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2010/03/17

7 Top Irish Characters from Video Games [St. Patrick’s Day]

St. Patrick's Day

7topirisha

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, as we all know. I thought about what I could do as a special post or editorial for today, and I thought, why not try and find as many games as possible that take place in Ireland, or contain Irish characters.

As far as I can tell, the list is short, seeing as most games take place in America as we all know, or centre around American characters. Call of Duty games might have had the odd soldier whose name was O’Doyle (typically Irish), who would end up getting slaughtered and replaced by more cannon fodder.

What I’m after is characters who are central to the game and its plot. I managed to find about 7, which is fitting, seeing as they talk about the luck of the Irish and all that, and 7 is a lucky number.

Why did I decide to do this? Well, other than a lack of notable Irish characters in games, I am part Irish myself, from my dad’s side. I looked up on the internet not only to try and find some Irish characters in video games, but also to see if anyone else had tackled this before. It turns out that last year, That Aussie Game Site tried their hand at it, and managed to get five Irish characters which they claim are the “only 5”, of which this article shares three. The others are all mine, I tell ya.

The following are in no particular order, except chronological (by date of appearance).

I present “7 Top-o’-tha-mornin’-to-ya Irish Characters from Video Games”

Nina Williams from Tekken (1994 - )

NW You’ll never guess who I originally had in this place before I decided at the last minute to add Nina here instead. John McClane. That’s right – Die Hard man. But he’s Irish-American though, and there are plenty of those around. Nina was actually born and raised in Ireland, even though I never really knew about it. But it’s true – it’s right there on Wikipedia. She’s one of the only recognised fictional Irish female characters in games. So how could we be sexist and not include her; this blonde sex bomb?

Nina was born and raised in Ireland along with her younger sister, Anna, who later became Nina’s arch nemesis. Nina was trained in martial arts from an early age, and was destined to become a cold blooded assassin who just happened to be able to kill with her good looks and fashion sense too.

the rivalry between the two sisters began, and not just through fighting, but due to the fact that both craved the attention of their father, Richard Williams. Some call it a love/hate relationship. Both later blamed each other over the death of their beloved father, when he was, in reality, murdered by someone else when the girls were still very young.

Not much information was ever given on Heather Williams, the girls’ mother.

AW Despite being born in the early 1960’s, and way into MILF territory age wise, Nina managed to stay youthful looking because of her participation in cryonic experiments, as did her sister, who either couldn’t be without her in life, even though they hated each other, or wouldn't stand for Nina keeping her youth, an Anna losing it. After nearly twenty years in cryonic sleep, Nina suffered Amnesia when she was awoken. And to top it off, she even had a child through In vitro fertilization during cryosleep, and was later sent to kill her son, whom she didn’t actually know was her son. Complicated.

Anyway, she later got most if not all of her memory back. I’m starting to think of that film The Long Kiss Goodnight, now.

Personality wise, Nina might be attractive, to say the least, and has been featured on many hottest girls of games lists, but inside she’s a machine; and a mess. Can you blame her though? Unlike most girls, she was trained early on to be a killer, and has been through a lot of emotional torment. It’s left her desensitized, cold, and without humour for the most part.

Even though she was born in Ireland, in later Tekken games, her voice sounds American in accent. Could be poor character development, or intentional, seeing as perhaps she lost her Irish-ness during her lifetime. Shame.

Aside from starring in ever one the games in the Tekken series, Nina was also the protagonist in her own spin-off title, called Death by Degrees. She was about the only good thing in it, apparently.

Also an interesting thing to note is that South African model and singer, Candice Hillebrand is set to play the role of Nina in a film adaptation of Tekken. No doubt the movie will suck, but still.

The Green Beret (Jack O’Hara) from Commandos (1998 - )

CGB The Green Beret was known by another name in the Commandos series: killing machine. Oh, and there’s that terribly ironic nickname of “Tiny”, but call him that if you’re not his friend or part of the team, and he’ll likely bust you up nicely.

They claimed that alone, this Dublin-born one man army could take out an entire enemy regiment. Big, strong, specially trained, and armed to the teeth, as well as using tools and employing several tactics such as burying himself in the ground, and springing out on an unsuspecting Nazi, Jack O’Hara was the all-rounder, general use, indispensable soldier that was used in almost every mission.

