Almost all video games have heroes. There are heroes who are chosen to save the world from the forces of evil. There are heroes who save the day out of pure, dumb luck. There are heroes who slipped and fell into darkness for a short time, only to return to normal and save the day, mostly with the help of their friends or family or those close to them.

And then there are kid heroes.

Believe it or not, a kid hero is, as the name implies, a child whose exact age varies up and down the scale, from five to eight to seventeen (which can also apply to teenagers), but they're never an adult by whatever the local standards are. The "base age" seems to be 14 or thereabouts, though their numeric age may not be revealed. Kid heroes have a strong streak of immaturity in them: they might well regard the adventure as a game, albeit one with slightly higher stakes, sometimes until the place they call home is in danger of getting wiped off the map. And yet kid heroes do have some things going for them: their idealism and youth. A villain trying to perform a breaking speech on a kid hero is in for a rude awakening when he gets it thrown back in his face. Kid heroes simply have a very clear view of right and wrong. Some can call it naive, but it serves them well, as they are basically impossible to corrupt. They're also at that age where their self-image is intricately intertwined with their friends, so they often kick tails through the power of friendship.

And that is why, my friends, I'm going to compile a list dedicated to them in video games. Let this be warned, though, that they may contain spoilers for those of you who haven't played the games. So, without further ado, I give to you: The Top 10 Kid Heroes in Video Games.

I'm starting off with the first true kid hero of the game: Kid Niki. Why Kid Niki? Because he's the kid who looks very young and he can kick butt while still in ninja training in Feudal Japan. One day, while he is still training at ninja school, the School of Chirin, he sees that a passing bird has been shot down at his feet, and attached to the bird is a note that reveals that his school girlfriend, Princess Margo, has been captured by the villainous Stone Wizard. With that, he busts out of school and starts on his dangerous journey to find her. He is dangerously armed with the Spinning Sword, which has been passed down through many generations from the School of Chirin; and he can also collect power-ups to make his spinning sword stronger. Any foe who tries to come near him and attack him may best beware, for his spinning sword can take them out one at a time. And his major foes include a Horned Witch, a Mad Monk, and a Samurai Guard, before he can move on to the Stone Wizard himself. This bad little ninja dude can save the day and still make it in time to finish his homework and make grades. "Radical Ninja", indeed!

Did You Know?: In the original Japanese version, Kid Niki is actually little Yanchamaru, the title character of the video game called Kaiketsu Yanchamaru (or, The Wonderful Yanchamaru in Japanese), which was first released for Japanese arcade games in December 1986 and ported by Data East to the NES, Commodore 64, and Apple II in late 1987. It was in North America that the NES port of the game was renamed. After the success of the game, Japan released two more game sequels for the Famicom in 1991 and 1993 before suddenly fading into obscurity. One may wonder if the Kid Niki games will ever appear again.

Oh, and Kid Niki also makes a cameo appearance in Kickle Cubicle, which can be accessed by holding down the A button on the second controller while turning on the game and waiting until the title screen appears. Not bad, if I say so myself.

The second kid hero I'm introducing is Kid Kool. Now of course, he is a little dude, and he is informed by the chancellor that the king has a terminal illness and that only the Seven Wonder Herbs can heal him. The only problem is, Kid Kool only has three days to find the herbs and bring them back to the king. So Kid Kool, as usual, sets out on his quest, albeit a dangerous one, in which he has to fight off enemies with a friend called "Wicky", a little creature that he can toss like a boomerang to take down enemies. He also has to jump high and collect items from invisible boxes in the sky, and even skip over water before jumping up to land on his feet. There are also painful perils that Kid Kool must avoid while searching for the Seven Wonder Herbs. But he has to hurry, though. Depending on how many hours it takes, there are either many different rewards or one consequence should Kid Kool arrive with all seven herbs. As the best bonus in this game, if Kid Kool can bring all seven herbs to the king very early in the day, the king will not only reward him with the gems, but also promise him the king's daughter's hand in marriage and complete reign over the entire kingdom! What a nice reward for a kid who has only passed elemetary school and is not even old enough to drive a car!

