March is here, and that means I’ll soon be able to go outside and ride my bicycle again, which will rescue me from the tedium of fluffy but fun little projects like this one which I’m writing about now. It also means March Madness, one of the very few sports events on the planet which lives up to its hype every year.
Through Easter vacation, I’ll be reading a book about the political journey of a common voter that I was asked to review, and in a precursory skimming, I ran into one chapter in which the author used a March Madness-style bracket on the Presidents of the United States from Washington to the first Bush to decide the greatest. (It comes down to a contest between Lincoln and FDR.) Since I’m stuck for something to write for fun, I’m taking the idea and applying it to a group of video game characters. Here are the rules I’m applying:
1 – Four brackets of ten characters each. The first two seeds of every bracket get first-round byes.
2 – The brackets are Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and Microsoft. The first varying handful of seeds in each bracket will be given to some of the most iconic characters from each developer. The rest of the bracket will be given to any random characters I believe should have the right to compete for the title of Greatest Video Game Character Ever.
3 – One character per series. That means I’ll be using the character who is most representative of the series, and not just the one I happen to like the most. I’m using Cloud from Final Fantasy VII to represent the entire Final Fantasy series, and people familiar with my feelings on that game know that I’m really swallowing my feelings to do it. I’m not a Cloud fan, and after the tournament, I’ll be nice and explain my ire toward Final Fantasy VII.
4 – Licensed characters are a last resort only, no matter how good the games based on them are. I’m trying to decide the best video game character, and that means I’m trying to fan out my field of 40 using characters created specifically for video games. Much as it hurts, that means James Bond won’t make the cut.
5 – No generic characters. Don’t whine at me about how I missed “Random Space Marine” from Doom, or one of the million other tortured people who have names but are otherwise merely different versions of the same character. The minutia for this law is admittedly random, but generally, if he can be replaced by another character from a different game in the same genre and the game wouldn’t be any different, he’s generic. A couple of exceptions are made for fighting game characters, due to the nature of that genre.
6 – I’m not averse to using bad guys, but since it’s the good guys who most frequently appear on the company signs, they count for a lot more. If they can be considered equally iconic, I’ll be using the good guys. Hence Mario over Bowser; Sonic over Robotnik (no way in hell I’ll ever call him Eggman); and (thank god) Cloud over Sephiroth.
7 – No NPCs, but this law is exempt from any possible villains in the tournament.
8 – All possible powers and abilities will be taken into account.