Look Back: A Different Discussion on Past Threads, Events, Etc. - The Top 50 Characters

  • Hello all!

    As I find myself doing every once in a very sparse while, I tend to go back and revisit previous GOTY lists and other threads (mostly in the Hall of Fame, but not always) and I look back fondly on all the different discussions when this place was in its prime (So I would say right before the pandemic). And while conducting a redux vote on some of the topics has been discussed previously, I thought it might be an interesting idea to chat about things decided on by many who mostly don't frequent this place anymore as a new thread.

    To be clear: This is NOT me saying, "let's do it again!" Rather, I want to see how the few of us who are still here feel about these several year old lists as a free-form topic. For this first iteration, I decided to do the top 50 Characters for a few reasons:

    1.) This idea of mine could have absolutely no interest, few comments, and have a very short life-span, so if its a one-and-done, then hey, I least I can say I tried something new (?) and fun (to me).

    2.) Characters is an expansive category, with many different opinions, overlap, and of course, new characters brought about since this list was created.

    3.) Doing another vote would require a lot of participation, and let's be honest: The Forums just don't have it and haven't in a long, LONG time. So revisiting a topic as a means of conversation only as opposed to ranking doesn't really require dozens of people.

    4.) This kind of thread can go in several different ways, thus providing more opportunity for different kinds of chats.

    5.) This provides an opportunity to discuss a topic without necessarily posting on a very dead thread.

    As such, here are some things I had in mind as jumping off points:

    • What characters still deserve a spot? Which shouldn't be here at all?
    • Any characters too high? Too low?
    • What new characters from the last half-decade belong?
    • What makes a good character?
    • What's your favorite character?
    • Does the list hold-up? Should it be redone?
    • Any characters you see you want to learn more about?

    If this becomes a consistent type of topic, I'll always post a list (if applicable/dependent on thread) for you to peruse and ponder. I'll also leave a separate post giving my own thoughts to keep the first post on its own.

    With ALL of that out of the way, here's the list, taken directly from the thread in the Hall of Fame. Please feel free to discuss in any way you see fit:

    1. Nathan Drake
    2. Solid Snake
    3. Big Boss
    4. Garrus Vakarian
    5. Revolver Ocelot
    6. Sephiroth
    7. Kanji Tatsumi
    8. Ellie
    9. GLaDOS
    10. Elena Fisher
    11. Ezio Auditore
    12. Joel
    13. Victor Sullivan
    14. Vivi Orunitia
    15. Kefka Palazzo
    16. John Marston
    17. The Boss
    18. Cloud Strife
    19. Commander Shepard
    20. Auron
    21. Link
    22. Naoto Shirogane
    23. Miles Edgeworth
    24. Chie Satonaka
    25. Bowser
    26. Zidane Tribal
    27. Lee Everett
    28. Ryo Hazuki
    29. Rise Kujikawa
    30. Geralt of Rivia
    31. Kazuma Kiryu
    32. Clementine
    33. Otacon
    34. Morrigan
    35. Guybrush Threepwood
    36. Sans
    37. Kane
    38. Dante
    39. King of all Cosmos
    40. Albert Wesker
    41. Junpei Iori
    42. Adam Jensen
    43. Sarah Kerrigan
    44. Tali'Zorah
    45. Daxter
    46. Urdnot Wrex
    47. Phoenix Wright
    48. Master Chief
    49. Shinjiro Aragaki
    50. Vincent Valentine

  • It doesn't feel like a list properly representative of video games. It's dominated by characters from mature third-person action games such as Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid, Devil May Cry, Assassin's Creed, Persona, Mass Effect, Resident Evil, The Witcher, and The Last Of Us, with some Final Fantasy and Japanese fighting games mixed in.

    The only characters I recognize that don't fit the mould are GLaDOS, Link, Bowser, Guybrush Threepwood, Sans, King of all Cosmos, Daxter, Phoenix Wright, and Master Chief, with the latter six all in the bottom third.

