10 characters who know smoking is cool

For too long, political correctness has choked expression much like smoking might choke someone’s lungs. Back in the good old days, it was common for prominent pillars of society to be seen smoking: baseball players, gangsters, Popeye. Now it’s incredibly frowned upon, because “smoking may slowly kill you,” if you believe “proven medical facts.” But there are a proud few in gaming who celebrate their freedom to poison themselves, even if it means a T-rating and a lower life expectancy. Plus they offer helpful hints on the lesser known positives of tobacco.

Cid Highwind in Final Fantasy VII

One of a long line of Cids who make flying machines in Final Fantasy games, this Cid appeared in FFVII and its never-ending supply of spinoffs. Perhaps based on suicidal, hard-working game designers, Cid is committed to being a pilot and chain smokes while working to help him focus. In fact, this daring Dragoon is rarely seen without a pack in his headband and a cig on his lips.

Not only was Cid seen smoking during the story, but after winning a battle he would light a fresh one. And while it looked like he quit in the Advent Children film, the unlucky few who played Dirge of Cerberus know he's already lapsed one year later. He also has the nasty habit of swearing too much, which you kids shouldn't do.

But Cid does clean it up for the kids when appearing in the Kingdom Hearts games, as Disney is known to abhor smoking. Well, the company currently does; Walt Disney loved to smoke most of his life and eventually died from lung cancer complications because it was so much fun. Despite this censorship, Cid keeps his oral fixation alive with a toothpick as he fixes Gummi Ships.

Above: Walt enjoying tobacco decades before Disney took away Cid's 

Repede in Tales of Vesperia

In Tales of Vesperia, the protagonist's loyal pup Repede continually carries around his trusty pipe. That old-man accessory and his collection of scars give the adorable doggie an air of experience. Sadly, he only carries the pipe, which belonged to his former master, never smoking it. Perhaps it's because he can't light it, but that's hard to believe since he handles swords and healing items well enough.

Duke Nukem

Few people are more uncool these days than Duke Nukem. His game that was delayed forever got the bullet in the brain it deserved, he's completely unknown to any gamers under 13 other than as a joke and he's a total failure. Nobody wants to be like him, no matter what he shoves in his mouth. But as uselessly inconsequential as he is today, the cigar-loving misogynist was amazing if you were between the ages of 11 and 16 in the mid-‘90s, and also were a sexually frustrated male.

Above: "What do you mean 'overcompensating?'"

Back then, Duke had it all. He was funny, he was edgy, he molested women and he murdered authority figures. And part of his appeal was his cigar-smoking, which gave him that one last affectation the put him over the top. He didn't take no for an answer, and would light up in the face of those in charge with their no-smoking signs. An actual Duke quote: "I like a good cigar... and a bad woman."

Then you grow up, and the magic is gone. You see more movies and realize the "original" Duke steals quotes and characteristics from every action film from the '80s and early '90s. You realize he long ago crossed the line between badass and idiotic, and that as cool as smoking is, it isn't enough to make Duke palatable. Now Marcus Fenix, there's a timeless character!

Above: We've come so far 

You in BioShock

Fitting with the Objectivist and Libertarian ideals Rapture was built on, it's no surprise that you can smoke if you choose to in this submerged utopia. Among much of the detritus in the waterlogged world are packs of cigarettes. Much like they are for Metal Gear’s Solid Snake, here they're a double-edged sword: smoking brings up your Eve for more plasmid fun, but hurts you at the same time. Though perhaps that's because, as one audiolog puts it, they're made out of seashells and fish eggs.

Above: Choosy objectivists choose Oxford

And now, a special message:


  • WiLdFiRe567 - June 16, 2009 8:56 p.m.

    ... That's Flintstone's ad is scary shit
  • somthing42 - June 16, 2009 9:04 p.m.

    Snake always looks cool when smoking
  • BigTuna - June 16, 2009 10:59 p.m.

    That Flinstones video was disturbing...
  • twishart - June 16, 2009 11:04 p.m.

