It’s safe to say that video games are one of the modern age’s biggest forms of entertainment in the world. The games have become more sophisticated, draw in A-grade Hollywood talent to voice the characters, and bring graphics that look like they might as well be real life. The games are driven by fun gameplay, fun multiplayer community activity, and larger than life stories that only the video game industry can bring to life. These stories are only as good as the protagonist of the games. These heroes (or in some cases, villains) are what bring the story to the forefront, creating a bond between the player and the game itself. For the most part, these heroes and villains are often adults, but in some instances, these games are driven not by grown-ups, but children and teenagers.
While some may argue that BioShock Infinite was Booker’s story, the true heart of the story belonged to the child/teenager-turned-adult Elizabeth and her power to walk between worlds. The Legend of Zelda wouldn’t be a legend without the heroics of Link and Princess Zelda, two heroes that are in that teenage realm. Without the heroics of children and teenage heroes, some of these games wouldn’t be the hits that they are.
Today we are going to take a look at the fandom for these characters and see some incredible fan art that depicts these children and teenage characters as adults. You won’t believe some of these stunning transformations that the fans have come up with.
The first teenager we want to share with you as an adult has to be Elizabeth of BioShock: Infinite fame. One of gaming’s more emotional and complex stories, the game was a prequel/sequel of sorts to the original BioShock.
The twists and turns we saw Elizabeth go through brought her from an adventure seeking young girl into a hardened and tragedy-stricken woman.
This artist depicts one version of Elizabeth after she’s grown from her adventures in Columbia and has made her way into the underwater city of Rapture.
24 Tiny Tina
One of the standout NPC’s of the Borderlands series has to be Tiny Tina. She's a child who was taken alongside her parents to be experimented on by Handsome Jack and Hyperion. She has become a warrior in her own right, taking a liking to tea parties and explosions. This fan art depicts a cosplayer taking on the character, giving her an adult look that showcases what she grows up to look like in the Borderlands world.
This next kid-turned-adult comes from the world of the Gravity Rush franchise.
Series hero Kat was once a ruler of a kingdom who vowed to help those in the lower classes, despite the warnings of her advisor and the council.
After being betrayed and being awakened with no memory of her previous life, she uses her newfound powers to become a hero to the people and help battle the threats facing their world. This artist brought the young girl with no memory into the future, showing a sophisticated hero.
22 Link And Zelda Marriage
What could represent two characters maturing into adulthood more than marriage? Longtime heroes and fan favorite characters Link and Zelda of the Legend of Zelda have often been paired together, and this fan art is no different. Showing the two teens grown up into adulthood, they have appeared to gather with their friends as they take one another’s hand in marriage. It not only shows maturity for the characters but happiness for the heroes who constantly face danger.
This next fan art comes from the hit game Kid Icarus.
The story of Angel Land and the battle against Medusa saw the hero Pit escape from the Underworld and fight to gain three powerful treasures that would allow him to retake the Palace in the Sky. This artist showcases the hero Pit growing from a childlike warrior into the battle-hardened Angel that he is destined to become years later in the series.
20 Inkling Girl
One of Nintendo’s biggest hit franchises in the last decade has to be Splatoon. The game featured a race of beings known as Inklings, who lived in the city of Inkopolis and are the main protagonists you can play as in the game. Fighting the Octarians, the game focused on this mythical world of ink and water-based battle. This artist has depicted the female Inkling as an adult, grown up into the Inkling warrior and leader of the Inklings.
This next artist decided to bring in a character from the Nintendo Mario universe, Toadette. First appearing in Mario Kart: Double Dash, Toadette was Toad’s racing partner.
The female equivalent of Toad, Toadette has always been depicted in a childlike manner.
This artist took Toadette to a whole new level, giving her a very grown-up look that showcases her height and evolution into a powerful woman. What role would an adult Toadette play in the greater Mario universe?
18 Kirby And Meta Knight
One of gaming’s most popular two characters has to be Kirby and Meta Knight. Meta Knight is the mysterious figure from the Kirby franchise who never stays long enough to show his true face behind his metal helmet and sword. He is a major player in the franchise, while Kirby is the star himself. A pink puff-like hero who constantly fights to protect Planet Popstar, the two heroes have been taken here and turned into humans, making Kirby into a female adult while Meta Knight is the mysterious romantic lead opposite Kirby.
As we’ve already established, Link has to be one of the biggest names in Nintendo gaming history. The main protagonist of the Legend of Zelda franchise, Link has been reborn several times over in new vessels, harboring the power of the hero within these vessels and returning time and time again to protect the land from darkness. Here we are given a rare look into a version of Link that has matured and grown into adulthood, sporting a beard and grown-up look like no other before him.
16 Mega Man
The android robot turned hero Mega Man is next on our list. A Capcom legend, Mega Man was originally named Rock and served as a lab assistant to Dr. Light. Decades later, Mega Man has become a household name for longtime gamers, having tackled more games and reboots in his own franchise than you could ever imagine, let alone guest appearances in other franchises as well. This artist found what would be the coolest, most Iron Man-like version of Mega Man around, with state of the art robotics and an adult form to match.
One of the more popular side-scrolling adventures brings its hero to life in this artists' rendition of Rayman.
The story of the magic based Rayman and his mission to restore balance to his world and stop the sinister Mr. Dark is one of gaming’s classic tales.
This artist has taken the magical Rayman and imagined him as a human adult, complete with a grown-up form and the same sense of adventure that we have come to know and love about the character.
14 Spyro The Dragon
After a recently remastered version of his original trilogy came out, it felt wrong not to include the ever-popular Spyro the Dragon into the mix. The young child dragon who’s small size didn’t stop him from becoming the realm’s hero, Spyro went on many adventures across many worlds, stopping threats both big and small with a mixture of fire and humor. This artist shows a fully grown, all-powerful version of the adult Spyro, finally ready to become the leader he was meant to be.
