Top 30 Most Iconic and Influential Video Game Characters of All Time

These are the top 30 most popular, iconic, and influential video game characters of all time. These iconic video game characters left a mark on the video gaming world and are recognized as the most memorable video game characters ever created. For most games and series only the most popular video game characters are included, however for some series, more than one iconic character is included. This list is organized by video game groups and genres.

Mario

Mario
Mario is a plumber from the Mushroom Kingdom. He appears in multiple games like Super Mario World, Super Smash Bros Mele, and Mario Party but made his first appearance in the 1981 game named Donkey Kong. Mario’s most well known role is rescuing Peach from Bowser’s Castle.

Yoshi

Yoshi

Yoshi the green dinosaur is Mario and Luigi’s sidekick. Yoshi made his first appearence in the 1990 video game Super Mario World. In Super Mario world you can often ride on Yoshi for increased speed and ability.

Luigi

Luigi

I don’t think Mario would be happy if we left out his younger but taller brother, Luigi. Like his brother, is also a plumber from the Mushroom Kingdom who helps Mario along the way. Luigi made his first appearance in the video game Mario Bros. from 1983 but also is the star of his own series of games called Luigi’s Mansion. Oddly enough, Luigi won the mansion from a contest that he never actually entered in the first place.

Bowser

Bowser

Bowser is the leader of the turtle like Koopa race and the main villain in the Mario games. Bowsers evil plan is to kidnap princess peach and take control of the Mushroom Kingdom. Bowser made his first appearance in the 1985 Super Mario Bros. video game.

Princess Peach

Princess Peach

Princess Peach is the Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom who Mario has to rescue from Bowser’s castle. Peach, like a lot of the characters, made her first appearance in the 1985 Super Mario Bros. video game.

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong has its own set of games but is also tied into the Mario world. Donkey kong is Mario’s rival. Donkey Kong made his first appearance in the arcade game Donkey Kong where he kidnaps Mario’s girlfriend Pauline and forces Mario to get her back.

Pikachu (Pokemon)

Pikachu

Pikachu was Ashes first Pokemon and is very well know to fans around the world. Pikachu is featured in the handheld video games as well as on consoles. The Yellow version for the Game Boy even had a feature where Pikachu follows behind you the entire game.

Pacman

Pacman

Pacman is the star of the arcade maze game that came out in 1980. Pacman resembles the Ceratophrys genus of frogs who have a round shape and large mouth.

Samus Aran (Metroid Prime)

Samus Aran figure

Samus Aran first made her appearance in the 1986 Metroid game. She is a bounty hunter that tracks down Metroids and Space Pirates.

Princess Zelda

Princess Zelda

Zelda is from the Legend of Zelda series of games. Zelda also has an alter persona that goes by the name of Sheik. Sheik is only meant to look like a male but is in fact is obviously a female since Zelda is a female.

Link (The Legend of Zelda)

Link

Link is definitely one of the most iconic video game characters. Link has to rescue Zelda from an evil wizard named Ganon.

Fox McCloud (Star Fox)

Fox McCloud

Fox McCloud is Pilot who first appeared in the game StarFox 64. After Fox’s father James McCloud disappears, Fox and is team head to the planet venom to investigate and track down Andross, destroying his army along the way.

Sonic The Hedgehog

Sonic The Hedgehog

Sonic is a hedgehog that can run at super sonic speeds. Sonic battles an evil mad scientist throughout the games named Doctor Eggman.

Spyro The Dragon

Spyro The Dragon

Spyro is a purple dragon who has to free trapped dragons and battle multiple enemies throughout the games such as Gnasty Gnorc and Ripto.

Rayman

Rayman

Rayman is a limbless species of humanoids named Raypeople or Thingamajigs. His feet and arms are connected by an invisible force which he can throw like a boomerang.

Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy 7)

Cloud Strife

Cloud Strife is the main character in the seventh installment of Final Fantasy which was recently remade for PS4.

Mega Man X

Mega Man X Legacy Collection

Mega Man X in an android who was created by Doctor Thomas Light. X is a new kind of robot who has the ability to think and make decisions. This new type of robot spawned the generation of Reploids.

Zero (Mega Man X)

Zero Mega Man X

Zero is known as X’s sidekick and first appeared in Mega Man X for the Super Nintendo in 1993. He is a maverick hunter who was created by Doctor Albert W. Willy.

Nathan Drake (Uncharted)

Nathan Drake
Nathan Drake is a professional treasure hunter from the Uncharted series.

Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid)

Metal Gear Solid Snake

Solid Snake is the main character of the Metal Gear Solid series. He is actually based on Snake Plissken from Escape From New York.

Leon Scott Kennedy (Resident Evil)

Resident Evil 4 Leon Scott Kennedy

For most, Leon Scott Kennedy is the most iconic and influential character of the Resident Evil series. He may be a rookie cop but if you’ve played the games he deals with a lot more than your average seasoned officer. Leon was first introduced in Resident Evil 2 and is also featured in Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 6.

Ryu (Street Fighter)

Ryu Street Fighter

Ryu is arguably the most iconic and influential character of the street fighter games as well as video games in general.

Chun Li (Street Fighter)

Chun Li Street Fighter

When talking about Iconic Street Fighter characters or female video game characters there is no way Chun li is not in the picture. Chun li is arguably the female face of fighting games.

Kratos (God of War)

Kratos God of War

Kratos is known as the ghost of Sparta, a Spartan warrior who sold his soul for power and now seeks revenge. He is given the powers of the god throughout the games.

Dante (Devil May Cry)

Dante Devil May Cry 3

Dante is a demon hunter who also has demonic powers himself. Dante is one of the son’s of the great knight Sparda and is the main character of the Devil May Cry games.

CJ (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas)

CJ Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

CJ (Carl Johnson) is definitely one of the most iconic characters in all of the GTA games. He is a member of the grove street families located in Los Santos. CJ was introduced in GTA San Andreas.

Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

Laura Croft Rise of The Tomb Raider

Lara Croft is the star of the Tomb Raider series of games and also the movies. Lara Croft travels through ancient tombs and ruins to find artifacts and sacred locations.

Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher)

Geralt of Rivia The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Geralt of Rivia is a monster slayer from the Witcher series who has to rescue his adopted daughter and save her from the Wild Hunt before they capture her and use her powers.

Master Chief (Halo)

Master Chief

Master Chief is a SPARTAN-II commando of the UNSC Naval Special Warfare Command. He is a character from the Halo series.

Doom Guy (DOOM)

Doom Guy

Doom guy is the soldier from the Doom series of games and is often said to represent you as the player. He is also referred to as the Doom Slayer.

This is the end of the list. As you can see there have been a lot of characters over the years.