Ken you pick someone else, please?
Pretty much everybody in Street Fighter 4 picks Ken. Why? Because he's (relatively) easy to be good at and you can destroy the majority of oppposition who don't realise that flaming dragon punch recovery can be blocked if you just know when to expect it. But joining Ken in this most exclusive society are the likes of Elise from SSX, Kilik from Soulcalibur, and Bond from GoldenEye (BECAUSE ODDJOB IS BANNED). Everyone plays as them.
But where there is light, there must also be darkness. Where there are Cool Kids, there must also be outcasts. Here are gaming's most ostracized outsiders - the ones no one ever, ever wants to play. Were you always picked last for the school's football team? Then this one's for you.
Jurgen from SSX
Jurgen was one of the original boarders in SSX but, funnily enough, he was absent from SSX Tricky, allegedly 'suffering from a broken leg'. Suffering from a bad case of 'nobodypickedmeitis', more like. And it's easy to see why. Let's see: 1) He's the oldest character in a series all about being young, fit and cool. 2) He isn't even liked in the game, as he's enemies with everyone. 3) He's only the second-largest character, so not even the go-to choice for those who always pick the biggest and baddest.
He's also German (no, wait, I haven't finished), so maybe some German people pick him. Indeed, he might be really big in Deutschland (das ist was sie hat gesagt!) but, even then, chances are Elise is going to be picked there, too. Everyone's 'Fur Elise', right?
Liu Kang in the first Mortal Kombat
Liu Kang looks like he's going to be really good when you select him in the original Mortal Kombat. He's just as digitised as everyone else and his name is f**king Liu Kang. But then you realise his moveset is dull, which would be bad enough. And then you do his fatality move and realise it isn't a fatality move at all.
It's just a cartwheel kick with an uppercut at the end. Bye-bye, MK1 Liu Kang. We will return to you in MK2 when Midway lets you turn into a dragon and bite off your opponent's entire torso. Scorpion? Come on, you. Get over here!
Any of the male characters in Dead or Alive
I considered Bass for this entry, because nobody picks Bass. He's got a very odd relationship with his daughter, for starters, which I'm sure could sustain an entire thesis. But then I thought about other characters nobody picks in DoA and noticed a very unexpected trend. They're all male! Wow, what are the chances?
I wonder what it is that makes people choose Kasumi over her brother, Hayate? It's a complete mystery. Must be that the female characters' movesets are traditionally more accessible for beginners and that their movements are almost universally faster, allowing for a more flowing gaming experience. That must be it.
Cait Sith from Final Fantasy 7
The problem with any character that gets introduced in the last third of a Final Fantasy game is that nobody will ever like them. They've become too emotionally invested in the other characters - even if one of them is torn from them, leaving deep emotional scars that will never heal. To leave scars like that, you've got to care. And nobody cares about Cait Sith.
In fact, it's hard to know what to say about Cait Sith's good points. Maybe people would know more about Cait Sith if they'd put him/her/it in their party after that first time. It's part stuffed cat, part robotic Moogle, completely annoying, and a terrible fighter. Plus, its weapon is a megaphone. A megaphone? Megalame, more like! Amirite? OK, let's move on.
League of Legends support class
OK, here's the thing. I don't play League of Legends, but I can appreciate that everybody who does play it wants to win. But nobody wants to play as the 'Support' class. Probably because that involves doing mundane, boring things like saving people's lives and taking control of the entire battle by assigning help where help is needed.
I completely understand. Nobody decides they're going to start a kick-ass Rock Band and change the world, Wyld Stallyns fashion, then make the conscious decision to be the bassist and stand at the back, looking at their shoes. Nobody chooses to be that guy.
Morten in Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8 is full of contenders for this list. Nobody really likes Metal Mario, but he has a nice graphical effect. Pink Gold Peach is a nightmarish abomination, but I'm sure some misguided kid somewhere thinks pink gold is an awesome idea. The 'baby' characters are dreadful and must be destroyed, but there are four of them so I can also imagine some young children might enjoy playing as them. Maybe.
