A selection of digital characters who bog down our favourite pastime.
Posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2012 by Aaron Ogles
One of the most enduring questions men have asked relates to the purpose of existence. Why do I exist? Why am I here? One of the most enduring niggles of every gamer is the pointless character. The character who gets in the way of your headshot. The character who bogs down the story with excessive drivel. The character who just won’t shut up. The characters who force us, as gamers, to ask: ‘Why are you here? What purpose do you serve?’ Before we risk a game over screen just so we can watch them die. Over and over again. We’ve turned the question of existentialism on the video game industry and compiled a list of the 5 most pointless video game characters. Full spoilers ahead, beware.
5. Elena Fisher, Uncharted Series
Now this might come as a shock to some readers, but hear me out. Elena Fisher has a habit of swapping between damsel in distress and bad-ass action heroine. Not only this, she also has a habit of doing stupid things at stupid times, a few examples: disregarding her personal safety to get news footage during a firefight, falling in love with Nathan Drake during a firefight, and getting in the way during a firefight. Elena’s pointlessness increased with each new entry in the Uncharted series. In the first game she adequately served her purpose as love interest, and again in the second, and again in the third. The thing is, for every role she played there was another character who could do it better. Whether it be sexy Chloe Frazer usurping the role of love interest (and bad-ass action heroine), or Sully as the guy who offers Nate a dose of down-to-earth advice – poor Elena’s purpose became increasingly cloudy. Even after marrying the guy she ended up spending the third game demoted back to lowly love-interest, while Chloe was off gallivanting with newcomer Charlie; her infatuation with Nate a distant memory. Elena Fisher really just needs to have a sit down and think about what she really wants. I mean, is a guy who flies off to foreign countries and murders countless people without an ounce of conscience really the guy for her? Come on, Elena, you can do better.
4. Sheva Alomar, Resident Evil 5
It was a toss up between Sheva Alomar, and unfortunately Ashley Graham had to settle for the silver medal for most pointless Resident Evil character. Sheva swipes a very close first for the following reasons. She really wasn’t that intrinsic to the plot of Resi 5, aside from shouting at Wesker a lot and developing a well concealed jealous hatred of Jill Valentine, she really didn’t add anything. In fact, you could go as far as saying that the game could’ve been played without her – if it weren’t for Capcom’s insistence on partnership meaning that many of the game’s puzzles could only be completed by two people. To make things worse, Sheva’s emphatically stupid AI meant that she constantly hemorrhaged precious ammunition – granted, it was hemorrhaged in the direction of the enemy (most of the time), but it still didn’t excuse the amount of times I found myself shouting ‘don’t use the sniper when the enemy’s two feet away, Sheva. God!’. Sheva was essentially a vessel for a human co-op partner, but many fans think they would’ve been better off if they didn’t have to babysit her AI counterpart. They’d had enough of that with Ashley – and at least she had the courtesy to not waste ammo, even if she was dressed inappropriately for the Spanish countryside.
3. Hope Estheim, Final Fantasy XIII
I can almost hear the collective sigh of Final Fantasy fans at the mention of this guy’s name. Hope Estheim. Urgh. With 12 numbered installments and countless spin-offs, it appeared that Square-Enix had all but exhausted their extensive list of character types – the naive princess, check. The disillusioned soldier, check. The brooding mercenary, check. The reluctant hero, check. What could possibly be left? Oh, I know; a kid with daddy issues. Seriously, Square Enix? Seriously? This guy may have served his purpose in the party, but my god did he whinge. And his role in the story was pretty much superfluous when compared to those of the other playable characters. Ok, he wants revenge on the guy who, when you think about it, had absolutely nothing to do with the death of his mother. And he can’t go to his dad because he doesn’t like him. Seriously kid, the world is falling apart around you and all you can think about is how annoying your dad is? Get over it. To make things even worse, once he eventually reunited with his estranged father, he didn’t even bother to thank the poor guy for sacrificing his freedom to save the little brat’s life. Hope’s story was dull and served only to complicate an already convoluted plot, the game probably would’ve fared better without this miserable adolescent’s incessant whining.
2. Zip & Alister, Tomb Raider Legend / Underworld
Now you may wonder why these guys don’t count as two, and let me tell you the reason. Their interchangeable, incessant wittering. Otherwise known as the-guys-from-Tomb-Raider-who-never-shut-up, the Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern of the videogame world, Zip & Alister were pretty much the same person. Sure, Zip was the cool guy who liked to wear hoodies and obscenely low waisted jeans, and Alister was the bumbling amalgam of everything the Americans perceived the British to be (minus the bad teeth) – but when it came to their in-game roles, they were both equally efficient at the same thing i.e. annoying the hell out of players. Just where Lara found these men and what evil possessed her to take them under her employ remains unknown, but their sudden appearance in the franchise took players by surprise. They could always be trusted to ruin every cutscene or offer some form of pointless adage during a particularly tricky platforming sequence: ‘Oh, you’re awfully high, Lara. What what.’ Yes, thanks for pointing that out. Idiot. Even the (spoiler alert) death of poor Alister at the hands of Lara’s flame-haired doppelganger in Underworld wasn’t enough to endear players to his character. In fact, many of us let out a sigh of relief as we watched his life pour from the bloody bullet holes in his abdomen. As for the fate of Zip, theories have since suggested that the absence of his other half caused him to fade from our plain of existence.
1. Error, Zelda II
This guy’s name says it all. Encountered in Link’s second ever adventure, he introduces himself as such upon meeting Link in the town of Ruto. Error confused players with many people assuming he was some form of personified bug. It is revealed later on that Error knew the way to the Island Palace, where Link needed to go to further his quest – although many speculated that this was only because of his magical powers as an AI bestowed glitch. There have been theories that Error was a simple misspelling of the name Errol, or a nod to another character named Bagu – the Japanese word for computer bug. Error has since spawned a series of web memes and takes the top spot for most pointless videogame character. For what could be more pointless than a character who only ever talks about how broken he is?