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25 Most Popular Video Game Characters, of All Time!

25 Most Popular Video Game Characters, of All Time!
Which one of your favs made the all time list? Find out below!

Video games have grown ingrained in our culture, even surpassing the movies that have been incredibly popular before it, Characters from these virtual worlds have surpassed the bounds of their digital life, becoming household names and cultural icons.

Today we'll be taking a look at the fascinating world of the most prominent video game characters.

We'll take an exciting journey across legendary worlds, meeting renowned heroes and memorable villains who have grabbed the hearts of millions of gamers around the world.

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25. Sub-Zero

Most Popular Video Game Characters Sub-Zero

Sub-Zero initially appeared as a character in the famous Mortal Kombat series of fighting games. Mortal Kombat, created by NetherRealm Studios, swiftly became a cultural phenomenon, enthralling us with its intense combat and distinct characters. Sub-Zero's enigmatic allure and remarkable talents let him carve out a particular place in the hearts of gamers among these characters.

Sub-Zero's secretive character is one of the main reasons for his popularity. Sub-Zero oozes secrecy and intrigue while dressed in characteristic blue ninja garb and hiding his identity beneath a mask.

We are so incredibly captivated to his mysterious persona, wanting to discover the mystery behind his chilly origins. This aura of mystery gives complexity to his persona and feeds gamers' imaginations, leaving them wanting more.

24. Max Payne

Most Popular Video Game Characters Max Payne

Max Payne's fame originates from his well manufactured character. Players are forced into a world where sorrow and grief influence the very essence of his existence as they embark on his adventure. Max's gloomy past, replete with personal traumas and broken relationships, elicits an emotional response from players. We can't help but sympathise with his anguish and wish him well.

The attraction of Max Payne extends beyond his gameplay mechanics. The franchise's dedication to film noir aesthetics and storytelling approaches provides depth to the character and his environment.

Max Payne masterfully transports players into a dark and gritty underworld, evoking the impression of being the protagonist in a classic crime thriller with its dramatic images, hard-boiled language, and moody soundtrack.

23. Joel Miller

Most Popular Video Game Characters Joel Miller

Joel Miller's influence extends beyond the The Last of Us video game franchise. The figure has become a symbol of video games' storytelling powers as an art form. His effect is visible in how we debate and analyze his actions, intentions, and the ethical intricacies of the society he inhabits. Joel has come to represent the potential complexity and emotional impact of video game tales.

Joel Miller's intricacy and authenticity set him apart from other video game characters. As we explore the dismal landscape of The Last of Us, we see Joel's transition from a hardened survival to a compassionate father figure. His character path is rich in emotional depth and moral quandaries.

22. Rayman

Most Popular Video Game Characters Rayman

Rayman's charisma and distinct personality set him different from other video game characters. Rayman's lack of limbs and continual grin radiate a loving and fun character that gamers easily identify with. His colourful animations and funny antics generate a sense of joy and lightheartedness, making him a relatable and lovable character.

Rayman's fame is also due to the enthralling realms he travels. Each facet of the Rayman universe is thoughtfully constructed to immerses us in a magical and visually breathtaking trip, from the lush landscapes of the Glade of Dreams to the odd characters that inhabit them.

21. Cloud Strife

Most Popular Video Game Characters Cloud Strife

Cloud's striking appearance and noteworthy moments in Final Fantasy VII have gone down in gaming history. Cloud's aesthetics and defining moments have become part of gaming culture, from his trademark combat poses to the tragic events surrounding his character. For devotees, the images connected with him evokes feelings of awe and nostalgia.

Cloud's interactions with other characters add to his popularity. These exchanges give layers of emotional complexity to Cloud's story, from his bond with childhood buddy Tifa Lockhart to his intriguing connection with Aerith Gainsborough. Players become emotionally invested in Cloud's personal journey as well as the relationships he forms along the road.

20. John Marston

Most Popular Video Game Characters John Marston

The diverse nature of John Marston contributes to his popularity. As you go off and explore the environment of Red Dead Redemption, you'll be able to witness his ability to leave his extremely violent past in the dust.

Marston's emotional conflicts, moral quandaries, and unshakable dedication to people he loves make him a compelling and relatable figure. The fascinating tale that emerges throughout Red Dead Redemption is at the heart of John Marston's fame. We've become emotionally immersed in Marston's pursuit of his old gang members and a better future for his family.

The game's deep tale and examination of themes like honour, sacrifice, and the vanishing frontier create an immersive experience that has a lasting impact on us.

