From Indiana’s legendary fedora to Bender’s shiny metal ass, character design defines our most memorable characters. While movies may require real actors step into the character’s shoes, video games have the distinct advantage of building their heroes from scratch. While this allows for artistically liberal creations, such as the bizarre and angular denizens of The World Ends With You’s Shibuya, some games cross the line of artistic expression and plunge straight into the face-palming realm of absurdity. This list focuses on these characters, the men and women that couldn’t exist in the real world. While this list could be populated entirely by women wearing impossibly little clothing, we at TGR enjoy a challenge, so we’re only seeking designs, and specifically outfits, that would be thoroughly impractical if the character were real. Please enjoy our analysis of gaming’s unfeasible side.
Sydney Losstarot (Vagrant Story)
Here’s an old riddle. You are in charge of maintaining a fleet of airplanes. Several of your planes go out on a mission, and only half of them come back with bullet holes peppered all through the wings. You have some spare sheets of metal to reinforce the armor on your planes before the next mission, but where do you place the armor? While you might be tempted to armor up the wings, you should put the armor on the fuselage. This riddle is an exercise in negative logic – since the planes that survived have wing damage, the planes that didn’t survive must’ve been damaged in another spot – the fuselage. Well, Sydney saw a lot of guys coming back from battle with scuffed up arms and legs and didn’t get the riddle. Because of his tragic misunderstanding, he’s wearing armor in every place but the ones that could instantly kill him. Nice.
Just because Aya’s sporting a bikini doesn’t mean she can’t make a few good decisions. In terms of anti-zombie weaponry, Aya’s made a great choice. Swords are efficient undead slayers that never run out of ammo and boast a decent reach to keep the flesheaters at bay. That, however, is where Aya’s foresight ends. From the ground up: heeled thigh-high boots are perhaps the worst footwear to don for a day that will require frenzied running aplenty, loose belts provide zombies a convenient handle, a feather boa only draws attention from the undead that would be better avoided, and a cowboy hat unnecessarily obscures vision that could be vital.
Calintz (Magna Carta)
Being a mercenary, Calintz should wear clothes that exude the confidence, power, and capability needed to sell himself as a warrior. Instead, his hip-exposing feather ensemble will more likely win him a hate crime than a contract from the good old boys in the military – the eye liner and expertly tweezed eyebrows won’t win any points either. His expertly fashioned hair, impeccable clothing, and unblemished skin indicate a lack of real battle experience. What’s more, sandals bound by rope and feather embellishments hamper quick movement on the battlefield. While in the game he may be an elegant warrior without peer, in real life Calintz would be more at home in a dance troupe than a mercenary brigade.
Taki (Soulcalibur II)
Surprisingly, out of all the characters in this list, Taki is the most practical. Her shoes are light, thin, and bound to her feet – perfect for a fleet-of-foot ninja. Her armor is unobtrusive and functional, able to deflect incoming projectiles or blades without hampering movement. But Taki’s biggest headache comes not from the size of her ample bosom, but in how her catsuit shapes to them. A normal ninja would want to bind and constrain the chest, but Taki’s suit features two giant boob socks specifically tailored to allow hers to swing as free as balls in boxers. This would be exceedingly painful, not to mention that these ballistic bags could hit trip wires or club unsuspecting guards over the head.
Ada Wong (Resident Evil 4)
Ada Wong’s sultry red number may exude femme fatale, but she won’t be too concerned about looking sexy when a mob of zombies comes a-devourin’. While the dress has a high cut allowing long strides for quick running, the excess material provides far too much opportunity for grabby pursuers. Ada’s dress isn’t even her biggest obstacle. Snapping a heel midflight won’t do wonders for her ability to survive a zombie attack, nor will stopping to slip them off and run barefoot. Perhaps when running short on ammo she could use the shoes as a weapon, ghetto style (RE6 to feature stiletto-to-the-head quick-time event confirmed – Ed).
Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)
What list would be complete without Cloud’s silver haired nemesis? While leather doesn’t make the best battle companion due to its constriction and insulation, Sephiroth’s coat and pants are far from being impractical. No, during combat ol’ Sephy would fare just fine. After the fight, however, he will quite literally have his hands full. Sporting a sword that is three times his arm’s reach, the nefarious nutjob would have to spin the sword around, grasp the blade and back the sword up two or three arm lengths before he could sheath the monstrosity. By then the counterweight of the handle would have likely sliced his own fingers off, which is to say nothing of the absurdities of walking around with a sheath that long on his hip.
Given that Ayumi is an adventurer/treasure hunter, the fragility of her clothes is her biggest issue. Wearing a thong bikini bottom is a precarious venture even when standing still. With all the climbing, jumping, tumbling, and combat Ayumi sees in a given day, it’s only be a matter of time before her outfit painfully and awkwardly skips the track, as it were. Her top faces a similar predicament, offering no support or restraint for a woman on the move. Sure, her garb makes for eye-catching cover art, but it would amount to little more than discomfort and embarrassing exposure in the real world.
Crackerjack (Street Fighter EX)
Crackerjack’s clothes are more fitting for a stage dance than a street fight. His shirt lapels are huge and protruded, which is great considering most grappling martial arts have chokes designed specifically for lapel grabs. What’s worse, wearing a tie to a fight is just begging the other pugilisit to grab it and bounce your head back and forth like a grotesque yo-yo. Provided that doesn’t land Crackerjack in the trauma ward of the local hospital, his excess and untrimmed hair gives any opponent an easily-grabbed handle for his entire cranium.
DJ Xia (Beatmania)
While I understand a DJ’s need to look trendy/cool, Xia’s gloves are downright wrong. Wearing cotton gloves drastically lowers the friction between her fingers and a record, drastically reducing her scratching skill. Additionally, she might drop a record during an LP change, which would drop the beat – a cardinal sin of the DJ. The feathers don’t help her problems either, given that they are already flying off in the official artwork. If one of these lands on a record during a breakdown, this might damage the needle – and those aren’t cheap. Not to mention that feathers free-floating around in a club could annoy the audience by landing in eyes or expensive drinks. Of course, they could all just be tripping balls on ecstasy and not care.
Shahdee (Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within)
At first look Shahdee’s outfit seems like a slam dunk. I mean, look at it. However, when in bladed combat, her metal bikini almost makes sense. The covering protects Shahdee from mortal slashes at most angles, as the sword could only sink into the flesh until the blade contacts the metal boning on either the front or back. Only her sides are exposed, and adopting any swordfighting stance would obscure those behind her forearm bracers. No, the critcial failing of Shahdee’s ensemble would be exposed on the first overnight freeze on the Island of Time. Picture a bleary Shahdee stumbling from bed wearing baggy boy shorts and a Wham! t-shirt while her clock radio blares Godsmack’s "I Stand Alone." Shahdee rolls her eyes with annoyance as she takes a hair dryer to her metal lingerie in order to prevent a nasty case of frostbite in a very tender area – not the most trouble free of clothing.