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The nine game characters we feel most sorry for
by Andrew Whipple III

Every year we, the insatiable gamers, are blessed with an assortment of high-quality titles, which we gobble down with the utmost haste. Whether it be one of the greatest games ever conceived or something a bit more modest, we tend to forget the predicaments the main characters go through whilst we're being entertained. Shooting enemies is fun - undoubtedly so - but what about the guy who shoots a loved one? What about the guy who was just going about his everyday life when his town explodes? How about the guy who can't remember his own name? These are the videogame characters we feel most sorry for.

The list of game characters has grown exponentially over the years, and with them the issues that develop in such a memorable way. Some of these problems are a bit more serious than others, but hey, they're still problems right?

9: Solid Snake

The issue: Snake is a clone; he ages rapidly, has to fight multiple metal monstrosities and extraterrestrial soldiers, and has to prevent multiple nuclear strikes across all the games. Also, pretty much everyone close to him dies. Savvy.

Snake is an old bastard, or at least he was, by the time Metal Gear Solid 4 rolled around. Even so, his decrepit arse still had to take down a gaggle of enemies with crazy powers, and a series of metal beasts that could cause the apocalypse; not a small feat by any means. The worst of his conditions, though, is definitely his rapid aging process, being a clone and all. How would you like to live less than half your life and be thrust into a rather impossible scenario multiple times? Not so cool. Also, he fought - well, technically, his father fought - a guy who could control bees. ...bees.

8: Link

The issue: How would you enjoy waking up after defeating the toughest nemesis you ever faced, with all your power and items taken from you? Now, how would you enjoy it if it happened every single time? Also, and arguably worse, Link's vocabulary consists of only "HIIYAAA" and "WAAA" and "UGHH". He's a think-tank, clearly.

Link is a legend in the videogame character kingdom, and so are the design philosophies behind The Legend of Zelda, but those scenarios are going to take a backseat here. You see, at the outset of every game, Link is pretty much a different person who in no way resembles the skillful, item-ridden hero from his last adventure. He can also only communicate via several emotional screams, which explains why Zelda always gets lost some way or another (would you want to be around someone like that?). While there might be some kind of odd lore, and occassional connections to games past here and there, it's never truly apparent in any game. Which - naturally - leads me to believe that he's (a) insane, (b) a robot, or (c) maybe both. With this information we can only conclude that Link is tethered to the Matrix as some evil genius's puppet. I don't think he knows Kung Fu, though.

7: Tidus

The issue: Besides his strange taste in random clothing, Tidus has a problem with being tangible, and another with killing his father to metal music. He also likes Blitzball.

The protagonist from Final Fantasy X with the feathered hair gets a lot of flak for his somewhat... eccentric attitude - laughing scene, anyone? - and his random elbow pad. Tidus goes through quite a bit emotionally as the game continues on, but much to his surprise - and ours - he finds out that he doesn't even exist. That's right; by the time the game ends, Tidus basically just up-and-vanishes from Yuna's arms. Before that, though, Tidus participates in the killing of his father to save the land. I truly have no idea how this works, but when you break it down it sounds pretty bleak; Tidus killed his father to save a land that he can't be a part of because he just discovered he doesn't exist.

...blame Blitzball.

6: Boy from Shadow of the Colossus

The issue: In an effort to bring a girl that means something to him back from the dead, this boy must fight sixteen colossi. And slay every one.

It might not sound too depressing at first, but once you finish killing all sixteen colossi, something very bad happens to that boy. Instead of being rewarded with the chance to restore life to the girl, the boy ends up being turned into a giant demon. After the short stint of demonry subsides, the boy then turns into a baby, and the girl then awakens. So, after all that trouble, the kid has absolutely zero idea of what happened.

That, my friends, is what I call 'the shaft'.

5: Master Chief

The issue: Born and bred to fight, the Master Chief had no childhood and no life besides constant intergalactic warring.

Halo's Master Chief really is quite a depressing character. Whilst the games don't exactly dive deep into his background, the man had no life, no friends, no family; nothing. The only thing left to him was the drive to keep fighting for humanity. Every single day is just another step toward killing more aliens and regenerating more shields. I think the only friend the guy has is Cortana, and she's basically just the Internet. It does make you wonder, though; what does he do to kill time, besides sleeping in space?

4: Dominic Santiago

The issue: For a man whose whole world revolved around finding his wife and kids after his planet exploded, putting the gun to his own wife didn't seem to make him the happiest person.

Gears of War is all about the planet Sera, and how it became scorched due to the Locust emerging to annihilate the humans. After the initial attack, Dom lost his kids and his wife, but had never given up on trying to locate them. Upon entering the Locust Hollow in the second game, Dom finds his wife tortured and destroyed; a husk of her former self. Dom couldn't let her suffer any longer and was forced to shoot her, right in the ole' cranium. Could you imagine yourself dedicating your life to finding someone, actually finally managing to find them, and then having to kill them? To augment that feeling, you can then wake up every morning after that, to a world that's fully destroyed and trying to kill you. Awesome.

3: Castlevania's Dracula

The issue: Every single game, he comes back with greater power, badass traps, horrific monsters, and a thirst for vengeance. But he always ends up getting his arse whipped. Literally.

Castlevania is synonymous with Dracula at this point. Like the description points out, he comes back in almost every iteration more powerful than before. Yet, even if he came back with sixty thousand demons and a Godzilla-sized Death at his side, he'd end up losing to some schmuck that gets all up inside his castle. Having your soul literally ripped apart and being forced to sit there for years before you can manifest enough power in a feeble attempt to come back must suck.

2: Gordon Freeman

The issue: A scientist who really enjoys his work, Gordon somehow managed to turn a rather harmless experiment into a full blown alien invasion. ...good job, Gordon.

Half-Life is famous for having one of the best lead-in moments to a game ever, and it still holds up today. Gordon, being the wonderfully nice scientist he is, was going about his business as usual until he decided to push a cart into a part of the experiment he was helping with. Cue bolts of electricity, alien portals and dead people. Now Gordon is solely responsible for finding out how to fix the problem, which he still hasn't been able to do. Bet you wish you could rewind time a bit, don'tcha, Gordon?

1: Vic Viper

The issue: When an alien invasion comes, there's only one option.

You'd think that, after the first time the galaxy routed the enemy in the Gradius universe, they would prepare some kind of defense force in case it ever happened again. I guess that's too logical, though, because those lethargic asses always send out the Vic Viper whenever there's trouble. What happens if the pilots all got sick and no one could use this spacecraft? I guess it's game over forever? Sorry Vic, those guys are jerks.

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- Andrew Whipple III

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