America’s most popular video game characters may not be who you expect. New research suggests that it’s not Mario or Pikachu. Nor is it a beloved icon in video game history, like Pac-Man. In reality, it’s the famous SEGA character known for his speed and baby blue body – Sonic the Hedgehog.
Don’t worry; they can all duke it out in Super Smash Bros. for ultimate superiority. A study performed by CasinoBonusCA takes Google search data in the United States from the past five years. Researchers used that information to compile a list of America’s ten most popular video game characters.
What Characters Aren’t in The Top Ten
Before diving into the results, some of the most beloved video characters outside the top ten are surprising.
Mario, the famed Nintendo mascot and star of the Super Mario Bros. franchise, doesn’t even crack the top ten, according to the study. So despite the new Mario Bros. movie set to release later this year, he’s on the outside looking in.
The search data being compiled is only from the past five years. Since excitement for the upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie began more recently, it likely didn’t impact the numbers.
Another popular gaming franchise that didn’t make the cut is Final Fantasy. You’d think that Cloud and Sephiroth would be an automatic inclusion in any list of the most popular video gaming characters. In this case, however, you’d be mistaken.
Sonic The Hedgehog Is America’s Favorite Video Game Character
As mentioned earlier, Sonic the Hedgehog tops the list with an impressive 1,102,400 monthly Google searches. No other character in this list breaks the 1,000,000 search mark.
One apparent factor for Sonic’s high placement is the success of the two Sonic the Hedgehog movies. The first debuted in 2020 and starred James Marsden, Jim Carrey, and Ben Schwartz. A sequel released in 2022, added Tails and Knuckles to the equation. A third movie is set to release in 2024.
Pac-Man, Pikachu, Kirby, and Kratos
Next on the list is Pac-Man, the beloved arcade icon.
In third, with 635,300 searches, is the only Pokémon on the list: Pikachu. The research notes mention that with the release of 2019’s Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, searches for “Pikachu” went up a whopping 708% above average.
Kirby is fourth on the list of most popular video game characters in America, with 432,000 results. 2022 was a big year for Kirby. Nintendo released two entries in the Kirby franchise: Kirby and the Forgotten Land and Kirby’s Dream Buffet.
In fifth is Kratos, star of the God of War franchise, at 209,010 results. The God of War series saw a reboot for the PlayStation 4 in 2018. Its most recent release on PS4 and PS5 is critically acclaimed and considered one of 2022’s best games of the year.
Rounding Out The Top Ten
Yoshi and Princess Peach are the only Super Mario Bros. protagonists on the list. They have 190,880 and 174,990 searches, respectively. If you’re wondering how Mario fares, he comes in 11th with 136,200 searches.
Chun-Li of Street Fighter fame comes in with 158,750 searches. She is the only representative from the fighting-game genre. One ace in the hole Chun-Li has on the list of most popular video game characters is the 2018 Nicki Minaj song “Chun-Li.”
Following her is Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider franchise at 138,940. Like Sonic and Pikachu, Lara Croft likely benefits from the recent Tomb Raider movies.
Finally, Bowser, the main antagonist of the Super Mario Bros. games, has 136,430 results. Notably, Bowser not only performs better than his rival Mario but is also the only video game villain on the list.
Analyzing The Results
“Videogames are an integral part of many people’s lives, bringing joy and entertainment to many,” explains a spokesperson for CasinoBonusCA.
“The characters of many series can easily end up becoming iconic staples of many franchises and are beloved by many. This can lead to movies about said characters being made causing their popularity to explode even more.
“This study offers a fascinating insight into which characters – as well as franchises – interest Americans the most.”
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