It’s so obvious that it’s almost embarrassing. I tried to look further than Mario for my favourite video game character, but every time I just thought of more great games that I’ve played in which Mario featured. This is probably more a testament to Nintendo’s skills at making games than Mario as a character. In fact, it really makes Mario seem more like a brand, which, of course he is.

When I hear “It’s-a-me, Mario!” it’s like a seal. it’s like a guarantee of quality. I can’t think of a really bad Mario game, and if I tried really, really hard I would probably end up with “such and such is pretty bad – for a mario game

Link was a close second, but I’ve found Zelda games that feature Link to be less consistent that games featuring Mario, and so whilst the Link from Windwaker deserves a mention as a close second his hit and miss nature make Mario #1.

You can see a really interesting video from Jesse Schell here about the future of characters and avatars, with some bold predictions about what might be coming in the next ten years or so. Among other things he paints a picture in which game characters are persistent, and they remember you from one game to the next. It’s well worth a look;

“if you had a friend who was a ghost, how old would they be?”