Press-Start’s Most Loved: Lead Characters

Heading into the next generation of gaming, the team at Press-Start are going to take a moment and reflect on some of the greats of gaming past. This week we are taking a look at our favourite lead characters, the stars of our gaming universe, a person who at times we can most connect with, a game we undoubtedly have clocked more than once and a series that no matter the cost will invest into just to re-connect with that unique individual. So here it is, each team member’s favourite game character and a brief explanation of why they are so near and dear to our hearts.

John – Joel


As much as I could have easily chosen a character of my childhood, such as Link or others. Games have made huge leaps and bounds in conveying the characters emotions, desires and issues and I think Joel is probably the best example of that. Without giving spoilers is sort of difficult to explain why. However, I love the fact that Joel is not depicted as the perfect hero, is he conflicted, and reluctant about the situation he has been thrown in. Even though his relationship with Ellie in the beginning is rocky to say the least, I love the slow acceptance and attachment of the situation. Doing whatever he must do, to keep her safe. No matter how dark and gruesome those actions may be. I would love to explain more on why I love Joel. However, I don’t want to spoil anything and The Last of Us is simply a game you must experience.

Diego – Squall Leonhart


I’ll admit that, at the start of the game, he’s a bit of a douche, but he has his reasons; the guy’s had a pretty hard life and he’s been heavily affected by it, but still continues onward. He gets great development as he goes on, being more open and more polite with his peers, and being more optimistic in general, which helped him and his friends get through many hardships in the game. Squall’s also a badass, being an expert in gun blades and also very proficient in the use of magic, he’s capable of holding himself strongly in a fight. I found him to be very relate-able in the sense that he seems human, even though he’s in an over the top JRPG world, but he’s also badass enough to not be crippled by a lack of initiative. The guy’s a soldier, a trustworthy friend and a lion.

Kevin – Max Payne


Both a biting satire to the gritty protagonist of modern shooters and a loving homage to the John Woo era of anti-heroes, Remedy’s Max Payne is a caricature of a flawed, brilliant game character. With a brilliant voice actor and a fantastic script, Payne eschews the clichés of video game stereotyped and turns them into a fascinating study of video games themselves. Unfortunately Rockstar’s attempt at writing Max Payne ends up more of a parody of himself then anything effective, but the third installment is still a rollicking adventure. With his trademark ‘constipated’ look from the first game and backed by some of the best third person elements in a game, Max Payne is a character to be studied, remembered and admired.

Joshua – Marcus Fenix


A legendary war hero and a convicted coward, Marcus has lost many close to him while not only leading Delta team and fighting the Locust, Lambent and Stranded, but is the main reason the human race has survived this long. A strong leader, a veteran of war and a friend, Marcus has overcome many obstacles throughout the course of his battles since Emergence Day including the loss of his father and his closest friend, Dom. He’s the fighter that the human race needed and he will do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. He’s quite possibly one of the strongest characters to ever grace a video game.

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Drew – Conker


Conker is lovable rouge and after a big night out he wakes up hung-over in a fanatical world of fecal foes and flirtatious flowers. Conker stands a satire of all that video gaming had become by the early 2000’s and with an industry struggling to come to terms with the fact that its target demographic was no longer just young children, Conker is just what the doctor ordered. Conker showed us that it wasn’t all or nothing, it didn’t have to be all Modern Warfare of Mario sequels (sorry Shannon) but a hero could be a fluffy red furred squirrel trying to get home from a night on the “plonk” and still appeal to adults and children alike. Conker as a character himself makes exploring the world he has found himself in a sheer joy, he cracks wise at every opportunity and makes the best of the strange situation he is in. What separates Conker from your average hero is that he isn’t trying to save the world and the bad guys don’t want to stop him because he is all powerful, at heart he is just your average Joe trying to get home to his girlfriend after a big night out and the bad guy wants to use him as a fourth leg to his broken table.

Shannon- Mario


I’m going to go with the oldest and most well-known character in gaming. Mario was the first gaming character that I know and love and truly started my love for gaming. I’m always going to pick up each game in the Mario universe and know that it’ll be an extremely high quality game. It’s amazing to see that my nephews now associate with Mario too and that he is still able to turn kids into gamers.

Jake – Link


The Hero of Time, I was first introduced to Link in his adventure “Ocarina of Time” given to me as a Christmas present when I was 8 years old. I can without a doubt say that Link is the reason I became more than just a casual gamer, upon boot up I was introduced to an enchanting story that allowed plenty of room for development and interpretation from an 8 year olds imagination. A vast open world full of exploration and dangers, the puzzles kept me guessing and the gameplay was challenging. However, game specifics aside, what has propelled Link to status as my favourite character would be the memories of playing this and other Zelda games that are associated with my one and only brother. Together we would spend hours exploring this world conquering dungeons by night and when the sun rose we were outside living those adventures all over again with our own unique twists, amazing memories forged with one of the closest people too me. To this day when we get the rare opportunity to just hang out we instantly boot up one of Link’s epic adventures and relive all those fond childhood memories. That is why Link is my favourite, not only for his excellent presence as a genuinely amazing hero but that to me Link and my brother are synonymous with one another.

There you have it, each team member’s favourite lead character. Some of them new, some of them old but most certainly each selection holds a special place of the upmost importance near and dear to our hearts.