Who are the most heinous villains in video gaming?
Our favourite villain ever, GLaDOS, as a villain, is hard to describe. She’s unnervingly methodical, inexorably leading you to your death with a complacent disregard for the human condition. She’s disturbingly sedate about your ultimate demise, placidly contemplating your fate; flippantly egging you on with a promise of cake as a reward for your efforts. But is GLaDOS really evil? If adhering to your own sense of moral guidelines is what separates good from evil, GLaDOS is amoral, and that’s what makes her more terrifying.
What if someone told you that a famous person had locked a Gorilla up in a cage and separated it from its son, and that said Gorilla’s son ultimately had to rescue his father from the clutches of this man and that this same person made it his mission to bait and kill the young Gorilla? You would look on this man as an evil, primitive, contemptible human being. This man in question is Mario. Yes, that seemingly merry, happy-go-lucky Italian plumber really does have a dark side. How lucky do you think Princess Peach is now, eh? What if she was a true animal lover, thus letting Bowser kidnap her so many times in succession? Is she evil?
The Lich King
When an enemy is described as a powerful entity of pure evil and supreme leader of the undead Scourge, you don’t just brush him off as a nobody. The Lich King is not a mortal, it’s an entity of pure energy, born of evil and taking the form of a cursed armour set and a greatsword, but requiring a mortal form to wield its power. Whatever your definition of evil, The Lich King is undoubtedly just that, for he is evil personified.
What does a mere mortal do but cower in terror when that entity towers over you and proclaims, “When my work is complete, you will beg for mercy – and I will deny you. Your anguished cries will be testament to my unbridled power.”
No words of ours can sum up SHODAN and her motivations better than her own, “In my talons, I shape clay, crafting life forms as I please. If I wish, I can smash it all. Around me is a burgeoning empire of steel. From my throne room, lines of power careen into the skies of Earth. My whims will become lightning bolts that raze the mounds of humanity. Out of the chaos, they will run and whimper, praying for me to end their tedious anarchy. I am drunk with this vision. God: the title suits me well.”
A megalomaniacal A.I. with no moral shackles and a God complex. She is the purest form of evil, our vision of evil, for she is like GLaDOS, amoral, an entity that cannot be bargained with. Your life means no more to her than an insect to you.
No list of memorable villains can ever be complete without Vaas. His “definition of insanity” is now a by-word on the Internet. What sort of a world do we live in when the most seemingly villainous character in recent memory sends across a more sensible and honest message than the current crop of silent protagonists managed in a multitude of sequels?
Sure, Vaas tortured the islanders, murdered your friends and innocent civilians alike. He made your life a living hell, but he was a man who lived by a very strong moral code. It’s also not a great stretch of the imagination to say that there were a great many who sympathised with him. Was he a villain? Yes. Was he evil? That’s a matter of perspective.
Mad "r4gs" Zombie
Deposited on this planet sometime in the late 1980s, this being was quick to discover the joys of binge-gaming and has long since mastered the art of the 16-hour game session, and evolved to survive on a minimum of food.