50 Most Iconic Video Game Characters of the 21st Century

From a blocky hero beloved by millions to the most memorable monsters and heroes modern games have to offer

Master Chief
Master Chief from 'Halo' series1/50

1. Master Chief

Whether you're an Xbox fan or not, Master Chief is part of that rarefied group of iconic game characters that boasts Mario, Sonic, and a small handful of others. While all of the characters on this 21st century list are beloved by fans of their respective series' and genres, Master Chief is a true pop culture icon whose significance transcends the reception of whatever game he might appear in. His faceless visage and striking silhouette are instantly recognizable to gamers and non-gamers alike, and a generation has grown up seeing him as an imposing representative of video games as a whole.

Iconic Moment: There are so many throughout the five Halo games in which the Chief has appeared, but for many, the simple exchange between the Chief and Cortana in Halo 3 when he finds her in the Flood-infected Covenant structure High Clarity is a perfect example of his heroic appeal. "You know me. When I make a promise..." he says. "You...keep it," Cortana responds.

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