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The 7 Best Video Game Villains of All Time
They challenge us, they inspire us, they make us want to set our consoles on fire.
Without video game villains, every game would be, in essence, The Sims. And then you, the player, will be forced to become the maniacal, vengeful god.
Bad guys are what make games fun.
That said, there are those villains who loom sinisterly above the rest.
So, who’s the best baddie?
Here are seven of the greatest, most dastardly, most infuriating, and captivating video game villains ever created.
7. Handsome Jack – Borderlands 2
He’s the reason the rich guy was the villain of almost every 80s classic personified.
The CEO of Hyperion is funny, charming, handsome, and every time he shows up you want to hang on his every word and then punch him square in the face.
He has little to no regard for human life. He lives in a mini Death Star. And, despite being the man in charge of the largest corporations known to man, he seems to have the time to insult you constantly.
While you can’t help but love him a little, blasting his stupid mask off is one of the most satisfying things in the world.
He also delivered the majestic Butt Stallion on to the world. So, we have that to thank him for.
6. Alduin – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
He’s an immortal, dimension-hopping dragon who has the power to resurrect other dragons, and he’s called The World Eater.
There’s something classic about fighting a dragon. Especially one so indomitable the only way to get rid of him was to send him into the future for someone else to deal with.
And that someone is you, the Dragonborn. Aren’t you lucky!
From the moment he destroys Helgen to the final battle in Sovengard, Alduin is an ever-present force in war-torn Skyrim. A legendary evil who you, and only you, are destined to defeat.
Also, he’s the only reason you don’t die during the first cutscene. Skyrim wouldn’t have been as successful as it was if he hadn’t done that.
5. Vaas Montenegro – Far Cry 3
We only had to deal with him once and that was more than enough, thank you very much.
Vass Montenegro only appears in one game, without any preceding legend, or the backing of an evil super-corporation. Yet, despite all that, he still manages to make quite the impression.
What makes this pirate so scary is how unpredictable he is. One minute he’s calm and collected, the next he’s screaming in your face and killing everyone in sight.
Vaas is a dangerous psychopath you would be crazy not to fear.
He doesn’t need to tell us what the definition of insanity is. We get the message loud and clear.
4. Albert Wesker – Resident Evil
As if the first Resident Evil wasn’t scary enough.
Wesker was a bad guy from the very beginning — and then he kept getting worse.
After betraying his squad as a double agent, Wesker went ahead and gave himself superhuman abilities with a little help from the T-Virus.
From there he upgraded himself from your average run-of-the-mill traitor to a major global threat.
After his initial role in the first Resident Evil Wesker dropped off the map, making only brief appearances in the next few games.
It wasn’t until Resident Evil 5 that players got a taste of how powerful and horrifying a guy named Albert could be when he really put his mind to it.
3. Bowser – Super Mario Brothers
Mario is apparently a pretty big fan of the old adage, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
You’d think after you threw a giant, fire-breathing dinosaur-turtle into lava after he kidnapped your girlfriend that’d be the end of it. That you wouldn’t hang out and go racing with him later.
Not so in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Bowser has appeared in nearly every Mario related title since the very first Super Mario Brothers dropped in 1985.
And you can be sure that if they’re not racing and it isn’t a party, the Koopa King is up to something evil — probably kidnapping Peach for the zillionth time.
Which is why when you are racing you want to remind him who’s boss. You can always up your kart game with the Fanatec CSL Elite, the Koopa King won’t stand a chance.
While Bowser may not be as intimidating as some of the other names on this list, he is an icon. If you’re talking about video game villains, his name will always come up.
2. GLaDOS – Portal
It’s the creepy electronic voice that gets you first. And the further you get in the game, the more human it gets. It’s the definition of unsettling.
GLaDOS, or the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System, is the perfect villain. She’s relentless, ruthless, just plain mean, and above all, she’s genuinely smart.
Her turrets, mystery brown goo, and incessant confidence-shattering insults aren’t enough to get Chell to quit. So, GLaDOS does something more villains should learn to do.
She lets you go. She wipes her robotic hands of you and Chell and moves on to testing other, less tenacious subjects.
Why waste time trying to one-up a worthy opponent when you can drop them outside and lock the door behind them?
But make no mistake, GLaDOS is definitely evil. Let’s not forget she murdered her creators as well as every other employee of Aperture Science with toxic gas – with the exception of Rattmann.
And really — what kind of monster lies about cake?!
1. Ganon – The Legend of Zelda
Like Mario and Bowser, Link and Ganon, or Ganandorf, have been going at it for quite some time.
Ganon has been the primary adversary in almost every Legend of Zelda title from the first game till Breath of the Wild. That’s over three decades of destiny-driven combat.
So, what is it that makes Ganon one of the greatest video game villains of all time?
Is it the Triforce of Power? Is it his crazy mystical powers? Is it the pig face or the striking green complexion red hair combo?
Or it might be the fact that he is the literal embodiment of evil.
The battle between Link and Ganon is a tale as old as time. Good versus evil, the light versus the dark, and it’s what makes epics, well, epic.
While the Legend of Zelda lore is ever shifting and changing, one aspect remains constant. A hero — usually wearing green — will rise at the 11th hour to defeat the darkness and return peace to the land.
There’s no moral ambiguity, there aren’t any extra layers. It’s you against evil.
We’re getting goosebumps just thinking about it.
We Love Video Game Villains
You can’t live with them, and there wouldn’t be a game without them.
As satisfying as it can be to land that finishing blow and bring their reign of terror to an end, they can often be as memorable and loveable as the hero.
Agree with our list? Let us know who you think are the greatest video game villains of all time in the comments below.