Did You Know?: The game's main character, Kid Kool, is based on a certain Kenji Sagara, a popular Japanese child actor who became extremely famous in the 1980s. Also, the game itself had problems, as it had clunky controls, like running too fast and jump control, and the camera's vertical scrolling, along with invisible items. Because of this, the game's notoriety gained a spot in a web episode of The Angry Video Game Nerd.

Now I know it's cheating to put in a protagonist from a comic strip onto the list of the Video Game Kid Heroes, but let me tell you this: Little Nemo (whose name means "nobody" in Latin) is a boy who often dreams a lot in trying to reach Slumberland, only to wake up in the event of some mishap in his dreams. He is a character created for the weekly comic strips by author Winsor McCay, and we'll get to the "Did You Know?" part later.

The game takes place in 1905, in the state of New York. One night, Nemo is woken up by a big balloon and wonders what's going on. He soon gets invited by a court member of Slumberland, named Bon-Bon, who says that the princess, Camille, has chosen Nemo to be his playmate and left him a box of candy. So he sets out, unaware that the journey to Slumberland is wrought with peril. He meets up with creatures, some of them friends (Flip, the Boomps) and some of them foes, which he has to stun with candy and get out of the way. Along the way, he sees other animals, like a mouse, a bee, a lizard, and a frog, which he has to befriend by giving them three pieces of candy before they doze off, and he can either ride on them or wear them, allowing him to gain abilities like firepower or wall-climbing or flying. When he finally reaches Slumberland, he meets up with Camille, who tells him that her father, King Morpheus, has been captured by the Nightmare King, and she gives Nemo the king's royal scepter, called the "Morning Star" (which can finally do major damage to his foes), and tells him that it's up to him to save King Morpheus; and Nemo takes the scepter with a promise. Such fine heroism for a kid who's still far away from home, even in his dreams.

Did You Know?: Believe it or not, the game, created in Japan and released first in the U.S. in 1990, is based on the Japanese anime film called Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, which had been based on the comic strip and released in Japan a year earlier, in 1989. The film was considered a box office flop in Japan, but not until it was due to the success of the game that the film finally got ported to the U.S., though its 11 minutes were edited out for a G-rating. Though its reception in the U.S. was fairly good, it failed to find an audience; but the film's later release onto home video helped to recover the costs, topping the charts and selling over two million copies. Some promotion from a video game, huh?

The next kid hero that I'm introducing to you is Mike Jones, the all-American teenager with spirit and spunk. One day, he gets a letter from his uncle, Dr. Steve Jones, to visit his laboratory in C-Island for an amazing discovery. Armed with a yo-yo in hand (which is now renamed the "Island Star" in the Virtual Console rerelease), Mike sets off by helicopter to C-Island, but when he arrives at Coralcola, he is informed by the village elder that Dr. Jones, which the inhabitants call "Dr. J.", has been captured, and they need Mike's help to save him. With help from Dr. J's assistant, Baboo, Mike sets off on an island-hopping adventure and encounters many creatures along the way, some of them friendly (the mother dolphin, Peter the Parrot) and some of the hostile (C-Serpent, Maxie the Ghost, Magma the Fierce, etc.). Eventually, he finds Dr. J. near a room with an alien escape pod, and after a reunion, Dr. J. explains that the pod belongs to a near-extinct race called the Argonians, some of which escaped in the form of magic cubes; and that the hostile aliens who had captured him coerced him into handing the three magic cubes over to them and their leader Zoda. Learning the truth at last, Mike has to find the three cubes and go face-to-face with Zoda in order to destroy him.

Mike returns in the game's sequel, Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II (pictured here), this time in a new adventure involving "Tetrads", which must be found in different timelines, in order to restore the Argonians' home planet to their original form. It is unknown what adventures Mike will face in the future, but one thing is certain: Mike will always consider these adventures as games and be ready for them in the years to come... if he ever graduates from high school, that is.

Did You Know?: Although both StarTropics games saw releases in the U.S. and Europe (the latter not getting a sequel in NES cartridge form, until it finally saw a Virtual Console rerelease in July 2009), the games themselves never saw release in Japan. The reason is that the Japanese mapper chip of its prototype is more powerful than the mapper chip in the U.S. and European versions that came out, and yet it was so expensive to make that it was cheaper to work with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, so Japan decided not to release the game OR its sequel, which was a bummer indeed. Also, when both games were rereleased for the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console in 2008 and 2009, in the light of "yo-yo", "Tetris", and "Tetrad" being trademarked items, Nintendo had to change their names: "yo-yo" to "Island Star", "Tetrad" to "Block", and "Tetris" to "Puzzle". Imagine if your father's middle name was "Puzzle"! What kind of weird name was that?!

