As video games have advanced in all aspects, one element they have improved upon is their ability to provide a truly rich, cinematic, immersive experience. Environments have become more expansive, storylines deeper, and characters more well-defined. Unfortunately, this means that every trait that can be found in a literary character is now magnified on the screen, even if their defining characteristic is aggravation; thus, why some of the most annoying video game characters have been truly, regrettably unforgettable.
In order for an example to be listed as among the most annoying video game characters of all time, he or she cannot be just your ordinary slightly obnoxious person. These are the truly wretched earworm-like plagues that enter our consciousness and mercilessly cling to the most sensitive, vulnerable parts of our psyche, putting every effort into trampling our nerves and arousing our outright hatred.
Often listed as one of the greatest video games ever created, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time had many factors working in its favor: An original plotline that delved even further into an already-beloved canon, among the most prototypical and universally treasures heroes ever seen on the screen, a team of the most talented and passionate developers at work to provide the best player experience possible, and innovative dungeon designs that are still held up as the now-classic examples of challenge-level perfection.
But one of the dark blights upon an otherwise near-spotless game is Navi, the fairy companion to the main character of Link. This small, blue, glowing light with wings accompanies the protagonist throughout the entire adventure, which already raises a red flag. However, what makes Navi truly annoying is her insistence on yelling “Hey!” or “Look!” or “Listen!” whenever something happens, something moves, or even to break the blessed monotony if nothing is going on. Her shrill cries can still be heard in the subconscious of gamers years later, and was so derided as a poor feature of the game that for the Nintendo 64 sequel, Majora’s Mask, another fairy returned but instead made much more pleasant chiming noises, rather than constantly screaming at our valiant adventurer.
The original, and most provocative, appearance of Baby Mario occurred in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Although Baby Mario has since appeared in several other titles, this is the example that many players still remember with less-than-fond feelings.
The entire point of the Yoshi’s Island game was that, as the player controlled Yoshi, their goal for the whole quest was to transport Baby Mario safely back home. The issue arises whenever Yoshi is hit by an enemy or other combative element: At these times, Baby Mario detaches in a bubble, floating away to be rescued by renewed contact with Yoshi. However, as motivation to get to Baby Mario as quickly as possible, Baby Mario cries out in a somewhat exaggerated baby-cry fashion, screaming and crying in a whiny, grating, distressed voice. It is this repetitive, ridiculous crying that gets on your nerves and compels you to never get hit by anything ever again.
Duck Hunt Dog
But the biggest, primary example of annoying video game characters has to be the companion dog found in Duck Hunt. At the beginning of every round, this goofy-lookin’ hound would dive into the field, flushing the ducks into flight. However, if you failed to hit any ducks in your hunting, then that dog would actually stand up, with an insulting smirk, and laugh to himself at how pathetic you are. This insulting, disrespectful gesture is now renowned as being the notorious pinnacle of video game annoyance and the ultimate, original in-game taunt.
As video game consoles continue to raise the technological bar in graphics and sound, perhaps future generations of annoying video game characters will be able to even more vividly annoy us. Hopefully, video game developers have learned their lesson from previous examples though, and will instead choose to create characters that we can love and support instead.