Chris: I really don’t have many complaints overall. A couple of the characters that starting off looking like they were going to be ranked way too high (Mordin Solus, who was as high as #5 at one point, I’m looking at you!) leveled off eventually. It’s hard to argue with Link at #1 considering the amount of support he got, although Phoenix Wright was right on his heels. I would have to imagine that other lists would have one — at most — of Riku, Zidane, Yuri and Kratos in their top 10, let alone all of them. But hey, that’s okay: this is our list. You are always entitled to your own rankings.
There are a couple names in the lower parts of the top 25 that strike me as a little strange, but none more than Yoshi. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Yoshi. He’s a trooper for all the nonsense he deals with in the Island series. It just seems odd that Yoshi found enough support to make the list, while Mario is nowhere to be found. Is it because Mario is a bland character who only stands out because he’s an icon? Who knows. Ultimately, Yoshi’s inclusion showcases the power of #1 votes in our ranking system. If you believe strongly enough in your top character, it’s almost guaranteed to make the list — and on a surface level, I’m okay with that.
Are there characters that I wish had made the top 25? Perhaps, but nothing I think is particularly glaring. I’m a little surprised that Ryu and Chrom missed the cut, considering the number of people who voted for them. It wasn’t quite enough. On the flip side, I’m not unhappy that Kaiden and Master Chief finished outside looking in.
Joseph: I think the list turned out well. Sure, there were some odd outliers (Alistair, Conker), but I think it shows just how diverse a panel we had. It says something about a character when his popularity peaked more than a decade ago yet he is still remembered and better written than some of today’s protagonists. Sure, we had the heavy hitters (Link, Solid Snake) but I guarantee most other Top 25 lists would have included Mario and possibly Sonic. Instead, we have Bigby Wolf and John Marston, which tells me we would rather not praise a gaming icon merely because of longevity.
Perhaps my favorite inclusion on this list is the rogues’ gallery. Not a Top 25 hero list? You can bet we’ll include Ganon and Kefka. Gaming antagonists weren’t forgotten because they were “bad guys.” Sure, their characters are evil, but a great hero is often defined by his struggle, and nothing makes a struggle more compelling than a complex nemesis.
Yes, I’m certain we forgot some good characters. But we’re talking about thousands of males condensed down to 25 (which is no simple task). Overall, I think we pulled through.
Cary: What amazed me most about this list is how varied it turned out to be. Having followed ATB for some time, I kinda thought the top 25 would be heavy with obscure JRPG characters. In reality, only a couple names turned out to be completely unfamiliar to me – everyone else I had at least heard of if not played. It’s just really great how this list reflects the vast array of games available, from traditional (whatever that is) to non-traditional (whatever that is too).
I have to say that the one name that really surprised me, though maybe not really considering what I just wrote, was Riku making No. 3. I absolutely get that he’s key figure in Kingdom Hearts, but I didn’t see his appeal when playing KH myself. But maybe I’m just a terrible gamer. Or, maybe I should just play Kingdom Hearts again. Or…hey, ATB is doing that for me, and all I need to do is watch! Even better? Now if I could just stop time for a while so I could watch it all…
Christine: I may not have been familiar with a good chunk of the male video game characters that made the Top 25, but I think there was a good variety overall. I personally enjoyed reading everyone’s opinions about the other male characters who I didn’t know much about. The commentary for certain characters have been so compelling that I’m convinced to pick up some of the games where these characters appear to be able to see for myself why they’re so good. At least I hope to in the future, if I can get through my current backlog. Ugh.
Probably the only real surprise I had with the list was Alistair making the cut. I willingly and openly admit that I’m an Alistair fangirl and it was easily a no-brainer to put him on my own list. Did I actually think he’d make the cut? No, and yet there he is, sitting at number 22. Alistair ranked higher than Miles Edgeworth on the list and even THAT was shocking.
The experience I take away from being able to participate in the judging process for this list is you really have no idea who may make the cut. Sometimes the ones who seem like a long shot end up making it in the end somehow. The surprise is part of the fun with these lists.