We all need a hero in gaming - an icon that we can embrace, identify and champion accordingly. From Mario's moustached face helping drive sales for Nintendo to the slender snout of Crash Bandicoot making PlayStation a Sega Saturn-beater, these guys were and remain gaming's A-list, characters that will skip from generation to generation, constantly appearing in new adventures.
But you won't find anyone like that in this list. Nope, not even a character in Lara Croft's little black book, one of Donkey Kong's offspring or a buddy of Solid Snake's - this countdown is reserved for gaming's true underdogs - those high flying heroes that had a blistering sole adventure, or run of unforgettable games, only to be put out to pasture like a Harvest Moon cow.
It's time to bring this lot out of retirement. You'll remember some of the forthcoming, as chances are you had many great times growing up alongside them. As new consoles hitting shelves (hello, Switch) and a myriad of crowd-funding sites cropping up online, it's never been a better time for gaming resurrections to happen. Bring on the comebacks.
Shaun is a former contributor for a number of Future Publishing titles and more recently worked as a staffer at Imagine Publishing.
He can now be found banking in the daytime and writing a variety of articles for What Culture, namely around his favourite topics of film, retro gaming, music, TV and, when he's feeling clever, literature.