This next kid hero that I'm introducing to you is... Lance Galahad. Now I know what you're thinking: "Why Lance?" Well, simply put, he is the protagonist of an interactive cartoon game called Brain Dead 13, and he not only has long red hair and wears a backwards baseball cap, he is also a computer technician and an avid, ace video game player. Not only that, but he is also young, since it is implied that he is in his teens, about 16 or 17 at the most; which could mean that he is a budding computer technician who is at the start of his career while still in high school, although he might not have been graduating yet. In fact, Brain Dead 13 is the only interactive cartoon game to feature a kid hero in its own right since Space Ace.

One day, Lance is summoned by a certain someone to fix a supercomputer in a spooky old castle, located at 13 Brain Dead Avenue (hence, why the game got that name). Of course, Lance is having a hard time finding the place (at least he's old enough to drive a truck, seeing that he just recently got a driver's license at this age of 16), but eventually makes it there and fixes the supercomputer by placing what he believes is chewing gum (which is actually a big, slimy snot that a certain hunchbacked little imp named Fritz has just picked from his nose) onto the computer's core. But in doing so, he discovers that the supercomputer belongs to a mad scientist named Dr. Nero Neurosis, who turns out to be a brain in a jar with eyes. Of course, since Lance had "played a lot of video games" earlier, he cleverly makes a correct guess that Dr. Neurosis' plan is world conquest once the computer is fixed; unfortunately, though, Lance makes the mistake of pointing out how cliché Dr. Neurosis' plans are and calling him "average", which gets the mad scientist ticked off; and Neurosis orders Fritz to kill Lance. Fortunately, Lance is a genre-savvy trickster who plays one on Fritz and somehow manages to escape, but Neurosis sends Fritz in after him; and the chase scene begins.

Though Lance may be a bit of a dork, he can use quick wits and reflexes to overcome the castle's obstacles and cleverly defeat any monsters, undead creatures, and monstrous guest bosses he encounters before finally settling the score with Dr. Neurosis, all the while Fritz is on his tail. Of course, he can be much of an idiot hero, as Fritz (and many of the castle's inhabitants) has many numerous ways of killing him. And I don't mean in childish, cartoony ways. I mean in very, VERY onscreen, violent, graphic and disturbing ways. Examples are that Lance can get trisected by both of Fritz's hook hands; get pureed in a blender mixer and drunk up like root beer, eyeballs and all; get his own skull knocked off of his head by a mallet; get his spine and pelvis ripped off by an atomic wedgie that also splits him in half (!); get his skin pulled apart from his skeleton by the eyeballs; get torn apart from the inside through his chest in some kind of homage to Alien; get messily battered up by an egg beater, all the while he screams offscreen (!!); get his head charbroiled and scorched into dust and blown off; get burrowed through the chest by a giant worm (all the while he's gasping and grunting in pain!); get his soul sucked out of him and rapidly age to death; get his skeleton ripped off from his body from a vine; get his head (and hair) cut off in a dangerously close shave; get his head bitten off by a centipede or snake; get shredded into bits by a chainsaw; get drained of blood by a sexy vampiress; get his hand chopped off in a "manicure"; etc. Now, many of the deaths inflicted on a protagonist are VERY grisly and gruesome and REAL messy, but when the protagonist is a teenaged kid?!? This is TRULY INSANE! And all the while this game was aimed at CHILDREN! (See "Did You Know?" below.) Somehow it brings new meaning to the notion that "the good die young". HOWEVER, since you have infinite lives in this interactive game, Lance will always come back from the dead in different ways (e.g. getting out of the grave dirt in a coffin and busting out of it alive; getting reforged out of the flames of rebirth; getting his blood back via transfusion bag; getting recreated by the clay of life; getting his pieces reconnected together like building blocks; etc.), usually in a "ta-daa!" position and turning his forward baseball cap backwards before making an armfold pose. It's like he has some sort of resurrective immortality inside him, kinda like Dirk the Daring of Dragon's Lair. When it comes to saving the world from a mad scientist, Lance Galahad is a kid hero in a bada$$ normal way, all the while still making it back to high school in time for graduation someday soon.

