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11:25 AM on 11.21.2013 // TheDustinThomas
Honoring Gaming's Finest Beards

Guys, this month marks two years since the last time I trimmed my beard. While I've kept a healthy mane on my mug since I was in high school, it wasn't until two Novembers ago that I made the best decision of my life and shunned all razors and clippers. Let's recap:

Here I am just after the last time I trimmed.



Here we are at 3 months...



...and 7 months...



...one year...



...at Pax East 2013 (1 year, 4 months)...



...1 year, 8 months (featuring a cameo from my beautiful wife)...



...and finally, 2 years...



In celebration of the big 0-2, I originally wanted to make a list of the best beards in gaming. However, I changed my mind when doing research and found that a top beards list has already been done several times over. When I looked at the other lists, I saw a lot of the same characters. Everyone had Zangief, Dr. Light, LeChuck, Bill from Left 4 Dead, and so on. After reading each list, I would think "What about so-and-so, and what's-his-face?"

What I've decided to do instead is to give some love to the underrated beards, the ones that don't give the credit they deserve. I'm excluding athletes, and I'm also not counting any of that goatee nonsense (sorry Gordon Freeman fans). I want men who shun shaving altogether. This is a tribute to all men who look like they should be cutting down trees and eating red meat for a living. Let's begin:

Barry Burton and Bitores Mendez (Resident Evil)





I've never understood the lack of love for Barry Burton's beard. It's completely solid. It's very reminiscent of Chuck Norris', but whereas Norris has a fist underneath his beard, Burton just has a second beard, which is way more manly. His beard looks like it could bench press a bulldozer, and although it may not have the length or girth of beards that we'll discuss, in some cases a shorter yet well-groomed beard does more for the community than one with more substance.

Sticking with the horror franchise, Bitores Mendez gets extra love from me simply because I was once told that I looked like him. I mean, scroll back up to that picture of me from Pax East and tell me I couldn't have done a killer cosplay of the village chief. You can't do it. 

Joel (The Last of Us)



Much like Barry Burton, Joel keeps his facewarmer short and tight. I respect a man who takes the time to keep his beard clean and presentable in the midst of the fungi apocalypse. Surely, razors aren't easy to come by in this type of world, so Joel either has incredible razor preservation knowledge, or he came across an abandoned Gillette manufacturing facility and stockpiled.

Gilius Thunderhead (Golden Axe)



Every time I see Thunderhead, I feel like I should be listening to Amon Amarth. Everything about him just screams 'viking metal.' There's something about a snow-white beard that makes it more majestic. I have that touch of gray going for me already, and I'm hoping that eventually I can reach this level of man. It would probably help if I sported a giant ax, too.

Arthur (Ghosts N Goblins)



That beard just looks mean. Every piece of art that you see of Arthur depicts him with a fiery scowl on his face, and with good reason, you have to fight the devil. Not a generic boss called 'devil,' you fight the devil. As in 'The Lord of Darkness.' On top of that, he took your woman, bro. You can't be a baby-faced pansy when you kick open the gates of Hell, no one's going to take you seriously. Heck, when your beard looks like this, you can slay demons in your underwear.

Robert Burns (Vanquish)



Yeah, Vanquish. I didn't like Robert Burns as a character at all. I actually thought he was ridiculously one-dimensional and a stereotypical action game military leader, but I just really wanted to mention Vanquish in a blog because that game was fantastic and you should all go play it.

The End (Metal Gear Solid 3)



The End's liver spots somehow accentuate his beard in a weird way. I almost feel like you can't have one without the other in this case. When Big Boss and The End face off with one another in the wilderness of Russia, it's an epic beard versus beard clash for the ages. It's also an incredible upset, as Big Boss overcomes all odds to defeat the wooly mammoth-faced The End. It reminds me a lot of the time the 1-2-3 Kid beat Razor Ramon on Monday Night Raw.

Dizzy (Gears of War)



One look at Dizzy's beard and you know that it's a beard that's seen a lot of things. It's a hard-working beard. It's a beard with invaluable wisdom, almost sage-like. Then he starts speaking and you realize that he's a hillbilly. That's when all semblance of wisdom flies right out the window. He still has a fantastic beard, though, and that's something that the Locust horde can never take away from him.

Bear Hugger (Punch Out!!)



Remember when Peter grew a beard on Family Guy and a nest of birds makes its home inside of it? That's the impression I get when I look at Bear Hugger. A true mountain man, Bear Hugger embodies all that is right about bearding. I believe his beard has mystical powers. Like one of those situations where if you cut off his beard, you become him and then you shall rule over all the lumberjacks of Canada until you find a worthy opponent to do the same to you, at which point you ascend into Beard Heaven.

Thanks for reading. What's some of your favorite beards in gaming that I may have missed?

Happy birthday to my beard, we've had a good two years!

-Dustin

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