My all-time favorite video game characters
When I sat down to write my column this week, I was certain I had written about this topic before. Somehow, I never sat down to really think about which video game characters are my favorites. It’s time to think back on all the games I’ve played and which characters made the biggest impact on me.
Nathan Drake - Uncharted series
Admittedly, if you haven’t played the Uncharted games, I can see how you would think Nathan Drake (Nate) is just another generic white dude with insane upper-body strength. Anyone who has played the games knows he’s much more than that. By the end of Uncharted 4, it’s hard to believe that Nate is not a real, breathing human being. He’s a treasure hunter, a dad, a husband, a brother, and a best friend. I love Nate because he’s always there to crack a joke for much-needed comic relief, but he always keeps it real.
He’s a complex character with an interesting past. I won’t tell you too much in case you haven’t played these games yet, in which case I highly advise you do.
Luigi - Super Mario Bros. series
I don’t know if there’s a character in the Super Mario Bros. series that I don’t like, but I’ve known from a young age that Luigi was my favorite. We all like to root for the underdog, but I also like Luigi because he’s more human than a lot of the other characters in the Mushroom Kingdom. He’s clumsy, and kind of a scaredy-cat, but he’s always there for his big bro. Mario gets all the credit, but without Luigi to get him out of some sticky situations, Mario would be a goner. Plus, Luigi is just plain adorable, okay?
Ellie - The Last of Us
If you don’t know by now that The Last of Us is my favorite game of all time, you must be new to this column. I could write a dissertation on the game, but the real reason it sticks in my mind and heart is the characters.
I love them all, but I really felt a connection with Ellie. She’s an NPC that holds her own, smashing bricks over enemies’ heads and literally stabbing them in the back. Ellie is a total badass and I love her relationship with Joel so much.
Chloe - Life is Strange
Life is Strange is a fantastic game with amazing characters, and Chloe is by far my favorite. She has a tragic backstory, which explains her rebellious attitude. The entire first Life is Strange is about Chloe’s relationship with Max, the protagonist. The game is filled with tragedy and can be quite depressing, but the relationship between Chloe and Max is beautiful and makes you never want to put the controller down.
Arthur Morgan - Red Dead Redemption II
I had no idea how much I would fall in love with Arthur Morgan, the protagonist in Red Dead Redemption II. He is one of the most well-developed characters in any game I’ve ever played, and I really grew to adore him over my 60+ hours of gameplay. I loved the first Red Dead Redemption, and I loved John Marston, but playing as Arthur in Red Dead Redemption II was such a more fulfilling experience.
You spend so much time with Arthur that it’s impossible not to grow close to him. He’s so much more than a “cowboy,” and I applaud Rockstar for creating a character with this much depth.
Clementine - Telltale’s The Walking Dead
Oh, my darlin’... I fell in love with Clem almost immediately upon playing the very first episode of The Walking Dead back on PS3.
She was just a tiny girl in a treehouse, wondering where her parents were ... in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. She is rescued by Lee, a character I absolutely adore. I spent hundreds of hours getting to know Clem over the course of four seasons; I watched her grow from a helpless little girl to a zombie-slaying, hardened young woman. I definitely cried at the end of The Final Season, and I miss Clem already.
Kazuma Kiryu - Yakuza series
Kiryu-chaaaan! I absolutely adore Kazuma Kiryu, the main protagonist in the Yakuza series. He grew up an orphan and was raised by Shintaro Kazama, captain of the Dojima crime family. Naturally, this led Kiryu to a life of crime himself. Over the years, Kiryu frequently tries to leave his life of crime behind him, but his past always catches up with him. What I love about Kiryu is his heart. He cares so much about his family, and he doesn’t deserve the bad things that have happened to him. Plus, he’s quite hilarious.