantasy barkeeps seem to have.  I did it for a living for several years and was never able to pay an adventurer to hunt down my enemies.  Maybe in the days of silver and gold drinks went for a higher premium than they do now, but we may never know.

We tend to remember the set-pieces and prizes over the men and women who send us to see or get them in games.  Hopefully this gets people thinking a bit about the smaller things that make games great. 

Here's to the quest-givers!  May they never run out of rumors or coin!