Did You Know?: In 1996, to help promote the game overseas, Canadian game developer ReadySoft had the copies of the PlayStation console version of the game and its Sega Saturn prototype ported to Japan, where they were published by Coconuts Japan (you know, the video game company that also published Full Throttle: All-American Racing) and released in October 1996 (the Sega Saturn version on October 10, the PlayStation version on October 18) before porting the Sega Saturn version back to the States in time for its Halloween 1996 release. And to help promote the Sega Saturn game's release, Japan used a different box cover art for it by adding Lance right next to Fritz (who looks ready to slice him with a chainsaw while our hero is struggling to stay alive!); it is unknown what reception Japan had made of the ports of the game, but although they may be "big in Japan", interactive movie games there may sadly be too good to last.

As for the game itself, it was given a "Kids to Adults" rating (now the "Everyone" rating) by the Entertainment Software Rating Board from 1995 to 1996 in spite of not just the graphic yet bloodless cartoon violence but also some overly sexual, suggestive themes involving a sexy vampiress named Vivi. It is unknown how many children may have gotten messed up because of it, or if it may have provoked ire from parents demanding that the game be pulled off from video game store shelves, or at least get its rating changed to "Teen", but ReadySoft somehow got away with leaving the game intact with a "K-A" rating. The game itself was slipping quietly into obscurity over time... until it was revived for the iPhone and iOS ports in October 2010. By then, the ReadySoft that is now Digital Leisure started wising up and made the smart decision to give the game a 12+ rating, which could be the equivalent of the ESRB's "Everyone 10+" or "Teen" rating. At least the ESRB should know better not to mess with the game nearly 20 years ago.

The next kid hero that I'm introducing is Guybrush Ulysses Threepwood. And like Lance, he's on the brink of being an adult, around 17 years old at the most, but he is a bit of a trickster with a heart of gold... and also a bit of an idiot hero from time to time. He also has big dreams of becoming a pirate. So one day, he goes to Mêlée Island where he meets up with the Pirate Leaders and learns that in order to become a pirate, he has to undergo the Three Trials: thievery, sword mastery, and "treasure hunter-y". So he starts on an adventure and gains a large sum of money from the Fettucini Brothers (a two-man circus act) before moving on. During the Thievery part, when he infiltrates the Governor's Mansion and steals the Idol of Many Hands with some help, he almost gets caught by Sheriff Fester Shinetop, until the Governor stops the Sheriff and shoos him away. She then introduces herself as Governor Elaine Marley and Guybrush feels dumbstruck and doesn't know what to say to her. As she leaves, he feels discouraged and tries to leave the mansion, but gets arrested by Shinetop, tied to the idol and tossed into the sea. Luckily, thanks to his ability to hold his breath for 10 minutes (which was something that he inherited in college), he escapes with the idol and meets up with Elaine again (who had just arrived to save him), and the two profess their love at first sight. However, she asks him to finish the trials first before he can meet up with her.

After inheriting some Insult Swordfighting skills from Captain Smirk and the pirates and challenging Swordmaster Carla, and searching for the Legendary Lost Treasure of Mêlée Island, he returns to the village only to discover that Elaine has been captured by the Ghost Pirate LeChuck (who had been under the guise of Sheriff Fester Shinetop all this time) and taken to Monkey Island. Guybrush befriends Carla, Otis the jailbird, and Meathook the pirate, and convinces them to join his crew on board The Sea Monkey, which he has to purchase from a salesman named Smilin' Stan S. Stanman. During Guybrush's journey to Monkey Island, however, he gets mutinied by the crew and forced to get to Monkey Island on his own with help from a Voodoo Recipe. And it is here in Monkey Island that the real adventure begins so that he can save Elaine and find a way to destroy the Ghost Pirate LeChuck. Afterward, Guybrush returns in the sequels where he encounters more adventures. Although he is no longer a teenaged kid, Guybrush will always be a bada$$ normal hero and Mighty Pirate for years to come.

