Who’s the baddest of them all? Find out one opinion here. This and each of our next four ICHEG blogs are dedicated to those nefarious antagonists we love to hate—video game villains! For five consecutive postings we will cite five villains, leading up to the biggest baddie of all time. As with all lists of this nature, everyone has individual ideas and personal favorites. I used the following criteria when compiling the list:
- Icon status: How recognizable is the character to the general gaming public?
- Longevity: Has this character stood the test of time?
- Power: Is this character strong? Did vanquishing him or her cause pain, anguish, and blistered thumbs?
- General villainy-coolness: Capes? Huge weapons? An evil laugh? The ability to pull off diabolical schemes at the drop of a hat? Definite pluses.
Please offer your comments, opinions, and personal memories throughout the countdown. I’d love to hear whom you would crown the most iconic video game villain of all time.
Mario from Wikipedia
#25: Mario: A heroic villain?
I can hear your expressions of shock right now—isn’t this a list of villains? What’s one of the most iconic video game heroes doing here? That’s precisely why he’s on our list! The hero/villain classification all depends on your point of view. In Donkey Kong, Jr., the game is played from the perspective of—you guessed it —DK, Jr. In this persona your task is to rescue your father from the evil clutches of Mario. Considering that Mario is so entrenched in video game history as a hero, it’s good to remember that our fearless plumber had a brief villainous stint at the beginning of his career.
Carmen Sandiego from Wikipedia
#24: Carmen Sandiego: The world is her playground!
She’s ruthless. She’s cunning. She’s a former ace detective turned V.I.L.E. You’d think she’d be easy to spot in her trademark blood-red trench coat and fedora, but instead she leads you on a merry game of tag across the globe. She’s Carmen Sandiego, and she requires skill and tenacity to vanquish. Without a decent grasp of history and geography, you’ll be stuck at square one! Carmen makes this list not only for being the world’s greatest thief, but also because she gave a memorable face to the world of children’s educational games. Even the most tedious school assignment becomes fun when it tests your ability to catch a spy.
Convenent from Halopedia
#23: The Covenant: “Your destruction is the will of the gods.”
Microsoft’s current flagship video game series Halo produced a large number of awesome villains, but it’s almost impossible to discuss the series without talking about the Covenant, a race of aliens united under a strict theocratic oligarchy. Convinced that humanity is an abomination in the eyes of their gods, the members of the Covenant begin a genocidal campaign to wipe out every last human in existence. They have no qualms about waging war against any society they choose, especially if the war aids them in recovering sacred artifacts from their gods, the Forerunners. We can also blame the Covenant for re-releasing the Flood, a group of parasitic organisms that almost destroyed all life throughout the galaxy 100,000 years ago. Oh, but that was an accident, so it shouldn’t count, right? Whoops.
Cats from Wikipedia
#22: Cats: What about our base?
I’ll be honest. Before writing this list, I’d never heard of the game Zero Wing or the evil mastermind Cats. But I did know about a game made famous by its atrocious English translation, and I certainly knew about its greatest gift to gaming culture—the phrase, “All your base are [sic] belong to us.” There is some debate among gamers on whether “Cats” even refers to the character who uttered the phrase, or if it’s an organization he leads. None of that actually matters. The point is: without this character we would have lost many years of internet jokes, homemade t-shirts, and hundreds of in-game jokes. Mr. Cyborg, I salute you!
Diablo from Gamespot
#21: Diablo: The name says it all!
It’s no surprise that a character whose name literally means “Devil” deserves a place on our list. Many of us have brains hard-wired to fear big red guys with horns and cloven hooves, and this character is no different. Diablo is even nicknamed the Lord of Terror in the game. The basic plot of the game Diablo—well-known for being one of the best examples of the action-RPG genre—is a classic battle between the Angels of Heaven and the Demons of Hell, with local mortals getting caught in between the two armies. While this may not be a very original plot device, the need to defeat an avatar of Evil is so easily understood by all of us that it’s perfectly fine if Diablo himself doesn’t have much of a personality. Just being a big red demon is sufficient to make this list.
Stay tuned for our next five villains!