Here at Beard Sorcery, we debate beards all the time. What's better, a full-beard or a balboa? Is the soul patch ever acceptable? But few debates cause as much back-biting, banter, and bickering as the greatest bearded video game character… ever.
Perhaps it's because we grew up playing these iconic characters. Perhaps it's because we secretly based our beards on our favorite game badass. Either way, we can never settle the argument.
So, in no particular order, here are the greatest beards in all of video game history. Which one is your favorite?
Geralt of Rivia – The Witcher Series
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The White Wolf. The Butcher of Blaviken. Based on the books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, the Witcher games – particularly Witcher III – have been a global success. Indeed, in 2018, GameRader ranked him the 6th best hero in all video games.
But for us, it's the beard that caught our eye.
His thick, gristly stubble marks him out as a man out the wilds. His beard is as silver as his hair. That's one hell of a beard!
Gordon Freeman – Half-Life Series
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While Half-Life 3 sadly never came to pass, at least we got to witness this physicist's signature goatee. Ranking amongst the top video game characters of all time, it's Freeman's fascination with all things non-Newtonian that drives the plot – and that's all without uttering a single word.
His character design was meant to be a cross between Freeman Dyson and the heavily bearded Henri Poincaré. The result: the stylish goatee. He's every bit the ultimate gun-wielding scientist.
Sam Fisher – Splinter Cell Series
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Remember Splinter Cell? Remember the three green eyes of the night vision goggles, sneaking up behind your target, scurrying on rooftops. What. A. Game. After starting in the Tom Clancy book series, the character made his first digital appearance in Splinter Cell: Blacklist. While he always sported a little healthy stubble, it wasn't until later games that Fisher's glorious salt and pepper full beard was shown off. And it looks damn good. It's just a shame his enemies will never see it coming.
Marcus Fenix – Gears of War
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While Marcus has rocked a full beard before, it's his soul patch that gets him on the list. Not all of us are on the soul path hype – not that we'd tell Marcus – but there's no doubt: it's his signature look. In his bandana and power armor, Fenix looks like an imposing mass of metal and muscle.
Kratos – God of War Series
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Serious question: can you even be a God of War without a badass beard? Little worry for Kratos: he changes his beard more often than a teenage girl changes clothes. From goatee to full-beard, the Ghost of Sparta is always a dominating figure. But, while we're partial to a bit of chin hair, it's the Norse Era full beard that truly impresses.
John Marston – Red Dead Series
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There's a reason Red Dead Redemption became everyone's favorite game overnight. It's not the sprawling open world. Nor the depth of the character development. Nope. We firmly believe it's scar-ridden gristle Marston calls a beard.
Jokes aside. This game boasts impeccable character design, nowhere better than the protagonist himself. The scar marks distorting his beard line in spikes is an intricate and interesting touch. Every inch tells a story. Damn – now I've got to play the game again.
Ganondorf - The Legend of Zelda
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The main antagonist of one of the most popular and nostalgic game series of all time, Ganondorf wins second place with his bright ginger beard. While this evil Gerudo didn't have a beard in his youth in Ocarina of Time, he makes a strong comeback with his signature ginger beard in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
His powerful fists but slow movement in the Super Smash Brothers series has also made him one of the strongest characters in that game - if you can play him well!
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Could there be any other? When originally designing the character, Shigeru Miyamoto decided to make him an Italian New Yorker. His trick: give him his signature mustache. The rest, as they say, is history. (It also helps that the mustache meant he didn't have to draw a mouth.)
Almost everyone's played a Mario game at some point. And his mustache is ingrained in our cultural psyche. We wouldn't have it any other way.