This week on The Ringer, we’re hosting the Best Video Game Character Bracket—an expansive competition between the greatest heroes, sidekicks, and villains of the gaming world. And along with delving into some of those iconic figures, we’ll also explore and celebrate the gaming industry as a whole. Welcome to Video Game Week.
And then there were two.
The Final Four of The Ringer’s Best Video Game Character Bracket featured four icons of the medium: Mario, Sonic, Link, and Tony Hawk. (OK, sure, it’s totally fair to say that the last guy in that list maybe doesn’t belong in the same echelon as the first three, but that doesn’t mean he’s not an icon. He’s also a real human, which is maybe notable here.) The four competitors had made light work of their previous opponents, suggesting that they clearly stood above all the rest, and hinting that the Final Four would be an all-out war. But that’s not what happened. Instead, two characters proved that they’re in an even more elite class, all to themselves.
After a week of competition, only Mario and Link are still standing.
Even though tight matchups are always more entertaining, you can’t argue with the end results here. Mario is Mario. Link is Link. Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda are titles that expanded the possibilities of video games; they’re foundational blocks upon which the entire medium is built. It’s no surprise that this is what the bracket comes down to, even if it is surprising how convincing Mario’s and Link’s runs have been. (Mario’s averaged 91 percent of the vote through the tournament; Link’s averaged 76 percent.)
Maybe now we’ll see that all-out war. Choosing between Mario and Link is like splitting hairs—both legends, both iconic, both charming heroes on honorable quests to save a princess. After a tournament defined by blowouts, this matchup promises to go down to the wire. Vote now. Choose your destiny. Make the impossible choice and forever live with it.
Which character should advance?
This poll is closed
(1) Mario, ‘Super Mario Bros.’
(1) Link, ‘The Legend of Zelda’