MORE THAN ON TV, MORE THAN IN MOVIES, BALD CHARACTERS IN VIDEO GAMES ARE MAKING THEIR PRESENCE KNOWN.
There’s a lot of debate over what kind of lessons kids (and adults, for that matter) may be taking away from the hours they spend plugged into their Xboxes or PlayStations, but here’s one thing they’re apt to learn: Bald guys can be really, really tough.
That’s not to say that bald men are necessarily being portrayed in the most positive light in video games. On the other hand, neither are men with full heads of hair. The majority of the gaming experiences out there tend to place a huge emphasis on extraordinarily physical action, which translates to the presence and use of an impressive array of guns, knives, swords, chains, cannons and heavy-duty artillery that can really blow your mind (literally). It takes tough people, almost always men, to handle these weapons; often (though not always) that toughness is taken to such an extreme that there’s little separating the heroes from the villains in terms of morals.
Heroes, villains and hair loss in video games
It’s important to understand this so that one knows that in the context of video gaming, a bald man who casually slaughters his opponents is not necessarily a villain.
Take Agent 47, for example. The totally bald star of IO Interactive’s Hitman games, Agent 47 is just about the coolest dude around. Sure, he’s a hired assassin who never met a person he couldn’t “off” for a price. But he’s wicked! He’s awesome! He’s a clone! He’s even got enhanced DNA; I’m not exactly sure what that allows him to do, but you just know it’s something totally shaking.
Matt Hazzard is kind of a friendlier Agent 47 but no less tough and equally hairless. The gimmick with Hazzard, star ofEat Lead, is that he’s supposed to be a legendary hero who’s making a comeback after 25 years of diluting his reputation by playing to kiddie audiences. In fact, the character first appeared in 2009, but the fictional backstory gives this game a twist and allows it to work as both a straight-on adventure and a parody of the whole action game genre. It would be a stretch to call Hazzard a thinking man’s video game hero, but there is enough about his setup to interest those into deconstructionism.
The “Baldies” versus the “Haries” – We know who we’re rooting for!
Those in the mood for a game featuring multiple hairless heroes can try Baldies, which debuted in 1995. Unlike the games discussed previously, Baldies is not interested in character design that is realistic but instead opts for a cartoony approach. The visuals may be comical, but the hook of the game is not, for in Baldies the title characters are intent on hunting down and destroying their enemies, the Hairies. Those bald men who want a little virtual revenge might find this right up their alley.
Quite a few video games have a wrestling setting, and several of these feature bald characters. If you want to get in touch with your inner Stone Cold Steve Austin, this could be your chance. Many fans, however, opt for the aptly named Bald Bull, one of the most popular characters in Punch-Out! The “Bull from Istanbul” seems to especially relish the opportunity to strike back at opponents who hit him on his bald knob.
Bald Bull is tough but kind of fun. Chris Jacobs, from Mercenary, means business. The guy is formed of three parts cynicism, four parts self-centeredness and five parts determination. When he’s in action, nobody better get in his way or he will learn the meaning of regret. And it may be the last thing he learns.
If you’ve ever wondered what pure, unadulterated wrath looks like, check out Kratos in the God of War games. Chopping off heads and pulling out eyes are what this guy does for a warm-up; you do not want to see what he does when he’s going all out. To say he has anger management issues is putting it lightly, but it’s hard to totally blame the guy. He’s been used and abused by the gods of Mount Olympus and was even tricked by Ares, the god of war, into killing his own family. Now he’s mad as hell and definitely is not going to take it anymore.
From Mr. Pac-Man to Homer Simpson, the list of hair-less heroes goes on
Aren’t there any less intense hairless heroes in the interactive game world? Sure, ever hear of Pac-Man? Or, for that matter, Ms. Pac-Man, who somehow attaches that fetching little bow of hers to a head with no hair. And a number of friendly hair-challenged TV characters, such as Homer Simpson and Aang (of Avatar: The Last Airbender), can be found in interactive adaptations of their series.
The list of bald characters doesn’t end there. Science fiction fans can play Mace Windu in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Those with a martial arts bent might opt for Lei-Fei in Virtual Fighter. Horror fans can delight to Moebius the vampire hunter in Legacy of Kain. Dhalsim in Street Fighter might appeal to Buddhists — if they reconcile the character’s violence to his professed religious beliefs.
So if you haven’t immersed yourself in interactive activities yet, give them a try. You might even be able to find a bald character that’s almost as tough, buff, sexy and smoking as you are.