Videogames and facial hair have long had a close bond, be it the soul patch on the Prince of Persia, Gordon Freeman’s goatee, or the five o'clock shadow on every single character made with the Unreal 3 Engine. But while most games have people (mostly men) with some bit of hair growing beneath the nose but above the mouth, there are too few with just a mustache adding character to their faces. Perhaps this list of the standout ‘staches in gaming will remind people how great they are and spur them to get to making more of them.
If there is one character in gaming that proves the mustache is not only marketable but perfect for any possible merchandisable item, it’s Mario. Ever since his first appearance as Jump Man in Donkey Kong, the mustache has been there. Okay, except when he was a baby, but give him a break, he was just born. He’s been defined and redefined many times, but one thing is certain: this Italian has a mustache.
Above: Gaming mustache perfection
As the legend goes, Mario was given his whiskers because the developers didn’t have enough pixels available to properly indicate a mouth for him in Donkey Kong. So the developers instead just covered that area with a lot of pixels and called it a big mustache. As Nintendo‘s technology improved, they continued to add more definition to his ‘stache, now just a digital, vestigial tail almost three decades old.
Above: Does Mario dye his hair?
Until their recent truce for the sake of game sales, Mario and Sonic were at odds for many years, with Sega constantly pointing out how Sonic wasn't like Mario. The biggest reason: no facial hair. In fact, Sega seemed to be gunning for those wearing a mustache, as Sonic's nemesis Eggman (or Dr. Robotnik, as he prefers) has a set of lip whiskers that grow weirder, and thus more evil, all the time.
Above: Sometimes anti-hero, always mustachioed
Another possible reason that Eggman keeps his unshaven look is vanity. He has always been bald and fat to an alarming extent, so perhaps the mustache exists to take focus away from the shiny sheen of his scalp and the volume of his fat. Over time, he needed to make it more and more insane-looking to keep his enemies from noticing his hairless crown and flabby midriff.
Above: That is a next-gen ‘stache right there
Much like Sonic, Mega Man is troubled by an evil mustachioed scientist who builds robots. But unlike Eggman, Dr. Wily’s fuzz isn’t just there to compensate for his baldness. If Wily didn't have it, he wouldn't look like a mad genius - just a slightly annoying pharmacist. He wears it to let the people of 200X know that he and his robot army are to be feared. Just look at his mustache if you don't believe him.
Above: On top of the lip fur, his hair eventually became bat wings
Or perhaps he wears his mustache to further separate himself from his true enemy, Dr. Light. Light has a fatherly, sagely - nay, divine - beard that instills trust in the devices he builds and raises like children. Wily isn't into that. His robots are tools that had better do as they're told or else. The important question is: did they both always have their respective facial hair, or did one grow his to look different from the other?
Above: God vs Satan – Robots Edition