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The ten most annoying game protagonists. Cowzilla3's first list.

I don't really like lists because people disagree all the time and you can't really make a top ten, but then I thought about the last time I was wrong. I thought back to all those times I was never wrong and said, "Hey, I'm always right. Why not make a top ten list." So I did.

We all know that games have their fair share of annoying characters. Luckily, these characters usually relegate themselves to the background of the game coming in as either sidekicks or people in need of rescue. It's easy for them to be annoying; they're constantly in another castle or screaming for help or getting in the way when they should be helping. Slippy, Ashley from RE4 and that god damn dog from Duck Hunt come easily to mind. It's almost their job to be annoying, so we here at TVGB are never too surprised when they are. They aren't the main part of the game so it's easy to overlook them.

But what about when the lead character is ridiculously annoying? You can't ditch them or let them die or flat out ignore them, you're stuck with them for the whole game no matter how blindingly annoying they are. With this in mind, we're going to take a look at the ten most irritating game protagonists in gaming history. For this list, the character has to be someone or some thing that the player controls for a large chunk of the game. In short, they need to be the main character, the one who gets the girl, the guy who's still standing at the end, etc etc. You're stuck with these guys no matter how much you hate putting up with them. Maybe it's their character, maybe it's the fact that they suck as a game character or maybe they just grind your gears (it isn't because they're in a bad game, that's annoying game design). Whatever it is, these characters have been worse than nails across a chalk board for many gamers.

Bubsy in: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind, Bubsy II, Bubsy in: Fractured Furry Tales, Bubsy 3D: Furbitten Planet

Bubsy was heralded, mostly by marketing, as the new Sonic. He was going to be a bad dude with attitude delivered through snappy one liners and comical animations. However, his games weren't that great and his attitude and animations were far from humorous. Bubsy is pretty much the epitome of unfunny, and yet he kept on spewing horrible one liners and doing gag takes every time he walked near an edge. By the end of the first game, we wanted to rip his vocal chords out and by the end of the second we wanted to find the writers responsible and make sure they couldn't procreate. What's with the exclamation mark on the shirt too? Did Bubsy's creators realize he was such a horrendously annoying character and thus think they needed to add some exciting punctuation to his chest to liven things up? The title of the first game shows how into needles punctuation they were. Oh, and if you don't believe me about the dialogue being awful try this on for size: in the last Bubsy game, Bubsy 3D, there was an option to turn of his inane prattling it got so annoying.

The Prince
The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones

If whining was an Olympic sport then the Prince would be Michael Phelps. Surrounded by one of the greatest games ever made the Prince could do nothing but whine and bitch about how everything was so hard for him even though he caused all the problems in the first place because he was an ass. Luckily the game carried with it some character development and the prince matured into...a grunge rock band leader with serious emo leanings. Seriously, the obsessively whiny Prince of the first game at least had some depth to him as opposed to the constantly brooding Prince of the second game. By the time the third game rolled around players, and the Prince himself for that matter, weren't sure who he was as a character and that meant he had no personality at all. From one annoying state to another is basically how the Prince ran through his games, sadly backing up great gameplay with a character who we just wanted to punch in the face. Maybe it's because no one has ever bothered to give him a real name.

Batman and Superman games

I'm lumping these two together because (a) I can and (b) they suffer from the same problem. Both Batman and Superman are awesome protagonist as long as they aren't in a videogame, but for some strange reason when you shove either one of these guys into a game they become absolutely unbearable. Their games suck, they have no depth and the years of character development fleshed out in every other medium besides gaming disappears. We're left with a guy who might look like Superman or Batman but most certainly isn't and it's one of the most annoying things in the world. Why isn't this completely amazing, badass protagonist completely amazing and badass? Every time we pick up a controller and play a game with either one of these characters we get extremely aggravated because they simply are not all that they can be. The gaming versions of Superman and Batman are nothing more than hollow, polygon recreations of themselves sent to cause early onset baldness through aggravation.

The Straight Line in Tetris

You might argue I'm stretching the term protagonist here a little bit, but hear me out. The straight line in [i]Tetris</i> is truly the hero of the game. He/she/it is the easiest way to pick yourself up a tetris score and technically you are controlling it in a main character sort of way. Now if only the f-ing thing would show up more often and do its damn job. I wish the comic above, from <a href="http://www.neenja.com/pictures/42/funny_tetris_block">Neenja.com</a>, was using hyperbole to make itself funny but all too often those straight blocks just don't show up when you need them causing many to surmise the game itself is actually out to get them. I mean how many L blocks can really come out in a row if the game is set to a random algorythm? Seriously? I constructed a damn tower of misshapen blocks, now it's time for some pay off. And yet, no straight block. Screw you, you rectangular douche. See if we ever come when you need our help!

Sonic games after Sonic Adventure and maybe even a bit in that

In the immortal words of future Bart Simpson, "What happened to you China? You use to be cool." Except replace China with Sonic. There was a time when Sonic would have been appearing on a list of the top ten most raddest protagonists ever. He was the coolest guy around, and then the gaming world evolved and grew up. The 90's ended and being a radical dude really wasn't cool anymore. Sadly, no one told Sonic and so he shoots around his games spewing tired speed jokes and acting like a total idiot. I'm not even complaining about how pitiful his recent gaming ventures have been, I'm talking about the fact that Sonic hasn't changed a single bit in the past seventeen years and his age is showing. Instead of being fun to play with he's a laughing stock of a character. I'm pretty sure my eyes almost rolled out of my head and down the street the last time he spoke outloud and if he tries to teach me one more life lesson about friendship I'm going to take those little animals he kept rescuing in the first game and shove them up his sword wielding ass. A SWORD!? WHAT ARE YOU DOING SEGA!?

