This Memorial Day, I'd like to take a moment from your busy schedules of drinking, barbecuing, and catching up on game backlogs on your day off to acknowledge the real meaning of this holiday. Let us honor the sacrifice of those who have gone forth and served their respective in-game masters, or merely us, the players, and given their lives in the line of duty.
(I'm talking about dead video game characters, so expect spoilers, at least if you haven't played anything anyone actually liked in the past decade or two.)
Let us remember General Leo Cristophe, honorable swordsman of the Gestahlian Empire, slain in his efforts to stop the mad rampages and dishonorable, murderous conduct of fellow officer, Kefka Palazzo. In life he was honorable, and in his passing, Leo managed to convince scores upon scores of Final Fantasy VI fans that he could be brought back to life somehow.
Not forgotten are Lieutenant Commander Miranda Keyes and Sergeant Avery Johnson, UNSC officers fallen in the line of duty, but crucial in the efforts to prevent the Covenant from destroying humanity, never mind all sentient life in the galaxy.
Today we remember Samus Aran's Power Suit, which was sacrificed on multiple occasions to reveal the woman beneath. Without these reveals, female character empowerment may have been set back years, as well as the pixel-ridden, erotic fantasies of numerous nerds from the 1980s through to today.
In our hearts remains Zack Fair, member of SOLDIER, whose idealistic heart saw through the machinations of his superiors and the ShinRa corporation. His stand for the interests of the people of Midgar was pivotal in inspiring/traumatizing Cloud Strife to the point needed to lead a band of heroes in saving the world from Sephiroth and Meteor.
Remember Liu Kang, valiant warrior in Earth and Eternia's battle against the forces of the Outworld. Despite his death at the hands of Quan Chi and Shang Tsung, he continued to fight as a zombie (with the reanimation aid of Raiden) until eventually being reborn into a superior reboot of his original series.
We honor the life and deaths of Ken Hayabusa, whose death (but not really) in a duel pushed his son, Ryu Hayabusa into the quest that would save us all from the threat presented by the villain Jaquio, and whose death (for realsies this time) taking a fireball intended for Ryu kept the latter alive to defeat Jaquio's lord, Ashtar, and later stop Jaquio again.
One can never forget Crono of Truce Village, the young man who died and was returned to us by his companions in order to save the planet from destruction at the hands of the malevolent being Lavos.
A moment of silence for William Overbeck, who not only served the United States in the conflict in Vietnam, but would one day give his life willingly to save the lives of his companions from the predations of victims of the Green Flu.
Let us not forget Zabel Zarock, whose self-sacrifice (and that of scores of his fans) would provide us all with one of the badass characters in the Darkstalkers series, Lord Raptor.
Honored is the fake passing of Jill Valentine, ex-S.T.A.R.S. operative and founding BSAA member who passed (but didn't) attempting to stop the nefarious Albert Wesker, only to return with an equally tragic (but still kind of hot) bleach job and catsuit combo.
And finally, may we remember fondly the tragic life and death of Kurtis, whose passing in order to save the lovely Jennifer served merely to transform into one of the greatest Prinnies to ever seek redemption, and claim his rightful title as the 38th Defender Of Earth.
These are far from the only heroes and heroines to have died valiantly throughout video game history, but they are the first ones to have come to mind as I wondered who to honor today, as well as the only ones I could get to before it stopped being May 30th here on the east coast of the U.S. If I've overlooked some of your favorites, feel free to remember them in the comments below.
Lord Raptor image originally by eldeivi.