Christmas is almost upon us, and you know what that means - presents! Have you been good humans this year? Santa certainly won’t bring you a present otherwise, and as we all know, he’s always watching. If you haven’t exactly been a person, you may find yourself on Santa’s naughty list. Instead of a present, you’ll wake up on Christmas morning with nothing but coal! And depending on just how naughty you’ve been that might be all you deserve.
So what video game characters are going to be getting coal from Santa this year (and perhaps have been getting it every year since most are non-repentant)? Being honest, quite a few! There are a lot of game characters how there who definitely have made Santa’s naughty list for trying to destroy the planet, kidnapping, murder, evil plotting, and more. We have compiled a list of who we feel are the Top 10 Video Game Characters Who Deserve Coal for Christmas - and they’ve all been very, very naughty boys, girls, and computers.
Be warned that there are some spoilers in this article for these games, considering some things the characters have done to deserve coal are major plot points or reveals in the games!
10. GLaDOS from Portal
- System: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, Android
- Publisher: Valve Corporation
- Developer: Valve Corporation
- Release Dates: Oct. 10th, 2007
GLaDOS is not actually a person, but rather an AI system from the video game series Portal. It is her responsibility to test all new equipment for Aperture Science. At first, she seems to just be a narrative guide to help the player navigate through the game. But as the game progresses, GLaDOS’ true intentions become clear; she’s not there to help you. In fact, she’s a pretty corrupt AI system that isn’t above murder and torture. She’s sarcastic and witty, but she’s also passive-aggressive and a sadist. And what makes it worse is that she’s the only character you encounter the entire video game. That’s right - it’s just you, and GLaDOS, the malicious AI system calling the shots.
GLaDOS doesn’t just torment the player character. In Portal 2, it’s revealed that she used a neurotoxin to murder all the scientists in the lab. Despite everything she does, though, somehow GLaDOS remains likeable. Perhaps players develop a kind of Stockholm Syndrome for her, where they develop feelings for the person holding them captive. Through all her manipulating and the abuse of her power, as well as worming her way into player’s hearts despite being a bad person, GLaDOS is on the naughty list. The question remains of whether an AI actually cares about getting coal or not for Christmas, but regardless - coal is the only thing that GLaDOS can expect to wake up to on Christmas morning.
9. The Illusive Man from Mass Effect 2
- System: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Developer: Bioware
- Release Dates: Jan. 26th, 2010
The Illusive Man is a supporting character in Mass Effect 2, and later one of the main antagonists in Mass Effect 3. He is the leader of Cerberus, a pro-human group. At first, the Illusive Man seems to be on your side - after all, he basically brings Shepard back from the dead and pays for everything. But nothing in life is free, and the Illusive Man then makes Shepard work with Cerberus even though they were previously his enemy. He controls everything from a mysterious, unfurnished room, always seated in a chair in his same suit, with eye implants that give him an inhuman aura.
The Illusive Man is first and foremost very manipulative, and he uses his power to promote his own interests. Those interests happen to only support humans, despite the universe having many aliens in it as well. In fact, Cerberus is considered a terrorist organisation - and he is the leader! Morally grey, he uses his intelligence rather than physical strength to achieve his goals. To the Illusive Man, the ends always justify the means - and who has to suffer along the way doesn’t matter to him. That kind of cold, aloof attitude towards everyone, and a genuine hate for aliens means the Illusive Man should only be expecting coal for Christmas. If you can’t play well with others, you can’t have nice toys!
8. Andrew Ryan from Bioshock
- System: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac OS X, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Publisher: 2K Games
- Developer: 2K Boston, 2K Australia
- Release Dates: Aug. 21st, 2007
Andrew Ryan is the main antagonist in the first half of Bioshock. He’s a rather idealistic businessman with a vision that proved to be too much for reality. He is the one that ordered the secret construction of the underwater city Rapture that the game takes place in. Ryan had a vision for the city as being a utopia, but it turned into a dystopia in reality. Rather than face his problems and mistakes, Ryan barricaded himself away and used an army of mutated humans to defend his position. He struck down anyone who dared resist the dystopia he created and wasn’t above condoning murder.
Andrew Ryan is a hateful person. He hates left-wing politicians and those who agree with them. He hates religion and all religious people. He hates socialists and communists. Instead, he believes in a meritocracy, and a world without law and government interference. But when civil war begins in Rapture, Ryan quickly becomes a controlling dictator. He inflicts curfews and martial law on everyone to maintain his position of power. Ryan shows how dangerous sticking to a philosophy without considering how it affects real people can be. His selfishness, habit of calling people “parasites,” and willingness to kill to protect his precious idea have earned him coal for Christmas. He’s a shrewd politician, and that puts you in Santa’s bad books.
