Democracy In Action (Games): Vote Freeman

Go Gordon!

Valve have launched an appeal for users of Steam to vote for Gordon Freeman as the “All Time Greatest Game Hero” on Gamespot’s site. Which brings the whole thing to our attention. It’s surely only right to see a PC character winning the battle against huge competition like Mario and Link. Currently Mr Freeman is holding a tenuous lead against Zelda’s pointy-hatted friend, 55% to 45%. Of course, don’t think it’s only the bespectacled mute that merits your vote – it’s just that he’s the only PC boy left. Duke Nukem was trounced by Link, and astonishingly The Nameless One was taken out in the first round by Ninja Gaiden’s Ryu Hayabusa. Seriously, we need to get in there to sort this mess out. The current voting audience saw fit to select Resident Evil’s Leon S. Kennedy over JC Denton. Good grief.

We’re more sympathetic to Shadow of the Colossus’s Wander beating Guybrush Threepwood – that’s a tough first round pick to be sure. But any voting audience that thinks Punch Out’s Little Mac is better than Phoenix Wright should be arrested and dissolved. Other PC characters weeded out in the first round include the Jedi Knight series’ Kyle Katarn being beaten by Ms Croft, and Thief’s Garrett ousted by bloody Frogger. (Although it’s hard not to slightly love the vote when you see Master Chief taken out in round one by Bub & Bob.)

Edit: Oh lord, I just noticed Manny Calavera was beaten by sodding Dante.

It’s at semi final stage now, with Mario taking on the lovely Samus Aran, and Gordon Freeman versus Link. It would be an incredible victory to see our boy taking on the might of such iconic heroes, so why not go along and offer your vote. Feel free to be thinking of JC Denton when you click on Gordon – he’d understand.


  1. Choca says:

    I’d like to point out that Masterchief got his ass kicked by Bub & Bob :D

  2. Babs says:

    The problem is that Link is actually a better character than Freeman. He’s got a longer lineage, is more ‘iconic’ and most importantly IS AN ACTUAL CHARACTER.

    Gordon Freeman is utterly vacant. All of the personality in the Valve games comes from the people around you during the game, Gordon doesn’t do a damn thing. How can such a non-entity be the greatest game hero of a all time?

    Guybrush Threepwood should have won.

    • Choca says:

      Yeah I kinda agree, especially on the Guybrush Threepwood part :p

    • Kester says:

      Double agreed. It’s kind of sad that the only PC character with any brand recognition is faceless and speechless. Hardly an icon worth celebrating.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      What’s Link’s personality, as a matter of interest?

      EDIT: And doesn’t speak either. Frankly mute standard fantasy hero < Scientist Turned hero. KG

    • John Walker says:

      You can *rename* Link. That’s how little personality he has.

    • Choca says:

      Well, excuuuuuuuuuuuse me Kieron but he does speak sometimes : link to

      I know it’s not in any game (or maybe it is, I’m not much of a Zelda fan) but I just wanted to link this video :D

    • nakke says:

      holy shit
      How can he say that so annoyingly

    • AndrewC says:

      The way he has to reach up to open a door when he is a kid, or almost falls into chests, the little noises he makes when he’s cold or gets hurt, how happy he is when he gets an item. The little-boy yell when he does his sword swipe. He’s full of character, without any words. He’s the little boy out in the big world, having his first adventure, scared and excited at the same time. Lovely!

      And then, when he grows up, that he doesn’t have to reach up to the doorknob makes a huge impact. He’s capable now, he’s experienced, and also has lost his innocence and sense of wonder. Character progression!

      Link is full of character, and Kieron is full of smelly poo.

    • Richeh says:

      And now I can’t watch Star Wars. Cheers, Choca.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Freeman did beat Snake, though. So the Kojima fans must have stayed at home. Probably still only half-way through the intro cutscene to MGS4.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Andrew: So… “generic”, yeah?


    • Mr Pink says:

      I’m pretty sure Pheonix Wright should have won the whole thing.

    • AndrewC says:

      “a masterclass in creating a sympathetic character through the bare minimum of behaviours.” more like. Yes. And accusing a game character of being generic is very much like accusing a games journalist of being an alcoholic.

