The following is a list of characters that have appeared in video games. For one reason or another, these characters are fools. As you will see, the word ‘fool’ is a broad one, and it can indicate annoying people, people of low intelligence, or people who are clownish and funny. This isn’t one of those articles that isn’t really an article; it isn’t, in itself, a joke. I really did write it, and you really are about to read it – or, at least, to skim it as your train or bus or attention span spirits you away.
Jester – Devil May Cry 3
A fool cut from a classical mould with a sinister twist, Jester wore a purple catsuit with sleeves like ruffled crow’s feathers and skull-tipped pom-poms. His job, in Devil May Cry 3, wasn’t to amuse; much like the Joker from The New Batman Adventures (whose look – the skull-white skin, ripped mouth, black eyes, and beaky nose – Capcom clearly cribbed), his was a mission of irritation tinged with sinister motive. In fact, the one thing he wasn't was a fool, but he makes the list on the technicality of his name. Sue me.
Slippy Toad – Star Fox
The squat frame. The outrageous cap, pointlessly perched between the eyes. The constant smile, dictated by the shape of his head. The vacant expression. There’s always been something deeply annoying about Slippy Toad. What is he, if not a little fool? Of further frustration is his official post as mechanic/engineer/inventor for the Star Fox team. Absolutely not; there’s no way he can invent anything worthwhile with those tiny webbed hands. It’s telling that, as the series went on, Slippy was portrayed with fingerless gloves to show off credentials. That didn’t stop him from being a little idiot, though.
Daxter – Jak and/or Daxter
Daxter is the most conventional fool on the list so far – strange considering nothing else about him is remotely conventional. He’s an ottsel: half-otter, half-weasel. He speaks with a New York accent, despite hailing from a verdant village on an alien world. And despite his name coming after the ‘and’ of the title, he broke the sidekick ceiling with a spin-off game of his own. He’s a classic fool: cowardly, quivering, and quippy. His is the role of comic relief, livening and lightening the load of the murkier patches of plot.
Dan Hibiki – Street Fighter
Dan Hibiki is, understandably, the target of much scorn. This from Wikipedia: ‘Dan is consistently portrayed as an overconfident, arrogant, and utterly feeble character.’ It’s true; his hadouken travels barely a foot before fizzing out, and his kicks often precede a coltish stumble. Everything about him is foolish: the salmon-coloured suit, the ponytail, and the blinding grin. What's more is that he's a businessman who can’t even operate his own business; his Saikyo Dojo, which teaches his Saikyo-ryu style (meaning ‘Strongest style’) has no members at all. Which isn’t to say he has no fans – some people love him, while others have good taste and sense.
Roman Bellic – Grand Theft Auto IV
Roman Bellic’s shirts alone plant him firmly in the fool camp, but he works fastidiously to ensure that he stays there. His infamous obsession with bowling drew the ire of the fans, but he had a remarkable knack for chewing on the patience of the wrong people, like a dog with a newspaper. Nico rushed to Roman’s rescue a number of times – one of which involved finding him crouched in a dumpster – and it was Roman’s outlandish boasts that lured Nico to Liberty City, and thence into a marsh of trouble to begin with. To top it all off, Roman looks like David Brent: the essential icon of foolishness.
Frogger – Frogger
Frogger attempts to cross a busy road, which is a stupid thing for anyone – let alone a frog – to be doing. Moreover, he attemps it at the height of rush hour. He’s a moron.
Johnny Sasaki – Metal Gear Solid
Poor old Johnny Sasaki. In a series brimming with bizarro characters – people who control bees, people who control lightning, people who control the minds of others – he is famed for being unable to control the release of his bowels. Sasaki was introduced in Metal Gear Solid, in which he was stripped of all dignity – and clothing. He was part of Liquid Snake’s revolt, but wound up catching a cold, suffering from diarrhea, falling in love with Meryl (who he was charged with guarding) and gullibly unlocking prison cells. Eventually, Johnny rose to respectability, joining a special forces unit and marrying Meryl, but it’s still the sight of him clutching his gut and running for the toilet that people remember.
Winston Jeeves – Tomb Raider
Winston Jeeves was born on February 7th, 1924, in Ireland. He fought bravely in the second world war, in the scalding sands of Egypt (long before Lara would use the place as a sandbox) and was honourably discharged after being wounded. He then went into the service of an aristocrat gadabout called Lord Henshingly croft, raising the man’s daughter while he ‘adventured’ round the globe. When the daughter – Lady Lara Croft, the 11th Countess of Abbingdon -- came of age, Jeeves went, without protest, into her service. His reward for these long, lean years of stoic sacrifice was cold and cruel: he was locked in a fridge, to be remembered always as a jabbering fool. Spare a sombre thought for Winston, this April Fool’s Day.