And when he ran out of bullets, or lost his trusty knife, he could just use what brought him to the dance – and put him in prison, sentenced to forced labour: his fists. Jack was a boxing champion in the army during the 30’s, before the war, and knows how to use his hands as weapons, knocking out or potentially killing people who dare cross this ill-tempered, rebellious, imposing brute. He landed up in prison because he punched a superior officer. His sentence was later suspended when he agreed to join the Commandos, and despite his problems with authority, he ironically became their leader. He was later promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

Patrick Galloway from Clive Barker's Undying (2001)

PG

If there was one game that likely few people remember or haven’t even played, that was very Irish indeed, it was Clive Barker’s Undying. The game took place in parts of Ireland, and it was easy to tell, by looking at the rolling green hills that surrounded the Covenant Estate. Although the Covenant family was English, the protagonist in the story, Patrick Galloway, was Irish, and had fought in the Great War under the command of Jeremiah, and travelled the Orient after being exiled from his homeland by Count Otto Keisinger, who supposedly killed a young girl and framed Patrick for the murder..

He was eventually called back to Ireland in the 1920’s by letter from Jeremiah, asking him to help with his paranormal investigative abilities, and solve a mystery that had been plaguing his family for decades, since he and his siblings were very young.

Patrick, in addition to using weapons, can use magical spells due to his arcane knowledge. He can use his revolver and powers at the same time, seeing as even though he is predominantly left handed, he has remarkable ambidexterity. This is all long before BioShock 2 came along.

He can also summon the power of the Gel'zibar stone around his neck, which is responsible for the scar he has over his eye, and the burns he received during the war. He can also use his ability to scrye, which lets him see visions from the past. He at one point even goes back in time to retrieve the Scythe of the Celt in order to go after all of Jeremiah’s siblings and execute them.

Along Patrick’s travels in the game, he eventually comes across another Irishman named Sedgewick, the lighthouse keeper, who’d lost his son, Conor, who was killed by Ambrose, of the Covenant siblings (and voiced by Clive Barker). There were several Irish characters in the game, mainly the help, or servants, in and around the estate and its grounds.

Patrick is probably the nicest, most down-to-earth, and good-hearted man in this bunch of stereotypical bastards. And he’s even named Patrick, just like St. Patrick. Saintly Patrick. Some similarities there, perhaps.

Atlas from BioShock (2007)

BA Okay, I know, if you’ve played through BioShock, you know who this guy really is, but for most of the game, you were ordered around by Atlas (named after Atlas Shrugged, the inspiration for the game), a forty year old, politically ambitious family man, who opposed the maniacal Andrew Ryan, the man behind Rapture.

And you did exactly as he said, as he uttered the words “Would You Kindly” in his faux Irish accent. Atlas says his motives for helping Jack, the player, are to find his wife, Moira, and his child Patrick, and escape rapture.

You never actually meet Atlas in person, and he only communicates with you from a distance.

In the end though, about two thirds through the game, you find out that Atlas ended up being none other than smuggler, mobster, and conman Frank Fontaine. He’d been posing as this character after faking his death after supposedly being killed by the Rapture security force.

So, Atlas isn’t really Irish at all. But for most of the game he appears that way, and let’s be honest: did anyone really see it coming, when he revealed who he really was? Yeah, go ahead and lie, you… liar. But I had to feature Atlas here, because he’s one of the most memorable characters from not just BioShock, but any game in recent memory.

Colin Moriarty from Fallout 3 (2008)

CMF3 Colin is probably the first character in Fallout 3 that really shows you how bad some people in the world outside the vault really are.

He is the local saloon owner in Megaton, the town nearest Vault 101. He inherited the saloon from his Father, who came to the wasteland from Ireland, and took Colin with him. He was killed when Colin was in his late teens. At the time the game takes place, he’s about fifty, evidenced by his full head of grey hair and scraggly beard, which makes him look a little older, actually.

In less than five minutes of speaking to him, he’s popped that little bubble you were living in before escaping out to the wasteland, and also spilled the beans on your father’s supposed whereabouts, after he asked you for some money, that is. Of course that early in the game, you might not have the money, and so you’re tasked with hunting down one of his former prostitutes, Silver, who worked at the saloon along with Nova, and Colin’s slave bartender, Gob the Ghoul.

It’s possible that Colin isn’t the only Irishman in Fallout 3. There are at least two others who might be of Irish descent although there’s no evidence besides the names. There’s Moira in Megaton, whose name and red hair might make one think she’s Irish. And there’s Reilly of Reilly’s Rangers. But these are suspected people of Irish origin, whereas it’s confirmed that Colin is in fact from that part of the world.

Of course, Liam Neeson, the  actor who voiced the part of the player’s father, James, is an Irish actor.

