[Originally published on Nintendojo on November 30th 2011]
Ah, non-playable characters– where would we be without them? Heroes and heroines the world over may get far more glory and time in the sun, but behind every act of bravery and courageous feat lie the little people that need saving in the first place. From the first faces to greet us when we visit a new town to our most beloved companions, a game without NPCs would be a very boring one indeed (unless it’s Metroid). Just picture it– there would be no princess in another castle, there would be no townsfolk to give you helpful hints and tips when you needed them most, and there would be no middle-aged men in green lycra trying to sell you extortionately priced maps. (Wait, that might actually be a good thing.)
In making this list, I had only one ground rule: namely that characters like Star Fox’s Falco or Final Fantasy’s moogles, once NPCs now playable characters (in whatever shape or form), won’t be included on this list. With that in mind, here’s a little bit of love for the characters who have to walk in everyone else’s shadow– the people whose lives and household furniture are routinely destroyed by would-be heroes and villains but are too humble to take up arms themselves. (Mostly because they’re rooted to the ground). Here are my top ten NPCs of all time.
(Oh, and minor spoilers ahead.)