I’m still super pumped for the new Expendables movie. Just thinking about all that badassery up on the screen at the same time is making my chest hair grow balls. All I can think about is going out into the street Double Dragon-style and just kicking everybody’s asses! EVERYBODY”S! I wanna just jack someone’s car and run it through a fruit stand and crash into some country’s national monument (not America’s, of course. I ain’t no commy bastard!) So, to satiate my blood lust, I’ve decided to pay homage to the manliest men in gaming. This got me thinking: What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets? Maybe a little, but I think a man is much more than that. A man is someone who creates, protects, inspires, and, above all else, has a penis. But what makes a man “manly?” There are three quantifiable factors that define and rank a man’s masculinity: his achievements, his actions, and his badass-ness. The following is the Top Ten Manliest Men in Gaming. The rules are simple: no chicks, no pansies, and only one dude per franchise. But first, let’s see the honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention #1: Bimmy & Jimmy Lee (Double Dragon Series)
It seriously hurts my testicles to not put them on this list, especially when I just referenced them in the opening paragraph. Billy and Jimmy Lee are probably the first Bad Asses of which I have my earliest memories. I will never forget grabbing some dude’s face and kneeing it until he died. Just think about that sentence for one second: kneeing some dude in the face until he dies. It breaks my heart that I will never be as awesome as that sentence. And that’s not even the best part. Take a look at the cover for the second game in the series just a little north of this paragraph. LOOK AT IT! Men, you have just grew a third ball. Women, you are now pregnant. All works of art since the release of this cover have simply lost all relevance. Man has woman in arm, bro is protecting bro, punching in face, whip around arm, random helicopter in background, chick with tits AND mohawk. But what really pushes this box art over the edge is that the subtitle for the game is “The Revenge.” That subtitle makes everything in the world better.
But, I have to face facts here: Billy and Jimmy Lee just couldn’t cut it for my list. Despite their sweet matching dragon tattoos and having the ability to basically walk outside and beat up everything without breaking a sweat, Billy and Jimmy broke the oldest and most sacred rule passed down from one generation of men to the next. “Bros before Hoes.” Yes, at the end of the first Double Dragon, Billy must face Jimmy to rescue his girl, pitting brother against brother in a final duel. Seeing such camaraderie torn apart is a disgusting sight to behold. Though they apparently make up for the sequel, the brief moment where they turned on each other for some broad will forever stink of un-dude-liness.
Honorable Mention #2: Dante (Devil May Cry Series & MVC)
Dante is pretty sweet. Who wouldn’t want to be a half-demon with a couple of sexy female assistants hanging around? He’s also pretty kick ass with guns, swords, nunchucks, and electric guitars, which is the exact skill set I wanted when I was in 6th grade. And, even though he has a motorcycle, there are times where he prefers to just straight up knock down a jabroni and surf on ’em. He does all this with a cocky attitude and abs that make George Takei salivate (probably).
But, there are some caveats that suggest that maybe he really isn’t all that cool. First off, Devil May Cry 2. Second, he’s a complete dork, but in an endearing way. His catchphrases are campy at their best and stupid at their worst. Bottom line: they’re nothing special. You kind of either forget them immediately or wish he’d never said them and/or struck that pose. The final thing that strips him of his man card is that he was replaced by a douche that I refer to as “Meth-Head Dante.”
I’ve really nothing more to say on this matter. It just pisses me off that much.
Honorable Mention #3: Kratos (God of War Series)
Let’s get this out of the way: Kratos IS manly. It’s impossible to argue that he isn’t, especially when there is so much objective, empirical evidence that proves such. So, what makes Kratos so manly? I guess tearing people in half and shoving sharp objects down the throats of Minotaurs is pretty sweet, and ripping off Gorgons’ heads is very nice, but nothing exudes virility more than banging chicks, and Kratos bangs chicks. Many chicks. The off-chance that men might get laid is the driving force behind any and all things that men do, and Kratos knows this. And let’s not forget that he’s a Spartan. Spartans are the manliest men of all time. And I’m talking about real Spartans here. The kind that wear loincloths and not shirts, ever. Not whatever that thing from Halo is. Remember: Real men don’t use energy shields
However, Kratos didn’t make this list because he got a lot of his badass-ness from a god, and then ultimately becomes a god, which is the exact opposite of a man. That latter fact aside, Kratos would still not make this list. Kratos’s exposition practically begins with his skull about to be hewn by some barbarian, and, to stop this, Kratos is forced to put his tampons in his purse and start crying to Ares. It’s a proven fact that dudes don’t cry or have periods. Also, slaughtering his own family is pretty weak. Being a bad husband and father is just about as unmanly as it gets. But nothing compares to the emasculating Quick Time Event. Men choose, wusses obey, and Kratos has pretty much made an entire franchise by being the QTE’s bitch.
