This list is part of a series of Top 10s designed to discuss the 10 best characters of every year of gaming, beginning with 1985, the year the industry revived from the "Videogame Crash of 1983." It was originally scarletspeed7, who came up with this idea, which originally began as the Top 10 Characters of 2010, then myself an a few others came up with the idea to have some of the board members write lists. Our board began discussing this topic and it eventually expanded into what you see here. Think of this just as much of a history lesson as an award ceremony. You'll be reading lists from a wide variety of authors: scarletspeed7, Motherkojiro, Nazifpour, A1X_Jet, shadow_571, Reiser99, BlueGunstarHero and myself. Before you read any of our lists, do be sure to read the rules listed below, as they provide a benchmark for our choices (to an extent). Please also keep in mind that the pictures included were meant to showcase the character, not the game.

1) We take into account the following criteria for inclusion on our list: popularity of the character at the time of release, legacy of the character, the character’s impact on video game industry and innovation as a whole, and character development within the game (or series, if the character has garnered multiple games). This means that there will be some predictable choices, so stop reading right here if you don't want to see Mario, Link, Cloud, Sephiroth, etc. This doesn't mean the authors are fanboys/girls, it means that the impact that the character had on the industry and his/her lifespan will be taken into account.

2) For the most part, only characters that debuted in a video game can be included on this list. However, even if the character has been introduced in a game with an extended universe that was created outside of a game prior to the character’s introduction, that character can be included. A prime example of this is anyone from KOTOR, or the main characters from LotR: The Third Age. Certain characters may not appear in the year they were introduced if their role was minor. For example, Alucard first appeared in Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse, but wasn't terribly significant until Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (and this is why he is not included here). Solid Snake also was arguably a throwaway character until the Metal Gear Solid series.

3) The earliest date of release (whether Japanese, American, or European) is the date we will use in respect to this list. If it is a multi-platform release with delays in between platforms, go with the earliest release again, regardless of the platform. For early NES games, don't forget that Famicom Disk System (FDS) release dates are often (but not always) earlier, so keep them in mind when checking our dates. Also, for these early years, many arcade games were released years before they had console versions, thus keep the Arcade aspect in mind as well.

4) A character can appear in this series of lists only once. ONCE!!!!!

We have arrived in 1993! Thanks to Naz' for a brilliant '92 list, in which we saw my first favourite videogame series have three characters! (Mortal Kombat, of course, though its not even CLOSE to being my favourite series anymore...) So what of 1993? Well arguably the greatest moment in Toronto sports' history (its my pick!) occurred, in Joe Carter's walk-off home run to win the World Series for the Toronto Blue Jays (sadly, we haven't made the playoffs since then... but not due to a lack of good teams!). As well, we lost the legend, André the Giant, in 1993; the first absolutely premier wrestler had passed away. Videogame-wise, 1993 was a big year for both Sega (Sonic CD) and Nintendo (Zelda: Link's Awakening), as well as PC games, as we had the release of Sim City 2000, and the release of Myst, the latter having been one of the most sold videogames in history. 1993 was not a massive year for Iconic characters, however some big names indeed came out that year. And with that, on to the list!

The nameless protagonist of one of the SNES's most beloved RPGs (and its an action RPG) starts off the list. Known as Seiken Densetsu 2 in Japan, Secret of Mana was one of the SNES's biggest sellers when it came out (1.5 million worth of carts were sold in Japan), even though it wasn't too popular in North America. Our character here is one of the few you will find on any of our lists, that does not have a name (there may be a few silent protagonists, but very few nameless protagonists). The boy takes on a King Arthur-esque role by discovering a magical sword, that he pulls out of a rock (which mirrors King Arthur finding Excalibur), and that sets him off on an adventure to rid the beasts of his kingdom (which he released by taking the sword). While the character himself is not too beloved, as mentioned, Secret of Mana is a much loved game on the SNES, and the Boy is important enough to hit the list at 10.

Did you know? Secret of Mana was originally conceived on the SNES CD add-on, however it was changed to the SNES last minute, after the SNES CD project was dropped. The length of the process? (according to Wikipedia) 30 days.

