A great beard is an unassailable symbol of masculinity—something not lost on the designers of The Witcher 3, which features real-time beard growth, and Metal Gear Solid V, whose protagonist’s beard is only matched in awesomeness by his robotic cyborg arm.
But those are the obvious ones, and there are copious other games out there that depict various forms of facial hair in all its glory. From scattered stubble to full face monstrosities, we’ve come across all forms of bearded manliness over the years of gaming. Here’s a look back at a few less-remembered—and immensely underrated—characters who rocked their unique facial hair stylings with pride.
THE KING OF ALL COSMOS
Game: ‘Katamary Damacy’
Katamari Damacy seemed like a game destined to failure in the U.S. with its incredibly oddball concept of rolling a cosmic snowball through houses and cities until it sucks up everything in its path. Yet something about those bright, trippy visuals and fantastically peppy soundtrack got players hooked. Which means that thousands of gamers out there had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with The King of All Cosmos.
He’s an intriguing sort of man-god-weirdo. As he makes demands of his son, the Prince, with his record scratch voice we’re not quite sure what to think. Thankfully, his perfectly groomed facial hair alerts players that we’re truly in the presence of a King. From his immaculately trimmed chin, to huge but well-groomed mutton chops it’s impossible to look away. Topping it all off with a devilishly pointed moustache just completes the package that is uniquely The King of All Cosmos.
LittleBigPlanet lets creative players build and explore custom Mario-style platformer levels, playing as their personal burlap Sackboys and Sackgirls. You actually get to deck your Sackperson out however you damn well please, leading to many an awesome beard.
Want to have a great white beard and Santa cap? That’s possible! Or heck, get wild by equipping a yard-long “druid” beard. There are countless other choices in the series. You heard it here first: Equippable beards are the future.
ERIK THE SWIFT
Game: ‘The Lost Vikings’
Who would’ve guessed the tiny developer behind The Lost Vikings would eventually go on to make games of epic proportions? World of Warcraft, Diablo and more developer Blizzard may have moved on from this platformer of yore, but a recent addition of the viking trio to the new Heroes of the Storm game shows there’s still love for their earliest franchises.
Erik the Swift is just one of the playable vikings, but he also happens to be the best, in part because of those epic red face-curls. Baleog is beard-free and Olaf’s blonde pigtail beard styling leave something to be desired. When someone thinks of a typical viking, it’s Erik the Swift’s masculine mug with grandiose beard being imagined even if they’ve never played the game.
Game: ‘Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney’
It’s thanks to the Phoenix Wright series that hordes of western gamers were unexpectedly introduced to the concept of visual novels. Trial after trial, players got wrapped right up in the narrative thanks to a cast of quirky characters. Although most disappeared after a single game, one remained the same: The Judge.
The Judge apparently has no real name. He may also have no chin for all we know, with how completely his tremendous white bushy beard dominates his face. This gigantic outcropping of facial hair is the first thing everyone notices about this presiding Judge—and it’s probably for the best. His beard-based grandeur is about all he’s got. This poor Judge actually seems to have no idea of how to handle his own job, and that’s far from the craziest aspect of the Phoenix Wright series.
Game: ‘Sunset Riders’
Sunset Riders ruled the arcades for a brief period in 1991. With room for four players and a cool cowboy theme, it was hard for anyone to ignore. Many an insecure little boy did everything in his power not to play as “the pink guy,” but they were looking at it all wrong: Cormano the manliest character of them all. Look past his borderline offensive stereotypical pink Mexican poncho and you’ll notice his magnificent flowing beard.
It’s obvious he has little time for maintenance and lets it grow between shootouts. If that’s not a powerful show of cowboy attitude then I don’t know what is.
Marcus Estrada has been gaming the vast majority of his life and still hasn’t gotten tired of it. When not playing a new release, most of his time is spent writing about wonderful/weird indie titles and visual novels. Of course, Marcus has also been known to play outrageously popular games from time to time as well. His writing can be found on HardcoreGamer, G4@Syfygames, and Cliqist.
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