Honorable Mention #4: Tingle (Legend of Zelda Series)
Honorable Mention #5: Duke Nukem (Duke Nukem Series)
I know a lot of you probably thought that ‘ol Duke would have made this list. He’s tough, he has guns, he hangs at strip joints, he takes dumps on his fallen enemies’ faces, and he has enough one-liners to keep the 80’s in business for another couple of decades. That’s all pretty amazing stuff, but has anyone played his very first game? It’s entitled “Duke Nukem,” and it was for the PC. In it, Duke does some pretty unmanly things, like collecting balloons, wearing a pink shirt, and, I’m not making this up, saying that he watches Oprah. Then, I’ll watch Maury and find out who the baby daddy.
To put it bluntly: Duke’s gay. It’s true. That’s why his games are so manly. He’s just overcompensating and trying to hide his true sexuality. Hiding who you are is very unmanly. I’m sorry, but Duke Nukem is in the closet. Now, if only he had left “Duke Nukem Forever” in there with him…
And now, for your enjoyment, the Ten Manliest Men in Gaming!
10.) Cheerful White (Bomberman Series)
Don’t let White’s looks fool you. He is one of the coldest and deadliest motherfuckers on the planet. Even though he’s named “Cheerful,” this dude is brutal. He will set you up in a trap and watch you squirm just to see what it looks like when you explode. And don’t think looking less adorable would make him manlier. They tried that. Spoilers: it failed.
What more can I say about Bomberman? Bombs, fire, explosions, arson. All manly endeavors. Let’s move on.
9.) Bonk (Bonk Series)
Bonk is awesome. He runs around killing dinosaurs and eating meat, he can jump in the air and flip fast enough to fly for short periods of time, and he’s known for getting eaten by dinosaurs, playing pinball with his giant head and their internal organs, and then jumping out through their B-hole. But, as manly as sphincter wrecking is, nothing is more hardcore than the fact that Bonk is a Caveman. Cavemen define what a man ought to be: tough, remorseless, carnivorous bastards. Cavemen grunt, stink, mate, eat and sleep. That’s pretty much all they do, and I’ll be damned if that’s not what every modern man still wants to do. And if that wasn’t sweet enough, Bonk does all his killing with his head. I don’t mean that figuratively. He actually uses that humongous cranium of his to bludgeon dinosaurs, or anything for that matter, to death. Bonk may be tiny, but his dinosaur bashing techniques and his lust for meat make him more than man enough to make this list.
8.) Samson & Adon (Cho Aniki Series)
I want to set the record straight (no pun intended): Samson and Adon are not gay. They’re bodybuilders: the manliest profession known to man. So what if they’re unrealistically buff dudes flying around in speedos shooting other unrealistically buff dudes in speedos? That’s gay?
And what if Samson and Adon will do anything to get their muscular, oily hands on as much protein as they can? That’s not gay; that’s determination. When a man sets a goal, he achieves it. That’s how being a man works! It’s just a bonus that they’re ripped sum bitches that go around kicking ass. Oh, and looking like flying dongs is pretty manly in my book.
7.) Wood Man (Mega Man 2)
I can hear it now: “But he’s not a man! He’s a robot!” Well, I say to the dissenters, “Shut up!” He’s got “Man” right there in his name, doesn’t he? Sure, Mega Man has “Man” in his name, too, but I just couldn’t put him on this list. How can you be manly if you can’t even shoot up or duck? Super fighting robot, my ass! Wood Man: now there’s a Robot Master. But, why him? Why not pick any of the other Robot Masters? What makes him stand out from the rest? Well, other than the fact that his name is the second best sexual innuendo in the Mega Man universe (first place goes to Hard Man), he’s made out of freaking wood! He has to be a badass if he plans on fighting little yellow pellets and titanium with just wood and leaves. And those leaves aren’t just for show. If he can rip Mega Man apart with them, just imagine what they’d do to you. Wood Man has some balls. Big, wooden balls.