19. Geralt of Rivia

Most Popular Video Game Characters Geralt of Rivia

Geralt of Rivia's success can be ascribed in part to the engrossing tale and complex mythos that surrounds him. The Witcher series is a tapestry of enthralling stories, intriguing quests, and complex relationships. Players are transported into a world of political intrigue, fascinating creatures, and captivating personalities, all of which are linked by Geralt's adventure.

Geralt's popularity extends beyond the game world. His popularity has spilled over to a Netflix series of The Witcher that brings the popular video game franchise a more wider audience on the streaming service. Geralt of Rivia has become an instantly recognisable figure in popular culture, thanks to his striking white hair, distinguishing scars, and gravelly voice.

18. Duke Nukem

Most Popular Video Game Characters Duke Nukem

Come on, shake it baby!

Duke has seen his fair share of video games over the years. From the origins on the PC, to the epic Duke Nukem 3D experience that made it's way to a variety of different consoles throughout the years.

Duke Nukem's larger-than-life nature distinguishes him from other video game characters. Duke epitomises the tough hero, equipped to the teeth and ready to take on any challenge that comes his path. Duke displays confidence and excitement that we find invigorating and amusing, with his caustic remarks and unrelenting determination.

17. Scorpion

Most Popular Video Game Characters Scorpion

Scorpion's continuing popularity attests to the Mortal Kombat franchise's everlasting impact. Being one of the original members of the Mortal Kombat franchise, he's clearly become a household name and has captivated hearts of fellow gamers since the early 90s.

His appearance in multiple sequels, spin-offs, and adaptations has cemented his place as a famous video game character.

Scorpion's fame is also due to his unique and dynamic fighting style.

Scorpion's combat prowess is unrivalled, thanks to his kunai, which you might remember it as he screams "get over here". His arsenal of lethal manoeuvres and fatalities, along with his flaming aesthetic, create a mesmerising visual spectacle that has enthralled players for decades.

16. Jill Valentine

Most Popular Video Game Characters Jill Valentine

Jill Valentine's multifaceted personality is what makes her such a beloved and memorable character. Players are drawn to her power and resourcefulness, as well as her steadfast will to survive, from the start. Jill epitomises a great heroine, fighting scary monsters and tremendous circumstances with amazing fortitude.

Jill Valentine's appeal is based on more than just her portrayal of a strong female character. She has become a symbol of empowerment for female and male gamers alike. Her presence disrupts traditional gender stereotypes, demonstrating that bravery and heroism have no limits.

Jill's ability to command respect and motivate gamers has contributed to her standing as a gaming icon.

15. Sam Fisher

Most Popular Video Game Characters Sam Fisher

Not only does Sam Fisher have great abilities, but he also has an engaging persona. Behind the harsh and austere demeanour is a complicated guy with a rich past. Players are given glimpses into Sam's personal life, his challenges, and the sacrifices he takes to protect the planet from impending threats throughout the series. This human touch gives Sam depth and relatability, elevating him above the level of a skilled operative.

The immersive gameplay experience provided by the Splinter Cell series is one of the main reasons for Sam Fisher's fame. Each edition includes expertly created challenges that force players to think strategically and tactically.

Splinter Cell gives you that added element of conspiracy that keeps you engaged and wanting more as you make your way through each of the games.

14. Commander Shepard

Most Popular Video Game Characters Commander Shepard

Commander Shepard is proclaimed for his epic role in the Mass Effect series. This epic space opera RPG captivated gamers' attention with its engrossing gameplay and riveting narrative. Commander Shepard, at the head of the player's journey, became the embodiment of valour and leadership.

The option for us to customise their own version of Commander Shepard is one of the main reasons for the character's popularity. You can customise Shepard's look, gender, and background, as well as make critical decisions that affect the game's universe.

With this amount of individuality and agency, you can form a strong bond with your own version of Commander Shepard.

13. Agent 47

Most Popular Video Game Characters Agent 47

What makes Agent 47 so popular among gamers is his distinct method to completing his missions. He boasts extraordinary expertise in stealth, concealment, and battle as a genetically modified assassin.

Take on the role of this quiet predator, carefully planning each mission, infiltrating well secured sites, and ruthlessly eliminating high-profile targets. The combination of strategic gameplay elements and the thrill of flawless execution results in a thrilling experience for gamers.

