but for the rest I would have to ask do you mean as an actual character (as in memorable development etc etc) or as an icon.
mario/sonic/link (zelda games in general) hold huge icon status, but neither character is actually a good character. mario is just 'save the princess' and link is better but not by huge huge amounts (a lot better recently).
cloud and sephiroth stand out as both well developed characters (love or hate them) who are also iconic.
yuna > than tidus but both also share a similar but lesser fame compared to cloud / sephi.
also snake... but as a character he is actually pretty bland. I blame MGS's habit of explaining things to the viewer as if characters were explaining things to snake... makes him seem a bit simple compared to his supporting cast, despite supposedly being a badass. he has his badass moments though, but i prefer grey fox.
I think I should have used "Most unforgettable minor character of gaming" because there are loads of iconic characters out there. Off the top of my head i can easily think of Lara Croft, Link, Master Chief etc.
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mario. but hes the exception since since according to campbell, there isnt a single person in the WORLD who doesnt know who mario is.
I would think one would find it hard pressed to find many that do not know who mario is. I would think anyone that played a game ever wondered how it all started and most people mention Mario. Even though that is kinda wrong.