BAFTA's Most Iconic Video Game Characters of All Time

After polling over 4000 gamers worldwide, the British Academy of Film & Television has released their list of the most iconic video game characters of all time.

By Mokshit Batra
New Update
Most Iconic Video Game Characters

Most Iconic Video Game Characters

While video games are known for their engaging gameplay, compelling stories and game design, they are mostly remembered for their iconic video game characters. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) recently conducted a poll to crown the most iconic video game characters of all time. 

The poll preceded the 20th anniversary of the BAFTA Game Awards ceremony, with more than 4,000 gamers from all over the world giving their opinions. This list covers the iconic video game characters who came out on top. 

The Most Iconic Video Game Characters ever, according to BAFTA

15. Crash Bandicoot 

Crash Bandicoot is a highly recognisable character from the 90s era of gaming who brought humour to the world of PlayStation gaming. Instantly recognised by his orange fur, ripped jeans and goofy grin, this iconic video game character has even appeared in cartoons, animated projects and other merchandise. 

Crash Bandicoot (Image via Activision)

14. Solid Snake

For over 17 years, Solid Snake has been the face of action-adventure stealth games. The face of the Metal Gear Solid Snake series is recognised as one of the coolest and most iconic video game characters due to not just his brute strength, but his intellect as well. 

Solid Snake Metal Gear Solid (Image via Konami)


Solid Snake stands out from many characters on this list, as he is just not a bland good guy. Rather, his being burdened by war and his past has added depth to his character unmatched by anyone. 

13. Steve

It goes without saying that the face of the most-bought video game of all time instantly inserts himself into the list of the most iconic video game characters of all time. For a long time, Steve was the only playable character in Minecraft and still continues to be the default skin new players start out with. His cyan T-shirt, blue jeans and blocky character model with a pickaxe in hand are instantly recognised by even those who have never picked up the game. 

Minecraft Steve (Image via Mojang Studios)

12. Pikachu

Pikachu has transcended the boundaries of video games and has even made a name for himself in TV Shows, comics, and movies. Being the face of the Pokemon franchise, Pikachu has become a cultural icon. Known for being Ash's loyal companion, Pikachu is one of the most recognised faces not just in video games but in pop culture. 

Pikachu (Image via Nintendo)

11. Arthur Morgan 

Arthur Morgan's internal struggle between his loyalty to his outlaw gang and his growing sense of morality made for a character that gamers got behind. Portrayed as an Anti-hero, Morgan is wonderfully portrayed by Rockstar and their excellent storytelling. However, his struggle with his conscience does not stop him from robbing banks, performing brave acts of gunslinging and being a cool cowboy riding on horseback. 

Arthur Morgan Red Dead Redemption (Image via Rockstar Games)


10. Shadowheart

Shadowheart is the newest entry on this list, only making her video game debut in 2023 with Baldur's Gate 3. However, this is just a testament to how quickly she has found a place in fans' hearts. 

Shadowheart Baldur's Gate 3 (Image via Larian Studios)


Being shrouded in secrecy with unclear past and motivations only adds to the mystique of her character. She presents a moral dilemma to players, allowing them to either form a trusting relationship with her or challenge her darkness. 

9. Kratos

Kratos is not only the face of the God of War franchise but of a bygone era of PlayStation gaming. His signature blades of chaos weapon and brutal finishing moves have also become a defining aspect of the franchise. 

Kratos God of War (Image via Sony Interactive Entertainment)


Kratos' transition from a ruthless god-slayer to a wise dad has made for excellent character development and wonderfully outlines his journey from rage to redemption. 

8. Master Chief

Although the Halo franchise has significantly fallen over the past few games, there is no denying that Master Chief is one of the most iconic video game characters of all time, shining bright throughout the Xbox 360 era of Halo games. 

Master Chief Halo (Image via Xbox Game Studios)


His face is rarely seen, making him a mysterious character with unknown lore. This allows players to project themselves onto the character and relate to him more. 

Being a genetically and technologically enhanced supersoldier, his prowess in combat and unwavering determination make him an unstoppable force. 

7. Link

Link distinctly stands out from many video game characters as he is portrayed as an ordinary boy rather than the ruthless killing machines gamers generally see as protagonists. Such a character has highly resonated with gamers. He feels like a highly relatable character who people feel emotionally connected to. 

Link Legend of Zelda (Image via Nintendo)


6. Pac-Man

Pac-Man is one of the oldest video game characters and the face of the arcade gaming era. His simplistic and memorable design has allowed him to permanently make space in the minds of people.  

Pac-Man (Image via Bandai Namco Entertainment)


Rather than simply being a gem of the past, Pac-Man has wonderfully transitioned to the modern world with an updated character design and even extends beyond video games. 

5. Sackboy

A core reason why Sackboy is beloved by fans is the customizability option provided in Little Big Planet. Gamers can design the character how they want, adding a huge element of relativity to the character. 

Sackboy Little Big Planet (Image via Sony Interactive Entertainment)


Sackboy holds a significant place in PlayStation lore, being the protagonist of one of its biggest franchises. The character has even appeared in several other games, such as the PlayStation version of Minecraft.

4. Sonic

Sonic is undoubtedly the face of Sega and one of the most innovative video game franchises of its time. Zipping through obstacles at high speeds attaches the character to an exhilarating amount of thrill. 

Sonic the Hedgehog (Image via SEGA)


The attitude-filled rebel has highly resonated with younger gamers who saw him as a cool and carefree hero. The character has now transcended beyond video games, even being featured in a movie all about him. 

3. Agent 47

The star of the Hitman franchise is a genetically engineered assassin who is completely cold, calculated and indifferent to human feelings. 

Agent 47 Hitman (Image via Square Enix)


This is a stark contrast to the emotional protagonists usually seen in video games. Staying in character, Agent 47 speaks very little and allows players to connect the dots for themselves. 

2. Mario

Almost everybody has heard about Mario. Not only is he portrayed as the face of Nintendo, but he is also portrayed as the face of gaming in general. Mario isn't a hero with powers or a highly-trained soldier. Rather, he is a relatable figure in an everyman hero whom players have loved for nearly four decades, crowning him one of the most iconic video game characters of all time.

Mario (Image via Nintendo)

1. Lara Croft

Lara Croft provides a much-needed contrast to how women are usually seen. Rather than being a damsel in distress, she is someone who isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. Shattering women stereotypes in video games, Lara Croft is known for her intelligence, resourcefulness, and survival skills, making her a well-rounded and compelling hero.

Lara Croft (Image via Capcom)

Lara Croft has since appeared in movies, comics, and merchandise and even has her own archaeological exhibition. This has established her as number one in the list of BAFTA's most iconic video game characters. 

In case you missed it:


Latest Stories