It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, folks, also known as amateur night for drinkers! But let’s celebrate the Irish, and our important contributions to Western Culture. There's jovial fist-fights, the Irish stereotype of the drunken, poetic genius embodied in such great Irishmen as James Joyce, Brendan Behan, and The Pogues' Shane MacGowan. There’s green beer, black beer (Guinness) and lots of your usual, amber-colored beer. There’s St. Patrick killing every snake, John F. Kennedy, Catholicism, potato famines and corned beef cabbage! Truly, the Irish have given the world a lot.
The Irish have also appear frequently as characters in video games, both as heroes and as colorful comic-relief stereotypes. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top Irish video game characters of all time.
Sean Devlin: The Saboteur
Based partially on real life World War II resistance fighter William Charles Frederick Grover-Williams, The Saboteur’s Sean Devlin proves that if you need someone to liberate France from the Nazis, you call an Irishman. A racecar driver by trade, Devlin’s skill with guns, explosives, sensitive intelligence and dangerous women make him a dashing video game hero. Sean Devlin may be the single most heroic Irish character ever created; it’s too bad the game he’s the center of is so lackluster. Once again, the Irish are given the shaft! Plus, what's with the newsies hat? Is that so we know for sure he's Irish? Stereotype alert!
The McReary Clan: Grand Theft Auto IV
Who could forget the inter-brother squabbling and in-car conversation of the inimitable McReary clan in GTA IV? Headed by crooked cop Francis (Frank) McReary, the Irish mob family in GTA are central to the storyline of the game. I loved their “position” in Liberty City’s underworld: They had once been a powerful crime family, but drugs, prison and familial tensions had weakened them to a motley collection of fronting hooligans.
As you may remember, a big part of GTA’s long story culminates in a choice between the brothers McReary: Are you going to kill worthless junkie Derrick, or off crooked cop and patriarch Francis? (I picked the cop, but only because I hate 5-0.)
Also: Kate McReary (pictured). The idea of a traditional Irish lass as a love interest doesn’t interest me as a gamer (I like the trashier GTA chicks I met in Liberty City’s internet), but Niko Bellic sure seemed to really dig Kate and her traditional values -- maybe she's a good cook. Plus, Kate’s eventual fate drives the climax of the game. Truly, the McReary clan is integral to GTA, even if the game does depict the Irish as crooked cops, thugs and drug addicts. OMG! Oppression!
Lucky the Leprechaun -- Breakfast Cereal
Lucky hasn’t actually ever starred in any video games, but dammit, the adorable cereal mascot needs a platformer where he utilizes the power inherent in his orange stars, green clovers, blue stars and purples horseshoes to solve puzzles and steal gold from Protestants. Plus, I know you ate Lucky Charms as a kid while you were playing your Game Boy. Don’t lie.
Sadly, Lucky’s silly antics and use of witchcraft are an obvious slight on my people. We’re not all magical elves who live at the end of rainbows, and we’re not all short and interested in stealing gold. Stereotype!
Colin Moriarty -- Fallout 3
Colin Moriarty is among the first of the many, many NPCs you meet in Fallout 3’s Wastelands, and he’s kind of a d*ck. You come up to him like, “Hey, Colin, have you seen my dad around?” And he’s all, “Yeah, I saw him, but I’m not gonna tell you where he went until you give me a bunch of bottlecaps.” He mistreats his bartender Gob the Ghoul. He roughs up women. He seems drunk. And he smokes. I’m glad I got him alone and shivved him then blew up his whole bar and the stinkin’ town that surrounds it.
Moriarty may be an all-around bad influence on the Wasteland, but if you delve into his history a bit, you learn that his father got rich (in bottlecaps, presumably) by establishing and using trade routes through the Wastes, so the existence of the town of Megaton owes a lot to the Moriarty family. Still, a bar-owning Irishman? Stereotype! I’m being oppressed!
Ireland’s National Football Team-- FIFA Games
Ireland’s football team sucks badly enough that they probably won’t be included in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, as they probably won’t attend the actual World Cup. Still, if you really want to control pasty potato-fed papists in FIFA, there are plenty o' Irish in older versions of the game. Wait, is World Cup saying that Irishmen are bad at sports? This is a stereotype! I and the rest of the Irish people are being oppressed by reality!
Samus Aran -- Metroid series.
Okay, Samus was born on mining planet K2-L as opposed to Ireland or Earth, but her first name sounds suspiciously Irish, and just look at her picture there from the original Metroid. Are you telling me that that lovely gingered-haired lass isn’t from the Emerald Isle? B'gosh and begorrah, you must be drunk.
Well, people, there’s my list of the top five Irish game characters. Did I forget any important paddies?