The idiot hero is a storytelling archetype that has been used throughout art and literature and has now made its way into the video game medium as well. As the name would imply, idiot heroes are those main characters that you find yourself yelling at for their thick-headedness (but in the end still cultivate a love for). I mean, who doesn’t like a good idiot? No one said that a video game’s main character necessarily had to be smart. Sometimes, the most lovable idiots take on the role of the main heroes on a quest, and other times they are right by the hero’s side to make light of the situation.
In many cases, game developers just love fleshing out the dumb sidekick stereotype, or perhaps the gullible protagonist. Sometimes, you just need that character that will make you laugh with how unbelievably dumb they can be.
In many other cases, the idiot hero is used as a means to guide the plot forward. This is a plot device that by many can be viewed as lazy and a sign of poor writing, but in the end, you just have to love an idiot for what they are to the game. So, here we are with 15 video game idiots that you just have to like —to some degree— but scream at for the horrible decisions they make. To be warned, as always, because there will be both minor and major Spoilers below.
15 Nathan Drake (Uncharted 4)
Nathan Drake is suave, handsome, athletic, and prolific in both books smarts and streets smarts. You cannot sing enough praises for the guy, as his list of redeeming qualities goes on and on. The truth is, however, that in many ways Nathan Drake can be a little bit of a dummy who drives himself into some really tight situations.
Hell, it is why we love to play the Uncharted games in the first place. The player is always thrown into fast-paced, tense situations. But these types of problems do not always just fall right out of the sky for Nathan (except for that one time he actually fell right out of the sky). There have been a record number of times that Nathan has just been downright careless, like the time he used his cell phone in the middle of excavating a tomb, allowing Rafe to pinpoint his exact position.
14 Ashley Graham (Resident Evil 4)
Ok, you might argue and say that Ashley is not a direct protagonist in Resident Evil 4. However, she is an important part of the story and the gameplay. Leon —a much less idiotic protagonist— is forced to cover her in combat and make sure that she is not taken off of the screen. But that is not where her idiocy truly comes into play during the game.
The decisions that Ashley makes throughout the course of the game, such as pushing Leon away and running head first into one of the traps laid by Los Illuminados, has caused her to be captured not once, not even twice, but FOUR times by the end of the game. Ashley is a reckless character that in the end just gets in the player’s way, and for that reason, she gets put on the idiot list. Sorry Ash, but we’re gonna need you to get back and hide in the closet.
13 Link (The Faces Of Evil)
Alright, you had to have known that at least one of the twisted protagonists from this game would make it on the list. If you did not know, Philips, creator of the Philips CD-i gaming platform (which is thankfully no longer a thing), released to games featuring The Legend of Zelda characters. Zelda: Wand of Gamelon features Zelda as a playable character, with Link: The Faces of Evil having Link return as the protagonist.
The games were absolutely horrible, with plenty of awful cheesy dialogue, boss battles that featured no real strategy whatsoever, and overall gameplay so lackluster that it cost Philips a lot of money due to how bad they were. Link: The Faces of Evil features the usual stoic young adventurer, but this time he is a whiny little brat who always seems to be getting himself into trouble and somehow gets to the end of the game in one piece.
12 Guybrush Threepwood (The Secret Of Monkey Island)
Since the release of The Secrets of Monkey Island back in 1990, Guybrush Threepwood has not only become one of everyone's favorite idiots in video gaming, but one of the most iconic idiot adventurers. Just ask Threepwood about his name. Guybrush has been featured in numerous titles throughout the series, and this has allowed him to make a portfolio of stupid decisions. Many of his questionable choices had to be undone by his lover Elaine Marley.
Who could forget the time that he used a match to light a room in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, only to realize the room was powdered (no pun intended) with dynamite. Guybrush gave us a good laugh, as players watched him drop the match and cause a huge explosion out in the sea. Threepwood would set a standard for characters that could go from foolish to adventurous over the course of a series, while always having the support of the fanbase with him.