    • Babs says:

      For the record I actually think Link is deeply pony too.

      Mario is clearly the winner here by merit of being universally recognisable and utterly daft. He’s supposed to be a fucking plumber!

      Though when have you ever seen him fixing Daisies pipes eh?

    • jalf says:

      Andrew, I’m not sure how this adds character to Link? Doesn’t the exact same thing apply to Gordon?

      Sounds like you’ve just decided to read every aspect of the game as a testament to his personality, but refuse to do the same for Half-Life.

    • AndrewC says:

      Freeman is far more deliberately a blank than Link, as yo uare being asked to ‘become’ Freeman, rather than with Link who you are asked to care about and ‘share’ his adventure.

      How the world reacts around and to Freeman is amazing, brilliant and amazing, but he very deliberately has no personality. Link does! Abd I was describing the little touches that build his personality up.

      Plus ‘hero of world’ just doesn’t push the same emotional buttons as ‘little kid you want to protect’. If you prefer the power fantasy then that’s OK, that’s your decision, but it does make you the worst monster in the world.

    • Dante says:

      Link is a complete non-entity, proof that most people voting here can’t seperate ‘good character’ from ‘game I like’. His blankness is much more obvious and annoying than Freeman’s too, because of the third person perspective.

      Freeman at least has his subversive nerd action hero nature to draw on, Link brings absolutely nothing to the table.

    • AndrewC says:

      Also, yes, that Freeman really actually doesn’t have a personality in the sense of being some sort of proxy person kept in limbo by the tie man to be brought out in times of emergency is a dead interesting sci-fi concept, but i’m not really sure that’s ‘personality’. It may appeal to dangerously dissociative personalities, I suppose.

      I don’t know if i’m laying on this ‘Link is for lovely people and Freeman is for heartless nerds’ thing thick enough. I’m trying.

      See, what Half Life is actually about is what Freeman is seeing in his head when ‘The Quiet One In The Office’ has a psychotic break and goes on a rampage.

    • gobion says:

      Agreed. Gordon “Never says a bloody thing” Freeman isn’t really a character, but he is all we have left… sad and slightly apocalyptic :D

    • SteveHatesYou says:

      I think Link wins by default because he actually has a face. Gordon Freeman is a floating pair of hands. (And no, the box art doesn’t count).

  3. AndrewC says:

    I like Link!

  4. Tom says:

    I voted for Link. Gordon Freeman isn’t a character, as YOU actually are Gordon. Link is much more a person on his own.

    • Vandelay says:

      Is this not exactly why he is one of the greatest characters (if not the)? Gaming is all about putting the player in the position of the game, so having an almost empty shell to place a personality on is really a defining moment in gaming.

    • Lukasz says:

      are you trying to say that Link has better personality than you? a game character is better than you, real person?

    • Richeh says:

      Neither Link nor Freeman are characters, really, they’re both just self-insert templates for the player to identify with. It’s actually a good match-up in that sense.

      That said, you do get more attached to Link simply because it’s third person and you see him do everything.

  5. sgc2000 says:

    “Kyle Katarn being inexplicably beaten by Dig Dug’s Dig Dug”

    It looks like Kyle Katarn beat Dig Dug but was beaten by Lara Croft in the second round.

  6. Miles of the Machination says:

    Voted, and I’m appalled that JC Denton lost to Leon Kennedy

  7. fuggles2k says:

    Wow, you guys must all be tedious. Gordon Freeman is YOU the player, you impose your own personality onto him which in this writer’s case anyway, makes him full of awesomeness and much better than link ;)

  8. Smurfy says:

    I almost came when I noticed Master Chief was out in the first round.

  9. indirectX says:

    Should vote for Samus Aran on the other side too, try to knock out mario before the final.

  10. Wookie_Wookstar (Big D) says:

    Tinfoil hat time! It wont let me vote FREEMAN!!!

  11. Mark says:

    I dunno: Gordon “Floating Invisible Murder Cube” Freeman is probably the only protagonist more silent than Link.

  12. Gap Gen says:

    Cate Archer >> Someone I’ve never heard of on the Sega Genesis. Seriously.

