Science says we keep pets for health reasons, such as reduction of blood pressure. The real truth is that we like pets because they’re just so damn cute. That’s why in Fable II, the hardest achievement is the one where you have to take the life of a poor, innocent wabbit. Sure, you murder hundreds upons hundreds of humans, but why does it expect you to kill the fuzzy wee bunny? If you delighted in murdering the hoppy little furball then this list is probably not for you. However, if it brought a flood of tears to your eyes and weird looks from your loved ones watching on, then keep reading to find out which characters are the cuddliest, loveliest little things that you’ve ever seen in a videogame.
10. Kirby (Kirby series)
Can you believe that Kirby is nearly in his twenties? Gamers first encountered the bright pink ball of lovable puff in Kirby’s Dream Land on the NES, a game made by the legendary designer Masahrio Sakurai back in 1992. Sakurai, who incidentally was also the spark behind the Super Smash Bros. series, was only 19 when he created the minuscule orb of rosiness originally known as Popopo. That blob became Kirby, and now he’s sweet 16, still going strong and even cuter than he was back then; no oozing acne or unsettling urges for this wee teenager. Some readers may argue that there’s nothing cute about a creature that can inhale its foes at great force and mercilessly devour them, only to spit them out having stolen their abilities like a common bandit. Those readers are wrong. Look at those oversized shoes, adorable blush marks and big, innocent blue eyes. Have you seen him with a little Solid Snake beard in Brawl? Of course he’s on the list.
9. Tails (Sonic The Hedgehog 2)
When Miles ‘Tails’ Prower first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, gamers fell in love with his simple yet charming design. Sure, he was pretty much useless in that game, dying repeatedly like a noob playing CoD4’s Veteran difficulty. Somehow that gave him an endearing helplessness, and soon enough the sweet-natured sidekick had developed his own adoring fanbase, mostly comprised of girls and furry lovers. Tails was the first of Sonic’s friends to win our hearts, and definitely the last… and you’ll probably have noticed that rather than denoting the Sonic franchise, only Sonic 2’s been mentioned. Well, just like the Sonic franchise, Tails became tainted goods after his initial success. Maybe it was after we first heard his nauseating voice in the accompanying cartoons, maybe it’s when said fanbase started surfacing doubts about his gender, or maybe it’s when those doubts evolved into a tirade of seriously disturbing deviantART pictures. Let’s remember the Tails of old — the unassuming little fox that flew silently behind you, following you on your travels and bashing a few enemies in if you were lucky.
8. Companion Cube (Portal)
Sure, it was just a lifeless block with a pink heart etched on each of its faces. Yes, there were amusingly creepy undertones about what, or who it once was. Still, it was damn cute for a grey box, and you can’t argue against the love. It was your only friend in a world where a twisted maniacal computer wanted you dead, and it protected you from her without a care for itself. Nay, it probably even loved you in its own (hopefully) mute way. Then you were forced to show your appreciation for this cute little hero’s selfless effort by throwing it into an incinerator, mercilessly aiding your own selfish desire to escape. Maybe cute isn’t the most accurate word for the Companion Cube, but how can you deny its time in the limelight after the horrific things you did to it? Shame on you, sir. Shame on you.
7. Lemmings (Lemmings series)
Did you know that the Latin name for the Norweigan Lemming is ‘Lemmus Lemmus’? That’s pretty cute in itself, but still not as cute as these diminutive sensations of the early 90s. The tiny, green-haired folk with a blind penchant for suicide will be remembered for squeaking, boinging, and even exploding cutely, and in their day they were gaming icons. So, who were the geniuses behind this delightful conception? Well, back then they were known as DMA Design, but you’ll probably recognize them by their current moniker of Rockstar North. That’s right, the boys and girls behind Grand Theft Auto IV were the same people behind the original Lemmings. So, when you’re tearing through Liberty City in your hijacked taxi, ripping the legs off some granny unfortunate enough to be walking down the sidewalk you’ve decided to play ‘human baseball’ on, just remember the people who created that game also designed the 7th cutest videogame character ever made. Should freak you out at least a smidge.