11 Dan (Street Fighter Series)
Dan was first introduced into the Street Fighter in Street Fighter Alpha. Wearing a pink gui that mirrors some of the other characters in the series, you can’t help but love that smug grin on his face. Anyone who has fought in a match using this character knows, that he is one of the most overconfident, silly, and just downright idiotic characters in the entire series.
Dan's story revolves around his father, Go, who was killed after a battle with Sagat (another character in the Street Fighter roster). Dan sought revenge for his father’s death, and when he finally tracked down Sagat (perhaps his only good idea), the one-eyed villain felt bad for Dan, and actually pretended to be defeated. Dan would go on to start his own martial arts style called “strongest style,” which is known for its weak structure and open a dojo to teach students such a style (and yes he fails at owning a dojo as well).
10 Kanji (Persona 4)
If there is one thing thing thing you can say about the Persona series, it is that they do not mind making a few stereotypical characters here and there. In just about every title of the Persona series, there is a lovable idiot character. Persona 3 had Junpei, and the recently released Persona 5 has the thuggish Ryuji. Still, no one takes the cake of thick-headedness like Kanji Tatsumi in Persona 4.
Famous on the streets for beating up delinquents in the alleyways, Kanji becomes one of the first new members of the gang set out to stop the murders in the rural town of Inaba. Players come to love Kanji’s hidden affection for his friends, and misunderstood nature. Though lovable, he is always saying or doing things at inopportune moments, which is the cause for more than one quick laugh through the length of the game.
9 Jason Brody (Far Cry 3)
Far Cry 3's main character is an average Joe, with no kind of military experience or training in combat. Jason Brody is thrust into the dangerous world of Far Cry 3 after a vacationing with his friends in the wrong part of Thailand at the wrong time. Because of his mediocre backstory, Jason Brody was met with many mixed feelings as far as Far Cry protagonists go.
Fans of the series claim that Brody is nothing more of an idiot for allowing him and his friends to get caught in the first place. Throughout the game, Brody begins to change into a ruthless killer, and it seems that no matter what decision he is presented with, he always makes the wrong one. In some such cases, the way you choose to end the game results in (Spoiler Alert!!) Brody’s death.
8 Taokaka (BlazBlue)
Taokaka is one of the original twelve characters in the BlazBlue franchise. Now, don't get me wrong, Taokaka is an adorable character throughout the series, but that does not keep her from being the most dim-witted character of them all. Taokaka is a member of the Kaka tribe, humanoids who resemble that of cat-like beings. In one case throughout the story, she is tasked with retrieving a bounty on Ragna The Bloodedge. Everything begins going as well as it can for Taokaka, until she runs into Ragna. Because she is similar to a house cat, preoccupied with food and sleep, she does not even recognize him, and ends up helping the man she is supposed to kill. Despite her shortcomings, she is a fan favorite of the BlazBlue series.
7 Slippy Toad (Star Fox)
The Star Fox series has been known to feature a large set of relatable and interesting characters. This is not to mention the long list of rad looking space pilots featured on the Star Fox and Star Wolf teams. There is Fox McCloud, the leader, Falco Lombardi, the cool but rude sidekick, and Peppy Hare, the veteran barrel roll-loving pilot. And then there is Slippy Toad.
Slippy is known for being the outcast of the Star Fox team. There are not many fans of the series that would consider Slippy to be there favorite, as the little frog pilot is constantly getting into trouble from level one. When he is not getting attacked by enemy forces, he is complaining about the difficulty of piloting, and in one case, he actually manages to get himself shipwrecked on a desert planet (in Star Fox 64). Maybe you should stick to engineering Slippy.
6 Bowser (Mario And Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story)
Nine times out of ten, the Koopa King is not the story's main protagonist. However, in Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, the iconic villain gets his own chance at being the star. The Paper Mario series has never missed a chance to show off the big guy as overtly unintelligent. Fans just love watching Bowser get played because of some horrible decisions he makes.
