10 Video Game Characters Who Became Memes
Meme culture is one of the weirdest things about the 21st century. Thanks to the proliferation of internet spaces and social media, concepts can be communicated with a single image. These images are memes, and most of them are from popular culture. Given these origins, it’s not too uncommon to see video game characters featured in this ever-evolving form of online humor.
These memeified characters often surpass the popularity of the game they debuted in. This can sometimes cause them to lose their context, but more often than not, memes are done in a fun way to communicate jokes and punchlines. No video game character is safe from internet mememakers and familiar faces from properties ranging from mario for Grand Theft Auto received the same treatment.
Subtitle was one of the most iconic games of the 2010s. Its mix of humor and deep moralistic themes really surprised gamers. And perhaps there’s no character that underscores that better than Without the Skeleton. Often referred to as Sans Undertale by gamers, this character’s mix of humor and nihlism has led to both an outpouring of popularity and a massive backlash.
In the game, Sans is a mostly comedic character who is shown to have an important role in the Eleventh Hour. In the game’s darkest lane, it’s also the toughest boss fight and reveals its deeply nihilistic worldview. This made it attractive to some gamers in the public and led to its oversaturation in web memes.
Nagito Komaeda (Danganronpa)
Nagito Komaeda is the ultimate lucky student, and that’s all true. His luck is unfathomable and often extremely good or bad. He is physically and mentally ill, constantly referring to himself as trash. But he’s also involved in the show’s complex murder plots. This and his close relationship with the protagonist Hajime made him a divisive character and propelled him to memory.
Monitoring turns six in 2022, so some might forget what it looked like when it first came out. But at the same time Monitoring and its characters have established themselves pretty well at this point, things were different at launch. Hana Song, also known as D.Va, the professional gamer who pilots a robot, was one such character. His character was reimagined from player to “player”.
Due to her career as a professional gamer, it has become common to portray her as a little gaming gremlin. She has been described as loving Doritos and exhibiting stereotypical gamer behavior. His modern fandom portrayal still has those qualities. Blizzard even followed suit, depicting her with accessories like hats and helmets as seen above.
Jack-O Valentine (Guilty Gear)
Many women in video games are propelled to meme status due to bold designs. While Lady Dimetscru of Resident Evil 8 definitely pointed that out, she didn’t have an entire challenge based on her. Jack-O Valentine’s Guilty Equipment Effort did. Artists from all over social media have taken to drawing figures in this distinctive crouching pose.
The bubbly fighter drew a lot of attention to the game with her crazy pose. Recreating in-game animations, not just Jack-O’s, has become a bit of a meme. But Jack-O has exploded outside of the community of artists and fighting game players who would know it, and it’s great for bringing more attention to a great game.
Senator Armstrong (Metal Gear Rising)
metal gear is a bizarre and daring series, and has the villains to match. Senator Steven Armstrong of Metal Gear Rising Revengeance is definitely one of them, although it only appears at the end of the game. The Senator has it all; an unforgettable fight, a complicated scene and great dialogues. The game itself is a behemoth meme, but Armstrong is the source of many of them.
The villain makes the most of his time by kicking protagonist Raiden to the sound of cheers from the audience. He says campaign slogans of several presidents and other famous Americans. He’s long boasted of his invincible nanomachine skin, and Raiden has a harder time with him than his nuclear tank. This has made him both an ironic and non-ironic political meme icon.
shadow the hedgehog
tropes in the sonic the hedgehog series generally skew edgy. Even before the Sonic Adventure titles, games had a lot of arrogant rivals and attitude. But with Sonic Adventure 2, they introduced the second most popular character in the franchise. Shadow the Hedgehog is controversial but beloved.
Shadow is a prototype science experiment gone mad with a broken memory. But honestly, nothing compares to its design and vibes. The black and red made him the poster boy for edgy rivals, and he got the guns and motorcycles to go along with that aesthetic. But it all came together for a meme that parodies the “so pissed” mindset.
Carl “CJ” Johnson
Grand Theft Auto has tons of highly rated games in the series, like the seemingly eternally relevant GTA V. But for many fans, nothing is better than the show’s mid-2000s. San Andreas. The game was hugely ambitious and still has a polygonal charm to it. But one of the highlights was undoubtedly the charismatic protagonist, Carl Johnson.
CJ, as he is known, brought a sure charm to the franchise that informed every GTA protagonist in the future. Plus, his interactions with his crew spawned tons of quotable lines. But by far CJ’s biggest meme is “Aw sh*t, here we go again.” This is often used as a reaction image online and can even be found in many TikTok videos.
Waluigi (Mario Tennis)
A perpetual outsider in the Super Mario universe, Waluigi is a complete and utter meme icon. He is the evil version of Luigi, like Wario is for Mario. This makes him the reflection of a reflection; a strange distorted character with exaggerated features. However, his quirky nature has made him a fan favorite.
He was originally created to be Wario’s doubles partner in tennis. But aside from being a cheat and weirdo, he doesn’t have many consistent character traits. This means fans have latched onto his weird moves and his catchphrase, “Wah.” Fans want to see him step into Super Smash Bros. and his own title game one day.
Morshu (The Legend of Zelda: Faces of Evil)
the The Legend of Zelda the franchise is no stranger to memes. From Ocarina of time for breath of the wild, the series has no shortage of gamers sharing their experience in meme format. But when it comes to characters, you don’t expect characters like Tingle. You have to look at some of the franchise’s most notorious games, like The Faces of Evil.
Games developed by Phillips for their CD-i consoles have been memetic for years. The bizarre cutscenes (as shown above) led to tons of jokes. But one of the most cited has to be Morshu, a trader in a small town in the game. His signature lines like “Oil lamp? Rope? Bombs? You want it?” have been redone and remixed over and over again.
Teammate (among us)
Among us was the meme phenomenon of 2020. The social deduction game was hugely popular in live streaming and helped popularize the word “sus”. But in the following years, the adorable bean-like teammates took on a whole new look. People started seeing character design and game mechanics in all aspects of their lives, and putting them in other media, like above.
The characters have taken on a new post-ironic form in popular culture. Referring to the game became a joke for quite a while, but the game moved past that. The simple nature of the game and its small development team allowed it to overcome brand apathy and remain popular and loved. All the information and these two paragraphs are communicated by the simple sight of the team member. This makes it one of the densest memes to come out of video games.
NEXT: 10 Unpopular Opinions About Among Us, According To Reddit
Elden Ring has “easy modes” that you don’t actually use
About the Author