6. Nintendogs (Nintendogs series)
A little perspective: this is a franchise that’s sold over 20 million copies based on its cuteness alone. What’s scary is that’s just so far… the charts suggest that number will keep increasing until the statisticians actually run out of numbers. Nintendogs is essentially Tamogotchi for your DS but featuring the most saccharine of miniature canines since the Andrex puppy first screwed around with your toilet paper roll. You can possibly argue against its longevity, its use as a PR gimmick, or even against its lack of scenarios involving urinating on the shoes of unsuspecting neighbours. What you can’t argue against is that Nintendogs is inherently cute, and has been integral to the Nintendo DS’s success.
5. Bub & Bob (Bubble Bobble)
Not everyone’s excited about WiiWare so far, but there’ll be a great deal more fans for it when Taito release Bubble Bobble Wii on it sometime next year. Gamers of an older persuasion will delight in re-entering the world of Bub and Bob once more, the twin dragons with a particularly amiable way of dealing with the many enemies they encounter. Whilst guns are good for some, these reptilian wonders trapped nasties in colourful bubbles before popping them into oblivion. If you think that’s cute (minus the oblivion bit), then just wait until you see them shuffle along the ground, all slow with their stubby little legs and big ol’ eyes bobbing up and down. It’s positively adorable. Nerdy trivia: Bub’s the green one, Bob’s the blue one. Like you didn’t know, you clever sod you.
4. Moogles (Final Fantasy series)
Kupopo, kupo. As the Final Fantasy games evolved, certain elements started to recur. Now we expect to see Cid and his signature airship, the chocobos and their signature theme tune, and of course the androgynous male lead and his signature irritating personality (or lack of one). Then there are the moogles, the ‘WTF’ creatures that inhabit the various twisted worlds devised by Square-Enix. They’re more than a bit bizarre with their tiny bat wings and fuzzy red antennae, but somehow despite these oddities they’re just really, really cute. Maybe it’s because they’re generally very cheery fellows, maybe it’s because they look like a teddy bear crossed with a cat or maybe it’s that they make really excellent plush toys. Either way, it’s all pretty kupo in the grand scheme of things. You heard me.
3. Sackboy (LittleBigPlanet)
I suspect that when the average male gamer saw the first LittleBigPlanet video back in March 2007, he promptly got a hold of his girlfriend and made her watch it and imbibe all of its glory. Her response was probably something along the lines of ‘awwwwwwww’, quickly followed by ‘I want one!’ and then other stereotypical female responses. Nearly two years later they can finally get a hold of him, for Sackboys and Sackgirls are delighting PS3 owners everywhere. Well, maybe not a lot of them just yet, but give the ickle burlap dude a bit more time and he’ll be as big as Mario. Soon we’ll be lamenting the loss of his original charm and wishing Sony had never brought out Sackboy Party or Sackgirl Adventures PSP.
2. Lumas (Super Mario Galaxy)
If you’re a wily sort of reader, and I think you are, then you may have noticed a common link for several of these entries. That link is of course Nintendo, a company who’ve just sold a ridiculous 2 million squillion bazillion Wiis in North America this last month alone. Hopefully some of those new Wii owners will have been given Super Mario Galaxy with their Xmas pressie, and not Big Beach Party or, heaven forbid, We Cheer. If they did, then their ice cold hearts will be instantly melted when they first encounter these charming little chaps. Lumas are the colourful little stars with eyes (and that’s it) that you meet in the Observatory, and they communicate through squeaky happiness despite lacking actual mouths. They were a distinct feature of one of the most charismatic Nintendo games ever made. If you don’t think they were cute then sadly you are not in possession of a soul.
1. Pikachu (Pokémon series)
Pikachu really gained his cuteness, unlike earlier entry Tails, through the utterly awful and scarily long-running Pokémon TV series. He was transformed from a stubborn bunch of pixels into a short, chubby mouse with a lightning-like tail, big, rosy cheeks, and the most sugary of voices to ever grace your ears. The fact that he could only communicate by saying his name only added to his already immense cuteness. It also prompted Lassie-like dialogue sequences: "What’s that Pikachu? Misty’s fallen down the old well and broken both her legs? Good." It’s no surprise that Pikachu has come full circle, with his TV appearance now transferring back into the games. If you think he’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, watch the YouTube video of his voice artist, Ootani Ikue, doing a rendition of him on a Japanese talk show. That’s some pure kawaii right there. Actually that summarises Pikachu up pretty well: Pure kawaii.