The Top 7... badass old folks

The traditional view of the aged is wildly inaccurate and patronising. The self-promoting standpoint of the young is that old folks are inconvenient space-wasters; sweet at best, but largely quite useless at anything but forgetting things and smelling of piss.

Nothing could be further from the truth. With age comes experience and with experience comes knowledge and ability. If the young had half the wisdom of the old, they'd realise that oldies have a lot to teach them. And nowhere is that more true than in the hyper-real world of videogames and in the wizened badasses who populate it.

7. Bill Overbeck


Age: 52 minimum

Unleashing wrinkly whupass in: Left 4 Dead

It takes a seriously weapons-grade hard bastard to find a sense of purpose through a zombie apocalypse, but that’s exactly what Bill did. After two successful tours of Vietnam, normal life was just a little too dull. But once the brain-munchers hit, Bill’s old talents proved more important than ever. Loving cigarettes and bullets in equal measure, the grizzled old death-beard is like a Santa Claus of slaughter; as uncompromising a killer as he is benevolent a team player. If John Rambo had a cooler uncle, Bill would be him.

He’s hard but fair, and has exactly as much training and life experience as it takes to effectively obliterate several hundred walking corpses a day. And he’s right. Most of that blood usually isn’t his.

If he was your Grandad:

Bill’s grandkids would be safe. In fact, by the age of five they’d be close to indestructible. They’d be learning guerrilla survival skills as soon as they could walk, and be smoking as soon as they could breathe (after all, how would they be expected to survive a surprise Commie gas attack without properly tar-hardened lungs?).

Every trip to the supermarket would become a masterclass in flanking and correct use of cover. They would know how to build a fully-functioning AK-47 out of LEGO and would spend many a blissful summer day in the garden testing out all the home-made explosives they had concocted out of kitchen cleaning products. Their parents might go through the odd shed or five, but it would all be worth it come Armageddon. 

6. Shun Di

Age: 97

Unleashing wrinkly whupass in: the Virtua Fighter series

Shun Di is a classic archetype of aged badassery. Deftly katanaed from the same cloth as Mr. Miyagi, he’s a sage old wisdom bucket with grace on his side and an appreciation of hard work. But he differs from the chief commissioner of waxing in one major respect. Hard drinking.

Not only is Shun Di a world class master of drunken kung fu, he takes it literally. His body is so finely calibrated to the noble art of liquid mind-buggery that not only can he fight while bladdered, he actually gets better. A lot of Shun Di’s moves can only be unlocked by knocking a few back mid-fight, some requiring up to sixteen drinks to unleash.

So by the time you hit the ground, you’ve not just been beaten by an old man. You’ve been beaten by an old man who could barely goddamn see. And his mind was probably focused more on kebabs than fighting you anyway.

If he was your Grandad:


Shun Di’s influence would be massively beneficial to the moral fibre of his grandchildren. Where more sheltered teens tend to hit legal drinking age and go ballistic in a naive whirlwind of street vomit, Shun would see them grow up with a mature respect of the idiot juice.

Whereas to most booze is simply the fastest way to turn a dingy room full of dullards into a hot party with their best friends, Shun Di’s grandkids would see it as a training aid for self-improvement and discipline. No 3AM shopping trolley drag races into post boxes for them. Oh no. And if they ever did get into a drunken bar fight, their attackers would be positively detonated.


Top 7


  • richomak27 - July 13, 2009 10:18 a.m.

    Most old people suck though. these are just the few exceptions (also they're video game characters).
  • v8ninety - July 13, 2009 1:17 p.m.

    Ha Ha, impressed you got images of "Clive Dunn" looks like from the video of the Grandad song he did in the UK. You may (or may not know) he was also in a comedy series called "Dad's Army" about the "Home Guard" in the UK during WWII so the ammo and gun references work as well.
  • wrapdump - July 13, 2009 1:23 p.m.

    I'm not going to say you forgot solid snake on this list, cos you won't have, but I wish he was on here.
  • Jacob816 - July 13, 2009 1:38 p.m.

    What, no Old Snake? Fail.
  • oryandymackie - July 13, 2009 2:30 p.m.

    Why is there so many old folks from fighting series' in here? It gets boring after awhile...
  • Csheroe - July 13, 2009 3:05 p.m.

    Old Snake? Where? Oh he's not here... Anyway good article. I enjoyed Avery. Didn't know he was 82. I got blown up by a flying lightbulb!
  • FreekinIdiot - July 13, 2009 3:37 p.m.

    My Grandad is awesome because of booze...then again, it does cause him to Grandma on a regular basis...hmmm
  • FreekinIdiot - July 13, 2009 3:40 p.m.

    Of course I meant to say - My Grandad is awesome because of booze...then again, it does cause him to beat Grandma on a regular basis...hmmm I think the joke may be lost now! I have rather large dougy spam hands and sometimes struggle to strike the keybvfibaiu;bsd
  • garnsr - July 13, 2009 4:24 p.m.

    Yeah, Mr. Miyagi didn't get tougher when he got drunk, he just passed out, trying to wipe out the painful memories. Shun Di's definitely a cooler grandpa.
  • walrusthewill - July 13, 2009 5:19 p.m.

    YES i thought everyone had forgotten about oro thank you gr
  • skyguy343 - July 13, 2009 5:41 p.m.

    i think the old lady with the GINORMOUS shopping cart cannon in no more heroes would be awesome but then again, i'd do anything to get a no more heroes or SotC mention into an article
  • iluvmyDS - July 13, 2009 6:29 p.m.

    Grandma Hardcore is the definite exception to the game hating older generations. Also an older representative of what all the media thinks gamers are like.
  • AnonymouZ - July 13, 2009 6:31 p.m.

    if grandparents were willing to give a fuck about videogames AND played them. The world would be a better place. Full of hardcore grandmas and hardcore grandpas.
  • sgloomy - July 13, 2009 6:35 p.m.

    What happened to Gen from street fighter? and isn't wolverine technically an old person according to the age specifications? great article though, the more i think about it, the more there are badass old people in games.
  • ELpork - July 13, 2009 7 p.m.

    Heihachi's father was older, and was more insane... but Heihachi has bad ass hair.... so Good choice.
  • octagons - July 13, 2009 7:35 p.m.

    What? no reverend Ray?
  • sklorbit - July 13, 2009 7:56 p.m.

    cmon how 'bout old snake! i dont care if he is only 20 he is still old
  • Amnesiac - July 13, 2009 9:19 p.m.

    Holy crap, I wish Hardcore Grandma was my grandma.
  • Harmon20 - July 13, 2009 9:40 p.m.

    I could've sworn Snake would have been #1. You WOULD make him #1. Of course, I couldn't think of anyone else, so you'd have a point even if you did.
  • GaMeRGuY1oh4 - July 13, 2009 10:09 p.m.

    @ Xplosive59: I was just about to say that. Oh, and by the way, I was expecting Bill. And how do you know his last name, Overbeck? Oh, and what's the other survivor's last names as well?

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