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Millennials are born between the years 1981 to 1996, which is also known as the period when video game consoles took off. In one fell swoop, games came out of the arcades and into the living room, and the possibilities of this tech saw the creation of classic series like Crash Bandicoot, Grand Theft Auto, Pokémon and Tekken. In this aforementioned study, almost 600 millennials from the United States were posed the task of identifying fictional and famous faces. These included figures like Tom Brady, Billie Eilish, Ilhan Omar, Kim Jong-Un, Shawn Mendes - as evidenced, it was a variety of people of a variety of professions, and respondents had to qualify for the survey based on five different screener questions to ensure they did have a general knowledge base.
The Legend of Zelda celebrated its 35th anniversary this year, and the very first game was a runaway success for Nintendo. Here are our top five moments from the series, so grab some popcorn and settle in for the ride.
On the other side, video game characters like Sora, Lara Croft, Kirby, Duke Nukem and more were shown to the millennials. Again, another sizable range across the decades of gaming.
With regard to the virtual VIPs, 92% of these people correctly identified Mario, 86.5% identified Pikachu, and 85.5% identified Pac-Man. Interestingly, 56% of people recognised Charizard and 45.9% of the respondents knew who Master Chief was. Compared to celebrities, Mario is more recognisable than Hitler to these millennials and Pikachu has made more of an impression on people than Vladimir Putin. Sonic the Hedgehog and Luigi are more recognisable than Joe Biden. Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel should ring her PR team up and try a change of tack, because Charizard, Link and Crash Bandicoot are much more recognisable than she is, apparently. For the numbers behind these statements, check out the images above and below.
Why is this the case? I've got one explanation. A lot of time, effort and cheddar goes into making a video game character recognisable. In the case of the protagonist, this will be the literal face of the game and they need to tick all of the boxes for the target audience. Cloud Strife? Complex, handsome, youthful, brave and skilled. For antagonists, they need to trigger feelings of fear or animosity. Bowser? Snarling, spiky, towering, sharp teeth and a frown. Real life people aren't like this, for obvious reasons, and real life people aren't slapped on the front of boxes that line the shelves of the Blockbuster on the corner. People may well be aware of who Vladimir Putin is, but they might not see him on television or in newspapers.
Featured Image Credit: Nintendo, The Presidential Press and Information Office via Kremlin.ru
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