Column

10 Video Game Characters Who Don’t Get No Respect

by Jeff Marchiafava on Aug 03, 2018 at 02:07 PM

There’s no shortage of iconic characters in the video game industry, from million-dollar mascots like Mario and Pikachu, to fully fleshed-out characters like John Marston, Joel and Ellie, and … GLaDOS, apparently. Even an unequivocal loser like Sonic still receives heaps of love and admiration from wayward fans, in addition to a free ticket to the Olympics every other year.

However, not all video game characters get the red carpet treatment, or even the baseline level of respect they deserve. Instead, they’re cast aside while hacks like Sonic continue spinning out sequel after sequel – seriously, where is the undying obsession for this dumb hedgehog coming from?!

Anyhow, I can’t right all the wrongs video game characters have suffered over the years, but like the guy chucking starfishes back into the ocean, I can make a difference for a few of them. Here are 10 video game characters who are about to finally get the respect they deserve.

Funny To A Point – 10 Video Game Characters Who Don’t Get No Respect

10. Sackboy

LittleBigPlanet’s adorable mascot got a fair amount of attention last generation, but after a solid debut on PS4, the entire world just seemed to forget about him. Granted, his name wouldn’t do him any favors in today’s politically charged climate, but surely Sackboy still has more to offer Sony, right?

And yes, I know the platforming in LittleBigPlanet feels a little floaty – EVERYONE KNOWS IT’S FLOATY. But is that enough of a reason to completely dismiss a wildly creative series capable of delivering literally unlimited levels? Am I the only one who remembers all the insane crap LBP players came up with? Besides, the third entry fixed the floaty physics anyway, which you would know if you stopped complaining for a second and actually tried playing it!

Media Molecule still insists Dreams is an actual thing that’s coming out in 2018, which means next year would be the perfect time for Sackboy to make a comeback; all it would take is a grassroots campaign to show Sony how much interest there still is in the little canvas cutie. Come on, guys – Let’s Get The Sack Back In 2019!

…that slogan may need some work.

Funny To A Point – 10 Video Game Characters Who Don’t Get No Respect

9. Winston

Overwatch has a ton of characters, so it’s only natural that some are more popular than others. However, it seems like Winston consistently gets the shaft by Overwatch players, and ranks as one of the least-played tanks, which just ain’t right. I can’t comment on Winston’s abilities in the current meta (though years ago I suggested that “Wince-a-ton’s” Tesla Cannon is “…about as effective as piddling on enemies,” which I kind of hope is still true). However, there is one fact I’m certain is underappreciated by players: WINSTON IS A TALKING GENIUS GORILLA INVENTOR. There are so many remarkable descriptors in that statement that I don’t even know what order to put them in. You'd think a genius gorilla would be able to do more than flail around the battleground and drop bubble shields – that's normal gorilla behavior! Can we get a damn buff for this great ape already, Blizzard?

Funny To A Point – 10 Video Game Characters Who Don’t Get No Respect

8. Bomberman

Bomberman has been blowing crap up for a whopping 35 years now, and is one of the only franchises Konami even pretends to care about anymore. So what is that long and venerable legacy worth? Not even a real damn name, apparently. The main star of the series is still just referred to as "Bomberman," or sometimes “White Bomberman,” which sounds like something off an FBI Most Wanted poster.

This snub is even worse if you look into Bomberman’s backstory, which you almost certainly haven’t, because again, he gets no respect. Well, it turns out that Bomberman isn’t even a man at all, at least not originally. According to the NES game manual, he was actually a robot forced to make bombs for an evil empire. Here’s the description:

“Bomberman is a robot engaged in the production of bombs. Like his fellow robots, he had been put to work in an underground compound by evil forces. Bomberman found it to be an unbearably dreary existence. One day, he heard an encouraging rumor. According to the rumor, any robot that could escape the underground compound and make it to the surface could become human. Bomberman leaped at the opportunity, but escape proved to be no small task. Alerted to Bomberman betrayal, large numbers of the enemy set out in pursuit.”

