TMcBee’s Top 10 Approved Video Game Character Designs


In video games, the design is a major key element to make a game and designing virtual characters can possibly bring interest or increase their popularity to the public. There are many video game characters with such unique styles and fine details that it was pretty difficult for me to just pick only ten.

     For this written game countdown, I’ll be listing down my Top 10 Approved Video Game Character Designs. Just to clarify anyone reading this that most of the entries are personal with a few universal choices. I’m not going for many popular votes here and would not add a lot of  iconic designs on the list. Characters that have occurred once in a game or re-designs that were acceptable for my viewing will also appear on the list.

       Anyway, let’s scroll down the character designs that I found appealing starting with number ten.

10. Nabooru – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

     There are so many people that are attracted to Zelda and Link’s designs from The Legend of Zelda series, though there is one character I always found visually appealing every time I play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The Spirit Sage Nabooru somehow made me accept her likeable odd appearance.

     Nabooru is the only female game character I like who reveals her navel and bare shoulders. The puffy pants, crested jewel accessories and  long curved ponytail are the main highlights of her design which make her more fascinating than the rest of the sages.

     I know some people complain about her long nose, but it never bugged me at all. I actually found Nabooru quite beautiful with the colour scheme and 3D rendering that she was displayed. She did look outstanding in her white matching outfit… or was it pink?

9. Stranger – Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath

      Character designs with gritty tones aren’t usually my cup of tea. If it’s one with an exaggerated anatomy structure, I would probably accept it, like Stranger from Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath.

     People who have played Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath will like Stranger’s Clint Eastwood vibe embedded in his design with his detailed poncho and torn western hat. However, I find the hybrid structure of Stranger pretty intriguing with his lower arms, lower legs, hands and feet being bigger than the rest of his body. Its pretty mind blowing that there’s more to Stranger hidden in those western garments of his.

     The overall construction and animations of Stranger is what made me visually like this character. I get enjoyment every time I see Stranger running in fours or walking like a cowboy on screen. Too bad he doesn’t keep his western charm for the entire game.

8. Paper Mario – Paper Mario Series

      Everyone admires Mario’s simple design that Nintendo kept for over 25 years now. However, there has been some styles of Mario that were created differently. Paper Mario from the Paper Mario series is a character design I really adore than the Mario everyone is familiar with.

      To me, Paper Mario has a design that’s right out of an old western cartoon. In fact, Paper Mario always reminded me of Mickey Mouse from the 1930s for having the same beady eyes and oversize buttons. Other than his charmingly crafted design, Paper Mario had creative animations with paper physics to fit the consistency for the series.

      I could have added any character from Paper Mario on the list, but Mario from this particular spin-off game had the better execution in both design and animations. How often do you see Mario dropped like a piece of paper or turned into a paper airplane?

7. The Team Fortress 2 Cast – Team Fortress 2

     The entire cast from Team Fortress 2 are loved by many gamers that sometimes I can’t quite understand why many people like these guys. Now I realize that Valve’s characters from Team Fortress 2 have enthusiastically fun designs that suits their names and representative roles perfectly.

     What makes the Team Fortress 2 cast fantastic is that each character is immediately recognizable when presented in silhouette. The blocky body shapes, loose gestures and represented accessories makes each character memorable, like Heavy’s bald head, Scout’s baseball cap and Medic’s massive red surgeon gloves.

      The colour schemes of the Team Fortress 2 gang is something that won’t draw my attention right away, but their rendered designs are so likeable and done at its finest. The Team Fortress 2 trailers proves that you do not have to know Team Fortress 2 in order to like these character models.

6. Amaterasu (Ammy) – Okami

      At first I never understood the popularity of this white wolf with red-orange patterns and spiral designs. But then again, video game characters with full animals instincts are quite difficult for me to get into. However, Amaterasu from Okami made me appreciate her design today compare to my first impression of her.

      Amaterasu (Ammy for short) just looks gorgeous on any surface, whether it’s on paper or in Okami‘s gameplay. The Japanese watercolour approach on Ammy is not only sophistically  detailed, but also very original for video game character designs.  Her colour scheme is stunning too. The touch of red and green split complimentary does makes Amaterasu stand out flawlessly.

      Game characters with animal instincts may not be my forte, but Ammy on the other hand is one that I can take. Amaterasu, let me count the ways to how many spiral designs there are on you!

