Greetings once again everyone, and I hope that you’re all still doing well. With stay at home fever gradually starting to wind down a return to normal activities seems imminently closer, so that means I’m going to have less time on my hands to indulge in the video games that’s helped me and my daughter pass some of the long hours in doors. I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to dive back in the small amount that I’ve been able to, which kind of got me thinking over the past few days, what was it that really drew me into video games in the first place?
When I pick up a controller today I have to admit that the gameplay and overall story have an awful lot to do with whether or not I’m going to enjoy myself, with the graphics coming in second as no matter how much you polish a turd it’s going to suck if it handles like a drunk mule. But back in my formative years there were really only two things the younger me would look at when it came to a game, how cool was the good guy and was there a suitably badass villain for him to fight? Now the hero matter was one thing to consider, with any game worth its salt needing an appropriately awesome protagonist to really carry it through. But for me, most of the fun was seeing all the particularly nasty baddies he got to carve through, and more importantly, the boss battles that it all led up to. So, allow me to present to you my five favorite video game villains of all time, and notice that I said MY five favorite and not the best ever, because that’s a whole other debate in itself. So if you’re ready, let’s go.
5. Bald Bull: Mike Tyson’s Punchout
This big Turkish boxer kicks off out list, and first appeared in 1984’s Mike Tyson’s Punchout for Nintendo. All I have to say is that I hate this douche with a passion, and he was more often than not the reason I got stopped cold in the game. A lot of the characters in Punchout got really aggressive the further you progressed, but Bald Bull was a friggin nightmare if you didn’t have your timing and counter attacks down just right by the time you reached him. I could usually always beat him the first time we fought, but then a few opponents later, you had to go up against him again, and he was an even bigger a pain the second time around. He battered the crap out of me and forced poor Little Mac into retirement so many times I lost count, and might I add screw that flippin Bull Charge of his! Mike Tyson might have been the big boss at the end of the road, but Bald Bull was my true nemesis in the ring, and I still have an axe to grind to this day.
4. Ghaleon: Lunar, The Silver Star Story Complete
This one is a lot less well known than the others on the list but I was so invested in this game at the time that this guy has stuck with me even after so many years. He starts off as one of the heroes of legend that’s helping your character on their quest to find the new Dragonmaster and defeat the evil Vile Tribe, but later reveals himself as the true threat who’s trying to ascend to godhood because he thinks the world can’t exist without a god to watch over it. He kills your dragon, Quark, and uses its head a wall decoration, and worse yet, kidnaps the main heroine of the game, turns her evil to gather power for him, and then plans to syphon that power off which will kill her in the process. His setup and betrayal hit a nerve with me and I couldn’t wait to kick his ass by the end, but he was pretty much a dark elf so what the hell did I really expect.
3. M. Bison: Street Fight II
You knew he was coming, and if you’d read my Triumphs, Tragedies, and Personal Pan Pizzas articles, you’d know exactly why. Bison was the bane of my existence for an entire summer when I was younger, draining me of more quarters than I want to admit to as I stood for hours in front of an arcade machine at our local Pizza Hut. He smacked me up one side of the screen and down the other round after round, irking my ire to the point of madness sometimes. It gave me so much satisfaction when I finally beat this guy that I still call it my crowning achievement in my video game history to this day, and thinking back on it, it probably always will be.
2. Sephiroth: Final Fantasy VII
Let me say this right off the bat, I love me some Final Fantasy VII, so much so that it might be my favorite game ever. It was this title that truly sparked my video game mania when I was in high school, leading me to really embrace my inner geek which in turn opened up the doors for me to start playing D&D and other RPGs. But with that said, I loathe this bastard right here, perhaps more so than anyone else on this list. I remember when Final Fantasy VII first came out and this guy seemed like he was everywhere at the time, and my best friend in those days practically worshipped the pixelated ground he walked on. I had to fight this jerk not only in the game but in so many of my buddy’s D&D sessions that it made me question if I really wanted to continue playing, which only fueled my fire to new degrees to finally see him beaten. Along with him famously impaling Aerith, there was just so much about Sephiroth that I couldn’t stand, finding him to be a leather clad bitchy goth with silvery hair that I just couldn’t wait to set ablaze. Maybe it was that so many seemed to take to this villain so readily that helped spur on my dislike, but I was beyond ready to put an end to him when the time finally came. I’ve replayed the game on more than one occasion since then, and putting the one-winged angel down and out never gets old.
1. Ganon: The Legend of Zelda
What can I say about Ganon other than he is my all time favorite villain, not because of how much I dislike him but because I just love the character. The Ganon I’m referring to here is not Ganondorf or the bestial demon that appeared in later games, but the hoggish mage from the original Zelda that stole the Tri-force of power and makes his stronghold beneath Death Mountain. This was the first game I really got drawn into as a kid, and since we lost the map of Hyrule, it was a daunting challenge to get through it given I was so young. But a big part of my motivation was finally being able to confront Ganon at the end, mostly because Nintendo Power magazine made him sound so badass. There’s just something about a giant demon pig able to hurl fireballs that’s really cool to me, and even today I still look to Ganon as a great model and inspiration for a truly memorable bad guy when I write my own stories. He tops my list out of the pure joy of playing Zelda to finally get to him rather than any hate or enmity, which is fine because he’s a truly awesome character forever etched in the lore of a great game.
So, what do you guys think about my little list of villainy, and who would you put in your own now that I might have got your wheels turning? Let me know who your favorites or most hated might be, because I’m always in the mood for a new delectable bad guy to discover. Before I go, I would like to give an honorable mention to one entry that didn’t quite make the cut, and that goes to the Robot Masters from the Mega Man franchise. I absolutely love the designs and aesthetic of these guys so much, so it’s hard to pick just one so I decided to just lump them all together, although Cut Man, Air Man, and Snake Man all hold a special place in my heart.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this one as much as I did writing it for you, because it was sure fun to think about all these guys and a lot of the other baddies that didn’t quite make the list. Until we meet again, take care and watch out for the Bull Charge, gang. Later.