  13. Lukasz says:


  14. Dr. Nerfball says:

    Dude! They had Earthworm Jim! And he got beaten by Link. HAX! Sad Nerfball is sad. D=

    However, the fact that the little yellow rat got crushed by kratos is good. Can just imagine him ripping out Pikachu’s spine. And he beat Cloud! Thank god for small mercies.

  15. Kieron Gillen says:

    Also: Am I the only one who renamed Link to be cunthead?


    • Tzarkahn says:

      No, he should be thus labelled.

      But work internet says no votes for me at all.

    • klumhru says:

      Whipped is Link

    • Mr Pink says:

      When I was too young to be aware of such words I think I called him bumface. “Hello bumface!” Oh the hilarity.

    • skizelo says:

      Tangentially related to renamable characters; when I played Final Fantasy 7, I named all the characters after pronouns. When I ran out of those, I used plot or game mcguffins I had read in the manual.
      Because clearly I felt that otherwise the writing would be too lucid.

  16. Down Rodeo says:

    Looks like RPS have changed it by 0.1%. First poll rigging, next the world!

  17. Vilander says:

    JC Denton lost to someone like Leon?! What is the world coming to if the main character of the greatest game ever is barely even remembered anymore…

  18. Lilliput King says:

    Votes a little bit fecked. 4Chan has much to answer for in that regard, they(we?) love votes.

    link to

    I think Gordon is a decent character though. Nerd turned time travelling super-nerd superhero revolutionist.

  19. davidAlpha says:

    4chan is all over this poll

    the results! they are meaningless!

  20. EGTF says:

    So, Guybrush lost out to some chap called Wander? Manny to Dante?

  21. Tei says:

    I think these two are bad options.

    I feel nothing for link. He is just a elfieske lara croft in lalaland. He has no character at all.

    Freeman? again a no character. He talks, show any emotion or something?

    Almost the only character in videogames is Duke Nukem, a… “Ford Farlaine”-ish 80’s dude. All the 90’s characters are sooo *-light and *-withouth that feel like air.

    But, who cares? this is a popularity contest, so the more people on one side will win. The question (quality) has nothing to do. Is a question about quantity, how much people played “A cute console game” versus “How much people played this PC game”. We don’t even have to ask, based on where is the question hosted, and the sales of both games, the question resolve itself. It will probably be Link, since there are more sales, hence, more mindless voters on his side.

  22. Monchberter says:

    Should have been the entire cast of Team Fortress 2, including the Sandvitch. More charisma than the rest of the competition put together.

  23. sfury says:

    FU Dante

    just saying

    • sfury says:

      getting eaten by Pac-man later was a fate well deserved

    • Psychopomp says:

      I don’t know
      Everything he did in DMC4 was awesome

    • Jae Armstrong says:

      It’s true, Dante is the king of high camp shirtless pretty boy posturing and related cheesy dialogue and general badassery- but he was up against Manny Calavera. There is really no contest.

      I’m less sympathetic to the Link/Freeman faceoff. Both of them are, yes, mute personality-less player inserts. But Freeman is moreso. Link does have the occasional independant emotional reaction to things. Actually, in Wind Waker the little bastard was so expressive you’d think he was in a Kurosawa movie.

      That and Half-Life bored the ever-loving shit out of me.

  24. Ian says:

    Freeman, Mario, Link and Samus? How exciting. Four characters who’ve all been in games I very much like but, as characters, aren’t up to much.

    Still, at least Samus far outlasted Master Chief. She’d totally ruin his shit.

    You know I once saw what I think must have been a real life human being claiming they like Halo because of the interesting protagonist.

    No, really.

  25. PHeMoX says:

    I guess the console crowd has voted… yet Gordon Freeman seems to make a good chance?

    JC Denton, obviously from Deus Ex fame should have won. Like Duke Nukem should have too.

    I wouldn’t have minded if Lara Croft came a bit further too.

    Oh, and someone please hack that stuff so the Master Chief isn’t in there.

    Lately I’m not much of a Valve fan, but Gordon Freeman is definitely one of my favorite game characters of all time. So is Max Payne, Duke Nukem and Konoko (Oni ).