Did You Know?: There were also many other traits that Guybrush has, like his fear of porcelain (which Bill Tiller describes as "just a joke"); his puzzle-solving, his love for fruits and bananas, his treasure hunting, and his reading and chess-playing skills. One time in Tales of Monkey Island the game developers were going to have him become "Demonbrush Threepwood" in one storyline, but the development team didn't want to do a good job in making him too epic-looking. Kind of weird on a storyline that would have been cool.

The next kid hero that I'm introducing is a bit of a tie in Dragon Quest V. Why, you ask? Well, first, we'll have to start off with a kid named Madason Gotha. (And yes, I'm using "Madason" as a default name, with thanks to the info I got from Dragon Quest VI). When little Madason was born, his mother, Mada, was captured by monsters, and the kid's father, King Pankraz, had to raise him along with a family friend named Sancho. Years later, Madason, now a child, travels to Whealbrook under the watchful eye of his father to meet up with Sancho before making a trip to Roundbeck, where he meets little Bianca Whitaker, his childhood friend. It is here that the town becomes disturbed by rumors of ghosts at night, and the two children have to journey on to Uptaten Towers to help the tortured ghosts return to their eternal rest. Afterwards, Madason and his dad go on more adventures and eventually move on to Coburg Castle, where they notice little kid, Prince Harry, get captured by monsters. Both father and son try to save him, but Pankraz ends up getting killed by monsters (who are led by Bishop Ladja) and his son is sold into slavery along with Harry.

Years pass, and Madason, now grown up, finds Harry and his soon-to-be wife Maria, and they both escape together. Upon returning to Whealbrook, Madason finds the town in ruins, but stumbles upon the magical Zenithian Sword and his father's letter that says that Madason must "search for the Legendary Hero", as Madason himself can't equip himself with the Zenithian equipment. He eventually goes to the town of Mostroferrato, where he is given a quest to find the two magical Rings of Fire and Water. Once he has found them and chosen a potential wife out of a few suitors, they return to his hometown of Gotha, where they soon had twins, both of whom are named Parry (boy) and Madchen (girl). (Again, I'm using their default names from the Nintendo DS rerelease; see "Did You Know?" for more info.) But things take a turn for the worse when Madason's wife gets kidnapped, and when he tries saving her, he discovers that he is not the "Legendary Hero", and that the title would belong to one of his offspring, both of whom have been safely hidden away in Gotha. In response, both man and wife get turned into stone and sold as statues. Many more years pass, and Parry and Madchen, now grown children, discover their father and restore him back to flesh and blood, accompanied by their old family friend Sancho. As father and children reunite, Parry tells him that he can use the Zenithian Sword; and when they discover the Zenithian equipment Parry can use, it soon becomes known that Parry is the true "Legendary Hero" who had been sought for all along; and together with his sister and his dad, he has to fight the forces of evil, as well as find and save both their mother and Mada, and keep the world and Zenithia safe from all evil. That, my friends, is little Parry Gotha: a true kid hero indeed!

Did You Know?: In the Super Famicom version, the protagonist (Madason) and his children (Parry and Madchen) did not have canon names, meaning that you had to name them however you liked. Also, said version would compel you to marry Bianca over Flora, else you would get stuck with a severely underleveled party member and a different, yet bad, storyline (which was thankfully avoided in the PlayStation 2 remake). Also, the children were named "Sora" ("Sky" for the girl) and Ten ("Heaven" for the boy) in the manga series. The Nintendo DS rerelease (pictured here) made many changes, which include: Pankraz thinking of calling his son "Erdrick" if you give the son the name of "Madason"; the names of the boy ("Parry") and the girl ("Madchen") are now default, and can be changed however you like; no consequences if you chose either Bianca or Flora, the latter of which is renamed "Nera Briscoletti"; and the inclusion of an additional potential wife: a sister of Nera's, named Debora, who is a strong fighter who uses magic and can equip the Ankillics Weapons. Pretty fabulous for a remake, if I do say so myself.