So Bomberman is a robot slave forced to make weapons for the bad guys, and his only goal is to escape and become a real human? How sad is that?! I don’t think I’ve ever been more moved by a video game character’s plight before. Wait a minute – was Bomberman the first empathy game?!

Either way, I guess the good news is that Bomberman did manage to escape and become a real human … though he’s still been forced to create bombs and battle opponents for the last 30 years anyway. The least Konami could do is give him a real name, like every other human being on the planet.

Also, Super Bomberman R sucked. Could we also get an old-school sequel, Konami?

Funny To A Point – 10 Video Game Characters Who Don’t Get No Respect

7. The Riddler

Sure, The Riddler might technically be a psychotic criminal, but he’s also incredibly thoughtful. Think about it – instead of just trying to stomp on Batman like every other villain in Gotham, The Riddler actually takes the time to craft hundreds of unique challenges, and hides them across the entire city for our hero to discover. That’s a ridiculous amount of time and energy to devote to someone you don’t even like.

And as if that wasn’t enough, The Riddler even makes little collectible trophies for each one in the event Batman actually solves it! What other villain gives his nemesis an award every time they’re thwarted? That’s just good sportsmanship!

…I don’t really have any more jokes for this one – just giving credit where credit is due.

Funny To A Point – 10 Video Game Characters Who Don’t Get No Respect

6. Old Man

Everyone is always saying how important it is to “respect your elders” – actually, it seems like elders are usually the ones saying it, though the older I get, the more I agree anyway. But forget all that – the old man in The Legend of Zelda, who is literally called Old Man, definitely deserves your respect.

Consider the facts: When you start The Legend of Zelda, you’re just a stupid kid wandering around a dangerous land, totally unprepared for the deadly creatures you’re about to face. Not only does Old Man not chew you out for brazenly trespassing into his house cave, he gives you a sword for free! The entire quest to save Zelda hinges on Old Man’s generosity – without him, Link would get sucked up by one of those weird snout monsters in no time flat! Maybe think about that before you blow a giant hole in his living room next time.

But Old Man doesn’t stop there – he continues to offer help throughout Link’s lengthy adventure. Where would Link be without such sage advice like “AIM AT THE EYES OF GOHMA,” and “DIGDOGGER HATES CERTAIN KIND OF SOUND,” and “PAY ME FOR THE DOOR REPAIR CHARGE.” Alright, that last one is more of a command than advice, but seriously, stop blowing up his home!

Funny To A Point – 10 Video Game Characters Who Don’t Get No Respect

5. Time Lord

Look, I’ve never played Time Lord, I don’t know what it’s about (other than Time Lording, obviously), and I don’t even know if it’s any good – but clearly Mr. Time Lord has earned our awed reverence. Just look at him!

Funny To A Point – 10 Video Game Characters Who Don’t Get No Respect

4. Lakitu

I’ll be the first to admit that Lakitu was a total jerk in the original Super Mario Bros., but who among hasn’t made a mistake or two in life? Or thrown spikey turtles at our enemies for that matter? Some days it’s the only way to get Brian Shea back on his own side of the office!

But Lakitu is obviously a reformed… cloud turtle thing. Since his early days as an antagonist, he’s been nothing but helpful. He manned the camera in Mario 64, fishes errant racers out of the water in Mario Kart, and serves as the referee in Mario Tennis. In fact, he referees pretty much all of the Mario gang’s sport outings, including the Olympics. What a helpful little guy he is! If that creepy delinquent Captain Toad can get his own spin-off, surely Lakitu deserves one as well.

Funny To A Point – 10 Video Game Characters Who Don’t Get No Respect

3. Yoshi

Yoshi may not seem like the biggest snub, considering the fact that he still gets invited to all the parties, tennis outings, go-kart races, etc. However, a look at the dependable lizard’s past reveals the raw deal he’s gotten from his “pal” Mario over the years.