7. Alex Mercer from Prototype
- System: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Radical Entertainment
- Release Dates: Jun. 9th, 2009
Alex Mercer is the main character of the Prototype series. He began as a scientist at Gentek and was the head researcher for the Blacklight Project. But when he realised other people on the project were being murdered, he tried to flee with a sample of his work in a vial. When he was cornered, he smashed the vial and unleashed the virus within, causing an outbreak. This granted him superhuman abilities, but at the cost of all of his memories. With no recollection of his life as a scientist, and with Gentek still trying to kill him, Mercer began on a journey to uncover his past and find who was responsible for his condition.
Unlike the rest of the people on our list, Alex Mercer is the protagonist and player character of Prototype. Everyone else has been a villain, which makes it easier to understand why they deserve coal. But trust us - Mercer deserves nothing better himself. Far from a good person, Mercer takes the role of an anti-hero. Even before the virus, Mercer had a cold, nearly sociopathic personality. When developing the virus, he had no problem sacrificing countless humans for his research. He also didn’t care about the collateral damage caused by realising it trying to escape with his life. Throughout the series, Mercer continues to become more nihilistic, and instead of stopping the viral outbreak, he worked to keep spreading it. He’s only a “hero” because you play as him - but Alex Mercer is getting coal for Christmas for all of the sufferings he causes without remorse! Don’t let him being a protagonist fool you.
6. The Joker from Batman: Arkham Asylum
- System: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Publisher: Eidos Interactive, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Developer: Rocksteady Studios
- Release Dates: Aug. 25th, 2009
Even if you have never played a Batman game before, you probably know who the Joker is. After all, he’s Batman’s arch nemesis not only in video games, but movies, comics, and television as well. The Joker was even the main antagonist in LEGO Batman! But we are focused specifically on the Joker in the Arkham game series, a homicidal maniac obsessed with creating chaos, destroying everything, and killing Batman. Despite having no actual superpowers, the Joker was always a powerful enemy. He used his incredible intelligence and willingness to stop at nothing to spread violence and disorder in Gotham throughout Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, and Arkham Knight.
The Joker may always be smiling and laughing, but his victims never are. His capacity for violence is unprecedented, and his evil genius combined with insanity makes the Joker a very dangerous man. His goal always is to push humanity to the brink of insanity along with him, and the only person who ever stands a chance against him is Batman. The Joker has done a lot of horrible things to people over the years and most certainly is getting nothing but coal for Christmas. We have to wonder if he might enjoy that, though, or at least be able to see the humour in its futility in trying to push him to be a better person...
5. Ganon from the Legend of Zelda
- System: NES, Famicom
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Nintendo Research and Development 4
- Release Dates: Feb. 21th, 1986
Ganon, or Ganondorf in his humanoid form, is the archenemy of Link and the main antagonist in most of the Legend of Zelda games. He is the leader of the Gerudo, a race of humanoid beings that wander the desert. Ganon can shift between his Gerudo form and that of a large boar-demon. He usually wants to capture Princess Zelda and destroy Hyrule in most of the games and is motivated by a lust for power. Ganon typically is seeking the all-powerful Triforce, which allows the bearer to grant their wishes. He’s also very skilled at swaying other bad guys to follow him and wreak havoc.
Ganon’s character shifts and changes across the Legend of Zelda games, and while his goals remain similar, he’s always a bit of a different person in each game. And he’s always coming back for more, causing chaos and trying to destroy Hyrule’s peace. No matter how many times Link and Zelda defeat him, Ganon always comes back to try again. Basically, he’s just evil more than just being one specific character! His persistence to do bad and destroy the world are what earns him nothing but coal for Christmas. Santa is sure to have been bringing coal to Ganon for years now, but it doesn’t look like he’s learned his lesson quite yet since he was at the peak of his evil dominion in the latest game Breath of the Wild.
4. Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI
- System: Super NES
- Publisher: Square
- Developer: Square
- Release Dates: Apr. 2nd, 1994
Kefka Palazzo is the main antagonist in Final Fantasy VI. When he is first introduced, however, he is just shown as the court jester for General Gestahl. He is also an army general. As the game progresses though, Kefka’s true nature is revealed. He’s actually a nihilist and a psychopath, and he wants to destroy the world. Kafka even declares himself as the “God of Magic,” and instigates the apocalypse! His hatred for the world burns strong, and he is a powerful foe that the heroes have to face. And it’s hard to forget his maniacal laughter, especially since he looks like a clown.
