They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which must certainly be true considering the candidates on this list.
Unlike most other forms of interactive mediums, video games are inherently immersive. Yes, movies and films carry similar characteristics, but their moments of immersion are fleeting–teleporting our full attention for two hours or a brief five minute window. Video games are a phenomenal immersion–lasting days, weeks, or more. Video games don’t wait to be resolved, they’re a journey that transports us through wrinkles of time, to realms and kingdoms far and away, often walking miles in someone else’s shoes. But to deliver such an immersive experience, video games require a specific formula to make it succeed–stunning visuals, music that create immense feels, compelling storylines, and of course, protagonists and supporting casts that are really, really, ridiculously good looking.
When all that comes together, the experience is unforgettable. But not every character is created equal and more often than not, there are those less-than-perfect specimens that are so jarring that it shatters the realm of immersion, bring our full attention to their seemingly out of place appearance. At times this is a necessary evil, or the art department simply wanted to celebrate the non-standard aesthetic, showing us that maybe there’s more to life than being really, really... well, you get the idea.
Here’s are the top 15 ugliest characters that only a mother could love.
15 Trevor Philips
Trevor Philips is a man of many things–criminal mastermind, bipolar manic, sentimental psychopath.
When it comes to Trevor Philips, fans of the Grand Theft Auto franchise are split between two camps. Those who see him as a lovable sociopath or as the most dislikable character in the series. He’s a balding, creepy-eyed goon with a love for anarchy, prone to violent outbursts, and deviant sex acts. The carry-on bags under his eyes, eczema-prone skin, and years and years of speed and meth addiction probably doesn’t help him win friends and influence people.
Either way, regardless of what you think of him or which camp you’re in, we can all agree he won’t be headlining the cover of People Magazine as Sexiest Man Alive anytime soon.
You first encounter Uma during Witcher 3’s aptly named “Ugly Baby” quest. Reminiscent of a cross between Gollum from Lord of the Rings and Quasimodo from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, Uma is unfortunately, the ugliest of all the ugly babies in all of the Continent. Without giving away any crucial plot points for anyone who has yet to play Witcher 3, Uma is a cursed being who was sold to the Bloody Baron after his previous owner wagered him during a game of cards. Despite his grotesque appearance Uma proves to be a useful companion to Geralt, especially during the quest to Kaer Morhen.
And for those wondering, yes, Uma is an acronym for “Ugliest Man Alive”, cruel and unusual doesn’t even fit the bill with how the developers decided to unabashedly degrade this digital character.
The mean and unforgiving nomadic mutant warrior of Mortal Kombat fame, Baraka’s grotesque appearance made its debut in Mortal Kombat II. We really can’t fault the guy though for having a face only a mother could love.
Baraka isn’t a monstrous anomaly though, grown out of a test tube or a Frankenstein science experiment gone horribly wrong. He’s actually the leader of the nomadic tribe known as the Tarkata–a mixed race species–half Outworld human and a Netherrealm demonic race. Their most distinctive physical traits are their jagged, sharp teeth, large devious mouths, and the menacing blades protruding from their bodies. If there’s any positives to take away from Baraka’s abominable features, at the very least, he’s always smiling as he dismembers you from limb to limb.
So maybe he’s born with it, or maybe it’s Maybelline. (He’s definitely born with it).
The Fallout universe is an unforgiving place. The devastating nuclear war that erupted irrevocably changed the natural landscape and its people. Take Harold, for example.
Having survived the war in Vault 29, Harold left the safety and confines of the vault to explore the wider world around him. A successful caravan master in his formative years, Harold was irrevocably changed into a ghoulish-like creature due to being exposed to FEV. Harold’s fate seems to worsen with every encounter throughout the Fallout series, culminating in your encounter with him trapped within the confines of a fully blossomed tree eager awaiting his finality in Fallout 3. Sure, he’s hideous, but unlike other entries on this list, Harold was simply a victim of circumstance, showing us that war never changes.
11 Queen Slug-for-a-Butt
The name may be a dead giveaway of what you should expect to experience when you encounter the main antagonist of Earthworm Jim, but that still doesn’t mask the fact that her hideous appearance is a shocking sight to behold, even in its full 16-bit pixelated glory.
