Video games are a place where anything is possible. But – as any wise person knows – just because you '"can," doesn't mean you "should." Here are 10 virtual wardrobe choices that deserved the delete button.
In the land of video games, the rules of fashion are obsolete. Forget seasons. Forget trends. Here your imagination can run wild, and more often than not that means “the weirder the better” – with some serious contenders for the top spot. While, occasionally, it works, for the most part video game protagonists look like they’ve been dressed in every bad idea man has had for the past 100 years – which doesn’t say much about the people who designed them.
Here’s a quick countdown of ten of the worst.
Tidus (Final Fantasy X)
With his tiny, nipple-skimming cropped shirt, matching canary yellow workboots and dubious leather overalls, Tidus looks like the runty kid in the family who was only ever given hand-me-downs to wear. Presumably that’s why his trousers are missing half a leg. While the silver cross-studs and hanging chains say “German biker bar,” the cycle shorts he’s rocking underneath are a whole other story we don’t even want to know about. SquareEnix, you have a lot to answer for.
Albert Wesker (Resident Evil)
Somewhere in between Resident Evils 1 and 5, someone at Capcom developed an embarrassing Matrix fetish that spilled over into their work in some rather revealing ways. With his Malfoy-hair, perma-sunglasses and floor-length leather overcoat, Albert Wesker looks like the kind of guy who stands in front of his bedroom mirror for hours at home telling himself how “totally badass” he is, before sticking on some Crystal Method and practicing his karate chops. No word on whether that’s based on real life experience.
Jo Beth Casey (TimeSplitters)
There’s no denying the over-sexualisation of female characters in video games, and if you’re looking for proof, look no further than Jo Beth Casey. For some reason the team at Crytek UK seemed to think writing “SLUT” across her outrageously buxom upper half was a perfectly reasonable thing to do to show her “character development.” Having crossed that line, they then finished the job with a pair of fishnet tights and something that may have once resembled a skirt in a former life, but now looks more like a discarded napkin. We’d bet reasonable money no women were consulted on this one.
Tingle (The Legend Of Zelda)
If you’ve ever got drunk with someone of the Asian persuasion, you’ll know they tend to go a little red in the face. With that in mind, there can’t be much more explanation behind Tingle. Whether his designer was drunk at the time of drawing him, or was simply harking back to a time they got so shitfaced they tried to act out their childhood memories of Peter Pan, we’ll never know. All we’re certain of is there was booze involved. Lots of it.
Father Balder (Bayonetta)
Bayonetta has its fair share of weirdly dressed characters, but Father Balder is easily the worst of a bad bunch. We get that Platinum Games wanted to create a sinister enemy with religious overtones and a regal, evil wizard vibe, but let’s clear this up right now – no one wearing a floor-length tunic, monocle and peacock feathers was ever sinister. Except in a creepy, “don’t touch me there” kind of sinister. And that’s something we could do without in our video games, thanks.
Super Mario (Pretty much every Nintendo game ever)
You know what, let’s go there. We like you, Nintendo, but if we’re completely honest, the longer you look at Mario, the longer you realise denim dungarees and a red cap/sweater combo really doesn’t work. Just like developing Stockholm syndrome or spending a life as a crime scene investigator, the more you’re exposed to something, the less disagreeable it tends to become, and Mario is such a ubiquitous character that we almost forgive his outrageously loud assault of primary color. Almost. Then it hits you, like a tortoise shell to the face.
Paul Phoenix (Tekken)
Paul looks like that high-school jock everyone hates. The kind of guy that starts fights with people for no reason. The kind of guy whose love for himself is outmatched only by his love of gym selfies and Snapchat-induced restraining orders. Actually, scrap that – he’s what a Japanese videogame developer with little exposure to actual Western culture thinks a jock looks like. What began as a flirtation with red pyjamas in Tekken 1 grew into the kind of ill-advised two-piece black leather number that should’ve died with Mel Gibson in Mad Max. And let’s not forget the hair, bonded, so it would seem, with industrial-strength wall adhesive. Johnny Bravo, eat your heart out.
Kuja (Final Fantasy IX)
Kuja follows the standard Final Fantasy rules of character design, which seem to be “every character must be dressed in the least practical way possible, preferably flashing some unnecessary skin.” In the case of Kuja, that means some kind of Arabian belly-dancer getup, flanked by some white bedsheets, football armor and knee-high dominatrix boots. Granted, as the central dark presence in the game, he makes us feel uncomfortable. Can we just go on record and say we never want to see another guy in a leather jock strap ever again, please? Thanks.
Dr Eggman (Sonic The Hedgehog)
On the big list of things an overweight man should never wear, leggings are right up there with Speedos near the top spot. We get that their ample flex and supple waistband is well-suited to the rounder frame, but no one wants to see those rolls in that much figure-hugging detail. It’s also not doing your bad-guy credentials any favours that you look like a giant Poké Ball, or perhaps one of those Russian dolls you crack open to reveal an ever-decreasing series of smaller ones. If this is what doctors at SEGA look like, you can stick your free health insurance where the Emeralds don’t shine.
Voldo (Soul Calibur)
Ok, we get it: Voldo’s a freak. But not just in the, “likes to wear pantyhose and have his ass spanked at the weekends” kind of freak. The team at Namco felt the need to throw all they could at this one. As perhaps the most hilariously deviant male character in videogame history, he looks like he’s been kicked through the door of a back-alley bondage store and grabbed a bit of everything he could on the way out. Leather straps? Check. Face mask (complete with mouth gag)? Check. Outrageous metal codpiece of a demon chomping on his nether regions? Double check with a side order of no thanks. If there was ever any real-life source material that Voldo was based on, we hope he stays in whatever seedy sex dungeon the Namco developers found him in.
Then again, he’s probably just a corporate accountant by day…
Words by Mat Ombler and AJ Gwilliam