Video games today have competent heroes, like soldiers or Batman. Even in games with darker storylines, the heroes (or anti-heroes) are still capable types, such as gangsters or other nefarious outlaws. It wasn’t always that way, as these are some of the most unlikely heroes in video game history.
Did you know the first Donkey Kong video game starred Kong as the villain? The hero of the game was a carpenter named Jumpman (later renamed Mario and the inspiration for the future Marios Bros. franchise) who must rescue his girlfriend after she’s kidnapped by his pet ape, Donkey Kong. Wait, he kept an ape as a pet? Yep. Well, why did his pet kidnap his girlfriend? Because Kong was mistreated so horribly by his owner.
That’s right, the hero of this game is an animal-abuser! That’s like making a video game about Michael Vick where the dogs are the enemy. And while Jumpman is dumb enough to keep an ape as a pet, one quick call to animal control could’ve ended this hostage situation pretty quickly.
Let’s see, we’ve got a carpenter, a plumber…how many other contractors out there are secretly ’80s video game heroes?
The hero of the Zelda franchise, Link, is a young boy from an elf-race. OK, so imagine you’re faced with this scenario. The princess of your kingdom is imprisoned by a Prince with an evil army. In an established kingdom, aren’t there some security protocols in place? Can’t you just attack with your own standing army to free the princess? Or maybe send some of your bravest knights to her rescue? I want to meet the genius on the security council that said “I know what to do, let’s just give some weapons to a kid and hope for the best!”
3) Dr. Mario
A case could certainly be made that Mario, the most famous video game character of all-time, is an unlikely hero. He’s a plumber in way over his head rescuing a princess from a turtle-dragon in a fantasy realm full of brainwashed goombahs. That being said, it’s not the most unlikely scenario when you consider the basic facts. Mario is a huge fan of mushrooms, and psychedelics can make people do impressive things and Mario is extremely athletic (his vertical jump is humanly impossible), so defeating bad guys isn’t the craziest thing he could do. The craziest thing would be turning to that same plumber and asking him to eradicate some of the deadliest viruses known to mankind, which is exactly what happened with the Dr. Mario series.
He’s a PLUMBER! Maybe he gets a call if you need someone dumb with some athletic gifts to rescue a princess, but why not call a scientist if you’re trying to cure diseases? Nope, let’s just throw a lab coat on a plumber, call him a doctor and watch him confusedly throw handfuls of different pills into a bottle of despair.
Yeah, he can use his brute force to save a princess, but you can’t put him in a lab coat and call him a scientist.
The hero of one of the most popular video games in human history is also an easy choice for this list. Pac-Man is a lazy ghost hunter with a chronic overeating problem. And he cares much more about eating than he does about hunting ghosts. It’s a miracle he doesn’t die from a myriad of health reasons, starting with the fact that he almost never mixes in fruit with that diet and ending with his jaundiced skin, which probably indicates a pretty severe liver problem.
5) Sonic the Hedgehog
Another obvious choice, Sonic is an eccentric hedgehog who is tasked with stopping a mad scientist from taking over an island. Sega described him as a “the world’s fastest hedgehog, a habitual daredevil who hates oppression and staunchly defends freedom.” Slow down, Sega, he’s an animal obsessed with jewelry, not a Civil Rights activist.
Sega also says he’s “easy-going and has a short-temper.” Well, those two things don’t go together at all. Sega also says Sonic is “honest, loyal to his friends and dislikes tears.”
Dislikes tears? That’s one of his most important characteristics? Basically, a mad scientist (who is probably brilliant) is facing off against a fast, egocentric, freedom-loving hedgehog with anger issues and emotional baggage.
We’ve got lots more games, including Five Real-Life Jerks You Want to Kill in Every Video Game. –>