  • As I said in the main post, I wanted to leave my personal thoughts as a separate entry:

    A lot of great characters here, and still worthy of being considered on a longstanding list like this. Obviously I would switch up the order for personal preferences (who wouldn't?). And going off some of the template bullet points I posed:

    There are 20 characters here I have a connection with one way or another, so those would be keepers, including my personal favorites Auron and Vincent. There are others who I would have loved to see also have been on the list, far too many to leave in a comment, but that goes to show so many games have so many top tier and memorable characters.

    As for new characters to have made their debuts since the list was published I think would warrant inclusion include Aloy, practically all the major characters from the newest God of War, Rivet and Kit from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and Weapon from Halo: Infinite.

    Honestly, I still think it's a great list, but I'm curious just how different it would be if there was another pass on it.

  • @oscillator That's a very fair and apt criticism. Personally, I think those kinds of games are more mainstream and abundant. In addition, many of these characters were probably more indicative of many voters back in 2016. Speaking of my preferences, a revised ballot would probably be heavily focused on those and JRPGs, as in my experiences, those were the kinds of games that had the most memorable characters that impacted me, with some outliers of course.

  • The two glaring issues that jumped at me are the lack of B.J. Blazkowicz, and Kazuma Kiryu being only #31, this man belongs in the top 10.

  • Junpei Iori caught my eye, I don't think he's Top 50 worthy... he's cool but he's not even close to being the most memorable character in the game lol

  • Nate and Scully are some of my top characters of all time. Their personality just oozes throughout your escapades across three games "It's hot like a hooker in Church" so I'd rate them pretty high. And like any recent ND game, they are three dimensional characters with a starting place and a personal development over time. You just don't get that in other video games.

    King of All Cosmo's is an all-timer for me. He always cracks me up and I love the fact that he's so vengeful, yet, idiotic at the same time.

    Geralt should be higher. He's the perfect catalyst for a player character with a pre-existing backstory and personality. You feel like you can dictate and shape Geralt while simultaneously role playing as him. His wit is charming, his ethics can be driven by the player but they normally float into a politically grey zone. It's fun to play as a character who is first and foremost focused on slaying beasts for coin, but gets dragged into high stakes political drama. He's a very storybook-like character and stands out as an all time great.

    On that note, Dandelion is a glaring omission from this list. He is the Bard from The Witcher series and as far as I know, he is the only character to write Codex/Journal entries in-context and in character. Where Mass Effect or KC:D write their Codex like a boring encyclopedia, The Witcher has a Bard write the Codex in flowery fun poetic language. He's always in the middle of an escapade and rolls with the punches. He's loyal, smart, but also weak to ladies and just digs himself into deep holes then digs himself out. He also writes with a sense of nostalgia and is overall charming.

    Riddick is another high up character for me and should be in the Top 50 imo. Vin's stoic performance just suits the atmosphere of the game and makes the whole experience feel brutal and intense.

    In recent memory, I'd add Johnny Silverhand (along with player character, V) into my top characters. In terms of characters that go through a really good arch, Johnny goes through a lot throughout CP77 and Keanu's performance does reflect his changes in personality over time. He's one of the most complicated and interesting characters. His presence in the greater plot as well as the small moments really endeared him to me over 70 hours.


    In terms of cool characters I'd have to agree with obvious ones:

    • Snake
    • Big Boss
    • The Boss
    • Bowser

    It can use a few other all time "Cool" characters like:

    • Havel
    • Eileen the Crow
    • Captain Price
    • Sonya Blade
    • Chun Li

  • I don't know about any of you guys but I feel Oliver from Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch should be in this list somewhere. I know this is probably just me, but his traits are just so amazingly done-if he isn't a top 50 caliber character, he's got to be the best videogame child of all time.

  • This list was made in 2016 and I noticed that by the absence of many great characters. You could even make a solid list of top 50 characters from games only released in the last 6 years. And any list of top characters made after 2018 that doesn't include Arthur Morgan from Read Dead Redemption 2 is just a bad list.

  • @Axel I'm so with you regarding B.J. with how MachineGames really made him into a character.