Yoshi first appeared in Super Mario World, where he was forced to suffer continual abuse at the hands of his captor – not only does Mario ride him through one dangerous environment after the next, he frequently punches him in the back of the head to make him swallow potentially lethal objects, like that feral rodent seen above. You know he’s not going down Yoshi’s gullet without a whole lotta scratching and biting!

Yoshi takes the brunt of attacks from enemies he doesn’t swallow as well, which usually ends with him squealing and trying to flee to safety – only to be recaptured by Mario again. In fact, the only reprieve Yoshi gets is when Mario uses him as a springboard to leap over extra-large pits – leaving him to plummet to his doom. Great way to treat your faithful sidekick, Mario!

But that’s not even the worst part. After Super Mario World, Yoshi became a star in his own right, headlining two of his own puzzle games: The self-titled Yoshi, and the culinary-focused Yoshi’s Cookie. Clearly, Yoshi is more intelligent and versatile than Super Mario World let on, and he was a hit with fans to boot. So what came next?

Career sabotage, obviously, because it was right back to being a mindless vehicle for Mario in subsequent World games, as well as an unpaid babysitter in Yoshi’s Island! Knowing how spiteful Mario is, I bet he had a loaded diaper the entire time too. Yoshi definitely deserves better.

Funny To A Point – 10 Video Game Characters Who Don’t Get No Respect

2. Elena Fisher

Elena puts up with a lot of crap in the Uncharted games. A LOT of crap – she can’t turn her back for more than two seconds without her husband sneaking off and getting himself into some ridiculous and deadly predicament, which she then has to bail him out of. Granted, she should’ve known what she was getting into – their first meeting started with them getting attacked by a boatload of pirates Nathan pissed off, and ended with him marooning her on an island to go chase after more treasure with his surrogate grandpa. What a class act!

Maybe you could rationalize Nathan’s behavior if he was actually a good treasure hunter: “Sure, he lied to me, AGAIN, and disappeared for two weeks, AGAIN – but that sack of gold doubloons should cover the kids’ college tuition … and a family therapist!” But no, all Nathan ever comes back with is another tall tale about all the fun he had, which doesn’t mean a lot when it’s coming from a proven liar anyway. “Oh really, Nathan? There were actual mummies? How stupid do you think I am?!”

Meanwhile, Elena spends her time on planet earth doing actual good deeds. She’s like the karmic opposite of Drake. Just take a look at her bio from Uncharted 4:

“A journalist who’s never one to sit still when there are wrongs to be righted, Elena Fisher has traveled around the world in search of good causes, often putting herself in harm’s way for a great story.”

Yep, that pretty much sums up the respectable woman Elena is! Now let’s re-write the bio for Nathan:

“A journalist lying deadbeat who’s never one to sit still when there are wrongs to be righted historical artifacts to be stolen and pawned off, Elena Fisher Nathan Drake has traveled around the world in search of good causes personal wealth, often putting herself everyone who cares about him in harm’s way for a great story big pile of moolah.”

As far as I can tell, Elena’s only character flaw is not realizing she’s married to a garbage husband. Does the two of them working things out really qualify as a happy ending?

Funny To A Point – 10 Video Game Characters Who Don’t Get No Respect

1. Mavis Effin’ Beacon

Yeah, that’s right! No video game character deserves more respect than the original virtual typing teacher, Mavis Beacon. Not just because she was trying to teach your ignorant ass a real-world skill that might actually come in handy someday, but because she was smart enough to disguise it as a video game – when really you were just running through the same kind of drills typists have been training on since the 1800s.

And guess what? It worked! I still remember shaking my head the first time I saw my mom hunting and pecking out letters on our first home computer – and I was eight years old! That’s how good Mavis Beacon is; she made a child ashamed of his mother’s inferior typing skills. And now I write for a living! If that’s not proof of Mavis’ prowess, I don’t know what is. Kudos to you, Ms. B!