Dictionary.com defines “Boy” as a “male child, from birth to full growth, especially one less than 18 years of age.” Video games, however, has its own definition: pretty much the same thing, but with magic powers, monster buddies, and stuff like that. But if a man is nothing but a miserable pile of secrets, could that make a boy a miniature pile of…awesome? When it comes to video games, sure, why not?
But which of gaming’s Boys reign supreme? As someone who once spent years as a boy, I use my expert knowledge to determine the cream of the crop. I ain’t about U2’s debut album. I’m highlighting the best men-in-progress that video games have to offer–because no one else has yet.
The Boy – Limbo
What makes Playdead’s premier boy so special? For one, he manages to repeatedly outwit a scary, giant spider. Most children would wet their pants at the mere sight of a super-sized arachnid. Except for Harry Potter; he made nice with a big spider once. Anyway, The Boy, instead, laughs (possibly. He has no mouth (and cannot scream), so I can’t confirm) at the face at such danger, traversing life-threatening obstacles like it’s child’s play. And I suppose it kind of is, seeing as he’s, you know, a child and and all.
The Boy – A Boy And His Blob
This boy clearly has clout since he gets top billing over his adorable, sentient beanbag chair. Besides being a shoe-in for a Nathan Drake prequel cartoon, he battles aliens and eventually travels to space to defeat an evil emperor. Let that sink in: the Boy goes into orbit to attempt regicide. Like any self-respecting kid, he carries copious amounts of sugary treats in the form of jellybeans. After all, tossing parsnips around would besmirch the respected title of “Boy”.
The Boy – Rain
Remember Rain? Of course you do. Most young boys view girls as cootie-ridden blights of humanity, but not this lady chaser. Not only does he spend most of game in pursuit of a girl, but he does so in the midst of a killer downpour. He doesn’t even bring an umbrella! The Boy is also invisible, causing me to theorize that Rain is actually the story of John Cena’s childhood. Even though you can barely see the kid, it’s easy to see why he has the chops to make this prestigious list.
The Boy – Rime
Ha. HA! That’s not laughter. I’m imitating the Boy’s magic shout. Screaming obnoxiously is a common (and irritating) habit for boys, so I appreciate that Rime’s Boy uses his shouts for something meaningful, like opening doors. Like most of the other boys, the Boy spends much of his time flexing his noodle to unravel riddles. What I like most about him, and what earns his place here, is that he reminds me Mowgli from The Jungle Book. I love that movie. Listen, it’s my list, and that’s the story I’m sticking with.
The Boy – The Last Guardian
Sure, everyone remembers Trico but let’s not forget that the Boy did almost all of the heavy lifting in that partnership. Taming a giant bird/dog/cat alone gets high praise from me alone, never mind his resourcefulness as well as his ability to heal severe wounds with a loving rubdown. Not to mention the Boy can rock tribal tattoos without radiating insufferable waves of douchebag.
The Boy – Inside
Let’s wrap up the way we started: a boy from Playdead. Similar to his Limbo cousin, the Boy explores a surreal and oppressive world. Death traps and unsettling enemies can’t even make this kid flinch. Admittedly, some of that has to do with the fact that he has a blank canvas for a face, but still. Now before you condemn the Boy for merely being a carbon copy of Limbo’s Boy, I’ll remind you that he wears a red shirt; the signature color of boyhood. He might top the list just for that. And maybe also because of that ending I’m still trying to wrap my brain around.
A game device with “boy” in the title. What holds it back is that Nintendo didn’t just name it “The Boy”.