    This article makes me regret ever quitting smoking.
  • yoreAtowel - June 17, 2009 midnight

    i blame my addiction to snake, cid, the spy, and Barney Rubble, that man can talk me into smoking crack. But lets not forget how cool and mysterious smoking makes you look. And roflcopter to the florida add on page one, classic.
  • candyman - June 17, 2009 12:03 a.m.

    I smoke because that's what Antista does.
  • animeman - June 17, 2009 12:06 a.m.

    Solid Snake and Cid are the two most kick ass cigaratte smoking charecter ever.
  • lava_lamp - June 17, 2009 12:30 a.m.

    the spy is the greatest person in gaming overall in my opinion
  • Gameguy151 - June 17, 2009 12:41 a.m.

    i've actually seen that halo inspired ad on tv's...weird, to say the least...
  • ELpork - June 17, 2009 12:57 a.m.

    ............. I need a cig'
  • JamesT - June 17, 2009 3:06 a.m.

    Agree with Master_Leap: insulting the Duke is just not cool. He may be on hard times right now but he's a veteran and a classic, damnit. Do you go to retirement homes and laugh at the incontinent old man who served in WW2? I think not.
  • Bloodstorm - June 17, 2009 3:35 a.m.

    Smoking's bad, m'kay Sargent Johnson is another one that is pretty well known. If we are just talking about smoking of any sort, Little Jacob from GTA4.
  • GR_HenryGilbert - June 17, 2009 5:33 a.m.

    @ MasterLeap Just to be clear I don't diss Duke just to be cool. I played Duke in his salad days. It impressed me at first, but only because he broke all these taboos. He could piss, pay strippers, say "sh*t." It was amazing. Then I saw Army of Darkness, They Live, Aliens, Evil Dead 2, and Die Hard among others and I knew he was a total rip-off. Also, time has completely passed him by. I wish Forever had come out just so it could flop massively and definitively prove it. I think anyone looking back objectively at that time will see how poorly those games hold up and that the homages (as Duke apologists would call them) are sad and tired. @ MGS4Snake Big Smoke is a rat and a two-timing motherf*cker. They don't belong on no lists.
  • Ravenbom - June 17, 2009 5:57 a.m.

    lol, nice article Henry.
  • Vagrant - June 17, 2009 7:53 a.m.

    Grim Fandango for el win. Also, another reason Big Boss is better than Solid Snake.
  • someformofmike - June 17, 2009 9:15 a.m.

    The Duke is a legend in his own right, so what if he's a rip off of a combination of other characters from different sources, He was still the first of his kind (to the best of my knowledge) to grace a game, and is anything truely original these days! We're all inspired and influenced by our surroundings even if it's only sub-conscience. I still occasionally load up Duke Nukem 3D on my computer for a go, it provides the kind of experience that I feel is currently missing from a lot of modern games, a simple straight forward, no nonsense shooter, purely fun, not taking itself too seriously. The best example of a modern game that has done this I believe is Serious Sam, and I believe a sequel is being made for this, so can't wait!
  • speno93 - June 17, 2009 10:03 a.m.

    another great article from GR. Loved the tabacco free florida and Flinstones vids, hilarious
  • Master_Leep - June 17, 2009 1:17 p.m.

    @GR Henry I appreciate the response, but I disagree whole-heartedly with your stance on Duke. I felt when Duke was quoting some of my favorite action movies, that he was paying homage to the same kind of favorites that I loved. The way that 3d Realms appropriated the cream of the badass film genres then funneled it into this badass character for me to play, was exactly what I didn't know I looking for at the time. I felt connected with Duke because we both loved Bruce Campbell and They Live. I've missed Duke ever since, and while I agree the Forever is a complete debacle, and might not have lived up to the original, I get a tad miffed when I hear a bunch of loud noise from the younger gen. BTW it's Master Leep, a video game reference that I'm sure a 3D Realms heckler would miss out on.
  • MechGyver - June 17, 2009 3:02 p.m.

    !!!!I only started smoking because i saw it on videogames !!!! Im still waiting for that dam Malboro game to come out ... (lol)
  • MechGyver - June 17, 2009 3:15 p.m.

    Marlboro,sorry for the writing eh eh

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