Amy is next! Yes the annoying, pink, "runs with a mallet," (known as the Piko Piko hammer) nuisance that hounds you in all of the post 3D-Blast Sonic games, made her debut in this 1993 gem (no pun intended) of a game. While she played a relatively small role in Sonic CD, Sonic CD was her coming out party as the "chick-hedgehog who goes crazy for Sonic," after Sonic rushed into her life. Since then, that has been her role as a character, and Sonic ignores her, not caring for her affection (unless she's in trouble of course, then he springs into action to save her). In Sonic CD, she was kidnapped by Metal Sonic (who also could have been included here, instead of Amy), and Sonic indeed comes to her aid. Amy did not become huge until her appearance in Sonic Adventure, where she was a playable character in the main story, as well as having her own dedicated sidestory (regarding a Flicky, and the Flicky's parents), though she also was a playable character in the Sonic 3D fighter, Sonic the Fighters (a brilliant game that was released in arcades only). Amy has gone on to be included in all of the games after Sonic Adventure as well, though she hasn't had a dedicated main character role in these games. Still, for better or for worse, Amy Rose's legacy cannot be denied!

Interesting Tidbit: Due to Sonic CD being developed at the same time as Sonic 2, Amy is in fact just as old as Tails, and she predates every other character in the Sonic series, after the Flickies, Robotnik, and Sonic himself.

Gabriel Knight is a horror novelist living in New Orleans. He is struggling for work, when he begins investigating certain murders in the area, dubbed the, "Voodoo Murders," which eventually have him travelling to Europe and Africa, before ending up back home. In this trip, he learns that he is part of a lineage of Demon Hunters, and that he must put an end to these evil events, thus putting to rest his uneasy dreams, and scattered thoughts, and fulfilling his destiny. Gabriel is a character with quite a bit of depth to him, and is more than just the face of an adventure game. Sierra is known for having women craft their stories, and Gabriel Knight is no exception, as the game was written and created by novelist Jane Jensen (Jensen being a pseudonym, though you probably knew that already by merely looking at her title). Gabriel Knight is one of the longest standing Sierra properties, and was met with instantly positive critical reception when the first game was released. That and graphic adventure fans flocked to play this game, which they also enjoyed, as the score here on Gamefaqs attests. No doubt, this Demon Hunter is a memorable character!

"STAY IN YOUR ROOMS! THIS IS AN EMERGENCY! THERE'S AN INSANE GUEST, WITH A GUN!!!!!": A handful of big-name actors voiced characters in Gabriel Knight, including Mark Hamill, Leah Remini, and Michael Dorn. Gabriel himself was voiced by none other than Tim Curry.

Really, any character with exception to two or three could have made this list from Slammasters, but after Mike Haggar (yay!), Jumbo seems like THE man! Formerly a bouncer at a club (Jumbo LOVES to drink, as his portliness displays), Jumbo was fired after beating the crap out of an unlucky guest. Taking up a bodyguard job for a wrestler after that, he somehow became involved in a fight with said wrestler, and Jumbo knocked him unconcious. Needless to say, Jumbo took up the place of his client, and entered the Capcom Wrestling Association. A dirty wrestler, his moves are very cheap and low (when you face him on the Genesis version, be sure not to be knocked down, as he will CONSTANTLY kick you while you're on the ground). Jumbo was my pick merely for the fact that out of all the memorable characters from the awesome game that is Slammasters, you just don't forget a big, obese, flame/poison spitting, mohawk wearing, tattooed wrestler that makes bird-like noises, and walks to the wrestling ring with a top hat and cane (watch it online, its amazing). Without a doubt, Jumbo is a winner!

Localisation Bites...: In this case, its for the better, but as stated, Jumbo was a bouncer; his original name in Japan was "Kimala the Bouncer." Other characters had their names changed as well; Alexander the Grater was the former, "Sheep the Royal," Rasta was, "Missing I.Q. Gomes," Gunloc (awesome name) was originally, "Lucky the Colt," Kabuki-guy The Great Oni was, "the Mysterious Budo," the series' 'Ryu,' Biff Slamkovich, was named, "Aleksey Zalazof," and the antagonist, the Scorpion, was named "Astro."

