Why is the default gaming hero always a likeable-but-generic, plucky quipster voice-acted by Nolan North?
When they’re not ripped white blokes with a shaved head, character designers mix it up by giving them - gasp - brown hair.
It always wound me up - in a video game, you have the opportunity to create literally anything - the world doesn’t need to be bound to the laws or constraints of our world, so why do character designers insist on these bland everyman human characters in shades and beige T-shirts (probably holding a Glock and walking away from an explosion with their head down)?
You could create a world where they breathe marshmallow and move with strawberry lace tendrils. Your main character could be a shy Minotaur who wants to be a mermaid. Your main character could literally be a liquid if you wanted.
But, thankfully, not every game protagonist is a Cole McGrath, or an Aiden Pierce... er... the guy from Resistance: Fall of Man (I want to say... Brad Navy Stone? Is that the name?).
Some heroes are truly unique, and here are just a few of them.
10. A Boy’s Imagination - Toy Commander
Toy Commander on the Sega Dreamcast was the game that taught me what the word “mezzanine” meant.
It was also a really, really inventive game, with an intro that contextualises the entire game - a little boy running downstairs, toy aeroplane in hand, doing divebombs and pretending to fire a pencil like a missile. Then, the boy fades away as we see it as he imagines it, all the actions occurring independent of him, with the toys becoming the heroes.
Each level of Toy Commander has a real child-like charm to it. Playing as the toys (that the boy in turn, is playing with), you’ll assault cereal box forts on the kitchen table which come to life, firing cap gun anti-air and elastic band flak cannons.
Whether you’re a toy truck with a pencil sharpener “anti-aircraft gun” sellotaped to it, or a helicopter bringing a water balloon to put out a “forest fire” in the house’s fireplace, there’s always a degree of whimsy and the boy’s unique spin to the unfolding events.
Do yourself a favour, though - don’t bother with the vastly-inferior follow-up, Toy Racer - you only imagined that one.