    Link on the other hand, hasn’t been my favorite ever since the Gamecube and Wii got those crazy 3D-ish games.

  26. nabeel says:

    That vote system effing sucks. It kept timing out on me, and then when I refreshed the popup, it returned me to the match-up page to tell me I had voted for Link. I failed you guys, I’m sorry.

  27. Sparvy says:


  28. sigma83 says:

    I did up the brackets when this first came out, and I had Manny Calavera against Gordon Freeman in the final round, with my last vote going to Freeman.

  29. TooNu says:

    I am naming my first male heir, JC Denton

  30. Richeh says:

    Just noticed Jade got flattened by the essentially-mute Samus Aran. Had a flash of rage, and realised the whole thing is meaningless. I think I burned something out.

  31. Korgan says:

    Why did I ever have to see that GOD DAMN poll? Fuck you, Internet. Fuck you.

  32. Jayt says:

    Can we vote for Gordon almost based solely on the fact nintendo can miss out in ONE hero poll.

  33. Sobric says:

    I don’t think Freeman needs to speak to be a good character, and that in fact that was the attraction of him. He is a shell in which you, the player, are placed; but you still remain wholly Freeman through the actions of the characters around you.

    HL 1 sets the scene with the opening train journey, the “morning Mr. Freeman” and your own locker, but throughout the game Valve continued to add to the sense that you are playing as the silent Dr. Once you start engaging the Soldiers, and come across the graffiti claiming that I (as Freeman) was going to be brutally murdered made me chuckle because I felt I’d managed to really piss off some Soldier types by repeatedly shooting them in the face.

    This feeling is continued in HL2 – the gravelly voiced Vortigaunts proclaiming me the “Freeman”, not to mention the G-man’s oddly phrased “Dr…… Freeman”. All the little things in both HLs are set to remind you that you are a) Dr. Gordon Freeman and b) awesome saviour of the world. The last point is true of a number of games, but the first one can’t be said of many – and definitely not the Zelda series.

    Oh. Also. He stars in Half-Life 1 and Half-Life 2, two of the greatest shooters of all time. So, yeah.

  34. Steven Hutton says:

    I can’t believe Raziel lost to Donkey Kong. I mean, Raziel! More people need to play through the legacy of kain series.

    @Tom “I voted for Link. Gordon Freeman isn’t a character, as YOU actually are Gordon.”

    And *I* am the greatest video game hero of all time.

  35. MinisterofDOOM says:

    Everyone who voted for Link is going to Hell. Just though I’d let you all know. I’ll be there, too, for other reasons, so I’ll be happy to wail on you all with various blunt objects for eternity.

    Oh, and the “Behind the Hero” for Freeman sucks. ONE IMAGE from Black Mesa?

    And what’s with the Samus-bashing? She’s an excellent character with lots of depth. Just because you didn’t notice it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Hell, in Metroid Fusion (which I admittedly generally try and pretend never happened) she talks.

  36. R. says:

    The entire notion of a poll is a farce when there’s a candidate so absurdly clear of the rest, who scrabble around in the dirt beneath him.

    Frank West. He’s covered wars, you know.

  37. Rinox says:

    Who is this Leon S. Kennedy character?

    I just checked. He has an emo haircut and cool gloves. Therefore, he must a) be a console character and b) be of Japanese gaming descent.

    The PC bigot in me is already breaking out in hives in an allergic reaction.

    • Inferno says:

      As much as he does have silly hair, leon is unbeleivable awesome. After all, where’s everybody going? Bingo? Leon walked right up to JC and called him Smalltime, right there, right then.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Leon S. Kennedy is the protagonist of Resi 4.

      He had cheesy one liners that put Ahnuld to shame.

      JC’s vision is augmented

      I say it was an even match

    • James G says:

      I read that as ‘Politically Correct Bigot’ and wondered how that would work.

  38. Javier-de-Ass says:

    Urrrrr…. what the hell.

  39. itsallcrap says:

    Each round is clearly just a competition of “which character’s game have the most people played”.

    How can Kratos be considered a greater hero than Cloud Strife?

