If you ever needed proof that game storytelling was in its infancy, the Guinness Book of World Records have listed their “top 50 game characters of all-time“, as voted for by 13,000 gamers. My opinions on the list aside, it says a lot that a fair selection of the characters have never spoke, let alone display any sort of personality. Obviously, this list isn’t a reflection of the characters strong personality traits, and is more about the games that they’ve appeared in – Mario and Pac-man clearly stand out there – but having put my opinions on the list aside for this paragraph, I’m going to moan about how stupid the vast majority of the 13,000 people who voted on it are.
I think the two that annoyed me the most were Master Chief (Halo) and “Soap” MacTavish (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare); Maybe it’s my low opinion on the two games influencing me slightly, but, at least with the latter of the two, he could have been called “Generic shooting grunt #3759” and I’m not sure I would have noticed. Now, I can’t say Mario is a character I’ve ever felt any connection with, but he’s the face of a hugely successfully and much-loved series, so I understand his placing at the top of the chart, “Soap” has appeared in two games since 2007. Yes, they were massively successful, but he’s no Italian plumber, is he?
To be quite honest, looking down the list I’m struggling to see any characters that I feel anything more than indifference about – if two characters from Gears of War make it into a top game characters of all-time list, we’re clearly struggling for choice. I suspect I’d struggle to list 10 characters that displayed some sort of personality and weren’t based entirely on tired clichés, so is it that important? Probably not. Is it depressing that after 13,000 votes, a generic first person shooter character beat Guybrush Threepwood and Max Payne? Yes. Yes it is. And don’t even get me started on the fact that Bayonetta didn’t make an appearance when Spyro the dragon did. People, eh!?