13 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
It’s time to grab some pizza and hang by a half-shell because we are visiting the world of the ever popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The hero’s names are a distinct giveaway for why they made this list.
The popular turtle heroes are known for their humanoid appearance and heroic skills involving weapons and fighting in general. This artist depicts the turtles having grown out of their popular teenage phase, instead focusing on their journey into adulthood and more mature heroics.
12 Chloe Price
This amazing artwork is from the ever-popular choose your own adventure franchise, Life is Strange. The game that started it all featured the character of Chloe, a rebellious young teen who was the protagonist’s best friend in childhood and rekindles their friendship years later. Chloe’s demise triggered protagonist Max to discover her time rewind powers, and their emotional struggle together drives the plot forward. This artist showcases the blue-haired, tattoo-covered Chloe in adulthood, having survived the events of the first game.
This next piece of art comes from one of my all-time favorite franchises in gaming, Kingdom Hearts.
With the third game finally releasing soon, it felt right to include the character of Kairi.
The female lead of the series, Kairi is Sora’s best friend and love interest, eventually forming the core emotional bond that connects her heart to Sora’s. She also wields her own keyblade eventually and helps in the fight against the Darkness. This artist showcases a millennial, young adult version of Kairi complete with a hoodie and modern-day apparel.
10 Little Mac
First appearing in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!, the protagonist of the Punch-Out! series is none other than Little Mac. The youngest fighter in the game franchise, his signature move is the Star Uppercut. Appearing as the protagonist in every Punch-Out! game since then, the franchise is defined by the character’s classic black tank-top and green short look. This artist brought Little Mac into adulthood, giving him a powerful, intimidating look that befits a seasoned boxer and fighter.
This next artist tackled the ever-popular Final Fantasy franchise, most notably Final Fantasy X.
The main protagonist of both Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, she uses her skills and abilities to fight the world-ending monster Sin and summon magical entities known as Aeons.
The character is a fan favorite in the franchise, and so we found this incredible artist who showcases Yuna’s growth into adulthood after saving the world and becoming a full-blown hero.
Tidus is the second protagonist of the Final Fantasy X series. The male protagonist, Tidus is known to be the ultimate hero of the first game, making the ultimate sacrifice in order to defeat the monster Sin and save the world, at the cost of his own survival. He becomes the objective for Yuna in the sequel, hoping to return him to the physical world. This artist showcases Tidus as an adult, having returned to the land of the living and growing into adulthood.
Princess Zelda is next on our list. Originally portrayed as the “damsel in distress” character that needed Link to come rescue her, she has since evolved into her own hero.
In the franchise, she has been shown to have her own magical abilities and serves as a critical hero that helps Hyrule function as a kingdom.
She also takes on alternate personas to use her skills to battle and become a hero herself. This artist showcases an adult Zelda, now a queen and a battle-hardened warrior.
One character you might not have expected to see on this list was the Mario character, Yoshi. The star of his own franchise and a major player in the Mario world, Yoshi is an anthropomorphic dinosaur that helps Mario on his quests to save the world and stop Bowser and his forces. In this artist rendition of the character, we see Yoshi grow from a recently hatched dinosaur child to a fully grown, intimidating dinosaur in his own right.
5 Crash Bandicoot
This next artist has created a truly spooky, cool, and mature version of one of gaming’s most notable anthropomorphic creatures in the industry, Crash Bandicoot. The hero of several franchises, Crash is known for his inability to speak and make silly noises while going on adventures to stop Dr. Neo Cortex and protect his friends and island.
Traveling through time, other worlds, and other magical realms, Crash is always depicted as a teenager, but this time we see a fully-grown and mutated adult version of himself, giving him an almost scary appearance.
One of gaming’s most popular child characters has to be Telltale’s The Walking Dead and its series regular, Clementine. Both a supporting character and protagonist in her own right, Clementine is a child who survives the apocalypse and the zombies that have taken the world by being taught survival skills by father figure Lee, and later making her way through the world and being forced to mature into a battle-weary warrior despite her young age. This artist shows Clementine as an adult, having still survived in the apocalypse but tired from years of zombie and human attacks.
3 Knuckles And Tails
Another huge franchise that had very young heroes has to be Sonic the Hedgehog.
While Sonic is a worthy hero in his franchise, two side characters that gained major popularity have to be Knuckles and Tails.
Knuckles is an anthropomorphic echidna with spiked hands who is tricked into battling Sonic by Dr. Eggman, but later teams up with the hedgehog when he learns of the deceit. He is the guardian of the Master Emerald. Tails is Sonic’s sidekick and a kitsune who helps battle the forces of villainy. Here we see the two side heroes matured and interacting well into adulthood.
This next character comes from one of Sony’s biggest hit franchises in the last few years, The Last of Us. Following an apocalyptic event that saw a mutation/virus wipe out and mutate most of humanity, survivors Ellie and Joel travel across the post-apocalyptic world in hopes of finding a way to use Ellie’s natural immunity to cure the virus and restore the world. Here we see a grown-up version of the young Ellie, having learned to survive in this tragic and dangerous world well into adulthood.
This final character is the series star of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, Sora.
The young boy who dreamed of far away worlds finds himself in the center of a universal battle between light and darkness.
Becoming the keyblade wielder, he fights alongside Disney characters Donald and Goofy to find his lost friends, restore the worlds to light and fight back against those who want to corrupt Kingdom Hearts, the source of all light. This artist shows Sora grown into an adult man, becoming a true keyblade master and facing the darkness head-on while surrounded by light.