Frank Bilders from Far Cry 2 (2008)

FBFC2

Okay so Frank may not really be that central to the plot of Far Cry 2, seeing as you can play as any character really, although they do have different stats and such, which is to be expected when you can choose from a line-up of different people to play as.

Needless to say, I played as Frank in Far Cry 2.

Speaking of a line-up, Frank has been in and out of trouble with the law his entire life it seems. He grew up in war-torn Belfast, Northern Ireland, and pretty much went the same way as his father, who went to prison for being involved in a bombing.

Frank ended up being recruited by militants, and acted as a courier when he was in late teens. He then went onto extortion from there, and became well known and wanted by the police. He was arrested by 22, and sentenced for five years because of involvement with the IRA. He was sent to The Maze, a prison in Northern Ireland, and was said to have killed four other inmates before being brutally beaten and “knee-capped” when he was ambushed in the prison machine shop. It was after this that he spent time in the prison hospital, and was later released.

He left Northern Ireland, and then in his late twenties went all over the world, presumably as a mercenary for hire as well as delving in other illegal endeavours, in parts of Europe and Asia. It was this point that he was no longer just fluent in English and Irish Gaelic, but also learned to speak the big two languages of the world: French and Spanish.

After the events of 9/11, he decided to give retirement a go, and left to go and live in South Africa (where I am!).

No doubt Frank isn’t the prettiest guy in the world, probably has been in a bunch of bar brawls, likes to wink, and wears green tops = Irish.

Sean Devlin from The Saboteur (2009)

Sean More recently, we had another Irish character in The Saboteur, yet another title set in World War II, and his name was Sean Devlin.

Sean started off as a mechanic and later on got into race car driving. He comes across another racer named Kurt Dierker, a German fella, and also a Nazi, who caused Sean to lose the race in the German Grand Prix when he shot out one of the tires on his car.

Later on, he decides to help the French Resistance and oust the Nazis from Paris, but for his own reasons: his French friend, Jules, was killed by Kurt, after both he and Sean were captured and tortured after they tried to sabotage Kurt’s car – an act of revenge for making Sean lose the race.

Sean moves on to Paris after the invasion of France, and feels remorse for his friend Jules’ death. Sean wants revenge again.

Sean, based on the war hero William Grover-Williams, embodies the old Irish stereotype to a T (or whiskey in his case). Sean is a brawling, drinking, smoking, cussing, womanizing rebel, looking to take on the Nazis all on his very own. The only thing he seems to be lacking is red hair.

And I realized the likely reason they decided to make Sean Irish in the game, was because one of the creative sorts on the team who made the game was Irish. Could just be coincidence though.

Other Irish Characters that might exist [Best of the rest]:

These characters below were ones that haven’t been included in the list, otherwise it would’ve gone over 7 characters. And I wanted to stick with that number for the purpose of the article. Some of these games mentioned below I haven’t played, and these characters I haven’t even seen. So I didn’t think I could bring myself to write in depth on them.

It’s possible that the below characters might be featured in a follow up article, “7 More Top Irish Characters from Video Games”. Maybe next year? Funny, once you get to researching, there are more fictional Irish characters out there than you think. Only a few of them are truly Irish though, and not Irish-American, or anything.

Fox McCloud from Star Fox and Super Smash Bros Brawl

Some people argue that this character might either be Irish or Scottish, apparently. Never played either of the games, though.

Sergeant John Forge from Halo Wars

This character was confirmed by one of the developers as probably being Irish, although not much thought was put into it while developing the character.

Packie, or Patrick, McReary and family from GTA IV

Irish-American gang member.

Henry from No More Heroes

Never played it, never seen him.

Vince McMahon from WWE games

I guess this could count, although he’s more of an Irish-American. Vinnie not only is the chairman of the board of the WWE, but he’s also appeared in some games based on the wrestling brands, either as a wrestler or a commentator, some of which I’ve played. I guess this would also mean that Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon, who’ve also featured in some of the games.

Other characters who have either appeared in some wrestling games or will in the future could include Dave Finlay, Seamus, Balls Mahoney, and Hornswoggle. Quite a few in the WWE. I wonder why…

Pretty much everyone from Folklore

Read that this game is apparently like an Irish Fable or something. Wouldn’t know since I haven’t even played it before.

More dudes who have games, but mainly Irish-American:

Alex Murphy [RoboCop]

Joe Quimby [The Simpsons]

Leon S. Kennedy [Resident Evil]

Marty McFly [Back to the Future]

John Connor [Terminator]

John Clark [Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six]

John McClane [Die Hard Trilogy]


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