But of all the characters, why would anyone choose to play as Morten? The reasons for picking Morten can be listed on one finger. If you race as him in Single Player, you can unlock his stamp. And even then, everyone's thinking 'do I have to?' Look at him! A face only his mother could love. And who knows who she is? Is it... Officer Barbrady? The 1979 Denver Broncos...? etc.
Natalya from GoldenEye
If you're playing GoldenEye multiplayer, everyone wants to be Bond. If they're not Bond, they'll want to be a different 00-agent, or one of the bad guys. Of course, ODDJOB IS BANNED. But even though Oddjob is banned, there's one character who is picked even less than Oddjob, and that is Natalya.
Maybe it's a bitter hatred brought on by her ultra-annoying role in the single-player game, or possibly that nobody wants to play as a boring computer programmer when they could be a secret agent or a Bond Villain. And the usual Bond Girl glamour doesn't really pull in the crowds when rendered with 20 polygons and a photograph for a face.
Voldo in Soul Blade/SoulCalibur
"Alright, everyone, gather round. Who wants to be the Elvis guy with the nunchucks? Good. Who wants to be the female ninja with the questionable wobble physics? Easy tiger, here you go. OK, who wants the blind, insane, pale-skinned gimp who lives in a dark hole and moves like something even God would squash with a rolled up newspaper? Anyone?"
True story: The first time I ever played Soul Blade, I loaded up the game and picked a character I thought might be good, based on the close-cropped headshots. Fooled by the low-res thumbnail and thinking his light physique would probably result in a decently swift first character for a newbie, I chose Voldo. What a surprise I got.
YoYo from Jet Set Radio
Guys want to be him, girls want to be with him. I'm talking about Beat, of course. Couldn't care less about YoYo. I know he has some fans because he was the first character in Jet Set Radio Future and thus introduced a swathe of gamers to the joys of the original Xbox. But on Dreamcast, he's a completely different character.
And he's weird. The kind of kid who you'd avoid at school because he does things to guinea pigs with wires and a battery. Indeed, his crooked smile suggests he's just done something that you probably wouldn't like if you knew what it was. And when you've got Beat, Gum, Combo, Coin, Cube and EVERYONE ELSE to choose from, there's nothing left to say for YoYo, yo.
Zan from Streets of Rage 3
It's perfectly simple. Blaze was the first crush for a generation of gamers. Axel is the main man and his moveset is iconic (not to mention that wonderful flurry special with the dragon punch at the end). Skate may annoy some people, but there's a lot to be said for his fast-paced, dash-heavy combat, vault throw and sit-on-their-shoulders-and-pound-them-in-the-head reverse throw.
And then there's Zan. He's called 'Zan', for a start, which is a dull-sounding word, like 'flan', or 'generic man', only sexed up with a Z in true 1990s fashion. Similarly, he's a cyborg (cool), that looks like an old man (WTF?), but basically that just equates to an old man beating people up. Look, I'd even rather have Max back, and that's saying something.
The Lancia Delta HF Integrale from Sega Rally
There are but two cars in Sega Rally (three if you count the secret Lancia Stratos). They handle very similarly, go equally fast around the tracks and only sound slightly different, so if you use the bumper-cam view, you'd barely know which one you've chosen. And yet, nobody chooses to play as the Delta.
After all, the Celica was made famous by Didier Auriol and Armin Schwartz. It has a large racing spoiler on the back, is decorated in that gorgeous Castrol livery, and is as lean and aggressive-looking as a racing car should be. The Delta wasn't, isn't, and looks like a box with wheels. No-brainer, really.
Who got left out of the 'left out' feature??
Oh, man! Imagine the indignity of not even being picked for the 'characters that no-one ever picked' feature. You'd never live that down, would you? If there is anyone I've forgotten (which is unfortunately very probable given the whole point of the article), then do let me know in the comments. Or just tell me that I'm wrong and actually I've listed every single one of your favourite characters, in which case I congratulate you. Well done for not following the crowd: You are a unique snowflake. Or something.
And if you're looking for more, check out The 100 worst games of all time and What if... video game characters wrote songs?