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The Most Recognizable Video Game Characters

Spending time together with schoolmates may have included internet companions for many millennials. Characters such as Mario and Luigi, as well as the rest of the video game ensemble, were frequently vital components of our childhoods. But which ones left the greatest of an effect on you? And are these fictitious characters more likely to be recognized by millennials than several of the world's most powerful leaders, pro athletes, or performers?

With a few exceptions, the simple answer is yes — we understand our digital game personalities more than our real-life politicians and pop culture stars. We polled over 600 millennials around the country, asking them to identify images of celebrities ranging from Cardi B to LeBron James and President Donald Trump. Continue reading to learn how the personas that live purely in the digital realm compare to these real-life individuals.

The Most Memorable in America


Whether you're a part of a generation who doesn't know who Pikachu, Mario, or Pac-Man are, you're in the minority. This group accurately identified Mario 86.5 percent of the time, Pikachu 86.5 percent of the time, and Pac-Man 85.5 percent of the time. Luigi, Mario's slightly lesser-known green-suited sidekick, was identified as such by 85 percent of respondents. A rare edition of "Super Mario Bros." just bought for a fee of $100,000, ranking it the most valuable video game ever sold and highlighting the franchise's appeal.

When you were younger, Pokémon may have wiped away your (as well as your parents') pockets as well. The media brand has already earned more than $90 billion in total sales, thanks to stunning accomplishments in cinema and retail.

Pac-Man was a hit long before millennials' peak video game-playing days, but he's still burnt into their memories. Pac-Man was accurately identified by more than 85 percent of this generation, barely surpassing Luigi and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Princess Peach, the ruler of a fictitious mushroom empire in the Mario universe, was the most well-known female gaming character. For 80.1 percent of our responses, her pink clothing, blond hair, and crown conjured up the appropriate name.

In Real Life Rankings


As millennials grew older, their favorite video game characters remained in their existence, but new faces arrived on their screens too though. Certain groups of persons (both virtual and in everyday life) were more recognized than others, as seen in the chart above. Politicians scored quite highly in terms of identification, with more than 50 percent of respondents accurately identifying all of them. President Trump would be pleased to learn and he's more well-known than Mario. Toad outperformed Robert Mueller and Chuck Schumer by a wide margin. Mitch McConnell, on the contrary, outperformed Charizard with a 58 percent identification rate.

Athletes, regardless of how prominent they are, are still no comparison for so many game characters in order of recognition. Less than half of those polled recognized Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and Tom Brady. Despite the fact that they aren't accustomed to succumbing to real competitors, these famous athletes were defeated by Donkey Kong, Yoshi, and Kirby by a landslide.

Electric vs. Political Power


In popularity polls, Nintendo characters continued to beat politicians. Seventy-nine percent of individuals knew who Donkey Kong was, while just 53.1 percent knew who Prime Minister Boris Johnson was. While 65% correctly named Toad, just 61.3% properly identified Beto O'Rourke. Finally, when compared to Bowser, Mitch McConnell experienced an image blow, with 5 percentile points fewer people able to know him by name.

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren would've lost her campaign to Princess Peach. Just 68.6% knew Warren solely based on her photo, compared to a whopping 80 percent for Peach. Princess Peach might be able to become a governor in her own capacity.

Lyrics vs. Lara Croft


Lara Croft, the tomb raider, easily surpassed Cardi B in terms of identifiability. Cardi B, on the other hand, was a strong opponent, since she was accurately recognized by greater than half (53.9 percent) of participants. The popular artist has also collected a reputed $8 million, so this competition is unlikely to knock her down.

Blake Shelton, "The Voice" presenter and country music icon, was frequently mistaken for another country artist, Luke Bryan. This cost him a lot of points as compared to Charizard, who was properly identified by roughly 17 percentage points higher participants.

Lil Nas X was connected with an unexpected result. Despite the fact that the rapper and singer led the Billboard Hot 100 List for 19 weeks in a row, just 16% of millennials recognized him. His voice, rather than his face, is perhaps his most distinguishing feature!

Athletes and Fighters

In a popularity contest, Stephen Curry was defeated by Sonic the Hedgehog. Even LeBron James couldn't compete with Yoshi, the Nintendo dinosaur. While responders correctly identified Sonic and Yoshi 85.1 percent and 77.2 percent of the time, correspondingly, LeBron James and Stephen Curry could only do so 61.3 percent and 53.6 percent of the time.

Finally, we put Crash Bandicoot against MMA fighter Conor McGregor, dubbed "The Notorious." Conor not only did not win this bout, but he has also hasn't been succeeding in his own arena, after reports of both uninvited fighting and destroying a stranger's phone.

Virtual Recognition

Millennials identified with their favorite video game avatars more than professional sports, prominent politicians, including some of the world's most popular artists. Mario consistently outperformed basketball stars, singers, and even international politicians in terms of identifiability.

However, being known for the sake of being noticed isn't necessarily a good thing. Rather than being well-known, strive to be well-known. And, in any case, don't take yourself too seriously.

Our Method

We presented 593 millennials with a sequence of photographs and asked them, "Who is the person or video game character?" to create the statistics displayed above. Respondents were asked to input the identity of the individual or character - only first and last names were accepted. Respondents were needed to pass generally effective questions that validated each respondent's identity in order to be eligible for this recognition task:

  • Listened to music
  • Played video games a minimum of four hours per week
  • Were part of a sports fandom
  • Established their political association
  • Watched TV four hours a week

We erred on the side of compassion in accepting respondents' replies when it came to spelling errors and evident indicators of familiarity. We recognized and excluded entries that only correctly identified a handful of the statistics displayed to maintain data integrity. In some situations, nicknames or "creative" replies were provided; in all of these circumstances, a serious attempt was made to discover whether respondents knew the personalities. This content was generated for the purpose of enjoyment.