Kefka definitely has earned himself coal from Santa this year. A lot of villains threaten to destroy the world, and they really try hard to do it. What sets Kefka apart is that he actually gets it done! He doesn’t like the world, so he destroys it. He also enslaves the lead protagonist, Terra, and throughout the game causes a lot of problems for a lot of innocent people... and laughs about it! Kefka has no regret, no remorse, and no conscious. He’s just evil, and he’s not afraid to show that to everyone. Kefka may not be the most famous Final Fantasy villain, but he’s arguably the evilest and deserves coal more than anyone else in the series.
3. Giovanni from Pokémon Red Version and Blue Version
- System: Game Boy
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Game Freak
- Release Dates: Feb. 27th, 1996 (JP), Sep. 28th, 1998 (NA)
Giovanni, or Sakaki in Japan, is the main antagonist for Pokemon Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow. He’s the leader of Team Rocket and Team Rainbow Rocket. He’s also the antagonist in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Episode R, and the newly released Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. Finally, Giovanni is a supporting antagonist in Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver. With that long and impressive resume of a villainess, it goes without saying that Giovanni is a bad guy. He’s the strongest gym leader in the original Pokemon games and the criminal mastermind behind Team Rocket who pursues players the whole game.
Giovanni is not a nice man. Not only is he the leader of a gang, but he also uses that gang to pursue and attack children! And his main goal is to capture Pikachu from a 10-year-old boy despite being middle-aged and successful if corrupt, businessman. He’s more than willing to throw both people and Pokemon into battle as much as he has to achieve his goals and to get more power for himself. He’s also behind the morally questionable creation of Mewtwo, which involves a lot of genetic experimentation and exploitation of Pokemon. Defeated again and again by children, Giovanni always comes back for more and doesn’t care that his main enemies are kids. That’s pretty low, and if Giovanni doesn’t mind fighting kids, well. Then he can play by their rules, and get nothing but coal from Santa this year!
2. Dr. Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog
- System: Sega Genesis, Game Boy Advance, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: Sonic Team
- Release Dates: Jun. 23rd, 1991
Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik, or simply Dr. Robotnik for short, is the main antagonist in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series. His egg-like body and large moustache never change between games, even when other parts of his appearance have shifted over the years. Dr. Robotnik has the same evil goal in most Sonic games - conquer the world and build his Eggman Empire. And of course, it’s up to Sonic and his friends to stop this mad scientist from achieving his goal! Dr. Robotnik can build robots to add to his evil army, and often drives dangerous vehicles he has also built that Sonic has to face in order to survive.
Dr. Robotnik has appeared not only in every Sonic the Hedgehog game but also in a variety of other media as well. And always he’s a true villain with a very typical goal of destroying the world for himself. Sonic may always win in the end, but it never stops Dr. Robotnik from returning to try time and time again. But even more than his plans for world domination, there’s a huge reason that Dr. Robotnik only deserves coal for Christmas - he hates adorable animals, and enslaves rabbits, squirrels, and more to do his bidding! He shoves these cute animals into his robots that he sends after Sonic, and animal cruelty definitely earns you a solid spot on the naughty list. Shame on you, Dr. Robotnik!
1. Bowser from Super Mario Bros.
- System: NES
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Nintendo Creative Department
- Release Dates: Sep. 13th, 1985
Bowser, otherwise known as King Koopa, is the ruler of the Koopa Kingdom in Super Mario Bros. He’s also the main antagonist in almost all other Mario games, and even when he isn’t the lead villain, he always shows up to make sure you haven’t forgotten about him. His usual goals are along the lines of marrying Princess Peach, defeat Mario, and take over the Mushroom Kingdom. It’s a pretty simple plan and Bowser is quite persistent about reaching his goals.
Bowser has been around as a video game villain almost as long as video games have existed. Despite being defeated time and time again, he always comes back for more. Bowser will never let Mario and his friends live in peace, that much is certain. Whether he’s kidnapping Princess Peach again, trying to become the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, or stealing Mario’s hat, Bowser is always up to no good. While he may not be a psychopath or a murderer like many others on the list, Bowser is persistently an antagonist! He never learns his lesson, which is why he deserves nothing but coal from Santa this year - and probably has been getting coal for decades now!
Admittedly, most children are threatened with coal for Christmas for fighting with siblings, lying, writing on the walls, and other household “crimes.” But Santa is more than happy to give you your share of coal for blowing up the planet or wreaking havoc in people’s nightmares, too! After all, he’s always watching, so these video game characters had better watch out! If they want to receive anything more than a huge supply of coal this year they had better turn themselves around - though it’s probably too late for most of them this year! Christmas is just around the corner, and these video game characters deserve nothing but coal.
Did we miss any video game characters you think have made Santa’s naughty list this year? Who do you think deserves to get coal? Do you think any of these characters still deserve to get a present, too? Let’s talk in the comments!