In Bowser’s Inside Story, after constantly being defeated by the Mario brothers, Bowser to go into a rage, and actually suck up the two heroes into his body. This might not have been so bad, except it gives Mario and Luigi a chance to use Bowser’s organs against him.
5 Tidus (Final Fantasy X)
When it comes to the Final Fantasy franchise, players are often in control of brooding, taciturn men. We all love our Clouds, but every once in awhile, we need a break from the rigid stone-faced protagonists. When we subconsciously asked for this, we were given a new character in the form of Tidus in Final Fantasy X.
There is a big divide when it comes to this character. Either you love you him, or you can’t stand him. But it doesn’t matter which end of the spectrum you land on, Tidus is undeniably a whiny, spontaneous character that is always getting himself into trouble, especially in the first act of the game. Whether it is big things like lighting fire in a ruin that attracts a sinspawn to his location, or little things like chewing his food too fast, one cannot deny that Tidus can be a bit more than an idiot.
4 Kratos (God of War)
Kratos is known for being one of the most powerful characters in all of gaming history. He has killed more gods than most of us can count, he literally made it through hell and back twice, and many fans would label him as unkillable. But if there is one thing that could be considered this demigod’s hamartia, it is his excessive amount of pride and lust for vengeance.
Vengeance is one of those things in Greek myth that always tends to show up, no matter where you look. It's easy to understand Kratos’ quest for blood on Mount Olympus. But that does not mean that Kratos has the right to be a blatant idiot about what he does. His constant anger always gets the better of him, allowing for Zeus to trick him into giving up all of his godly power, and Gaia into convincing him to work with her, just before she betrays him. Talk about foolish!
3 Big The Cat (Sonic Adventure DX)
My, (oh my), never has there been a more hated example of an idiot protagonist in all of video games than Big the Cat. We can only imagine that his name took the developers all of about thirty seconds to come up with, but past even this aspect, players despise this characters because of how one-dimensionally stupid he is.
In Sonic Adventure DX, the entirety of his story revolves around him trying to get his best friend, Froggy (who is of course just a frog), back by fishing for him in various lakes. Horrid gameplay aside, Big the Cat is so high up on the idiot scale that he is constantly losing his froggy friend right from under his thumb, literally. Who knows why this dumb character was created and to whom he would relate to, but developers would do well to keep this character out of the next Sonic The Hedgehog title.
2 Vincent Brooks (Catherine)
Vincent Brooks is the main character in Catherine, and if he were any smarter than he is in the actually game, then Catherine would be all of about an hour long. Vincent makes a heck ton of bad decisions, not by what he does, but by what he chooses not to do when faced with even the simplest of problems.
When he finds himself unconsciously sleeping with another girl, also with the name of Catherine, you would expect him to blow things off with the new girl, or to break things off with his girlfriend. You would expect him to do just about anything, right? Well, the truth is that Vincent's actions are about as helpful for his situation as pouring a bucket of water on a sandcastle at the beach. Vincent spends most of the game, when he is not climbing towers, sitting on the toilet contemplating the problems he is not solving.
1 Larry Laffer (Leisure Suit Larry)
Perhaps the biggest dunce in the world of gaming is Larry Laffer. Created by Al Lowe in 1987, Larry Laffer is the main protagonist of the point and click series Leisure Suit Larry. The main focus of each game in the series is simple, help Larry get some action. It seems like a pretty simple goal, right? Well, because of Larry’s inept nature in, just about everything, the player will find that many scenarios are made difficult because of the many wrong turns Larry makes.
Heck, sometimes when you, as the player, do everything right, Larry still finds himself being taken advantage of by some women, or in one such case, at the wrong end of a risque BDSM type situation. Though not for children, gamers looking for a chuckle will check these games off of their lists.