6.) Arthur (Ghosts ‘n Goblin Series & MVC3)
Arthur’s a knight, thus he’s acquainted with and upholds moral codes that only a certain breed of man can. Not only that, but he slays things; lots of things. Like demons. He’ll shove a lance up the ass of anyone or anything that stands between him and his princess. Hell, he actually has to fight Satan at one point. This helps reinforces what I said earlier: Everything a man does is for the ladies. And, let me tell you, trying to obtain access to lady parts can make you do some crazy things, like battling the forces of evil and the Prince of Darkness himself in nothing but your boxers.
Arthur makes this list mainly because his games are just so damn hard. To be in such difficult games automatically makes you a badass and a man’s man. But what really sets Arthur apart from the rest of his testicle-toting brethren is that he’s also a teacher. If you can beat his games, then you too are a man’s man. Arthur more than deserves this spot.
5.) Little Mac (Punch Out!! Series)
Little Mac holds a special place in my heart, as he should for any red-blooded American. He embodies the very thing to which we Americans hold dear: the Underdog. Think about it: no one really expects him to go very far, he has no experience, and he has a montage. Montages are reserved for only the manliest of men, such as Sylvester Stallone, Ralph Macchio, and Bill Murray. It doesn’t even matter that he’s wearing a pink jogging suit. It’s a freaking montage! Also, Little Mac has to be a badass if he can take down the likes of Bald Bull, Mr. Sandman, Super Macho Man, Donkey Kong and “Iron” Mike Tyson.
Not only are these guys brutal, but they’re like 3 feet taller than him. Mac literally has to jump up to punch them in the face. But he doesn’t let that deter him. He’ll gladly put on some Air Jordans and blast you in the jaw until you’re lying on the canvas next to your teeth. His determination, Underdog status, and unadulterated ability to whoop ass makes him the smallest guy I know that everybody looks up to.
4.) Ralf Jones (Ikari Warriors Series, King of Fighters Series, & Metal Slug Series)
There was only room enough for one over the top 80’s inspired commando on this list, and I had to give it to Ralf Jones. Sorry, Bill Rizer from Contra. Your shirtless shenanigans sure as hell qualify you as a certified “Badass,” but, ultimately, Ralf is just manlier than you in every way. Like Bill, Ralf went on an insanely impossible mission where he and a comrade were outgunned and outnumbered only to come out on top in the end. But, with Bill, it pretty much ends there. Sure, he did a few more missions, but they were pretty much the same thing every time. Ralf, on the other hand, went on to do better things, like entering the King of Fighters tournament and joining the Metal Slug gang to take out the Rebel Army. A man should never be content with his past achievements and should always be looking for ways to better himself.
Ralf’s manliness comes from his brute strength and the fact that he can kick ass without a gun. Ralf’s motto is: “Anti-tank guns are for vaginas who can’t punch tanks!” I have to agree. One hit from his “Ralf Punch” and that tank is gone. That’s another thing: how freaking manly is it when you have moves with your name in it? Hugely manly, that’s how manly! Captain Falcon has the Falcon Punch and the Falcon Kick, but Ralf has the Ralf Punch, Ralf Kick AND the Ralf Tackle. That’s 3, hence Ralf wins. His awesomeness doesn’t stop there. Ralf can also get shot twice before dying. Not once, but TWICE! That’s unheard of in a Run n’ Gun game! After the first shot, a huge surge of testosterone bursts through his body and he rises, ready to knock the shit out of the next tank he sees, and tank smashing is one of the best ways to get on this list.
3.) Mike Haggar (Final Fight Series, Saturday Night Slam Masters, & MVC3)
Mayor, ex-wrestler, and mustache enthusiast. Mike Haggar is the total package. He’s got to be the most hardcore political figure of all time, and that’s saying a lot considering the Body and Arnie have been in the political scene for some time now. Haggar’s different than most politicians though. He’s big, he’s buff, and he keeps his promises, like a real man should. He also doesn’t spew cliché rhetoric and metaphoric bullshit to get votes. When he said he was going to clean the streets of Metro City, he meant that he was actually going to throw the gang members off of the streets and into any nearby trashcans, personally. This man is mean, but honest.
Haggar also utilizes the most devastating maneuver that can be found on any man’s repertoire: the pile driver. If he’s not bear hugging or head butting the crap out of some punks, then he’s thrusting their heads under his balls, jumping into the air, and slamming their domes into the asphalt. It’s a combination of tea bagging and death, and it’s super effective.
