The very best video games often feature the very best video game characters. Memorable heroes (and anti-heroes) like Mario and Link have been around for decades, but no longer have the same appearance, and, in some cases, are on an entirely new quest. The evolution of video game characters isn't just relegated to the Nintendo universe, though. Sure, it's easy to spot the visual differences in updated headliner-heroes versus what video game characters used to look like when they were nothing more than a few blocks of color, but, there are plenty of subtle changes as well.
There are sometimes strange reasons behind the design of heroes and fan-favorite heroines. Often times, developers designed these characters the way they did because of limitations to the hardware they were developing for, and in other cases, the placeholder graphics became the final designs because they just worked better than anything else.
As the more popular titles spawned sequels, updates, and expanded universes on more powerful consoles, we also saw drastic changes in characters in video games that had become familiar faces to us as children. Whether they're a happy-faced plumber, a sneaky super-soldier, or an archaeologist with no sense of self-preservation, all of the gaming heroes have grown up over the years. Many have aged like a fine wine, but, others have turned to vinegar.