The Top Ten: Computer-game characters

From Lara Croft and Samus Aran to Donkey Kong and Earthworm Jim

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The Independent Tech

It is the 30th anniversary of Super Mario this week, although he started as Jumpman in 1981 and was renamed for the arcade game 'Mario Bros' in 1983, before 'Super Mario Bros' was launched on home consoles in 1985. Now Nintendo is launching 'Super Mario Maker' for Wii U. But who (else) is the best?

1. Sonic the Hedgehog

"Practically introduced super-speed," according to Colfe's History Dept.

2. Commander Shepard

The female version of the character in Mass Effect, voiced by Jennifer Hale. From John David Blake and William Knighton.

Sonic the Hedgehog: 'Practically introduced super-speed'

3. Earthworm Jim

Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" is about half of the background music to the second planet in the original game, says Alan Robertson.

4. Jet Set Willy

"For his tenacity – and for entering mansion rooms with weird names such as, 'We Must Perform a Quirkafleeg,'" says Judy Pain. Will de Quetteville agrees.

5. Samus Aran

Earlier feminist for the subculture. (Nintendo, Metroid, 1986.) Nominated by Anthony Breach.

Donkey Kong: 'Because he's a gorilla called Donkey'

6. Titanic Blinky

"He was a good one," says Joe Scott. "Cartoon ghost on a historically suspect Amiga representation of the sunken liner."

7. Donkey Kong

"Because he's a gorilla called Donkey," says Arj Singh.

8. Link

Boy hero of the Zelda series. My favourite bit is where he has to go back in time to plant a tree that would grow to give him access to somewhere inaccessible.

samus aran.JPG
Samus Aran: Earlier feminist for the subculture

9. The Utarg of Utarg

"I was very fond of him because he was independent," says Louise Mensch. No idea what she's talking about.

10. Lara Croft


Next week: Obscure sorrows (such as 'anticipointment', which IoS editor Lisa Markwell used recently)

Coming soon: Mondegreens (from 'and Lady Mondegreen', a mishearing of 'and laid him on the green': new ones, please). Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to