Beards. They’re scientifically proven to help make anyone go from hopeless ninny to unabashed badass. Look to your neighborhood lumberjacks, UFC fighters, homeless people, Greek Gods…all of whom are the epitome of cool, thanks to their epic facial locks of love. Ask the great Chuck Norris or the incomparable Zack Galifianakis where their limitless powers emanate from, and they’ll whisper gently into your ear hole “It’s the beard.” Even in the realm of video games, beards are sported by some of the most well-regarded heroes and villains; Big Boss/Naked Snake, Joel from The Last of Us, Ganondorf, Marth from Fire Emblem (he named his Shiida), and Street Fighter’s Zangief are just a few examples of how sporting face fur can elevate your standing among the ranks of digital greatness. Recently we’ve seen one of video game’s most iconic badasses, Ryu from Street Fighter, jump on board the scraggly beard train. Undoubtedly, he is now the most ass kickin-est of the Street Fighters and will crush the competition in a fuzzy maelstrom of bearded destruction. In the wake of Ryu’s beautiful new face warmer, it’s time to examine what other historically hairless video game characters would benefit from flowing strands of manly face power.
Captain Falcon, F-Zero
Captain Falcon is widely considered to be the manliest man in the world. However, in order to command the highest level of respect and inspire grizzly fear in those around him, a lack of shaving is required. The level of testosterone a bearded Douglas Jay would exude would strike uncontrollable fear in his racing rivals and ruin the pants of every female attendee at the F-Zero Grand Prix. Hyes.
Kratos, God of War
Second only to the Captain, Kratos defines what it means to be manly; eviscerating ancient booby monsters, scaling every building and mountain in sight, actively refusing to wear a shirt…he’s so manly it hurts YOU. Unfortunately, the level of badassitude he possesses completely overshadows the unimpressive presence of his chin fuzz. If it weren’t for the various stabbing instruments he carries around (presumably in his loin cloth), Kratos’ main weapon against enemies would be causing them to die of laughter at the level of weak present in his facial hair. It’s time to let the rest of your lower face feel the wooly kiss of downy greatness, Spartan.
Link, The Legend of Zelda
No matter how you feel about Link, he’s not exactly the most masculine-looking of men tasked with swinging a sword around or frolicking in fairy-ridden fields of pansy. Now that the worlds of fantasy are held to the standards of Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft, and Beardly Beard’s Adventures of Beard, Link needs to get with the times and grow some trees on that slender chin of his. With a face rug similar to the one presented above, Link will finally have what it takes to seal the deal with Zelda. Plus, he’d never have to worry about catching fairies in bottles ever again; they’d fly willingly to his bearded excellence and take up residence in his hairy halls of mustachioed majesty.
Thomas, Thomas Was Alone
Thomas is clearly one of the beardiest of bearded men in video games, but thanks to the technical limitations of the year 2010, he was relegated to a one-colored polygon with nary a trace of stubble. Thanks to incredible advancements in graphic rendering and pixel technology over the last five years, it’s possible for Thomas’ creators to let his bearded brilliance shine forth with exuberance. The indomitable strength and presence of his chinstrap/goatee combo would let the rest of those uppity polygons know which four-sided ass kicker was the most righteous of the rectangles.
Samus Aran, Metroid
Samus has been a victim of systematic character assassination since her arrival in 1986. Originally described as a 6’3” tower of dominance, boasting almost 200 pounds of bodacious muscle and sinew, Samus has now been reduced to beauty marks, high heels, and more boobs and butt than fan fiction writers/artists should legally be allowed to cram into a skin suit. In order to save her character, it’s no longer enough to return her to her original height and weight; this kind of slaughter can only be saved by a Viking-level face blanket. Get this woman a Zakk Wylde makeover and let her get back to the genocide of bulbous energy-suckers before we see her in a damn dress.
These are, of course, only a few examples of how beards can crank the level of badass in any video game character to a bushy 11. Time will tell how many other characters will join Ryu on the beard train, and we can only wait and tremble in tense anticipation while the hair fibers continue to thicken. So in the meantime, put down those razors and embrace the fuzzy revolution! There’s a man waiting to burst through the jawline inside of all of us, and all we need to do is let him grow. LET HIM GROW.