Ho ho ho, ho ho ho, these are gaming's elves!
At this time of year, we hear a lot about some big fat guy dressed all in red who delivers toys to the good children of the world. However, there'd be no Santa without his elves: the tiny little workers who toil night and day to make the gifts Santa is delivering. While there's no easy way to increase elven awareness for the holidays, we can pay tribute to the best elves gaming's ever seen, so let's do that!
This list celebrates the best examples of an elven presence throughout video game history. Some of them are debonair with a tongue as sharp as their blades, while others are valiant warriors who boast impressive battle resumes. Whatever their accolades, these are some of the best elves we've had the pleasure of knowing.
Zevran (Dragon Age: Origins)
After fending off his ambush, some players may have chosen to kill Zevran instead of recruiting him. That was a bad move, as he quickly becomes one of the best members of the party, putting his training from the Antivan Crows to good use. We love Zevran for his fighting prowess, but we love him even more for his sharp wit and lurid tongue. Quotes like "Just once I'd like to walk into one of these places and discover a lively dance, or a drinking festival. Or an orgy. But alas, no." make Zevran one of the best party members in all of Dragon Age lore.
Stallion is one of the 108 Stars in the first two Suikoden games, and his abilities could not be more welcome. Stallion is training to be the fastest man in the world--the Suikoden version of Usain Bolt, as it were--making him a quick and lethal ally. Whenever he's in your party, your walking speed is doubled, and because of his lightning speed, he attacks first in almost every battle. Want a quick head start against a powerful enemy? Bring Stallion.
Firiona Vie (EverQuest)
Firiona is the iconic face of EverQuest, the royal high elf that appears on the cover of every EverQuest expansion on the market. We're sure you've seen her long blond hair and revealing blue armor before, even if you've never played a second of EverQuest in your life. Firiona is the Chosen of Tunare, the deity known as the "Mother of All," and she's played a major part in the immense lore of EverQuest. Without Fironia and her many battles, we're not sure EverQuest would still be as important as it is today.
The Adoring Fan (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)
We love being cheered on, showered in encouragement from others who want us to succeed in whatever we're doing. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion plays to these emotions with the Adoring Fan, a young Bosmer who becomes your personal groupie once you achieve the rank of Grand Champion in the Arena. He literally asks to follow you around and "worship the ground you walk on" upon victory, giving you your own virtual cheering section any time you're in Cyrodiil. After such a hard-fought battle to get to the top of the Arena ranks, we certainly don't mind a little adulation from a (figuratively) big fan.
Legolas (The Lord of the Rings)
Yes, we know, Legolas is more of a MOVIE elf and not a VIDEO GAME elf, but we can't deny the elven archer's presence in many of our favorite Lord of the Rings games. The Two Towers, The Return of the King, the Battle for Middle-Earth series, and even Lego Lord of the Rings all feature Legolas, so we're pretty confident he qualifies as a video game elf too. Few characters in the LotR lore posses the cunning and archery skills of Legolas, who sets the standard for the "elven archer" archetype in all of gaming. Long live Legolas!
Xan (Baldur's Gate)
We love Xan because he likes to keep our confidence in check, never letting us get too full of ourselves as we venture through Baldur's Gate. Of course, his method of doing so is being a total pessimist, showing zero confidence in any of the decisions we make--but hey, we're not going to get on his case about it. Though Xan may say things like "Let us save our effort and just lie down and die!" we're still happy to have him around.
id Software cut its teeth on Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, but it also released a lesser-known medieval FPS called Heretic, which told the story of an Elven tribe called the Sidhe. Corvus is the lone Sidhe to swear vengeance after the massacre of his people, and he seeks out those responsible with a massive arsenal of weapons. Doomguy might've achieved more fame over the years, but we think Corvus could hold his own against a space marine any day of the week.
Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind (Warcraft)
The power couple in the world of Warcraft, Malfurion Stormrage and his bride Tyrande Whisperwind preside over the Night Elves just as Simba and Nala lead everything the light touches. Tyrande is the chosen high priestess of the goddess Elune and a former general of the night elf sentinels, while Malfurion played a major part in the War of the Ancients, ascending to the rank of arch-druid soon after. Basically, these two are a force of nature. Just ask Malfurion's brother...
Illidan Stormrage (Warcraft)
Illidan Stormrage is a potent sorcerer and the twin brother of Malfurion, wielding extreme dark magics after he absorbed the Skull of Gul'dan. Unlike his twin brother, Illidan is pure evil, committing horrible acts against his own kind in his quest for arcane power. One interesting note: Illidan harbored very strong feelings for Tyrande Whisperwind as well, but after she chose Malfurion as her mate, Illidan quickly turned to the dark side. That's quite the love triangle.
Sumo Santa (ClayFighter 63 1/3)
As the timeless classic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas states, Santa Claus was "chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf." If he is indeed an elf, then we can't forget Sumo Santa, the yuletide terror from Clayfighter 63 1/3. This is no normal Santa; this is the evil twin of good ol' St. Nick, and he kicks some serious clay with powerful strikes and liberal use of his jelly-like stomach. His Claytality is particularly, er, "festive", as he jumps onto his opponent with such force that he consumes them, farting them out in pieces. Yup, that is indeed a move in his arse-nal.
Flameslinger, Hex, and Stealth Elf (Skylanders)
The Skylanders have taken the world by storm, selling like hotcakes to children all over the world. These three elven warriors--Flameslinger, Hex, and Stealth Elf--are very powerful choices perfect for those beginning their Skylanders journey this Christmas. Flameslinger is an archer, shooting fiery arrows at his foes; Hex is a sorceress specializing in the dark arts; and Stealth Elf is a ninja who can create decoys that also attack foes. This is a trio of very deadly elves; we don't think we'll be seeing them around the North Pole any time soon.
Santa's Elves (Elf Bowling)
This choice is for all you bah-humbuggers out there. We all played the old Flash game Elf Bowling back when it was first popular, and we all reveled in knocking those pesky little turds down a notch with every strike we threw. They'd hold up their signs, moon us, and jeer, but nothing could save them from the pain we were about to unleash. Take that, you little jerks; maybe next time you'll appreciate having a job in these tough times.
Link (The Legend of Zelda)
Alright, look: we know Link is technically a "Hylian" and therefore not an elf in the traditional sense. But those pointy ears and elven garb make him enough of an elf in our book. Really though, does being an elf or not influence how awesome he is anyway? This guy has repelled the forces of Ganon time and time again, armed with his trusty Master Sword and a bevy of items. Let him be an elf if he wants. We could've picked a different Zelda character, but we didn't want to scare anyone...
Any more elven elite?
We scoured all of gaming for the best elves we could find, but we have no doubt that we missed a few. If there's a particular elf you're fond of, let us know in the comments below. Happy holidays everyone!
For more holiday happiness, check out the Christmas lists of some famous video games characters. If you want more gaming goodness, take a look at the 100 most overlooked games of the last generation.