Guinness Book Lists Top 50 Video Game Characters

Yesterday we got the press release below from the people behind the Guinness Book of World Records: Gamer's Edition. I, personally, love when someone assembles a list like this. It is a great way to get people talking, often loudly and irately, about who their favorite characters are and what makes a character great. Analyzing the list, though, one thing strikes me. Gamers, it seems, have got a long memory.

Yesterday we got the press release below from the people behind the Guinness Book of World Records: Gamer’s Edition. I, personally, love when someone assembles a list like this. It is a great way to get people talking, often loudly and irately, about who their favorite characters are and what makes a character great. Analyzing the list, though, one thing strikes me. Gamers, it seems, have got a long memory.

We’ll start with the obligatory critique. Not all of the characters on this list are good video game characters. Naruto for instance. He’s an excellent character, certainly, but he’s an excellent character that is in a video game, not an excellent video game character. If Naruto is a video game character then John Madden is a video game character. Then there are other characters on the list that are characters in an excellent video game, but not excellent video game characters. Marcus Fenix, while the main character if a really fun game, is essentially a wall of meat with a cool gun, and the same voice actor as Bender… On second thought, I think that’s sufficient.

Overall, list is a pretty good representation of the greats of the gaming world, though there are those on our staff, myself included, who feel that Nintendo’s characters probably should have dominated the top ten a smidge more than they did. (Samus is number 14? Seriously?) In the end, though, the list was created via a massive poll, not any quantifiable score of quality. As such, it is by definition a popularity contest. Knowing that, we are truly glad to see the range of eras represented here. The top three span twenty years, just by themselves.

If you dig down a bit further, though, you’ll find a character that we were thrilled to find on the list. Number 45: Larry Laffer. As the only representative of the venerable Sierra adventure game franchises, Larry is a guy with a dear place in our hearts, here at BrainLazy. He was one of the first characters to give mature humor a place in the gaming world, and is the star Love for Sail, which still ranks as one of our all time favorite Adventure Games, and one of the best ever made. Created by Al Lowe, who we were lucky enough to interview some time ago, Larry has had his good name tarnished a bit in recent years thanks to the mind-boggling out-of-genre “sequels” to his franchise, Magna Cum Laude and Box Office Bust. Seeing him show up on this list despite those two black eyes proves that gamers remember the good times. (The fact that Larry himself is only an ancillary character in those games doesn’t hurt.) We were able to reach Mr. Lowe for comment, and he replied, with characteristic humor:

“Wow, I’m honored! If I had known that, a quarter-century later, the old boy would still be remembered, I’d have done a better job creating him! Or at least, holding onto the IP!”

Well, Larry may have fallen in with a bad crowd, but this list proves that, if a character is good enough, he will stand the test of time regardless. Congratulations to all of the honorees. You can read the full release below, and feel free to let us know how you feel in the comments.

TOP 50 VIDEO GAME CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME ANNOUNCED IN
GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® 2011 GAMER’S EDITION

Thousands of Fans Voted on Favorites to Put Zelda, Halo, Final Fantasy and
Mario Characters at the Top of the List

NEW YORK (February 16, 2011) – Mario bounced over Solid Snake, Pac-Man chewed up Kratos and Lara Croft barreled through Donkey Kong as Guinness World Records® 2011 Gamer’s Edition revealed the Top 50 Video Game Characters of All Time. Voted on by more than 13,000 fans on the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition website (http://gamers.guinnessworldrecords.com/), the list includes heroes and villains from more than 30 years of video game history. Nintendo ruled the line-up with an impressive 11 characters included, followed by Sony and Capcom with six and five respectively. Additionally, 1996 had a noteworthy five timeless characters, followed by 1987, 2001, and 2007 with four each.

While the Top 3 characters — Mario, Link and Master Chief — will come as no surprise, several omissions are sure to cause a stir. Mario’s lanky brother Luigi, Mortal Kombat’s spear-tossing legend Scorpion, Bio-Shock’s terrifying Big Daddies, and the adorable lemmings from Lemmings, all failed to make the cut. However, video game legends like Sonic, Gordon Freeman, Cloud Strife, and PAC-Man cracked the Top 10 thanks to their celebrated titles and pop culture significance.

“The world has seen so many pivotal characters throughout the history of gaming that asking our readers to narrow it down to just 50 was a challenge in itself,” says Gaz Deaves, Guinness World Records Gaming Editor. “Some of the choices on the list are obvious, some less so, but it’s sure to get gamers talking about their faves.”

To see how people stack up against these iconic characters, Guinness World Records has launched a “Which Character Are You?” Facebook app (http://www.facebook.com/GuinnessWorldRecords). The new app will ask visitors to answer ten unique gaming questions such as “What Would Be Your Ultimate Power Up?” to determine a distinct digital doppelganger.

Additionally, the Guinness World Records 2011 Gamer’s Edition eBook is now available for $12.99 and features hundreds of new video game records, facts, trivia, a classic quotes quiz and much more!

