You know Tapper and Frogger and Ryu and Blitzen. But do you recall the most famous paperboy of all? Okay, that’s not quite how the song goes. But the point is, Mario and Luigi are household names while other classic video game characters remain identity-less. We’re here to right those wrongs today. Whether they’re little-known or just long-forgotten, here are the names of 10 of your pixelated pals.
1. The chef from BurgerTime: Peter Pepper.
And if you think that name is unoriginal, wait until you hear the names of the oddly menacing snacks that follow him around: Mr. Egg, Mr. Hot Dog, and Mr. Pickle. Quake in fear.
2. The damsel in distress from Donkey Kong: Pauline.
Though she was originally just called “Lady,” she was renamed for the U.S. release. “Pauline” was to honor Polly James, the wife of Nintendo's Executive Vice President and then-warehouse manager Don James. Developer dad Mike Mika made headlines earlier this year when he recoded Donkey Kong so his young daughter could play as Pauline and rescue Mario for a change. It's pretty awesome:
3. The dragons in Bubble Bobble: Bub and Bob.
4. The Commando in Commando: Super Joe Gibson.
He wasn’t mentioned by name until the game’s sequel, Bionic Commando. His official title was “Supervisor, Joint Operations Executive”—hence, Super JOE. But exactly which character is Super Joe is kind of confusing. In the original arcade game, the main character is Super Joe. By the time the Nintendo version was released in 1988, however, Super Joe was the hero being rescued. The commando in the rescue operation is named Nathan “Rad” Spencer.
5. The commandoes in Contra: Bill "Mad Dog" Rizer and Lance "Scorpion" Bean.
At least for the first couple of games. By the time Contra III rolled out in 1992, though, Mad Dog and Scorpion had been replaced by Jimbo and Sully.
6.The paperboy from Paperboy: Julio.
Whether you take Easy Street or the Hard Road, Paperboy’s title character is never actually named in the game. It wasn’t until the cartoon series Captain N: The Game Master that the newspaper delivery kid was dubbed “Julio.”
7. The protagonist from Pitfall!: Pitfall Harry.
You may remember that one from the repeated references in the ads starring none other than Jack Black:
8. The bad guys from Q•Bert: Coily, Slick, Sam, Ugg and Wrong-Way.
Slick and Sam are the guys who change the colors of the blocks after all of Q*Bert’s hard work, while Ugg and Wrong-Way were little gremlins. Coily, of course, was the snake.
9. The digger from Dig Dug: Taizo Hori.
And he has quite a backstory. He was married to Masuyo “Kissy” Tobi, who starred in her own game called Baraduke. Despite having three sons—Susumu, Ataru, and Taiyo—Taizo and Kissy separated. Susumu stars in the “Mr. Driller” video games.
10. The commander from Wing Commander: Christopher Blair.
For the first two installments of the Wing Commander series, the commander had no name. In a gaming guide for WC I and II, the previously-nameless hero was called “Jason Armstrong.” Wing Commander III included some video sequences where the commander had to be called by name, and it’s said that the programmers went with Blair because it was a shortened version of what they called him: Bluehair. “Christopher” is a tribute to the game’s creator, Christopher Roberts.
Primary image courtesy of ffffound.com.