The Most Beloved Video Game Sidekicks of All Time

Collage of beloved video game sidekicks

The Most Beloved Video Game Sidekicks of All Time

Every hero needs a trusty sidekick but what’s a sidekick? The sidekick is any secondary character that acts as a protagonist’s good friend, confidant, and source of advice. Sidekicks are usually associated with the good guys of a story but antagonists can have a sidekick as well. Video games are full of beloved sidekicks and without them, the medium wouldn’t be the same. Here are the most beloved video game sidekicks of all time.


Luigi fighting the spooky in Luigi Mansion
Luigi fighting the spooky in Luigi Mansion
  • First Appearance – Mario Bros. (Game & Watch) (1983)

Originally developed as a palette swap of Mario with a green color scheme instead of red, Luigi has since developed a personality and style of his own. Today, it’s hard to imagine Mario without his timid younger brother.


Tails as he appears in the video game Sonic Rush Adventure.

Tails is the first character to consistently appear by Sonic’s side in the series as his best friend, appearing in nearly every mainline and spin-off since his debut. He is everything a good sidekick should be, reliable and loyal.

Diddy Kong

A Nintendo promotional image starring Diddy Kong.
  • First Appearance – Donkey Kong Country (1994)

Diddy is Donkey Kong’s sidekick and best friend. Rare first referred to him as DK’s nephew in September 1999 on their website. Originally he was supposed to be an updated form of Donkey Kong Jr. but he was repurposed. Diddy is so popular he was able to get his own spin-off title which is unique to him and Luigi on this list.


Cortana is one of Halo’s most beloved characters. She tends to appear on “best video game sidekick lists” very frequently. She is so loved that when Halo 4 was released and the story was critically panned critics still could agree on their love for Cortana. However, Cortana is not without her controversy as her sex appeal has been criticized over time.


The expansion centers on Ellie's quest to aid Joel.
The expansion centers on Ellie’s quest to aid Joel.

One of the most polarizing characters from one of the most polarizing series of modern gaming. Ellie is very well received by gamers especially her relationship with Joel. Not only is Ellie one of the most celebrated characters in gaming but also a masterclass in LGBT representation.

Donald & Goofy

  • First Appearance – Kingdom Hearts (2002)

Everyone knows this dynamic duo from before Kingdom Hearts but that title is what solidified them as some of the best sidekicks of all time. They consider themselves along with Kingdom Hearts’ protagonist as three half-pints. They are loyal to a fault and we couldn’t imagine Kingdom Hearts without them.

Companion Cube

Portal 2's Companion Cube
  • First Appearance – Portal (2007)

The most unique entry on this list, the weighted companion cube is the de facto mascot of Valve’s games. This item’s popularity should speak for itself, it’s literally an inanimate object. Despite that, the weighted companion cube is very popular among fans and you’ll be shocked to see just how much fan art is out there.


A screenshot of Wheatley from Portal 2
  • First Appearance – Portal 2 (2011)

It’s not easy to follow up one of the supporting characters of all time but Valve captured lightning in a bottle twice with Wheatley. Since his appearance in Portal 2, Wheatley has received an overwhelmingly positive reception from critics. Wheatley is a perfect foil to GLaDOS.

Cole Train

Cole train holding cog tags
  • First Appearance – Gears Of War (2006)

Easily one of the most well-known characters in Gears of War. Cole Train brings a certain lightheartedness and fun to the gritty dark world of the game. Cole is not without his criticism though, mostly because some people see him as a negative racial stereotype. All in all, it’s hard to not love his explosive personality.

Alyx Vance

Artwork of Alyx Vance in Half-Life 2
  • First Appearance – Half-Life 2 (2004)

Valve has some of the best-supporting casts in all of gaming. Alyx is so good that gamers consider her to be the golden standard of A.I. companions. She defined the strong female lead trope and broke the stereotypes of just being a pretty-face love interest.


Clank from Rift apart
  • First Appearance – Ratchet & Clank (2002)

Clank is not only one of the best sidekicks of all time, he is one of the few who were able to outshine the series’ main character. Ratchet was heavily criticized in his debut where as Clank has been a well-received character from the jump. His unique personality is one of the reasons people come back to the series.


Screenshot of Otacon in MGS4
  • First Appearance – Metal Gear Solid (1998)

The Metal Gear Solid franchise wouldn’t be the same without Otacon. Otacon is loved so much that people debate whether he needs Snake at all. Fans of the series have also begged Konami for an Otacon spin-off despite Konami’s weird relationship with the series and its creator.


Official artwork of Navi
  • First Appearance – The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)

Gamers’ relationship with Navi is a love-hate one for sure. When Ocarina of Time was first released Navi was criticized for being annoying. However, when she flies off at the end of the game it leaves gamers with a sense of longing. Navi is a character is a character you learn to love and you’ll miss her when she’s gone.


Render of Kazooie
  • First Appearance – Banjo-Kazooie (1998)

Kazooie is another obnoxious character who still has gained a dedicated fan base. She often insults or calls various characters names, especially Bottles whom she argues with throughout the game. It takes a certain kind of person to love Kazooie but we can all admit she’s integral to the duo.


Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea.
Elizabeth is one of the key characters in the storyline.
  • First Appearance – BioShock Infinite (2013)

Just like Alyx Vance defined female leads in the 2000s, Elizabeth defined female leads in the decade to follow. She is praised for her ability to evoke emotions and like the other characters on this list players tend to find themself truly caring about her as the story goes on.


Kratos and Atreus in God of War.
This iteration of the series featured both Kratos and his son, Atreus.
  • First Appearance – God of War (2018)

Atreus’ growth as a character is one of the standout parts of God of War and its sequel. People love him and hope that Ragnarok wasn’t the end of his story. All over the internet are gamers talking about what a potential Atreus solo title could look like but many fans understand a lot of his charm comes from his interactions with Kratos.


Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection
  • First Appearance – Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (2007)

Sully cannot be forgotten when talking about sidekicks in video games. He is so much more than a sidekick. His gruffness is perfectly contrasted by his appreciation and support of Nathan. A good supporting character should be exactly that, a supporting character.

Maya Fey

Render of Maya Fey
  • First Appearance – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (2001)

Many gamers consider Maya to be one of the greatest video game sidekicks of all time and I agree with that sentiment. Her popularity even spreads to the other pieces of media she appears in. Fans love her in the video games, her guest appearances in other games, and the Ace Attorney anime. She also is one of the female characters in gaming whose adult design and characterization are just as loved as her original. A true icon.


Daxter wearing pants from Jak 3.
  • First Appearance – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (2001)

Daxter has received a pretty mixed reception from gamers. Unlike Navi and Kazooie, where mileage may vary it seems like Daxter’s love/hate is split directly down the middle. Some people consider him similar to an annoying kid from high school who thinks they’re a comedian but just like real life there are plenty of people who appreciate those types of characters. Some people even believe Daxter is the best character in his series. A scorching take.

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