- Nintendo’s iconic gaming franchises owe their lasting appeal to their compelling protagonists like Captain Falcon, Red, Kirby, Fox McCloud, Mario, Samus, and Link.
- Captain Falcon is not just a racecar driver in the F-Zero series but also a great brawler in Super Smash Bros.
- Kirby, despite being a deceptively cute character, has saved Dream Land numerous times and even fights other Nintendo heroes in Super Smash Bros.
As one of the oldest video game companies, Nintendo has created a number of iconic gaming franchises over the years. Almost every gamer is familiar with the platforming style of the Mario games, the fantasy epic that is The Legend of Zelda series, and fans in the 90s went crazy trying to catch Pokemon when those games were released. However, none of these gaming franchises would have any lasting appeal without compelling protagonists.
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The Nintendo company is home to some of the most heroic characters in all of video gaming. Some of these characters are even more heroic than many fans would have expected.
7 Captain Falcon (The F-Zero Series)
A Driver Who Got A Second Wind
- August 23, 1991
- Nintendo EAD
On the surface, Captain Falcon looks as if he should be the star of an action game or platformer. Instead, Falcon is actually a racecar driver from the F-Zero series, which is set in the future.
This racing series from Nintendo did require Captain Falcon to act heroically in his attempt to achieve first place in a race that could see him colliding with obstacles or falling into a slip zone. He also gets to travel to other planets to compete in the F-Zero Grand Prix. However, most fans of Nintendo know Captain Falcon as a hero in Super Smash Bros. Outside a car, it turns out that Captain Falcon is a great brawler and a great pick for players new to the game.
6 Red (The Pokemon Series)
The World’s Best Pokemon Trainer
Pokemon Red and Blue
- September 28, 1998
While it is true that every protagonist in the Pokemon series has performed some feats of heroism, Red from Generation 1 was the first trainer in the franchise to strike it out alone as a ten-year-old in the Kanto region. Alongside his companion Pikachu, or Charizard depending on the version, Red valiantly defeats the eight gym leaders and the elite four to become the region’s champion. On top of this, Red also goes on to defeat the first iteration of the evil organization, Team Rocket, and catches the powerful legendary Pokemon, Mewtwo.
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What helps Red maintain his heroic status is the fact that he appears as the final boss in the Generation 2 games. After retiring to Mt. Silver to continue training, this Pokemon champion stands as a secret final boss and one of the hardest battles in the franchise.
5 Kirby (The Kirby Series)
A Cute And Unexpected Hero
Kirby’s Return To Dreamland Deluxe
- February 24, 2023
Kirby is a pink ball of cuteness, so it is understandable that many gamers do not see him as much of a hero. However, this little guy has saved his home in Dream Land many times in his thirty-year history.
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Kirby is not one of the most powerful Nintendo characters. He mainly defeats his enemies with his inhaling or copying abilities. Yet that does not stop him from rising to the occasion whenever his people need saving from the villainous Nightmare or King Dedede. Kirby is even brave enough to go toe-to-toe with other Nintendo heroes in the Super Smash Bros. series.
4 Fox McCloud (The Star Fox Series)
Leader Of The Star Fox Team
- February 21, 1993
- Shoot ’em Up
Star Fox is a series of video games that sees a team of fighter pilots of the same name fighting evil and rescuing civilians in outer space. The team’s achievements in the series include saving Dinosaur Planet and defeating the evil Star Wolf team. None of this would be possible, though, without the team’s leader, Fox McCloud.
Fox McCloud ascends to the role of Start Fox leader when his father dies in a battle while leading the team. Despite being unprepared for the role, McCloud rises to the occasion and serves as one of the most heroic fighter pilots in the universe.
3 Mario (The Super Mario Series)
The Plumber Who Saves The Princess
Super Mario Bros. Wonder
- October 20, 2023
- Nintendo EPD
Originally named Jumpman in the first Donkey Kong arcade game, Mario has been saving the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom for over thirty years now. As a simple plumber who once only had the ability to jump, it is strange to think that Mario has gone on to perform some of the most heroic deeds in Nintendo’s long history.
From defeating Bowser and Donkey Kong to running across clouds to outrun bullets, there is little that Mario will not do to fulfill his role as a hero. He is also able to put his grievances aside to have a race or play golf with his enemies.
2 Samus (The Metroid Series)
A Bounty Hunter After Space Pirates
- August 6, 1986
The main protagonist of the Metroid series, Samus, took the gaming world by storm when she took off her helmet to reveal that she was, in fact, a woman at the end of her first arcade game. Such a reveal opened new doors for game developers, as it became apparent that players were more than happy to play a game with a female protagonist so long as they were as cool and captivating as Samus.
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In the series, Samus has a lot to deal with. This bounty hunter in the future is tasked with hunting down space pirates by using a mech suit and a series of weapons. Such a job requires Samus to be agile, deadly, brave, and one of the most heroic figures in video games.
1 Link (The Legend Of Zelda Series)
A Sword Wielding Hero With Many Skills
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
- May 12, 2023
There are few gamers out there who do not recognize the character of Link from a single glance. This sword-wielding hero has saved the fantasy world of Hyrule from evil sorcerers, breaks in time, and plenty of monsters.
In his first appearance, Princess Zelda tasks her nurse with finding the bravest warrior to come to her rescue. After Link steps in to save the nurse from some evil henchmen, she declares him to be heroic enough to rescue her master. It is this act that leads Link to become the most heroic character that Nintendo has ever brought to life.
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