Agent 47's success can be linked to the immersive storytelling inside The Hitman series, in addition to his outstanding powers. Each game installment's deep and often mysterious plots entice players into a world of espionage, intrigue, and double-crosses.

12. Kratos

Most Popular Video Game Characters Kratos

What makes Kratos so popular?

The solution is found in his captivating past, his unbreakable presence, and his unwavering desire of vengeance. Players are immersed into a mythological world filled with gods, monsters, and ancient prophecies as they step into the shoes of this Spartan warrior.

Kratos' popularity stems from his unyielding character and the tremendous power he has. Armed with the Blades of Chaos and fuelled by wrath, he sets out to exact vengeance on the gods who have abandoned him. Players are taken aback by the overwhelming intensity of his conflicts and the awe-inspiring spectacle of his anger.

11. Solid Snake

Most Popular Video Game Characters Solid Snake

Solid Snake's skill in stealth and tactical combat has also won him fans around the world. As Snake, players are responsible with entering enemy bases, outwitting guards, and accomplishing objectives with finesse. The gameplay mechanics, when paired with Solid Snake's enormous array of gadgets and weaponry, provide a fascinating and immersive experience that keeps gamers hooked and ready to learn more about his narrative.

Solid Snake's influence extends beyond the gaming industry. His catchphrases, such as "Kept you waiting, huh?" and "War has changed," have been embedded in popular culture, producing a plethora of memes and references.

Solid Snake's austere yet captivating demeanour, along with his keen wit, has made him an inspiration and source of admiration for gamers.

10. Pac-Man

Most Popular Video Game Characters Pac-Man

Toru Iwatani, a visionary game inventor, introduced Pac-Man to the world in 1980. This arcade game, created by Namco, exposed players to a thrilling maze filled with colourful pellets, power-ups, and persistent ghosts. Pac-Man's aim as the eponymous figure was straightforward: absorb all of the pellets while dodging the ghosts' pursuit.

The worldwide notion of Pac-Man is one of the primary aspects contributing to its appeal. Unlike many other games at the time that depended largely on violence or intricate controls, Pac-Man provided a simple and basic gameplay experience.

The basic thrill of directing Pac-Man around the maze, avoiding ghosts, and gobbling up pellets could be understood and enjoyed by players of different ages and backgrounds.

9. Crash Bandicoot

Most Popular Video Game Characters Crash Bandicoot

Crash Bandicoot, created by the great brains of Naughty Dog, first appeared on the scene in the mid-1990s. This rambunctious and naughty marsupial rapidly captivated the attention of players all over the world. Crash made a name for himself in gaming history with his bright personality and wacky experiences.

Crash Bandicoot's engaging personality and accessible sense of humour are two of the main reasons for his ongoing popularity. Crash portrays a cheerful and endearing character with his expressive eyes and wild behaviors.

We simply couldn't help but be pulled to this charming character, from his hilarious facial expressions to his sweet victory dances.

8. Lara Croft

Most Popular Video Game Characters Lara Croft

Lara Croft, who first appeared in the landmark game Tomb Raider in 1996, made a big impression. Lara, created by Core Design, was an instant success, attracting gamers with her strong-willed demeanour and adventurous energy. Lara Croft rapidly became an iconic figure and a symbol of female empowerment in gaming, from her British accent to her characteristic braid.

Lara Croft broke down barriers and paved the way for future female characters. Lara emerged as a refreshing and inspiring figure at a period when video games were largely male-dominated. Her brilliance, athleticism, and independence exemplified a new archetype that resounded with players all over the world.

The success of Lara among both male and female gamers demonstrated the need for varied representation in video games.

7. Donkey Kong

Most Popular Video Game Characters Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong first appeared on the game scene in 1981, thanks to Nintendo. This enormous ape was first portrayed as an antagonist, but he swiftly became a protagonist and a symbol of Nintendo's creative ingenuity. Donkey Kong jumped into gaming history after being created by Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator behind Mario.

Donkey Kong distinguishes out as a character noted for his outsized personality. He has a distinct attraction that draws players in, from his brawny build to his captivating personality. Donkey Kong's trademark red tie and commanding attitude have made him instantly recognisable to gamers all over the world.

6. Michael, Franklin, and Trevor

Most Popular Video Game Characters Michael, Franklin, and Trevor

The richness and depth of their separate tales is one of the key reasons for the trio's enormous appeal. Michael, a former criminal looking for atonement, Franklin, a street-smart hustler looking for a better life, and Trevor, an erratic and unpredictable force of chaos, form a strong blend of characters that players are drawn to.

