We know we’ve been harping endlessly about the coming of the next generation of consoles, but forgive us; toys like the PS4 and the Xbox One come too far and few in between. We are going to savor this moment as we’d suggest you do so yourselves.
Along with the excitement, a sense of nostalgia is already starting to settle in. The PS3, launched in 2006, and the Xbox 360, launched in 2005, have given gamers visuals that brought a tear to the eye (explosions at every corner!), spectacular new experiences (Constant OS updates! The red ring of death! Mandatory game installs!), controllers free from the tyranny of wires, and, above all, the ability to give your game characters a fancy new costume via DLC.
Seriously though, in spite of the quirks, The Seventh Generation of Video Game Machines has been a great ride. So now, FHM pays tribute to the cast of characters that made it so. Below we list the 10 characters that truly defined this generation.
1) The character must have been born in this generation. Sequels from a game that originated in an older console are not eligible. For example: Lara Croft and Grand Theft Auto guys.
2) Other than a cool design, the character must have had a significant impact and influence on the games after it.
3) The character is playable.
Now, you might notice that we’ve been practically ignoring the Nintendo Wii, which technically is still part of this batch. This is because the best games for the system are established franchises like Mario, Metroid and Zelda. True, there are some releases that might merit some consideration (stylish action titles No More Heroes and Muramasa: Demon Blade come to mind) but none made industry-sweeping impacts.
Feel free to chime in at the comments box though if you’re a Nintendo fanboy you think otherwise.
That being out of the way, let’s begin with probably the most tunay-na-lalake character in this list…
1) Marcus Fenix - Gears Of War (Xbox 360)
The quintessential space marine
Every soldier fighting against the fearsome alien horde called Locust needs to be tough. None though is tougher than Fenix, the hero of this series known for its immersive, battle-scarred alternate-world settings, and a gripping storyline where humanity’s future depends on reclaiming the planet from the Locust threat. It’s a good thing that Marcus Fenix, who had once successfully set off a nuclear bomb-like explosion in the enemy’s cavernous hideout, is on our side.
Lasting impact: Perfected the archetype of a space marine: gruff, tough, no-nonsense, and gifted with biceps large enough to hold the biggest guns. Introduced many gamers to duck-and-shoot gameplay, now replicated in many other games.
2) Sackboy - Little Big Planet (PS3)
Make your own adventure
While everyone else brought the biggest guns, the shiniest space armors, and fanciest swords, the cute, unassuming Sackboy kept things simple. Like a gingerbread boy that isn’t as fragile, Sackboy made it okay for PS3 owners to play with digital dolls. Essentially, that’s what Sackboy was: a brown bag of fun that can run, jump, and do all sort of things in a game that lets you craft your own levels.
Lasting impact: Online console gaming took off in this generation. Aware of a connected worldwide community, Sony produced a title that lets every player build their own levels and share them online. The experiment was fairly successful as the game’s online community expanded and thrived. In the middle of it all? Sackboy, the game’s now-iconic avatar.
3) Commander Shepard - Mass Effect (PS3, Xbox 360)
If games have become the movies of our generation, then Mass Effect—with its alien worlds and alien creatures, intergalactic politics, and epic storyline spanning a trilogy— is this generation’s Star Wars. And playing the part of Luke Skywalker is Commander Shepard. Unlike Luke who was played by actor Mark Hamill though, Shepard is completely moldable by the player—how he looks, his background, and specialties—during the start of the game.
From there on out, Shepard embarks on a journey on which the fate of the universe hangs.
Lasting impact: Shepard’s three-game sci-fi journey redefined the scope of console RPGs. The insane amount of detail and immense amount of side stories that fill out this fantasy world are a testament to the potential of video games to create rich experiences.
NEXT: The Caped Crusader makes his mark