The monarch and commander of the Insectoids and twin sister of resident damsel in distress Princess What’s-Her-Name, Queen Slug-for-a-Butt could best be described as a cross-breed abomination between a queen termite and of course, a slug, complete with a protruding gigantic larval posterior that oozes and slimes everywhere. Everything you may need to know about this repulsive creature can be found in her full name: The Evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt. Because apparently, Queen Slug-for-a-Butt wasn’t demoralizing nor descriptive enough.
If you’ve ever played Rockstar’s too-often-forgotten game, Bully, you’ll know who Edna is. For the uninitiated, Edna is the cook at Bullworth Academy. Characterized by her overweight appearance and hygienically challenged mannerism, Edna is a perpetually filthy individual. She sneezes, spits, coughs, and blows cigarette smoke in her food prep, without any regard for the personal well-being of the students she’s supposed to feed. All because she believes it will add flavour in the food.
A cross-section between Lunchlady Doris from The Simpsons, Miss Finster of Recess, and Miss Trunchbull from Matilda, Edna is the digital representation of every cruel lunch lady or figurative school authority who delights in disciplining children with severe and unusual punishments.
Luckily for the protagonist Jimmy Hopkins, she doesn’t make him Bruce Bogtrotter an entire chocolate cake.
He’s short, hairy, overweight, and since he spends all day running around in sweaters and jean overalls, mucking about in pipes and sewers; you can bet he probably smells as well.
Mario is perhaps one of the most recognizable faces of gaming. He’s the beloved protagonist of one of the most historic and storied video game franchises of all time, he’s a mascot for the 2020 Summer Olympics, and most of us grew up jumping around with him and his often too overlooked brother Luigi, eating mushrooms and jumping on flagpoles. But you have to admit, if he spends all his free time go-karting with his friends and enemies, hosting ridiculous parties, and saving princesses in every wrong castle he comes across, he probably doesn’t have a lot of spare time to dedicate to personal hygiene. Plus it doesn’t help that he sounds like a bastardized Italian Mickey Mouse.
Nostalgia is a cruel mistress.
8 Max Payne
Most protagonists are often the result of starry-eyed art departments, responsible for creating masculine heroes or fashion model heroines. But sometimes, these same art departments take a more realistic, yet comedic approach to creating protagonists with long-lasting visual appeal.
For most, the Max Payne series is a gritty third-person shooter about a former police officer-turned-Punisher-vigilante. It's dark, gritty, and often has overarching themes of the hopelessness of man. That is, until you pay close attention to the bastardization of Max Payne’s facial features. Seriously, he looks like he’s in a permanent state of constipation or in a relentless pursuit for the most extreme warheads sour candy. I guess his mother forgot to tell him that if he makes a digital face, it’ll stay like that permanently.
For a video game franchise that focuses on two adolescent teens in pursuit of peace and happiness in Hyrule Kingdom, The Legend of Zelda focuses on a lot of dark themes. And these subject matters are none more evident when displayed through the characters that inhabit this world. The three main characters of the series, Ganondorf, Zelda, and Link, all represent the three distinct points of “The Golden Power”, the Triforce.
What could Falbi, shop owner of Falbi’s Flight-by-Fowl in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess represent then? This eccentric character and former circus presenter, sports a rather unique look, complete with rather jarring makeup and a crazy-eyed appearance. Perhaps the constant burden of performing every night for unappreciative guests eventually took its toll, leaving him emotionally and physically permanently scarred for life.
6 Darlene Fleischermacher
One of the seven “psychopath” boss characters you encounter in Dead Rising 3, Darlene Fleischermacher, a rather portly woman embodies the obvious choice for one of the seven sins–gluttony. A lack of imagination on the art department’s behalf perhaps as her sizeable figure was simply too on the nose, or rather, a mere punch to the gut. But obvious connotations aside, Darlene draws comparisons to the likes of Austin Powers’ Fat Bastard, impossibly unhappy because she eats, but eats because she’s unhappy. She also bears close resemblance to the Klumps from Nutty Professor, if the zombie apocalypse broke out while they were in the middle of a buffet line.