Please find the full list below. Information includes the publisher with the game and year of the character’s first appearance.

1.    Mario (Donkey Kong, Nintendo, 1981)
2.    Link (The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo, 1986)
3.    Master Chief (Halo: Combat Evolved, Microsoft, 2001)
4.    Solid Snake (Metal Gear, Konami, 1987)
5.    Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII, Square, 1997)
6.    PAC-Man (PAC-Man, Namco, 1980)
7.    Lara Croft (Tomb Raider, Eidos 1996)
8.    Gordon Freeman (Half-Life, Valve, 1998)
9.    Kratos (God of War, Sony, 2005)
10.  Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega, 1990)
11.  Crash (Crash Bandicoot, Sony, 1996)
12.  “Soap” MacTavish (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Activision, 2007)
13.  Nico Bellic (Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar, 2008)
14.  Samus Aran (Metroid, Nintendo 1986)
15.  Ratchet (Ratchet & Clank, Sony, 2002)
16.  Nathan Drake (Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Sony, 2007)
17.  Captain Price (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Activision, 2007)
18.  Kirby (Kirby’s Dream Land, Nintendo, 1992)
19.  Marcus Fenix (Gears of War, Microsoft, 2006)
20.  Pikachu (Pokemon Red/Green, Nintendo 1996)
21.  Yoshi (Super Mario World, Nintendo, 1990)
22.  “CJ” Johnson (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Rockstar, 2004)
23.  Mega Man (Mega Man, Capcom, 1987)
24.  Sam Fisher (Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Ubisoft, 2002)
25.  Shadow (Sonic Adventure 2, Sega, 2001)
26.  Jak (Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Sony, 2001)
27.  Duke Nukem (Duke Nukem, Apogee, 1991)
28.  Dante (Devil May Cry, Bandai, 2003)
29.  Naruto (Naruto: Konoha Ninpoch, Bandai, 2003)
30.  Altair (Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft, 2007)
31.  Zelda (The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo, 1986)
32.  Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII, Square, 1997)
33.  Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong, Nintendo, 1981)
34.  The Prince (Prince of Persia, Broderbund, 1989)
35.  Ezio (Assassin’s Creed II, Ubisoft, 2009)
36.  Leon S (Biohazard/ Resident Evil, Capcom, 1996)
37.  Ash Ketchum (Pokemon Red/Green, Nintendo, 1996)
38.  Guybrush Threepwood (The Secret of Monkey Island, LucasArts, 1990)
39.  Spyro (Spyro the Dragon, Universal, 1998)
40.  “Ghost” Riley (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Activision, 2009)
41.  Goku (Dragon Daihikyoe, Epoch, 1987)
42.  Max Payne (Max Payne, Rockstar, 2001)
43.  Jill Valentine (Biohazard/ Resident Evil, Capcom, 1996)
44.  Princess Peach (Super Mario Bros., Nintendo, 1985)
45.  Larry Laffer (Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, Sierra, 1987)
46.  Augustus Cole (Gears of War, Microsoft, 2006)
47.  Bowser (Super Mario Bros., Nintendo, 1985)
48.  Eddie Riggs (Brutal Legend, EA, 2009)
49.  Ryu (Street Fighter, Capcom, 1987)
50.  Sackboy (LIttleBigPlanet, Sony, 2008)

About Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records is the universally recognized authority on record-breaking achievement.  First published in 1955, the annual Guinness World Records book is published in more than 100 countries and 25 languages and is one of the highest-selling books under copyright of all time with more than 3 million copies sold annually across the globe. Guinness World Records celebrated its 50th anniversary edition in 2004, a year after the sale of its 100 millionth copy.  Guinness World Records also annually publishes the Gamer’s Edition; a records book devoted solely to the world of computer gaming and high score record achievements.

About BradyGames:
Headquartered in Indianapolis, BradyGames develops high quality video game strategy guides. The company also produces high-end exclusive Signature Series and Limited Edition guides for leading PC and video game titles.  The ultimate online source for video game strategy, BradyGames.com, features BradyGames news, strategy guide updates, video strategy, Strategy E-Guides, walkthroughs and more.  BradyGames is an imprint of Dorling Kindersley (DK) within the Penguin division of Pearson plc (NYSE: PSO).

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Editor, Writer, and general Knower-Of-Words, if there is text to be read on BrainLazy, Joseph Lallo probably has his fingerprints on it. As the final third of the ownership and foundation of BrainLazy, Joseph “Jo” Lallo made a name for himself when he lost the “e” from his nickname in an arm wrestling match with a witch doctor. Residing in the arid lowlands of the American Southwest, Joseph Lallo is a small, herbivorous, rabbit-like creature with the horns of an antelope. He sleeps belly up, and his milk can be used for medicinal purposes. Joseph Lallo is also author of several books, including The Book of Deacon Series, book 1 of which is available for free here.