The Arbiter
Halo 2

The above image shows quite clearly the reason that The Arbiter is one of the most annoying protagonists in gaming; he isn't Master Chief. That's Master Chief standing right next to him and that is the character and storyline that everyone wanted to follow and learn about. Every time Halo 2 jumped to an Arbiter level players would cringe. Not even getting to use the plasma sword for the first time made the Arbiter fun to play with. It was one of the few complaints leveled at the game and it made absolutely no sense design wise as Halo 3 showed us that Bungie could tell both sides of the story without taking us out of the Chief's head. It's not like gamers were sitting around after Halo thinking how much they wanted to play as another character. There is nothing more annoying than being forced to play with a second tier character on a first tier level and the Arbiter is definitely a second tier character when compared to Master Chief.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

He isn't Solid Snake and anyone who is in an <em>MGS</em> game and isn't Solid Snake is annoying.

50 Cent
50 Cent: Bulletproof

If we've learned one thing from 50 Cent it's that the thug life is a hard life full of getting shot and going to da club. 50 Cent as a rapper annoys the hell out of us so imagine how annoying he is when his entire persona is taken to the umpteenth degree in a videogame. Walking around with guns strapped to your chest in the inner city talking like you're the greatest human being to ever grace the earth isn't cool, it's insanely annoying. We don't want to hear 50 shouting out over and over how he capped that n****r and it isn't just because it makes us beyond uncomfortable, it's because he's a walking stereotype. One would think that a man who had been shot so many times might possibly not go around killing hundreds of people and talking like it's the greatest thing in the world and yet here 50 Cent is, holding his guns sideways, and ripping through bullets. Maybe if he hadn't acted like such on overblown version of himself in the game people would have been able to see through the annoying crap and enjoy the offering, but as it stands we're pretty sure 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is going to solidify the rapper as one of gaming's least enjoyable protagonists.

Luigi's Mansion

We can all relate to being in someones shadow, it happens to the best of us. But there comes a time when we must step out of the shadows and become our own men and women. Luigi finally got that chance (a second time) in Luigi's Mansion and ended up becoming one of the most annoying characters ever. After this game Luigi became a running gag in Mario games as a scared, sniveling sidekick, and from how annoying he was in the the game he deserves to be that. Not only was he constantly uttering whimpers of fear throughout the entire game but he basically tiptoed everywhere. It was his time to shine and all he did was cower back in the corner, making any fan of Luigi over the years twice as aggravated with him. Playing Luigi's Mansion was more of a test of a player's endurance to put up with constant moaning and groaning than a challenging game. If only poor Luigi had stepped up in this game, we might be seeing far more green caps headlining the gaming world.

Final Fantasy X

The Final Fantasy series is loved by many for its moody, self-absorbed and apathetic protagonists. However, when creating Final Fantasy X the writers either decided to throw a spanner in the works, had a brain hemmorrhage or some kind of awful combination of the two because they gave us Tidus. With none of the moody apathy that makes Final Fantasy leads so cool, but with all the self-absorpotion of a spoilt, pre-teen beauty queen, he bounds around Spira proudly declaring how the entire story revolves around him and him alone like a little toddler hammering the pots and pans with a wooden spoon. Ironic, considering that his role in the grander plot is in fact pretty minor. What's more, is that he can't help but throw a temper tantrum every time the plot takes a twist in the wrong direction. Furthermore, if we were to write another article on the top ten most annoying running styles in videogame history his would surely come out on top. His huge bouncing strides mean trying to cover ground is like being chased in a bad dream. All this, combined with his horrid one liners and utter lack of maturity all add up to an all-american pretty boy that we'd much rather forget.

[Via TVGB]
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About Cowzilla3one of us since 9:42 AM on 07.12.2007

Names Matt Razak and I'm just a gamer with a Wii and a 360 and PS3. I'm also really, really, really, ridiculously good looking and a ninja...and humble. I'm the Editor and Chief at Flixist.

Things I've Done or Am Doing

Front Paged
Music In Gaming
What is a Hero?: Sonic
Good Idea, Bad Idea: Casual Gaming
What No More Heroes Really Means
Social Activism in Gaming
Educate Yourself - Castlevania
Start of the Affair
What is a Hero?: Lara Croft
Wii Fit Review

Recognizing Your Gaming Journalist
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Drinks Ron Workman Can't Handle
Metroid Mojito
Mario Mudslide, The Super Punch Out, Princess Peach Schnapps
Pikachu Punch, Triforce Triple
DK Daquiri, Yoshi Jager, Mother Brain Drain (MBD)
Rocks on the Scotch, Bowser Bad Ass

Interviews With Famous People
Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Richard Shepard
Michael Davis
Jason Schwartzman

What Happened?
The First
My Favorite One
To be continued...?
Obviously there are tons more, but I'm not linking them all.

Interesting Walls of Text
Gaming Journalsim
How do we discuss games as art?
My Great Concern

What is a Hero?
Solid Snake
Master Chief

Educate Yourself
Kid Icarus
Kid Icarus Final Impressions
Splatterhouse Final Impressions
Fall Out

Xbox LIVE:Cowzilla3
Mii code:4283 6222 8765 8660


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