Gaming's most memorable protagonists...

Favorite Video Game Characters

Video game characters range from the faceless and voiceless (think Doom marine) to the jumping and exuberant (think Mario). Below are a few I am partial to, based on the veritable myriad of games I've played, including some commentary as to what I find so intriguing. So without further ado, here’s my list of the best video game characters of all time.

The best video game characters

G-man - Half Life series
Creepy. Clandestine. Double-dealing. G-man from the Half Life series is undoubtedly one of the most confounding video game characters in history. I vividly remember the first time I encountered him back in late 1998 while playing through the original Half Life--I noticed a man in a suit purposefully striding across a suspended steel walkway above me before he stopped, turned and stared as if observing me, then continued walking as if his brief curiosity had waned.

His reptilian-sounding prolonged S’s, gaunt appearance, and strange mannerisms coupled with the conundrum surrounding his purpose work together to produce a truly memorable video game character. In the above-right picture, you can see G-man from the original Half Life (1998, left) and Half Life 2 (2004, right)...

Inside G-man

Ever wonder what was in his briefcase? Believe it or not, someone clipped-into it years ago and took the following pictures of it’s contents which appear to include a pistol, an ID card, a laptop computer, a couple sheets of paper, and three pencils...

Over the course of the Half Life series, G-man makes several enigmatic appearances--some fairly blatant, and some so subtle that you would miss him if you did not know he was there. Who is he? Where did he come from? Who does he work for? These are all unanswered questions that have plagued Half Life fans for over a decade.

The following two videos chronologically show each G-man appearance throughout the Half Life series.

Sander Cohen from Bioshock

Sander Cohen - Bioshock
Now this guy knows how to make an entrance. After using the radio to verbally lead you on an elaborate hunt to take pictures of his favorite deceased brethren, he decides to make a grandiose and much overdue appearance in Fort Frolic. Amongst falling confetti and circus hoopla, Sander Cohen appears at the top of the stairs, slowly descending, and waving as if to fully absorb the adulation from his imaginary adoring public. Strangely, he’ll pay no attention to you whatsoever, unless you attack him, in which case he’ll attack you using Houdini-splicer maneuvers. If you kill him, that’s where his story ends. If you choose not to, you’ll eventually visit his apartment in Mercury Suites where he’ll beckon to you, “Come into the light, little moth, come in.” When you enter, you’ll see two Houdini-splicers dancing to the music emanating from a phonograph. If you kill the splicers, Sander will rush downstairs and attack you. If you decide to leave the splicers alone, Sander Cohen will survive the events of Rapture.

“Cohen’s an artist, says some. He’s a Section Eight, says I. I’ve seen all kinds of cutthroats, freaks, and hard cases in my life, but Cohen, he’s a real lunatic, a dyed-in-the-wool psychopath...”
- Atlas