The next kid hero that I'm introducing is a young, teenaged boy named Randi from Secret of Mana, another SNES game. Now this Randi is a kid who lives in Potos Village with two other kids, Elliot and Timothy. One day, these kids disobey the Village Elder's warnings not to trespass into a local waterfall, but their fascination about a treasure in the waterfall has tempted them so much, they go there to search for it. Without warning, Randi slips off a log and falls into the lake. There, he is surprised to find a rusty sword embedded in a stone and, guided by an unknown voice, he pulls it free, inadvertently unleashing the monsters near the village. When he returns to Potos, the Village Elder is not pleased with this, as the villagers believe that Randi has brought misfortune on the village; and as a result, they banish him from Potos forever. An elderly knight named Jema, who just happened to be visiting Potos, recognizes the blade as the legendary Mana Sword, and tells him that the sword must be re-energized by visiting the eight Mana Temples. He takes Randi to one of them, the Water Palace, and introduces him to Luka, a sage and mistress, who tells Randi that monsters are exploiting Mana and draining its power to cause global conquest; and she tells Randi that only he can restore Mana to its natural balance by powering up the Mana Seeds and save the world.

So Randi sets out on a dangerous quest to track down the Mana Seeds. Along the way, he encounters Primm, a girl on a search for her love interest, Dyluck, who has gone missing while on a witch hunt; and Popoie, a sprite who has lost his/her memory and wants to go with him in order to get his/her memory back. They encounter dangerous monsters and learn spells on the way, all the while being pursued by the Empire, which seeks to unseal all eight Mana Seeds and restore the Mana Fortress; unbeknownst to the subordinates led by Emperor Vandole, the Empire is being manipulated by Thanatos, an ancient sorceror who wants to control the world and make it his own by spreading death and destruction and using demonic possessions. Now it will be up to Randi, Primm, and Popoie to stop the Empire and the forces of evil manipulating it and using up Mana to damage the world. This game has a lesson in itself that this kid hero is not alone, though he is far away from home, as he will prevail over all evil with the power of friendship.

Did You Know?: Although Randi, Primm and Popoie were just the names for the trio in the original Japanese version, in the U.S. version they don't have any default names at all, at least in the SNES version, leaving you to name them whatever you want. It was not until the enhanced port of the game on the iOS was released on December 21, 2010, that the game developers finally started using the names for the three playable characters as default names, while also fixing several bugs and fixing and editing the English script for the game (including locations, spells, and character names). Also, Secret of Mana is a sequel to the first game in the Seiken Denetsu series, called Final Fantasy Adventure for Game Boy in 1991, and rereleased in 2003 as Sword of Mana for the Game Boy Advance.

We're getting down to two more kid heroes of the list. And the one that I'm introducing now is Ness, a bright 12-year-old kid moving on to 13, who lives with his mother, his sister Tracy, and their dog King in the town of Onett. One night he gets awoken by a crash of a meteorite and police sirens blaring on the hillside. With permission from his mother, he goes out to investigate and finds his next-door neighbor, Porky Minch, in a run-in with the police. When Ness returns home, he gets woken up a few hours later to the sound of Porky knocking at his door. When Ness opens it, he hears that Porky's brother Picky had gone missing, and that the former needs Ness' help to find him. When they find Picky near the meteorite and start to return home, they hear the buzzing of a magic insect named Buzz Buzz, who tells Ness that he's from the future where a hostile alien named Giygas (the antagonist from Mother; see "Did You Know? below) dominates the universe, with all the animals (and humans) running rampant under his mind control due to the meteorite that landed on the Earth. Buzz Buzz tells him that Ness is the chosen child who is destined to destroy Giygas and bring peace to the world. After Ness drops off the two brothers next door, Buzz Buzz gets mistaken for a dung beetle by their mother Lardna and killed, but not before he tells Ness to seek out the eight "Your Sanctuary" locations to unite his own powers with the Earth's and to gain the strength needed to destroy Giygas; then he hands Ness the Sound Stone as a tool that is vital to the completion of his quest. Along the way, he encounters three more children whom Buzz Buzz had spoken of: Paula, a girl from the Polestar Preschool with the power of a technique called PSI; Jeff, a mechanical genius and the son of Dr. Andonuts of Winters; and Poo, a young prince from a far-off land of Dalaam. Together, they use their strength and powers to overcome all obstacles and foes getting in their way, meet many more friends they find, and find the eight "Your Sanctuary" locations in order to gain their powers needed to destroy Giygas for good. Even though Ness can get homesick and need to call his mother to make sure she and her family are all okay, Ness discovers the power of friendship in him, a force of light that can never be conquered by the powers of darkness.