Doom was the second major FPS to hit the videogame world (after Wolfenstein 3D) and was instantly memorable with its environments, game play, and (for its time) unique and interesting story. Banished to the outer confines of a Mars moon, for a "custodial," job, the Marine must kill of hordes of aliens on both of Mars' moons, and then fight his way through hell (for redemption I guess, for attacking his unit commander and being banished to a disgraceful job...). The Space Marine has been the protagonist, as well as the player character for all the Doom games, and has been included, be it as cameos (Quake III), mentions ("that's one DOOMED Space Marine," from Duke Nukem, and a CLASSIC line), or completely playable characters (Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, as an unlockable skater), in many games since his inception, and he was portrayed by Karl Urban (Lord of the Rings) in the live action megaflop, Doom film of 2005; The Marine's is a storied icon in the world of videogames!

Little point: Doom has spawned four novels, four sequels, countless ports and spinoffs, a live action film, yet the Space Marine still has no official name (aside from, well, the Space Marine!).

One of my favourite characters of all-time, Major Jackson Briggs, hits the list at 5. Unless you've lived under a gaming rock for the past 15 years, Jax is a special forces leader (along with Sonya), that has been trying to track down the leader of the Black Dragon organisation, Kano. After Kano frees his contemporaries, Jax is able to defeat Kano, bring him back to Earth, and jail him, yet again, but yet again, Kano escapes, enters the tournament hosted by Shang Tsung, and takes Sonya with him. Enter Jax yet again, to rescue Sonya, and defeat Shao Khan. I could go on with Jax's story, but that would take a while! Jax is arguably one of MK's top five most popular characters, and when he added cybernetic arms in MK3 (which is no longer canon, according to the reboot game released this month), his popularity soared. Not only is he popular in the games, but he has also been portrayed in every live action MK production (save for the short-lived MK: Konquest), most recently by Micheal Jai White, and most famously by former American Gladiator, Lynn "Red" Williams (good performance or not, if you did NOT like his portrayal of Jax in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, you have no sense of humour). His fatalities are also among the most memorable in the MK series, including his arm rip, and his, "grow tall and stomp," fatality; no doubt, Jax has got legacy!

Worth Noting: Always being portrayed as partners, and always together, Jax and Sonya Blade have NEVER had a romantic angle between them, thrown into the Mortal Kombat universe.

You obviously knew that with 1993 going by, you would HAVE to see a Virtua Fighter character on the list, and here he is! I was debating between Kage and Akira, as they are both flagship characters, and even though Akira has been pushed by Sega AM2, and Sega in general, galore, Kage has always been the favourite from fans of the game. Kage is tall, skinny, and super fast; all the qualities that a ninja requires to be successful (and Kage IS a ninja, if you didn't know already). Kage also indirectly is the reason for the antagonist of Virtua Fighter, Dural's, existence, as Dural is Kage's mother, kidnapped by Judgement 6 and brainwashed/altered into the being that is Dural. Kage's motivation to enter the World Tournament, is to avenge his father, and eventually (as he didn't know Dural was his mother, at first), bring his mother back to humanity. Kage was ranked at number seven by Gamepro, in their top 10 ninja list, stating that he is one of the most realistic ninjas in gaming. Fans love him, Sega loves him, and I love him (though Wolf is still tops for me), Kage is the man!

Oh yeah? Well, I'm the best!: Kage has won the most tournaments in Virtua Fighter canon, as he won the third and fourth tourneys.

Though his popularity didn't truly explode until the Nintendo 64 came on the scene, however Fox McCloud hit the videogame scene with a bang in 1993, with the release of his eponymous game, and a little something called the Super FX chip (not unlike a similar chip placed in Genesis Virtua Racing carts). Star Fox is a rail shooter with a bit of a twist, and with a lot more character development than most rail shooters (but it pales in comparison to the Panzer Dragoon series), and that helped Fox's popularity rise. When his N64 game hit, he shot up in popularity, and then when the fanservice Smash Brothers hit, his popularity was solidifed. Being created by Miyamoto himself, Fox received numerous accolades, including being ranked #18 on Nintendo Power's poll of top Nintendo characters, and in a poll conducted by IGN, Fox was the fourth most loved character, after Link, Mario, and Samus. No surprises there, and it should be no surprise that Fox is number three, on this list.

He got if from his father: Miyamoto created Fox after travelling to Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine, where the main statue in the shrine is that of a Fox with a key. Miyamoto modeled Fox McCloud's face after the face of the fox at this shrine, and wearing a scarf as well, as the statue does.

