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40s-01Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog)

There are probably only a handful of video game characters that you could show to just about anybody walking down the street and they’d be able to name. Sonic the Hedgehog is that iconic. He rose to fame during the 16-bit console wars where he battled Mario with his snarky attitude and fast moves for mascot supremacy. While his gaming resume since the Genesis days has been inconsistent (at best), he’s maintained a constant presence in the hearts and minds of fans.    -John

40s-02Luigi (Mario Bros.)

Always playing second fiddle to his mega-popular sibling, Luigi has nonetheless managed to cultivate quite the fan following himself. He’s the star of his own criminally underrated series, Luigi’s Mansion, and he became an internet sensation with the ‘Luigi’s Death Stare’ meme when Mario Kart 8 was released. We’re no longer content though with him just playing the supporting role next to his brother, we think it’s long overdue for Luigi to get a fully fledged, AAA platformer that is all his own. After over 30 years of living in Mario’s shadow, we think he’s earned it.   -John

40s-03Tetra (The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker)

(spoilers ahead) The characters in the Legend of Zelda series have seen many incarnations. With each new Zelda installment we see fresh takes on the classic characters, offering different shades of familiar faces. But for my money, no version of any of these characters is as different or fresh as Tetra from Wind Waker. A wise-cracking, no-nonsense pirate is this chapters version of the princess Zelda. While it may not be the most surprising reveal, Nintendo does a great job of holding their cards until near the end of the game before making this revelation in a fantastic story twist which stands as my favorite story moment in any Zelda adventure yet. Tetra is the strongest version of Zelda and one of the series’ greatest characters. –Adam

40s-04Marcus Fenix (Gears of War)

While it might be easy to dismiss the protagonist of the Gears series as nothing more than a meat head with a Lancer, underneath all of armor and one-liners is a character with more depth than he’s given credit for. When he’s seen in Gears 4, he’s all but shut himself out from the rest of the world, haunted by the loss of so many loved ones and unable to connect with his son. The Gears of War series has always been about explosive, bloody action, but there’s a lot of great characters and stories behind it all, and Marcus Fenix is the heart of it all.   -John

40s-05Trevor Philips (Grand Theft Auto 5)

The wildest, craziest and all around nastiest character I’ve ever played in a video game, Trevor manages to take the worst characteristics a human can possibly have and turn it into one of the funniest characters I’ve ever played. I never thought I’d ever root for a tattoo-riddled, arms-dealing, meth-peddling, sociopathic murderer, but somehow Trevor’s crazy adventure has you in stitches from the get-go as he crashes his way through Los Santos leaving nothing but death, destruction and poop in his wake. Trevor is one of a kind and I for one hope we get a cameo reappearance in the inevitable GTA 6. –Adam

40s-06Henry (Firewatch)

As many people know, I consider Firewatch to be one of the finest examples of video game storytelling in the entire medium, and the success of that story is due largely to the character of Henry. Wonderfully portrayed by actor Rich Sommer, Henry is one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever played as. Looking to escape from a life that he finds himself unable to cope with, Henry takes a job as a fire lookout in Wyoming, but when meets a woman named Delilah he finds that he can’t run from his demons and must confront the ghosts of his past. It’s made all the more effective by the decisions that you, the player must make in dealing with Delilah.   -John

40s-07Alan Wake (Alan Wake)

When best-selling author Alan Wake travels to the town of Bright Falls with his wife to try to break a spell of writer’s block, his wife ends up missing and he ends up involved in a battle with a supernatural force known as the Dark Presence. Is Alan losing his mind? Are the nightmarish creatures chasing him all in his head? To be honest, after finishing the game I’m not sure I know all of the answers but I do know that he’s a fascinating character and it’s one hell of a journey trying to figure it all out  -John

40s-08Elizabeth (Bioshock Infinite)

Infinite is my personal favorite Bioshock game and it is due in large part to the mysterious female lead, Elizabeth. In what starts as a “rescue the damsel” mission, Infinite takes so many left turns along the way that your head will be spinning. The narrative of Bioshock leans heavily on the intrigue behind Elizabeth’s powers and secret history and is aided by the masterful acting and animation of her character. As you go further down the rabbit hole you are pulled in closer to Elizabeth and truly care about the relationship between her and protagonist, Booker. Ultimately the thread that connects them reveals itself in a fascinating and tragic twist that is truly one of the finest rug-pulling moments in all of gaming. –Adam

40s-09Revolver Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid)

Revolver Ocelot is perhaps the most storied character in the MGS universe. He has a rich history that spans each installment of the series, from young hotshot in MGS3 to the final confrontation as the mind-melded Liquid Ocelot against Solid in MGS4. While the through-line of the story is confusing and bizarre, it’s hard to mistake how utterly badass Ocelot is as he spins and juggles his six-shooter during his many befuddling monologues. Ocelot always seems to spring back up when you least expect him and has his (severed) hand in all the shadow dealings in the background of the MGS universe. And while I still don’t know what the hell a Lalilulelo is, I do know that Ocelot is one formidable foe and very deserving of making our list of greatest characters in gaming. –Adam

40s-10Tom Nook (Animal Crossing)

Tom Nook gets a bad rap. While to many fans of Animal Crossing he’s a greedy lender who you end up owing money to for the rest of the game, to me he’s a misunderstood hero. After all, if you’ve ever purchased a house you know what a hellish nightmare it can be, and Tom Nook gives a pretty reasonable mortgage to somebody brand new to town with no job. He’s also a devoted family man, employing his nephews Tommy and Timmy at his store, presumably after their own parents abandoned them, leaving them homeless and alone.   -John

Check out the previous installments!

Top 50 Video Game Characters of All Time #50-41

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