Her weapon of choice is literally an oversized spork ladle and with her motorized scooter keeping her mobile, she protects her domain with embarrassing amounts of flatulence and vomit projectiles. A rather obtuse boss fight seems to have complete disregard for the idea of common decency.
5 Larry Laffer
Perhaps Larry Laffer was the precursor to the successful film The 40-Year-Old Virgin. But unlike Steve Carrell’s amiable character, Andy Stitzer, there’s nothing lovable about Larry.
The main character of the Leisure Suit Larry franchise, you join Larry on his quest after he has recently lost his job. Your role in the game is to help Larry fulfill his most hedonistic urges, which is a rather Herculean feat because Larry is a short, balding, leisure suit-wearing middle-aged man who’s up to his eyeballs in sleaze and dreadful cheesy pick-up-lines. One look at him and you get the immediate urge to want to take a shower. Sure there may be an inkling of a lovable trait about him, but we can all agree that Larry has one of, if not the creepiest demeanour of any other seemingly harmless protagonist out there.
If Disney ever created a film on the Oddworld series, the central inspiration for the film would be The Princess and the Frog.
While Abe may look like a grotesque freak of nature, with his iridescent complexion, engorged eyes, stitched lips, and mutant-insectoid like appearance, deep down, Abe has a heart of gold. Good-hearted and incredibly noble, Abe is on a quest to save his people, the Mudokons, a race of avian humanoids from being turned into slimy pseudo-mutant burgers. Enslaved by the cephalopod-like species, the Glukkon, and forced to work in meat processing plants, Abe’s quest is a rather endearing coming of age story that everyone can relate to, despite being unabashedly hideous.
In the end, the hero slays the proverbial dragon and saves the kingdom, but sadly, in this fairy tale, no princess awaits at the end of the castle for that happily-ever-after kiss.
3 Seth Briars
If there’s one word to describe this psychopathic prospector-turned-heinous-graverobber, it’s unhygienic.
His obsession with an unspecified treasure only further contributes to his hideous appearance, as his manic compulsion to seek out the other torn-half of the treasure map has driven him completely insane, leading him to neglect all other aspects of his wellbeing. Not only does he look like an emaciated human skeleton, but his tattered clothing and overall disheveled appearance indicates that he cares for little else, save this hidden booty. He also appears to be deeply mentally disturbed, showcasing classic symptoms of bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia, as he talks to the dead and has an irrational hate for people, especially women. But as Red Dead Redemption takes place in 1911, any form of diagnosis would have resulted in snake oil cures that may simply deepen his hysteria.
In Greek mythology, Clotho is the youngest member of the Three Fates, those who spun, drew, and cut the thread of life. Known as “the spinner”, Clotho spun the thread of life, determining every mortal’s length of life, from birth to death. In Greek mythology and most subsequent translations of her in other forms of media, she’s often depicted as a beautiful young maiden. That is, until Kratos encounters her in God of War II.
Portrayed as a monstrous blob, more silk worm-like creature than beautiful young maiden, Clotho appears nude, with horrendous blotches scattered throughout her plump frame along with porcupine-like hair follicles protruding from her many arms and other areas of her body.
If Darlene Fleischermacher embodies the sin of gluttony, then God of War’s Clotho personifies the Greek goddess of gluttony.
1 Default Characters
The beauty of video games is their ability to develop seemingly immersive experiences for the gamer. While traditional drawn-out protagonists allow gamers the opportunity to discover the world in someone else’s shoes, the ability to customize and create your own character adds a layer of depth to the immersive experience. But sometimes, what you envision as your heroic protagonist and the reality of the game engine don’t always agree, creating for some rather abysmal, but hilarious creations.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion character creator is a prime example of this. Whether its the terrible genetic pool or the result of contaminated water around Cyrodiil, whatever character you create is rather hideous to look at. Sure, you can spend countless of hours creating the perfect specimen, but as everyone else in Cyrodiil is rather hideous, you’ll just stand out like a sore thumb. Maybe they didn’t have mirrors in Tamriel.