This list of the top ten video game villains of all time has a surprise twist at the end. Don’t tell your friends! You would ruin their fun. Speaking of ruining things for people, consider this your warning that there are spoilers ahead.
- Bowser / King Koopa. Whether you call him Bowser or King Koopa, this guy has been around the block more than any other villain on this list. He is the Sisyphus of video game villains, always kidnapping Princess Peach only to have Mario win her back again. He’s a persistent bad guy, though, and you have to respect him for that.
- Donkey Kong. Before Bowser showed up on the scene, Donkey Kong was Mario’s arch-nemesis. He, too, had an eye on the Princess and a knack for doing the same thing over and over again. Instead of throwing fireballs like Bowser, though, D.K. threw barrels. Lots and lots of barrels. So many barrels.
- Sepiroth. He’s the “Final Fantasy VII” bad guy fan boys love to hate. And here comes the first spoiler: he killed one of the most likeable characters in video game history, the sweet flower girl Aeris (or Aerith, if you’re Japanese or a giant nerd). Yes, that Sepiroth was a real bastard.
- Kefka. Before Sepiroth became the Final Fantasy series’ most memorable bad guy, there was Kefka. He stole the show in “Final Fantasy VI,” causing death and destruction on a grand scale and relishing it with his trademark 16-bit laugh.
- Dr. Wiley. The original villain of the Mega Man series, Dr. Wiley managed to churn out evil robot after evil robot as fast as Hollywood churns out troubled child actors. No matter how many insane jumping puzzles Mega Man navigated through to destroy Dr. Wiley’s creations, there was always another one right around the corner.
- GLaDOS. We’re making a note here: GLaDOS was a big success with gaming audiences. The insane AI from “Portal” that lied to you about cake and tried to kill you, GLaDOS also had her own song at the end of the game (written by nerdy troubadour Jonathan Coulton).
- Shodan. In the world of psychotic artificial intelligences, Shodan is almost like GLaDOS’ bitchy aunt. Her presence in the “System Shock” games did not provide comic relief like GLaDOS’ did in “Portal.” Instead, she constantly menaced you through the course of the games, ratcheting up the tension and giving them their trademark scariness.
- Andrew Ryan. “Bioshock” was the spiritual successor to the “System Shock” games, and so it is no surprise that it, too, features a menacing character who haunts you through the course of the game and generally makes your character’s life a living hell. Andrew Ryan was a flesh-and-blood villain, though, and when you finally overcame his hold on you after beating him to death with his own golf club, it felt really good. Would you kindly?
- Ganon / Ganondorf. He sometimes goes by Ganondorf but his friends call him Ganon. Just don’t call him Dorf, because that’s somebody else entirely. This video game villain is the chief antagonist of the “Legend Of Zelda” series, and like so many bad guys he seems to have a penchant for kidnapping princesses and trying to take over the world.
- Bobby Kotick. Here’s the twist ending: The last video game villain on this list isn’t from a video game at all! He’s Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. Bobby is a treasure trove of quotes that have pissed off gamers, the most memorable being about his philosophy of taking “all the fun out of making video games.” If you’re a hardcore gamer, you’ve probably posted in a forum somewhere about how much you loathe this guy. For that, he is a true video game villain.
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