Think of a game in which you control a character (so no Tetris or anything) — go ahead, any game! Now, chances are, whichever game you've picked, its protagonist is either young or, at the most, middle-aged. You've got the likes of Link, Mario, Samus, Cloud, Joker, Neku, Scott Pilgrim... We could go on, but you get the idea.
It's a shame that senior characters (which we'll loosely define here as a person who's around retirement age or older) aren't represented more in gaming; after all, Nintendo's remarkable ability to create games suitable for all ages means that people like Audie (A.K.A the 'Animal Crossing Grandma') enjoy gaming into their 90s and beyond.
So with that in mind, we thought we'd compile some of our favourite elderly characters in gaming; we've got everything here from cute grandmas to gothic vampires, so strap yourselves in folks — old or otherwise — and be sure to let us know your own favourite OAPs in gaming; we may just add your suggestion in!
Grandma - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Link's Grandma is an absolute sweetheart, isn't she? The guardian of both Link and his sister Aryll in Wind Waker, you could perhaps argue that she's not the most vigilant caretaker on Outset Island, but that in no way diminishes her love for the two grandchildren.
It's particularly heartbreaking when you return to the island later in the game to discover the poor woman is incapacitated by depression, cured only by the healing properties of a Fairy. Once she's back up and running, Grandma does what any beloved grandparent does when Link returns to her house: makes sure he's well-fed with some delicious Elixir Soup. We love you, Grandma!
Cranky Kong - DK
Taking on the often overused stereotype of elderly people being perpetually grumpy, Cranky Kong is exactly that — cranky. He's often fixated on the glory days of the 8-bit era, and frequently talks down to Donkey Kong (albeit in a rather lovable way). Nevertheless, his multiple appearances throughout the Donkey Kong franchise just feels right, and we personally wouldn't want him any other way.
Just lighten up a bit, huh CK?
Toadsworth - Super Mario Sunshine
Having being locked away and subsequently forced to clean up Delfino Island for a crime he didn't commit, Mario is in somewhat of a pickle at the start of Super Mario Sunshine. It's a good thing, then, that the lovable elderly steward Toadsworth is there to not only offer up advice (okay, admittedly not very good advice) but simply exude an altogether calming aura.
It's no wonder the character has stuck around in the years since, but after his absence from the likes of Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Odyssey, we sincerely hope to see him make a proper return soon.
Professor E. Gadd - Luigi's Mansion
Professor E. Gadd is just ruddy hilarious, let's be honest. His jibber-jabber way of talking had made him one of the most beloved of all Nintendo characters since his debut in the GameCube's Luigi's Mansion. A true genius, his inventions are both wacky and inspired in design, and we can always rely on him when a few ghosts and ghouls come roaming about.
Impa - Breath of the Wild
The wise elder in Kakariko Village is the quintessential mentor character. While she's been a presence in the majority of Zelda titles, her appearance in Breath of the Wild is perhaps the most significant, if only for the excellent backstory provided in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.
And let's not forget, of course, that she wears an incredible hat, complete with ruddy pendulums hanging around the edge! If that doesn't qualify her for this list, then we don't know what will.
Tortimer - Animal Crossing
Tortimer is just living the dream, isn't he? Once the mayor of Animal Crossing's town, he now prefers to spend his time going on lovely holidays or just simply napping. What a guy. Once believed to be an expert gardener, he even had an entire island named after him in New Leaf!
Just don't suggest that his shell might be fake... Heh heh horf!
All of them - Later Daters
Why just settle for one good character when you can have a whole bunch of 'em? The cast of Later Daters is an endearing selection of seniors who reside at the Ye OLDE Retirement Community, and they're a randy bunch, too!
Everyone at Ye OLDE is up for adventure, old age be damned. It's a fine reminder that age is just a number and that you'll always be a young, spritely whippersnapper in spirit — if you so choose.
Dr. Light - Mega Man
The creator of Mega Man, you could argue that Dr. Light is responsible for bringing such beautiful games to the world... Actually no, that's Akira Kitamura. Dr. Light is Mega Man's actual father and creator, and spends his time creating further inventions to help Mega Man defeat the evil Dr. Wily and his Robot Masters.
Without him, well... where would we be?
Dr. Wily - Mega Man
Dr. Wily is the yang to Dr. Light's yin. The Saruman to his Gandalf. The Man in Black to The Gunslinger. You simply can't have one without the other. Dr. Wily can't be considered to be "good" as such; he's a proper rotter, after all.
But without Wily, what on earth would Mega Man spend his time doing? Cutting up fruit with his Metal Blade? How dull.
Mayor Lewis - Stardew Valley
Mayor Lewis is like the Tortimer of Stardew Valley, but without the big shell and deep love for napping. He's the first person you meet when you arrive on your new farm, and what a calming presence he is — just look at that moustache! Magnificent.
He's apparently never been married or had any kind of family due to his deep commitment to his mayoral duties, and we think that is incredibly noble. Hats off, sir.
Dracula - Castlevania
Wait, Dracula's not old, is he? Well yeah, he kinda is. Centuries old, no less!
He's not exactly an OAP in the strictest sense; after all, the very concept of being a vampire is achieving eternal youth, but we reckon that his being on this plain of existence for such a long time grants him permission to feature on this list. Think of the life experience he's obtained during his years!
Rab - Dragon Quest XI
Okay, now we know Mayor Lewis has a pretty good moustache, but goodness, look at this thing! Hefty!
Rab is an altogether gentle yet slightly mischievous fellow with a certain eye for the ladies, but he's also a decent bloke to have by your side while you're off adventuring. Though his age sometimes gets the better of him, he's always ready to go the extra mile for his allies.
Geralt - The Witcher
Hang on now, this is silly; Geralt isn't old! Well, again... he is. He's said to be around 90-100 during the events of The Witcher III — definitely old enough to claim a free bus pass. It's obvious that Witchers don't age like regular humans, so he's still got the 'God Bod' of a young athlete, even if his general demeanour is more like that of the stereotypical pensioner; a bit grumpy, and spends his free time playing cards.
Still, we love Geralt, and we're not quite so afraid of Botchlings with him around.
So there you have it! We'd love to expand this feature in the future, so if you have any suggestions for characters we may have missed, then please do let us know in the comments!