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Video Game Mount Rushmore: The Monumental Characters Who Belong

Mount Rushmore
National Park Service

We’ve all got our favorite video game franchises and characters. Some games we love in spite of their faults, while others are championed by nearly everyone everywhere. But if you had to choose just four characters to speak for the whole of gaming, who would make the cut?

As you may or may not know, I’ve been going through my gaming backlog trying to catch up on older games I never finished or played. While perusing my collection, I came across some of my all-time favorite games. I thought about replaying them so I could talk about them on a weekly basis in The Great Backlog Battle, but I wanted to spend more of my year experiencing new things instead of revisiting old friends. Still, I wanted a way for our readers to get a better idea of what games helped form my gaming backgrounds.

I’m not only a huge gaming fan, but I’m also an avid action figure collector. My whole house serves as a monument to both of those hobbies. That’s what inspired this little experiment. Sure, my house has a lot of action figures, but aren’t these gaming icons deserving of a bit more? What if I had an infinite budget, a mountainside to carve and the skills to properly pay tribute to the video games and characters that have shaped me over the years? Who would I put on the video game Mount Rushmore? Glad you asked.

Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid)

metal gear solid 4
Kojima Productions

For me, there’s no better way to lead off the video game Mount Rushmore than with the one-man army that is Solid Snake. I never had an NES, but when Metal Gear Solid arrived on the PSOne, I instantly became infatuated with the series. There’s international intrigue, action, ties to the real world history, and most importantly, cool gadgets. No franchise has stuck with me more over the years. While some might scoff at the way Hideo Kojima has inflated and confused the lengthy narrative from which he is unable to escape, I eat it all up. There’s no single protagonist (technically multiple people have been Snake, but you know what I mean) that’s been as important to my gaming life than Kojima’s creation. Without him, Metal Gear might not be Metal Gear, and I might have ended up a Banjo-Kazooie fan instead. Shudder.

Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

tombraider
Crystal Dynamics

There should be no doubt about Lara Croft’s importance to gaming culture. Before her arrival, female protagonists were harder to find than… well, you know how that old saying goes. While her first adventures were memorable, Lara suffered a bit a of a dip in quality when pushing out a new sequel became more important than putting out a competent game. Still, even though her later journeys weren’t nearly as memorable as her earliest, Lara set a bold new precedent, and showed people would play a game with a female protagonist. Now that she’s returned to her former glory with the tremendous reboot, I’m glad to add such a remarkable and important character to my monument.

Link (The Legend of Zelda)

skyward sword
Nintendo

I’m not a die-hard Legend of Zelda fan. I appreciate the games, and enjoy the ones I’ve played quite a bit. My first was Ocarina of Time, and now you can immediately see where my influences are starting to come from in regards to this list. Two PSOne era heroes and one picked because of his N64 adventure? Though my history with the medium dates back to the Sega Master System, I wasn’t really a gamer until I got a PlayStation. Then came the Nintendo 64, which was my first Nintendo console. I got it specifically to own Ocarina. Since then, I’ve come to appreciate the formula and style that permeates the Zelda series, and to that end, the lineage of Link. The elder statesman of my Mount Rushmore, no character has better served as a conduit to meld the worlds of adventure, fantasy and action into one piece so consistently throughout time.

Master Chief (Halo)

halo 4
343 Industries

Say what you will about one of the most popular video game franchises, Master Chief is majorly important in the current landscape. As it’s become popular to hate on games that themselves have grown more popular year after year, many may not now consider Master Chief to be more than the face of a franchise that’s worn out its welcome. However, for every single shooter we play today, we owe a lot to the actions of John-117. The Halo series has impacted a great deal of the modern first-person shooters, but Chief himself is a rather complex and compelling character. The narratives have never been a strong suit in most annual FPS games, but the deep and growing story in Halo continues to focus on Master Chief, making him more than just another gun-toting hero. Combine the two aspects, and you’ve got yourself one bad dude ripe for memoriam.

Now I’m sure there are those of you out there with your own ideas on what the ultimate video game Mount Rushmore would look like. That’s the great thing about games. There have been so many viable candidates over the years, the combinations are nearly endless. We’ll be reaching out to some others in the gaming community to get their takes soon, and hope you’ll offer some insight on your own choices in the comments below.

Next: 10 Most Iconic Female Video Game Characters

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