The Video Gaming World Has Made a Shift in its Preferred Hero.
What? No Gordon Freeman?
Thinking about it though, I’m not sure that video game heroes have ever been of similar mold to the action heroes of the ’80s. I think the geek market, being the prime market for video games, has always been happier with average-looking heroes than the jock market has. Some historical examples:
1981: Mario. Slightly tubby plumber. Goofy Mustache. Overalls.
1982: Pitfall Harry. Lean fella in a pith helmet and khaki shorts.
1983: Dirk the Daring. While he does have some forearm-and-calf muscle mass, Dirk was a dork.
1986: Link. Essentially a spritely teenager in 1986 and becoming more and more childlike over the years until his Wii incarnation, which seems a return to the 1986 Link.
Samus Aran. Not a man and not particularly buff. At least not in the two versions of the game I had played.
1987: Larry Laffer. Ew. I mean seriously.
1990: Guybrush Treepwood. Actually scrawny. Saving grace is nice rock hairdo.
1996: Lara Croft. Granted that she’s never been exactly realistic, but she’s still not your old-school action hero.
1997: Cloud Strife. Typical anime action hero. So very not Schwarzenegger.
1998: Gordon Freeman. C’mon, a physicist? With Rivers Cuomo glasses and a Jonathan Coulton Beard. _____________________________________
Granted, during this time we also saw Solid Snake, Ryu (from Streetfighter), Duke Nukem, and Master Chief and Kratos from a couple years ago, but still, the video game hero was hardly monolithic in either design or personality.
I totally agree the Dane.