The Top 7... Lazy Character Clichés

Game design must be super, super hard. What else can explain the number of shortcuts being taken in almost every one? Genres are repeated, environments are recycled and storylines all begin to sound the same.

Most copied, however, are the characters. Dreaming up an entirely new personality with entirely new traits is a daunting task, so the majority of folks you meet in games end up feeling identical to the folks you met in previous games. If they don't look alike, they act alike. If they don't act alike, they at least talk alike. The only things that change are the name and the background. Maybe.

Sure, the following seven character types were probably original once upon a time... but that time was long, long, long ago.


Description: A mainstay of role-playing games for as long as we can remember, the Brooding Pretty Boy is capable of impossible extremes. He is both softly feminine and ruggedly masculine. With a tortured and mysterious past, he can play either hero or villain. And although one of the most attractive and popular characters in the game, he usually acts the most depressed and downtrodden. To some, he is an intriguing enigma; to others, a big self-pitying baby.

Common characteristics: 

  • Pensive expression, with eyes cast downward in deep and oh-so-very-important thought.
  • The slightest of frowns. Is he angry? Hurt? Or just getting a widdle sweepy?
  • Elaborately coiffed hair that wouldn't look out of place in a modern art museum (preferably silver, yellow or blue).
  • Desperate attention seeking through flamboyant and unnecessary accessories like capes, cloaks, feathers, ruffles, upturned collars, metal jewelry and oversized zippers.
  • A ridiculously large weapon to overcompensate for all of the above.

Possible Inspiration:


The Antidote:


Holy crap, what is that on his face?! Oh wait, it's just an emotion. Travis Touchdown of No More Heroes may share many superficial similarities with the Brooding Pretty Boy (hair, accessories, weapon), but his crude, cocky and LOUD demeanor is anything but familiar.


Top 7


  • debroize - October 27, 2013 10:36 p.m.

    Am I the only one who thinks it is a little strange that the little girl from Resident Evil is included among the pure hearted love interests?
  • PatHan-bHai - March 11, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    Crash and Tasmanian Tiger don't deserve to be on that ic >:0
  • gadylan - September 24, 2011 12:40 a.m.

    let's be honest people who doesn't want to see half naked chicks? cause I know I do.
  • Miles_Endsly - April 6, 2011 9:18 p.m.

    Trying not to be brash or offend anyone but Tim from Braid (aside from the lack of flamboyancy) would have fit in well with the Brooding Pretty Boy. And Sazh from Final Fantasy XIII would have been a good antidote for the stereotypical black guy.
  • MalueMan - February 13, 2011 11:03 p.m.

    Wasn't this supposed to be about their traits and not their physical appearance? Some of these characters didn't really fit the mold he was trying to put them in either. Did he just look up screen shots and decide which one's LOOKED like what he was talking about?
  • theintellectual - January 10, 2011 11:56 p.m.

    hey the space marine was around waay before any of those other space dudes. in fact, they were probably what 'inspired' the others.
  • TheLastRGP - January 7, 2011 7:25 a.m.

    I know I'm very late to this, but this was a great top 7. I'm glad someone bought up the stereotypical black character or the half naked woman. These still irritate me. Games, as well as games developers, HAVE GOT TO GROW UP.
  • Nodoudt - January 6, 2011 3:51 a.m.

    +1 if you go redirected to a nearly 3-year old article cause you didn't know that "masked mystery trick" actually referred to helmets. xD Also, I think the "wise-cracking sidekick" would be an awesome addition, if it hasn't already been done elsewhere.
  • KrazyGamer - January 1, 2011 4:17 a.m.

    Haha Nice article everything is right on the dot!
  • Trg564 - December 30, 2010 11:55 p.m.

    Too bad they still haven't learned. Atleast some of the time they have great non-clichéd characters
  • Shuuvuia - December 3, 2010 8:55 p.m.

    I would of thought that the Demoman would have been the antidote for stereotypical black person. I mean, he is a Black Scotsman. :/
  • D0CCON - February 27, 2010 5:51 a.m.

    Howzabout Jacob from Mass Effect 2 to be the antidote to the stereotypical black guy. While he is ripped, at least he's intelligent, down to earth, and not a pain in the ass to listen to.
  • ObsessionWithEdgeworth - February 14, 2010 8:37 p.m.

    You need to add Godot (from Phoenix Wright T and T) to the Maked mystery man section. ... What about characters that just are made to annoy you? Like the different fairies out of the Legend of Zelda games, they really do get annoying! And, according to Mr.Epic64, Mario. (i agree) ... I've just noticed, I hate it when the sidekicjk type person get ignored, ... The Ignored Sidekick! of course! (like Luigi...) ... For some reason, just looking at the Buzz Cut Space Dude made me think of Luxord... ...and I dont know why. I also dont know why I love the . key so much... And is it just me, or is there no rayman on the animal with attitude part? I mean, a rabbit with no limbs that wears shoes and gloves... ...and uses his hair like a helicopter. Shouldnt that be there? ...And I have just noticed how ridiculously long this comment is... ~~Yuki~~
  • joshdaman123 - February 1, 2010 11:13 p.m.

    where the hell is sly cooper.... i mean COME ON!
  • gilgamesh310 - January 28, 2010 11:39 p.m.

    A good list but raziel should not be on it at all. He's one of the most unique interesting game characters ever
  • FanofSaiyan - December 7, 2009 3:23 a.m.

    Technically, people have seen Master Chiefs real face. Allow me to explain, due to a mod, people got to look inside his helmet. :Spoiler Alert: he's no looker.
  • FanofSaiyan - December 7, 2009 3:21 a.m.

    Unfortionately, I haven't played No More Heroes, but it looks awesome.
  • leemaycry - October 6, 2009 1:22 p.m.

    @kittens, yeah but no one liked raiden until the patriots beat the gay out of him.
  • SleepingDragon7 - September 29, 2009 12:29 a.m.

    Oh! You missed Kairi in pure hearted love interest!
  • crustdbeat - November 26, 2008 8:37 a.m.

    Thanks for the wallpaper!!

Showing 1-20 of 69 comments

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