Did You Know?: Although EarthBound is the only SNES game released in the U.S. in 1995, it is actually a sequel to the first game called Mother, released for the Famicom in Japan in 1989, where Giygas first appeared as "Gyiyg". Mother was also being worked on as a prototype and completed under the title, also called Earth Bound by the localization team in 1990; the game had been scheduled for release in the fall of 1991, but marketing had delayed the release and put it on indefinite hold when the game would be too expensive to produce and unsuccessful without marketing. The localized, finished prototype ended up making its way to the internet via a fan-translation group called Demiforce, where it was extracted and circulated under the new title of EarthBound Zero on January 15, 1998.

Of course, no list of kid heroes would be complete without the first kid hero of the NES. And that kid hero has to be... Link, of the Legend of Zelda series. Strangely, it is unknown how old this "kid hero" is in earler Zelda games. In the first Legend of Zelda game, Link has to find all eight pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom, reclaim the Triforce of Power, and rescue Princess Zelda from the vile, monstrous Ganon. In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, it is stated in the manual that Link has had his 16th birthday when he is told by Impa that Zelda's predecessor had been in a sleeping spell, and he has to set all six crystals, one in each Palace, before heading over to the Great Palace and finding the Triforce of Courage, and using its combined power with the other two parts of the Triforce to awaken her. But the most interesting thing has to go to Ocarina of Time, where Link is shown to be a little boy. He discovers that a thief named Ganondorf, the Gerudo King of Thieves, has cursed the Great Deku Tree to death and is seeking the Triforce in order to use its powers to conquer the land of Hyrule. With the two items that Link receives from the Tree (a Spiritual Stone called Kokiri's Emerald) and his friend Saria (the Fairy Ocarina, a precursor to the Ocarina of Time), he sets out on a journey to find Zelda and reclaim the remaining two Spiritual Stones so he can enter the Sacred Realm and claim the Triforce before Ganon reaches it. And this is only the beginning of the adventure, which only takes him further on more adventures as he progresses through each one while trying to stop Ganondorf and save Hyrule.

Link's appearance as a child continues in a few more games, including Majora's Mask and The Wind Waker (pictured here). However, that "kid hero" trend is broken in Twilight Princess (the first Zelda game to be given a "Teen" rating), when he is a full-fledged young adult, who gets turned into a wolf, yet still manages to return to human form, find the Master Sword, stop Ganondorf, and restore balance to Hyrule and the Twilight Realm. Now that's some kind of adventure.

Did You Know?: Though there may NEVER be a sequel to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link in the controversial fictional Zelda timeline, the most recent game, Skyward Sword, is shown to have taken place before Ocarina of Time. And that is according to an art book called Hyrule Historia, released in Japan in 2011 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the series; in August 2012, the book was confirmed for an international release by Oregon-based publisher Dark Horse Comics on January 29, 2013, leading to the book being on the #1 spot on Amazon's sales chart, making E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy look like second or third place compared to the book. What a very high demand for Zelda! Also, the name of the Zelda series and its princess was inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. Bet you didn't know that, huh?

And there you have it. A list of the top 10 kid heroes. Before I go, I'd like to list the honorable mentions that would have made it onto the top 10 list. They are:

Ninten from Mother
Lucas from Mother 3
Will from Illusion of Gaia
Davey from Day Dreamin' Davey
Crono from Chrono Trigger
Serge from Chrono Cross
Relm Arrowny from Final Fantasy VI
Zidane Tribal and Eiko Carol from Final Fantasy IX
Sonic from the Sonic the Hedgehog series
Sora from Kingdom Hearts
Brian from Quest 64

You know, it's been nearly three months, but to all the families who have lost their children and loved ones in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown here in Connecticut: I don't mean any disrespect, and I don't mean any harm, but you may know that whenever tragedies in life get you down, there will always be heroes, whether kids or adults, who will be by your side to comfort you and to let you know that good will always prevail over evil, that love will conquer all, and that there will always be a light that can never be extinguished by the powers of evil and darkness.

This Top 10 list is dedicated to the real kid heroes and adult heroes of Sandy Hook Elementary School, some of whom gave their lives on that fateful day (12/14/2012). We will never forget you!

List by angeldeb82 (03/12/2013)

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