Haggar’s also a man that doesn’t discriminate. He won’t even think twice about beating in some transvestite’s face. If some cross dresser decides to be an asshole and starts causing trouble in his city, you better believe Haggar will suplex him/her. Haggar doesn’t give an ounce of monkey piss whether or not you just got your nails done.
Experience, honesty, and excessive force without discrimination: these comprise the foundation of Haggar’s platform. Vote Haggar for President in 2012. His manliness demands your respect and vote.
2.) Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid Series & Super Smash Bros. Brawl)
Okay, I know I said that this list isn’t big enough for more than one 80’s inspired commando, but Snake’s an exception because he doesn’t act like the others. That being said, there are lots of things that make Snake manly. He sneaks into enemy bases alone and unarmed, he fights some of the most ridiculous enemies, and he does it all without pissing his pants. But what really makes Snake so manly? Well, it’s plain and simple: cigarettes. Everyone knows that cigarettes make you cool, but smoking cigarettes makes you even cooler. Even in old age, Snake can be seen with a cancer stick, because real men fear nothing. Not even cancer. In fact, Snake loves his smokes so much that he hides them in his stomach so he can get his fix later. There really isn’t anything manlier than shitting out a pack of cigarettes and then smoking them. But cancer and shitting aren’t the only manly things about Snake. He also has a face rug. Snake knows that real men have beards, and it shows.
Some say that God is in the details. Well, if that’s true, then Snake is as close to divinity as any mortal can get. Even though Snake knows he should never be seen, he still takes the time out of his testosterone filled day to make sure that his beard is immaculate. Upon seeing Snake, I’m pretty sure that the last thing that goes through the unfortunate bastard’s mind, if not a bullet, is, “Wow! That is one immaculate beard!”
All of theses characteristics make for a formidable and incredible man without equal, but Snake’s not number 1. With all this going for him, who could possibly be manlier than the famous Solid Snake?
1.) Master Higgins (Adventure Island Series)
What’s manlier than riding on a skateboard and throwing tomahawks at unsuspecting wildlife? Riding a skateboard and throwing tomahawks at unsuspecting wildlife WHILE wearing a grass skirt, that’s what! And if you think that’s girlie, you’ll end up with an axe lodged in your forehead! Master Higgins is so virile and secure in his masculinity that he doesn’t even care about what here’s wearing, unless he’s shredding on his board. Then he puts on his elbow pads and helmet. And if you think that’s girlie, then you’ve got some attitude, mister. Just because he’s a badass doesn’t mean he’s stupid.
Higgins is a man in every sense of the word: he has a woman (that he must constantly rescue), he’s got a gut (like all real men should), and he doesn’t slow down for shit; he doesn’t have the time. If he does happen to have some downtime, he spends it running in place. This guy just has too much to do. What could possibly occupy all of his precious time? His girlfriend? His skateboarding? His unquenchable thirst to slaughter tiny animals? None of the above. Like any real man, there are only two things on his mind at all times: sex and food. And since Higgins’ girlfriend is constantly in a state of “kidnapped,” Higgins focuses on the latter. At any given moment, you can find him jumping up and devouring fruit whole. Apples, bananas, grapes, pineapples; he downs them in one manly bite without even stopping.
This guy’s metabolism is so unstable, if he doesn’t eat every 30 seconds, he dies. Now that’s manly! Consequently, he has to constantly be on the move in order to find fruit. With no time to stop and be distracted by non-edible substances, Higgins also has no time to think. This should be the state of mind to which all men should aspire. Men aren’t about ideas. They’re about action! And Master Higgins is definitely a “Man of Action.”
Now, I know what a lot of the more experienced gamers are thinking, and I say, “Go ahead. Call him a ‘Wonder Boy’ rip-off. Wonder Boy ain’t got shit on Higgins when it comes to manliness.” Why’s that? Not only is his name Wonder BOY, but Master Higgins is actually modeled after a real man, and that man’s name is Takahashi Meijin.
Honestly, it really can’t get any manlier than that, and that, plus all the aforementioned characteristics, is why Master Higgins is considered my Manliest Man in Video Games. So, this one is for you, Hudson. Though now defunct, you were able to make 3 of the manliest men in gaming. You will always be remembered by the gamers of the Golden Age of Console Gaming.