Make it the Red Gunstar Hero if you prefer, but regardless, the Gunstar Heroes are far and away some of the most iconic characters of 1993. Gunstar Heroes is a scrolling shooter (NOT a SHMUP) in the vein of Contra, however many feel it is a superior game (myself included). The game oozes quality and has a fairly deep story, something most scrolling shooters did NOT have. The Gunstars were protectors of Earth, after defeating an evil enemy, and they include Yellow (the sister), and Green (the older brother), though you cannot control the latter two (and one of the two is... well, I won't spoil it!). Gunstar Heroes wasn't Treasure's first game (McDonalds Treasureland Adventures was), however it was the game that put them on the map, and it was due to the uniqueness of Gunstar Heroes, specifically, their characters, that they became a big-name company; you had a hot-blooded teenageish boy set on taking down an evil empire, and return the land back to normal (hmm, if you know Treasure, this sounds AWFULLY familiar...). Controlling either Red or Blue, you were able to complete this task firsthand, and also take to ports, and sequels that they starred in. To cap it off, the game was named the best action title of 1993, by Electronic Gaming Monthly; the boys know how to take down empires!

Observations!: Bakuretsu Muteki Bangaioh! (or Bangai-O!, for short), while inherently having different gameplay, is a very similar game to Gunstar Heroes; A sibling team shoots their way to lots of levels to take down evil people, while dealing with quirky characters, and a great storyline. Another difference? Both games are made by Treasure.

And the top character of 1993, the star of (IMO) the greatest Platformer ever crafted (but not my favourite, though its up there!), he's anthropomorphic, he's a possum, he's got weapons, a rocketpack, and a prehensile tail, its Sparkster! Sparkster was Konami's answer to the character with "'tude," as Motherkojiro put it, Sonic the Hedgehog. The problem though, is that Sparkster was one of many platforming stars that were created to try and take down the Sega giant (of course, almost each failed miserably), including Bubsy, Awesome Possum, Aero the Acrobat, plus others, and while Aero and RKA were by no means bad games (especially true in the case of RKA), none of the characters left a lasting positive impression, aside from Sparkster. While all of these other characters were cutesy, and not so violent or "'tudey," in the vein of Sonic, Sparkster was a mix of both. You had a cute, smiling, little possum that would be cool with normal enemies on screen, or just walking by. Throw in an enemy though, and he would puff up, get angry, and show that he meant business, capping it all of with a cossed arms look, and a sneaky smile, you had a great blend of cutesy, and 'tudey. Sparkster became quite beloved in the world of Konami, as he cameoed in many different titles, including a nice little bit in Snatcher. A sequel was made for the Genesis, which was a good effort, though not that of its prequel, and a spinoff was made for the SNES; the worst of the three, IMO (but still not a bad game in the slightest). Just last year, the series was revived for current-gen consoles, and Rocket Knight was met with mostly positive reviews; fans were super happy for another game, thus it was worth it! All-in-all, Sparkster starred in not only probably the best game of 1993, he is undoubtedly, the top character, of 1993.

Open up those auction sites!: When Rocket Knight Adventures was first released, so too were many t-shirts, hats, and even frisbees from Konami. Sadly, you can't find any of these things anymore today :(

As what was stated in the previous two lists, its a Good thing when your favourite is #1 on the list! Like 1989, 1993 was not a particularly grand year for gaming, and as a result, we didn't get any names the size of Kirby, Yoshi, or Sonic this time around. Its worthy of mentioning, that just by looking at 1990, and the next three years, just how many platforming characters there are in these lists, as opposed to other genres (in particular, their positions on the list as well). Its an interesting trend to note that these lists began in 1985 with platforming characters, then had a slight shift to Beat-'em-up characters from 1988-1989, and now there is another shift back to platforming again (1990-1993). Anyways, yet again, the immortal MotherKojiro will grace us with another list; 1994 is another great year, and it will be a great list, so stay tuned!

List by Truck_1_0_1_ (05/02/2011)

Discuss this list and others on the Top 10 Lists board.

Have your own Top 10 in mind? Create and submit your own Top 10 List today.

Would you recommend this
Recommend this
Top 10? Yes No