Although not every single video game even has a plot, a deep and rich story has generally become an important factor to consider for developers when they are making a new title. The vast majority of players enjoy having an interwoven tale to accompany their gameplay. Part of this process involves giving important characters back-stories. This helps to provide meaning to their actions and explain exactly why they are setting out on a particular adventure. It also gives the player more motivation to complete the game as they experience a greater sense of reward.
However, due to a number of reasons, it is not always plain to see exactly what the back-story of a protagonist is in a title. This might be because the developers haven’t actually created one for that character. In many cases though, it can be put down to the back-story not being totally understood due to it not being properly explained or if it was ignored in favor of other elements of the game. Perhaps accompanying material, such as novels or comics, has been released to flesh out the character and provide information on their aims and origins. It may even be a result of the protagonist having originally appeared in another title that fully explained their back-story before making their debut in their own fully fledged game.
Regardless, many gamers will be unaware that certain characters from hugely popular games even have back-stories at all. What is more surprising is that these back-stories can be truly bizarre, giving insane explanations as to who the character is and where they have come from. Once discovered, they can leave players flabbergasted over the true meanings of the games they have been playing, just like with these 10 games.
Tingle is a character from The Legend of Zelda franchise who has appeared in many of the more recent installment of the series. He generally plays a minor role in the titles he appears in, normally as an ally of the protagonist Link, who he generally supplies maps to but also sometimes as an enemy who must be defeated. Following his introduction in Majora’s Mask, more details about Tingle emerged that explained his strange costume and manners. He is a 35-year-old man who is obsessed with forest fairies to such an extent that he actually wants to transform into one himself. This is the reason behind his distinctive green outfit, as he believes it is the same type of clothing as worn by the forest fairies.
Mario’s first appearance did not actually come in the infamous Super Mario Bros. In fact, Mario has appeared in a number of earlier games including Mario Bros. Donkey Kong Jr. and earliest of all, in Donkey Kong as Jumpman. In Donkey Kong, Mario is far from the hero of the game, despite being the protagonist. Although the ape has kidnapped his friend Pauline, it is explained that this is because Mario had abused his pet and thus Donkey Kong had taken an opportunity to escape this mistreatment. The sequel sees Mario play the role of the villain as Donkey Kong Jr. attempts to rescue his imprisoned father from the abusive carpenter.
8 Master Chief
Master Chief might just seem like a generic super soldier. In fact, most of the Halo games make very little information available about the character or his origins, leaving players with the assumption that this is just some ordinary space marine who dons a powered set of armor. Delving into the back-story of Master Chief though, through official canon such as the accompanying novels, reveals plenty of additional information. The hero is actually called John and was abducted by the UNSC as a child and forced to undergo intense physical training, as well as a top education and instruction in military practices. The children were then augmented through surgery, essentially mutated with chemicals and cybernetic enhancements to make them stronger, faster and overall better soldiers for the navy.
7 Solid Snake
The Metal Gear series is well known by its dedicated fans as having one of the most complicated and convoluted plots of any game series. Often times it can be hard to understand exactly who each of the characters are and whose side they are on, making it incredibly difficult for casual gamers to fully understand the entire background of its main protagonist, Solid Snake. The mercenary is actually a genetic clone of Big Boss from a government program known as Les Enfants Terribles, that was really orchestrated by a shadow organization called the Patriots. Big Boss was chosen because he was considered the greatest soldier of the time and the program also resulted in other clones such as Liquid Snake. He was then allowed to grow up relatively peacefully before entering the military and eventually going on to become a special operative.
It was frighteningly easy to miss the fact that Asura’s Wrath actually had a plot and fully fledged story in the first playthrough. It’s fast paced action, constant jumping between perspectives and gameplay mechanics and frantic quick-time events and combat meant that the story took something of a back seat, while players beat the living crap out of the various enemies. However, it turns out that Asura has an incredibly depressing reason for his actions in the game. He was betrayed by his fellow demi-gods, who then went on to kill both him and his wife, when he refused to allow his daughter to be used in a ritual ceremony. He then awakens from death some 500 years later, hell bent on revenge.
Voldo is one of the most popular characters in the Soul Calibur series of fighting games thanks mainly to the fact that he is very distinct from the rest of the roster. This is due mainly to his unique appearance and wacky fighting style that sets him apart from other characters. His disturbing outfit and general look are explained through the back-story of the various games, such as Soul Edge, which detail his life. Voldo was initially the closest adviser and associate of an Italian weapons merchant called Vercci, however the merchant later sent him to kill those who had helped construct an underground money pit to stop its location from being released. He then sealed Voldo in the pit, leading to the fighter going blind and slowly becoming insane due to the isolation and darkness.
As one of the original characters in the fighting game Skullgirls, Peacock has become well-liked for her unusual play style and mechanical appearance. Technically though, she isn’t actually a robot but rather a combination of human and machine parts. Originally a young girl living in an orphanage, she was kidnapped along with the other orphans, by slave traders and mutilated as an example to others for resisting her captors. This involved having her arms and legs cut from her body and being blinded by having her eyes removed. Dr. Avian then found the dying girl and transformed her into a mechanical weapon.
Samus is the main protagonist from the Metroid series. One of Nintendo’s best loved characters, she has a huge fan base, although many are seemingly unaware of her rather bizarre back-story that explains her origins. Samus was born on the planet K-2L that was raided while she was a child. This attack left her planet almost completely destroyed, with Samus the only survivor. Luckily, an intelligent race of aliens, with the appearance of advanced birds, rescued her. These Chozo then genetically altered her by mixing some of their own blood with hers and then trained her to become a warrior, giving her the iconic suit of armor that Samus wears on all her adventures.
Arkanoid is an arcade game that sees the player bat a ball into blocks with a paddle through various different stages. Its gameplay was essentially very similar to Pong, but you might be surprised to know that the game actually had a story. The paddle is actually a ship called the Vaus that has been trapped in a warped version of space by a mysterious figure known only as DOH. The name Arkanoid comes from the mothership that was destroyed by DOH. As the spaceship Vaus, the player is actually attempting to escape the warped space by smashing the bricks that block his path.
Rather than a top down shooter in which players control a spaceship that must defeat a giant alien centipede, the classic arcade game has a back-story that is truly strange. Official material sanctioned by Atari outside of the game states that the protagonist is actually an elf-like creature that lives in a forest. The enemies are actually other forest dwelling creatures who have been magically forced to attack you by a wizard who wants to steal your wand. The protagonist is therefore defending himself and his property from an aggressor who has turned his friends against him with the aid of a magic wand.