    • Inferno says:

      Kratos isn’t exactly a “hero” as such.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Vivi>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>All other jRPG characters

  40. poop says:

    ahahahaha you are such a sterotypical FFVII fan

  41. Tom says:

    LOL – omg!
    Garret lost to Frogger? WHAT?
    Niko Bellic lost to Ryu?! WTF?!?!?! Niko – choke full of character. Ryu – muscle hanging on bone.
    Sam Fisher lost to the chunk of moron Kratos?! Who the fuck is doing the voting?! 12yr olds?!

    • Psychopomp says:

      Gamespot, Tom.

    • Dante says:

      Don’t knock Kratos, the man is greek myth personified.

    • Tom says:

      Jesus christ. The writers/editors must be finding this so depressing. “All our words… wasted”…
      From this day on the next person to suggest anything similar is going to find themselves ostresized at Gamespot I imagine.

    • Tom says:

      ABE LOST TO RYU. Abe fucking lost to Ryu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Tom says:


    • Tom says:


    • Tom says:


    • Alexander Norris says:

      To be honest, I’m hardly surprised by the results; GameSpot’s audience is seemingly made up of twelve year old boys who don’t know what a PC is and whose only knowledge of gaming comes from this generation’s consoles.

      I bet they picked Leon Kennedy because of RE4 rather than RE2.

    • Jayt says:

      He is the god of war


  42. Dracko says:

    Not voting for Freeman until Episode Three is out.

    Why are we voting for a floating camera anyway?

  43. Dante says:

    This looks a lot like the regular gamefaqs character faceoff, which has always had a horrific bias towards the Japanese Console market. Last one I saw, poor Gordon was the only western character to make it out of the first stage.

  44. dancingcrab says:

    C’mon, I can’t believe people are sayin that Link is a better character than GF. This goes beyond consolve vs. Windows. Link is generic, elfy, Robin Hood-garbed fantasy ponce that is similarly seen in a thousand other RPGs (such as my blond elven ranger BG. Wait, I didn’t make a blond elven ranger in Baldurs… because it would be such a boring character!!)

    Freeman is a middle-aged, bespectacled scientist that is mysterious and most certainly a-typical. His character is primarily controlled and expressed by you the player, but there are secondary sources of character definition – why is the G-Man so interested in him, for example? His experiences and relationships with other characters also own anything Link has to offer too.

    Good grief. At least the RPS people are on board.

    The Dude abides.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      I’m with AndrewC and Dracko on this one. Gordon is a floating camera, designed specifically to efface himself in front of the actual player. By contrast, Link’s animations convey enormous amount of character, despite his being a silent protagonist.

  45. Owen says:

    >>> Thief’s Garrett ousted by bloody Frogger
    That has made me genuinely angry. Stupid f*cking clueless kids. Well, their loss.

  46. Spacewalk says:

    We need a popularity contest for this? I thought that it was common knowledge that the all-time greatest gaming hero is the Avatar.

  47. Owen says:

    /still fuming



    I mean I played frogger a fair bit when I was, what, seven. But how could you possibly rate that above fucking Garrett!!

    /implodes and then explodes

    • Dracko says:

      Because Frogger is replayable and also happens to be a franchise that’s kept well enough alive, what with console rereleases and such. There’s no such love for Thief and I doubt Thi4f will do much of anything to solidify it either.

      Are you people forgetting we’re talking about a medium far more tied into technological developments and marketing than most?

  48. dave says:

    4chan’s /b/ board united to push /b/ub and /b/ob and then in typical fashion failed. At least master chief got what was coming to him much to the Halo fanboys chargrin.

    If Freeman doesnt win this I’ll strip naked, cover myself in jam and run up the local high street then put the resulting video on youtube

  49. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Looks like there’s a huge Nintendo bias here. Link and Mario are brilliant but JC Denton is one of the greatest videogame characters of all time, while ironically Gordon Freeman is the blankest slate that the developers deemed worthy of a name.

    • Terazeal says:

      Link and Mario, I’m really happy for you, and imma let you finish; but JC Denton is one of the best videogame characters of all time! OF ALL TIME!

  50. dragon says: