Nothing gets the heart pumping like a dashing video game character with a backstory. And these days, there certainly ain’t no shortage of characters that meet that rather vague set of criteria. But what is it that continues to pique are interest over and over again? Rugged looks? An aversion to solving their personal problems? A tendency to make particularly terrible decisions? I’d say any of the above, plus so much more. Because the great joy in life is sitting back in our cozy chairs, brooding with thought as we delve deeper and deeper into a character’s particular breed of madness, and saying with complete and utter certainty, “I could fix them.”
So with that in mind, here are 10 video game characters I could absolutely fix if I had the chance. No, seriously. I’m super confident about this.
1. Joel Miller (The Last of Us: Part 1 and 2)
Everyone loves a single dad committed to providing for his kids. Joel does this in spades. You need a bandage for that scrape? Joel’s got you. You need that pistol modified with a silencer? Joel’s got you. You need some questionably crafted shrapnel bombs that could tear a pack of clickers to bits? Joel’s got you.
Of course, all that skill comes with its own set of baggage. Joel just needs a little TLC and a warm cup of ethically sourced Colombian coffee while we croon a few tunes while he plays his guitar. Nothing that a few hours of rich conversation and a good old fashioned hug can’t solve.
2. Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom)
Listen, being the Chief of the Gerudo is a tough job. Ganondorf is responsible for a lot of mouths to feed and ensuring a prosperous future for his people. It makes sense that he’s going to set his sights on loftier goals and expanding his kingdom. Honestly I respect the hustle. All we really need to do is fine tune those goals to an ethical and sustainable roadmap, and I’m more than up for the job. Let’s kick back at one of those gorgeous Gerudo oases with some cocktails and make a list of your goals while I braid your hair and admire your muscles.
3. Astarion (Baldur’s Gate 3)
Everyone’s favorite vampiric elf with a level of sass that rivals even my own. Being enslaved and tortured by a merciless demonic entity for centuries will make anyone a little bit mad, so it’s completely valid that Astarion would be channeling all that rage in places that maybe don’t yield the best results. But who says we can’t find ourselves a bougie Baldurian tavern and share a full bodied cabernet while laughing at TikTok videos of people tripping? Let’s take all that pent up anger and need for chaotic destruction and channel it into a few hours breaking glassware and then pour another glass of wine, darling.
4. Javier Escuella (Red Dead Redemption 2)
I love a man who can play the guitar, and being bilingual is an added bonus. Life on the road isn’t easy, but no one makes it look easier or even more enticing than this dashing Latin cowboy. Javier has had his fair share of struggles: adapting to a new country, wandering from place to place, constantly trying to keep the law off his back… but he does it with a devilish flair that’s enough to melt me into a piping hot pozole. Javier may have a lot on his mind, but let me slide right in and take up space instead. We can dance the night away and chart our future far away from this life of crime.
5. Riku (Kingdom Hearts Franchise)
Now here’s a guy who has been through it; lost his friends, possessed by a crazy time traveling heart stealer, had to team up with a royal mouse to find redemption… I can understand why he’s a little distant and brooding. But you know what’s more fun than brooding? Churros from the churro cart in Disneyland. Let’s cure those grim thoughts with a stroll around Adventureland and maybe a cuddle with Donald and Goofy on Main Street. They didn’t replace you as Sora’s bestie, you just have a bunch of new besties! Mindset, my friend.
6. Kratos (God of War Franchise)
I’ve never fixed a god before, but I did teach my dad to try turning his computer off and on again before calling me to ask why it isn’t working, which is basically the same thing. The Ghost of Sparta has seen a lot in just as many lifetimes, enough to probably give even my therapist a solid challenge. I won’t presume that I can fix him overnight, but I have yet to find anyone who can resist splitting a California roll and playing “Never have I ever” while drinking cold sake. Again, we love a single dad that commits to providing for his kid, we just need to steer a little of that gruff and sullen personality towards more wholesome thoughts. Like puppies with zoomies.
7. Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect Trilogy)
Everyone’s favorite alien cop turned vigilante, Garrus is peak partner material. I mean, you can’t go wrong with someone who does their research to make sure date night goes off without a hitch. And while he has an unfortunate traumatic past and a thirst for vengeance that would make even Batman shudder, there’s a softness to Garrus’ exterior unlike some of the other characters so far on this list. So yes, Garrus, I’ll take a glass of that wine you brought. Let’s get the music going and talk about all the other things on this ship that need some calibrations.
8. Emile (Halo: Reach)
OK, yeah, I know. We never get to see Emile’s face and he’s a genetically enhanced Spartan III supersoldier with an attitude problem and a slightly concerning propensity for violence. But we both have “attitude problem” under our list of undesirable traits so that’s half the battle right there. Even when he’s mocking his fellow Spartans or scheming his next battle tactic, Emile’s velvety tones make me shiver more than a Grunt on the snowy peaks of Alpha Halo. And despite his tragic fate at the end of Halo: Reach, Emile is immortalized for his relentlessness and fearlessness. Two traits I could certainly make him question in under 10 minutes.
9. Henry (Firewatch)
I love a man who can match me toe to toe in a beer chugging contest, and no comes to mind faster as a worthy opponent than the bumbling, nature loving Henry. Sure, Henry might not be perfect as a husband or caretaker, but it’s the thought that counts. And maybe there’s a few things to unpack there to understand his reluctance in discussing the subject; after all, even Delilah wasn’t able to break him much, and she was the only person he could talk to for four straight months. You just gotta meet a man like Henry where he’s at; with some marshmallows over a campfire and a six pack. I’ll have him singing like a bird in no time.
10. Edward Kenway (Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag)
He’s a pirate. Do I really need to expand more on this? A strapping young lad with a thirst for adventure but a tendency to forego his responsibilities to his family in the process? This is textbook “I can fix him” energy, and I could sail into his heart faster than a Man o’ War in the Caribbean. There are way more exciting treasures laying in wait than gold, I can tell you that much. And after spending a little quality time with me, we’re going to be sailing to far greater heights than you could find on any treasure map.