5. Earthworm Jim – Earthworm Jim

     Earthworm Jim may have been a forgotten character to newer generation of gamers, but his oddly buff sci-fi design created by Doug Tennapel and David Perry did appeal to many demographics in the 90s. Earthworm Jim is one of the pioneers of video game characters that presented a cartoony, yet hand drawn design in video games.

     A worm attached to a space suit may sound strange or possibly gross to some people, but somehow the design works on Earthworm Jim for being unusually original for a video game character. The muscular upper body, skinny legs, buff biceps, big bugged eyes and curly head are the elements to what makes this character completely memorable.

     Earthworm Jim became pretty popular for his design and animations that he even had a line of action figures, comic books and his own television series after Earthworm Jim. No wonder why people thought he was such a “Groovy” guy back then.

4. Ratchet – Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One

     This loveable Lombax is immediately likeable to most fans from the Ratchet and Clank series, but Ratchet himself seems to appear differently in every sequel from the franchise.  For some reason Ratchet’s design from Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One felt pretty appealing to my eyes.

      Many people complain about Ratchet in All 4 One for his wide head, but I love the simplicity, bright colours and exaggerated shapes used on Ratchet for the game. I do admit that CreatureBox’s design for Ratchet does look better in concept arts and rendered illustrations. Whereas in All 4 One he was passable but slightly needed to be tweaked better, especially in the gameplay.

      I wouldn’t want to see Ratchet like this in a future full length Ratchet and Clank game, but I do appreciate this style of him and glad it will make a come back for Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault.

3. Razputin (Raz) – Psychonauts

       Anything done by the minds of Tim Schaffer always bring some interesting art directions to games developed by Double Fine. After finishing Psychonauts recently, I grew fond of Razputin (or Raz) and how he had one surrealistically fun design to adore.

      With the surreal style and exaggerated limbs displayed on Raz, he still look like a human boy. Raz’s thin arms and legs, big red goggles, and wide noggin suits his design for the game and yet somehow becomes a likeable character for his stylized appearance. Raz’s face does pop out pretty well for his cool tone outfit with a touch of split complementary and brown hues applied to him.

      I like the risk that the designers did to present Razputin in Psychonauts for being one unusual looking video game character that became pretty enjoyable in the final design. Weird minds can surely bring something creative to the table.

2. Jade – Beyond Good and Evil

      The video game industry seems to have a tough time designing female characters that aren’t eye candy sex appeals to adolescent male gamers. However, Jade from Beyond Good and Evil is that rare example of female characters in video games with a tasteful design that is fully clothed.

      Jade may not appeal well in silhouette or containing many memorable accessories on her, but her colour palette has a cool relaxing tone that feels welcome to any viewer’s eyes. Speaking of eyes, Jade’s face is the attention point of her design on how stylistically gorgeous she looks. The green eyes and lipstick brings a strong contrast to balance her upper body part so well.

      Jade from Beyond Good and Evil makes gamers compare her to Alyx Vance from the Half-Life series, but a tomboyish female with colour and green to her is my kind of fictional lady in video games.

1. Rayman – Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc (and up)

      Rayman from the beginning always felt like a character that was innovating, unique and pretty original in terms of his design. Rayman’s design have been slightly tweaked in detail over the years and  who knew his appearance in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc charmed me the most.

      Rayman had roundish structures in Rayman 1 and Rayman 2: The Great Escape that didn’t get me interested right away. Though his appearance in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc had sharpened details that made me appreciate Rayman a lot more, like his red neck bandana and spiky hair-ears.

     What makes Rayman visually appealing that there is a sense of illusion to his design with floating hands and feet and no arms and legs. Missing limbs on a character might be cheating to some designing influentials, but I think Rayman looks perfect without them. If he had arms and legs in his design, he probably wouldn’t stand out in the gaming industry.

      Rayman has one of the most magical designs I have witnessed in video games and it is great to see his latest touches still occur today in other Rayman instalments like Rayman Origins and even Rayman Raving Rabbids.


One Comment on “TMcBee’s Top 10 Approved Video Game Character Designs”

  1. manglu96 blog Says:

    You have observed very interesting points ! ps nice site. “Every man over forty is a scoundrel.” by George Bernard Shaw.

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