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Startselect's Top 10 old school video games characters.

You probably still remember the adventures you’ve been on trying to save Peach. Or how about the Alien Worlds you saw with Bounty hunter Samus Aran. What made these games iconic is mostly a result of its characters. Most of them made it to other media as well, rocking their own movies, being playable on your phone or crossing over to other games. As our SEO keyword research shows, chances are you found this page by looking for Lara Croft and Chun Li porn or Hentai. But we want to highlight their other qualities and impact on the gaming industry as well! We present you with our very subjective but most enjoyable list of old school video game characters we can’t get enough of.

Published on: 27-08-2021

Here’s our Top 10 old school video game characters:

#10 Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

Don’t expect to be looking in every chest you find or around every corner, because the Sonic games are all about speed! The SEGA mascot definitely inspired a revolution.
Sonic games include: Sonic the hedgehog, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Mania, and Sonic Adventure.

Most of us agree that recent games have somewhat let us down. To top it off with a movie that has not received the best reviews. Nevertheless, the Sonic fandom will forever love him! With all it’s appearances you can surely say that Sonic has the endurance to stay current. Let’s also not forget some of the other iconic sonic characters such as: Tails, Knuckles, Amy Rose, and evil Doctor Eggman. 

#9 Yoshi (1990)

We know you are expecting to see our good friend and plumber, Mario, known for Nintendo games like Super Mario 64. But we thought: let’s switch it up a little. Here’s a character we find even more iconic: Yoshi. This green hero is so much more than a sidekick, which is proven with the release of it’s very own video game: Yoshi’s Crafted World. The Loyal Dinosaur has been with Mario ever since “Super Mario” in 1990 and never left our hearts. Yoshi was originally meant to be in the OG Super Mario Bros. But the processing limitations prevented Mario from being able to ride the character in the game. Even so, Yoshi is still one of the first rideable characters in a video game and often picked for a round of Mario Kart.

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Super Mario Party
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Mario Golf: Super Rush
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#8 Pac-Man 

Not the most exciting or complex video game character, but Pac-Man certainly was a phenomenon. Arguably, the yellow ball was the first video game character to become a brand and get its own merchandise. Pac-Man’s backstory is expanded on in later games as well. Did you know that there is also a Mrs. Pac-Man and two children named Jr. Pac-Man and Pac-Baby. How original! And look at their pet dog Chomp-chomp, isn’t he cute?

Anyways, Pac-Man’s creator, Namco, celebrated a huge milestone on May 21st, 2010 by making the game available to be played on Google. It is still widely played today! Nowadays you can also play the game on a Pac-Man Arcade Machine or try one of the newer games on your home console. 

#7 Donkey Kong (1981)

The original boss battle, when Bowser was still only a baby tortoise. Nintendo created an industrial construction site to introduce the single-screen platformer Donkey Kong. The gorilla has evolved from throwing barrels to using them as a means of transport. Donkey Kong has become its own hero, leading a team of super monkeys to fight the lord of amphibians: King K. Rool. Some of the new games in which you can play Donkey Kong and his team are: Donkey Kong Country, DK: Jungle Climber, and Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. All of these can be played on the Nintendo Switch. 

#6 Link (The Legend of Zelda - 1986)

The eternal character Link is known from The Legend of Zelda franchise. If you are still confused, Zelda is the princess and Link the hero in green with the bow and sword. We can never get enough when it comes to the adventures that await in Hyrule. Some of our colleagues are gearing up for their fifth play-through of the “Breath of the Wild” game. Even though Link never speaks, his grunts and groans tell you all you need to know. 

It’s nearly unthinkable today, but before the Zelda games were introduced, games still needed to be saved with typing out passwords. Can you imagine the frustration! From the very first game, playing Link was all about exploring the area and finding hidden chambers. So we can thank the Zelda franchise for more engaging games in general. If you haven’t yet, try one of the older games and see where the Legend started.

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The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD
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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
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#5 Lara Croft

Now known from multiple movies starring Angelina Jolie, or Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, but it all started with the video games. The archaeologist won a Guinness World Record as most recognised female video game character. Even though she started off as a character with a lot of sex appeal, the developers are evolving her to break classic stereotypes. Lara Croft is well educated, strong and makes powerful decisions that influence the story. In the Tomb Raider games, you can explore caves and search for artifacts. Who doesn’t want that! 

4 Kratos (God of War - 2005 )

Not as ancient as the other video game characters on this list, but still very iconic. Kratos is based on the Greek god of war, personifying strength. You never really know whether to love or hate him, but the dramatic storytelling that comes straight from the Greek Mythology makes you want to follow his every move. Even if that move means his foot right through the stomach of a giant. The tragic backstory that is expanded on in all of the games only adds more value to your experience. We can’t wait for the newest addition to the franchise: God of War Ragnarok!

Before we get to our Top 3, these are some honourable mentions that almost made our list!

Kirby (Kirby’s Dream Land - 1992) 

No, not Vanessa Kirby, who played an amazing princess Margaret on “The Crown”. You know, that pink, jumpy, cute Kirby. 

Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII - 1997)

The main protagonist from Final Fantasy VII. This intricate individual has us rooting for him every step of the way.

Solid Snake (Metal Gear - 1987)

The game first appeared on the NES. Voice actor David Hayter found a lot of praise giving a voice to Solid Snake.

Mega Man (Mega Man - 1987)

Icon of the Capcom games, and made an appearance in 29 different titles.

Ezio Auditore (Assassins Creed Lineage - 2009)

Arguably the best character in the Assassin’s games together with Kassandra from the Odyssey game.


#3 Chun-Li (Street Fighter 2 - 1991)

The Arcade Scene can’t be named without one of its most iconic series: Street Fighter. This one-on-one fighting genre let’s you choose a wide range of characters to take on your opponent. Chun-Li is the first playable female character in any fighting game! Other iconic fighters of the Street Fighter franchise include: Ryu, Ken Masters, and Guile. Chun-Li is a martial artist and Interpol officer by day. Some would consider her flipping attack move, the best move in the game. In the 90s, female representation mostly meant the damsel in distress. So Chun-Li was a breath of fresh air in the video game industry.

#2 Crash Bandicoot (Crash Bandicoot - 1996)

Starting off as a mascot for Playstation, Crash put Sony on the map right next to Nintendo and SEGA. Crash was running around without a shirt, in jeans and sneakers, while still being family friendly. A real cool guy! The use of 3D was revolutionising in the 90s and Crash Bandicoot made full use of it. Even more, the game is very simple to play and can be considered the precursor of games like Temple Run and Subway Surfer. You can’t imagine the excitement we felt when we heard of its revival. Crash Bandicoot 4 can be played on the Playstation, Xbox, and PC.

And if you are still wondering what kind of animal Crash is: he is a mutant eastern barred bandicoot. A what?

#1 Samus Aran (Metroid - 1986) 

Action heroes that dominated the Media throughout the 80’s were primarily male. What is even more iconic, is that most people did not even know Samus was female until the end of the game. She has been widely considered as a breakthrough in this male-dominated genre.  The blue Zero Suit Samus first appeared in Metroid: Zero Mission.

The game was unique in its structure. It took place in an expansive, alien-like world where players could explore in a nonlinear fashion. The world was also dark and dangerous, which was something different than the bright and bubbly worlds Mario and Zelda. The game definitely inspired a generation of designers and another classic following: Castlevania: Symphony of the night, has been said to be greatly inspired by Metroid. 


What is your favourite old school video game character? Does your top list look like ours or completely different? Hopefully we made you hyped enough to grab your old console and play one of the retro games we all know and love! 


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