What are the most iconic video game characters in history?

Iconic Characters

From Mario to Master Chief, these are the characters that will never be forgotten in the video game industry.

If you’re an avid gamer, you know that some iconic video game characters are more important than others—and definitely more memorable. While some games have managed to stick with us over time, others just haven’t stood up to the test of time. But many of those that have persevered over the years has not only been because of their gameplay and story but because of their iconic characters.

This list will take a look at some of the most iconic video game characters in history and discuss what makes them so memorable. It’s a list that could be much longer, but we’ve taken the liberty of choosing the most iconic of the iconic.

Each of these characters left its mark on video game history

Many players see themselves reflected in these characters. Without a doubt, they have defined the industry and made it what it is today. Each one of these characters left its mark on video game history, and they continue to influence modern games as we know them today. Even in the 2020s, many of the characters that we mention below have made a comeback in some form or another.

Many players see themselves reflected in these characters because they’re so compelling and memorable— or perhaps because they represent something that players wish they could be or do in real life. If you’ve been living on another planet, were born yesterday, or just aren’t interested in video games at all, here’s a list of some of the most iconic video game characters.

Pac-Man

Pac-Man was the first video game character to be a cultural icon. Pac-Man was originally created in 1980 by Toru Iwatani, an employee at Namco, and became popular after appearing on Japanese television. The game has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, making it the highest-selling arcade game of all time.

Most Recent Game: Pac-Man World Re-Pac

pac-man

The yellow circle with a mouth and hands has appeared in over 30 video games and spinoff titles since then including mobile apps and even movies! He’s become so popular that he even had his own theme park attraction at Universal Studios Japan called “Pac-Man Pizza Park” which opened in 2007.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic is a blue hedgehog that first appeared in the classic Sega Genesis game Sonic the Hedgehog. Since then, he has become one of gaming’s most iconic characters and has starred in over 40 games since his initial debut. Sonic was created by Naoto Ōshima and designed by Hirokazu Yasuhara.

Most Recent Game: Sonic Frontiers

Sonic

He was intended to be Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s Mario character, as well as compete with Namco’s mascot-based series of games featuring characters such as Pac-Man (who also made it onto our list) and the equally iconic Ms. Pac-Man.

In addition to being one of gaming’s most recognizable faces, Sonic also holds two Guinness World Records: one for being the fastest fictional character ever running on land and another for having the largest number of sequels in any franchise besides Mario.

Mario

Speaking of everyone’s favorite plumber, if you’re a gamer or not, there’s no way to avoid Mario. If we talk about the definitive iconic character, without a doubt, Mario takes the crown. The iconic character has been a part of the industry since 1981. His first appearance was actually in the arcade game Donkey Kong.

Most Recent Game: Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope

mario

Since then, he’s appeared in countless games and has become one of the most recognizable video game characters ever created. There’s even a Mario-inspired theme park called Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios in Japan with a new park opening in Hollywood in 2023 alongside The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Lara Croft

All the ’90s kids will surely remember this great character. Lara Croft is a fictional heroine and the protagonist of the iconic video game franchise Tomb Raider. She made her first appearance in 1996 and has since been featured in various other media, such as comic books, big-budget films, and animated films.

Most Recent Game: Shadow of the Tomb Raider

lara Croft

Croft has been redesigned many times over the course of her history but has always kept her dual pistols, backpack, and large ammo clips that she gets from scavenging ammo boxes and dead bodies. She is one of the first examples of a strong female role in gaming.

Master Chief

Master Chief is a fictional character in the Halo video game series. He is an enhanced human super soldier and the protagonist of the series, who also serves as an avatar for players in multiplayer modes. Bungie Studios created the character with the release of Halo: Combat Evolved in 2001; since then he has been featured in numerous spin-off novels and other media, such as comics and a Paramount+ TV series.

Most Recent Game: Halo Infinite

Master Chief

There are plenty of other iconic video game characters out there. But these are some of the most famous, and they all have their own unique style. It’s exciting to see how much the industry has grown over time—and we can’t wait to see the upcoming characters that are going to become this popular in the future.

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