Michael, Franklin, and Trevor's success can also be credited to the captivating story that emerges throughout Grand Theft Auto V.

As they negotiate the interconnecting storylines of these three characters, you're transported on an emotional rollercoaster.

5. Master Chief

Most Popular Video Game Characters Master Chief

Another element that has contributed to Master Chief's popularity is the immersive universe of Halo, with its rich backstory and intriguing plot. We've clearly become engrossed in the vast and intricate universe, unravelling mysteries and fighting in epic battles alongside the renowned hero. The unique tale, combined with Master Chief's status as the saga's key personality, has left a lasting impression on the gaming community.

The popularity of Master Chief extends beyond his combat abilities. Players have admired his unflinching resolve and unyielding perseverance in the face of adversity. We see his transformation from a lone warrior to a symbol of hope for humanity throughout the Halo trilogy.

His personality exemplifies qualities such as loyalty, sacrifice, and perseverance, making him sympathetic.

Most Popular Video Game Characters Link

Since 1986, he has become the famed Legend of Zelda series' key protagonist, embarking on innumerable adventures and enthralling gamers with his bravery and unyielding spirit.

Link's appeal spans generations, since he has been a persistent presence in the gaming scene for more than three decades. Link's amiable demeanour is one of the key reasons for his enduring appeal.

Despite being a mute protagonist, his actions and expressions convey volumes, striking a profound chord with players. Link is a likeable and admirable character due to his unwavering strength, selflessness, and dedication to his goal to save Princess Zelda and safeguard the kingdom of Hyrule.

3. Sonic the Hedgehog

Most Popular Video Game Characters Sonic

Sonic the Hedgehog first appeared on the gaming landscape in 1991, created by Sega in response to Nintendo's Mario dominance. Sonic was created from the outset to be a figure who personified speed, excitement, and a rebellious spirit. He became an instant hit with his spiky blue hair and red trainers, drawing players of all ages.

Sonic's tremendous speed is probably one of the key factors contributing to his fame. Sonic's ability to race at breakneck speed over vivid, inventive stages creates an exciting and entertaining gaming experience.

The adrenaline rush that came with controlling Sonic as he spun around loops, leaped over obstacles, and gathered golden rings drew us in immediately.

2. Pikachu

Most Popular Video Game Characters Pikachu

Pikachu first appeared on the gaming landscape in the late 1990s as the Pokémon franchise's electrifying mascot. Pokémon, created by Game Freak and published by Nintendo, became a worldwide phenomenon, enthralling players of all ages. Pikachu immediately became the face of this phenomena, with its bright yellow fur, big cheeks, and characteristic lightning bolt-shaped tail.

Pikachu's loving and personable character is what makes him so famous. Pikachu was the loyal buddy of the show's protagonist, Ash Ketchum, in the Pokémon anime series.

Their camaraderie and mission to become Pokémon Masters struck a chord with fans, who saw Pikachu as a symbol of friendship, devotion, and adventure.

1. Mario

Most Popular Video Game Characters Mario

This is it, the most iconic video game character of all time is none other than Super Mario.

We loved Mario on the days of the NES and were absolutely blown away when he made his premiere on the 16 bit console.

Super Mario was such an iconic character in the 90s, spinning off numerous game adaptations, a really cheesy live action movie and cartoons as a result of the popularity.

You can't be anywhere without being reminded of Mario in some form or fashion. Whether that's billboards, TV advertisements or even radio ads. Mario is clearly everywhere.


Thanks for taking the time to have a glance at our list of the most popular video game characters ever.

We've put a ton of time into researching, ranking and outweighing the pros and cons of each character.

Let us know what you think in the comments section below. Here is a recap of all of the characters featured in this ranking:

  • Mario
  • Pikachu
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Link
  • Master Chief
  • Michael, Franklin, and Trevor
  • Donkey Kong
  • Lara Croft
  • Crash Bandicoot
  • Pac-Man
  • Solid Snake
  • Kratos
  • Agent 47
  • Commander Shepard
  • Sam Fisher
  • Jill Valentine
  • Scorpion
  • Duke Nukem
  • Geralt of Rivia
  • John Marston
  • Cloud Strife
  • Rayman
  • Joel Miller
  • Max Payne
  • Sub-Zero


Passionate gamer and nostalgia enthusiast. Journeying through the pixelated realms of retro video games, unearthing forgotten gems and sharing the joy. Join me on a nostalgic adventure! 🎮✨