The 12 Most Annoying Non-Playable Characters in Video Games

From Halo to Super Mario Bros all video games have non-playable characters. NPCs serve their purpose in filling out a world that would otherwise be void except for the hero and his foes. They make it seem like a living and breathing place, and just like the real world, video games sometimes provide us with jerks, idiots, and just plain nuisances. These are the worst NPCs in video game history (well, some of them).

NPCs are put into games to provide the player with goals outside of the main storyline. These side quests can be anything from a simple run and fetch, to a horrific mission fraught with peril for nothing more than a few gold coins. Some NPCs are worthwhile and provide a welcome respite in the middle of the game, some you even grow to care for. Then there are the rest.

Whether they are floating balls with irritating voices or followers that can't seem to put one foot in front of the other let alone fight off hordes of the undead, these are some of the most pathetic NPCs in the history of video games.

If you want to read more on other grating video game characters, be sure to check out the Most Useless Women in Video Games list too.

Photo: Nintendo

  • The Balloon Kid - 'Spider-Man 2'

    The Balloon Kid - 'Spider-Man 2'
    Video: YouTube

    As the video demonstrates, even this kid's parents can't stand being around him for very long.

    Widely considered one of the worst side quests in a game consisting mainly of crappy, recurring side quests, Balloon Kid is so needy that it borders on supervillainy.

    Spidey is such a nice guy, not only does he take the time out between beating up evildoers and saving the city to find this idiotic kid's balloon (which really, balloons cost like a dollar), but he puts in quite a bit of effort. Of course by the 30th balloon one must wonder why these parents are wasting their money on this whiny little brat.

  • Navi - 'Ocarina of Time'

    Navi - 'Ocarina of Time'
    Video: YouTube

    If you have ever played Ocarina of Time then you know this character. You are walking along, having a great time doing whatever and then you you hear it. "Hey!" "Hey!" "Hey!" "Hey! Listen!" coming from a floating ball of light, that you can't get rid of no matter how fast, or how far you run.

    That irritating floating orb is Navi, and she is probably the most annoying guiding character/NPC in video game history.

    Well, a lot of it - and largely because of what this character does to fairies, conceptually. Remember when fairies were a good thing in Zelda games past? You catch one and keep it around for a quick heal up. You find a glen of fairies and they increase your health. Wouldn't it be nice to have one around you all the time to help you out? Sure, if that's what she did. Instead she just yells at you like the worst back seat driver. What is so important that she is screaming at you? Could be a monster or epic weapon, though it is probably just a hidden rupee in a bush.

    The Nintendo 64 was a huge upgrade from the Super Nintendo, but Navi made a good case against having voices in Zelda games.

  • Slippy Frog - 'Star Fox'

    Slippy Frog - 'Star Fox'
    Video: YouTube

    Why would Fox keep Slippy around? There have to be other choices for mechanics in the universe that don't involve a whiny frog in a trucker hat. They're in space ships, possibly in oxygen-free atmospheres, and he's in a trucker hat.

    In the original Star Fox game all the dialog was text based, which made Slippy's stupid banter endurable since you could just skip through it without more than a simple croak.

    Once they got more advanced, and gave voice to the character, you have to wonder why they chose to go with probably the most irritating voice imaginable. It's not even the voice actors, it's the way they choose to convey his absolute, unbridled cowardice coupled with his horribly jarring enthusiasm.

    It's like they specifically designed the character to inspire the player to consider killing a teammate rather than listen to another annoying "Nooooo!"

    He may as well be saying "Snake! Snaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake!"

  • Sticky - 'Fallout 3'

    Sticky - 'Fallout 3'
    Video: YouTube

    Sticky is just a normal kid growing up in the harsh barren lands of a post-apocalyptic Earth. But he's a piece of sh*t. Oh yeah, it's also his birthday. He's a grown man now, so he has to find his way to the big city. (Well, Big Town that is.)

    But too bad there is no one out there to give him a hand. Oh, wait. You will? Wonderful.

    These types of missions are bad enough to begin with. You usually have to take a weak character on an aggravatingly long path, through terrain infested with the hardest monsters the game designers can throw at you, all whilst making sure that the person who you're guarding doesn't bite it. What makes this case even worse is that Sticky is an annoying little jerk who won't shut his mouth.

    Sure you can load him up with weapons and armor, but that won't stop him from telling you the story about the robot hero. Over and over and over and over again.

    You can ask him to stop, but he won't. You can even try to convince him to shut up, but if you fail, hope you like having everything you say repeated, because that's what he will do for the rest of the trip.

    It's not really the monsters you have to worry about eliminating Sticky. It's you.

    If you do make it through the journey without giving in to the urge to disembowel him, Sticky will either get himself blown up on mines scattered around the entrance to Big Town, or he will survive and then stiff you on the caps he owes you anyway.

  • Adoring Fan - 'Oblivion'

    Adoring Fan - 'Oblivion'
    Video: YouTube

    Who doesn't like having fans? Someone to idolize you, tell you how great you are, and even carry things for you. Sounds great, right? Well, it would be if the fan wasn't an absolute waste of life.

    In Oblivion you can earn lots of different ranks by completing tasks. One of the greatest is achieved by working your way through the different fights in the Arena and becoming Grand Champion. Once you are the great hero, you will come across a villager, known only as Adoring Fan. At first he just wants to fawn over you, but then he asks you if he can follow you around and just watch your great deeds.

    If you accept, he will do just that, follow you. Everywhere. Most of the time it's fine, because unlike Sticky from Fallout 3, he doesn't talk much except to expound on how awesome you are from time to time. (Though that does get annoying pretty quickly, surprisingly.)

    In fact, you can even use him as a walking flashlight since he lights a torch when it gets dark, so you don't have to.

    That is pretty much where his uses come to an end.

    If you get into a fight, don't expect him to help you.

    He won't even draw the attention of the creature attacking you to cause distraction. He just runs away (if you're lucky). Most of the time he will get in your way, forcing you to wipe him out. If that happens though, don't worry, he is apparently immortal, because in a few hours (game time) he will reappear to "help" you some more.

    It just goes to show you that fame isn't all it's cut out to be.

  • Mall Survivors - 'Dead Rising'

    Mall Survivors - 'Dead Rising'
    Photo: Capcom

    What is a zombie game without helpless survivors in need of assistance? A great zombie game, that's what.

    Nothing would have made Dead Rising better than if you didn't have to worry about escorting a hapless shopper from point A to point B without them getting mauled by the ravenous horde of flesh eaters. Well, that and having more than one save point in the game. One of the things that should have worked in favor of the escort mission hell that is most of the game, is that the survivors can be equipped with weapons.

    Of course, the makes of this game must have thought they were making the game realistic by having the said survivors not know which way to hold a gun. Top that with, probably, the worst AI in the history of follow-games, and you have a brilliant mess.

    Heck, they are probably better off either eaten or joining the ranks of the living dead since they have about the same IQ.