Indians have been underrepresented in media, especially in video games but you might not know that we do have an important presence in the medium. Indian stories, myths and characters have always fascinated the gaming world and have been sprinkled in here and there. Today, in this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the coolest and most influential Indian characters in the world of video games. We’re only listing down characters we think have made a big impact in the world of video games. So without any further ado, let’s dive in.
1. Dhalsim: Street Fighter
One of the OG desis in video games, Dhalsim from the Street Fighter games is the stereotypical Indian mystic; replete with the obligatory loin cloth and body paint but the real reason he’s so popular is that he’s so damn fun to use. His move set and special attacks are some of the best in the game, allowing players to keep opponents at range while hurling devastating fireballs and if you’re good enough, even keep an enemy in a constate state of being air juggled. The character is so popular that he’s been a mainstay in the Street Fighter universe since the game’s inception. If there is one Indian we want to represent in a fighting tournament, it would be Dhalsim.
2. Great Tiger: Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out
Another veteran of the gaming world, The Great Tiger was a formidable opponent in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was a massive hit back in the day and was one of the first boxing games to feature a robust combat system. The Great Tiger was a bit of a stereotype with all the mystical flying around and teleportation but was always a fun opponent to compete against. The character made a comeback in 2009 on the Wii with similar attacks but with better graphics and animation.
3. Farah: Prince of Persia
One of the coolest Indian characters in video games, Farah was first featured in the critically acclaimed Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and made another appearance in The Two Thrones. She plays a major part in the first game of the trilogy helping the Prince in dealing with the deadly Sands of Time. Her character design is regal and sexy without looking garish.
She plays a major role in the Sands of Time and is the catalyst for a lot of the events of the game. Sadly, once the trilogy ended, her character also fell by the wayside.
4. Darun Mister: Street Fighter EX Series
Street Fighter sure loves Indian characters! Darun Mister is the second Indian to make an appearance in the fighting game franchise and was first seen in Street Fighter EX. The game was available on the PS1, replete with choppy graphics. Darun Mister looked very similar to Zangief, with both being wrestlers. Mister even has a few moves that are variations of the Russian’s combat inputs. The character only lasted until the end of the EX series but was a unique character with some sweet fighting moves.
5. Symmetra: Overwatch
Although most of us think that Overwatch is not very good, we have to admit that it is one of the biggest games of the generation. Overwatch’s 12 original heroes are some of the most beloved characters in gaming. As far as Indian characters go, Symmetra is up there in terms of cool factor. Born Satya Vaswani, Symmetra uses light-bending powers, ala Green lantern to befuddle and dispatch enemies. Her design combines the best of traditional Indian clothing with a hi-tech twist.
6. Jayadeep Mir: Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
With a world-spanning franchise like Assassin’s Creed, it was only a matter of time before we saw an Indian protagonist. And while we got one in the Indian-origin, London-born assassin Jayadeep Mir aka Henry Green, unfortunately, we didn’t get to play as him during our adventures in the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. In addition to fighting like a lethal Assassin, he also displayed his almost supernatural intellect to help Jacob and Evie Frye, Syndicate’s twin protagonist duo, in taking down the game’s big bad guy i.e. Crawford Starrick. Here’s to hoping Ubisoft takes note and introduces more cool Indian-origin Assassins in its upcoming games.
7. Lakshmi Bai: Order 1886
As probably one of the most forgettable games of the PS4-era, Order 1886 did get one thing right. Its meticulously designed Indian characters were one of the main highlights of the game when it launched back in 2015 and fast forward eight years and in 2023, these characters still stand out. Particularly the design of Lakshmi Bai, which is a character based upon the real historic figure, Rani Lakshmi Bai, is one of the coolest characters in the game. Her outfit is a mix of an Assassin’s Rogue and that of a monster hunter. She also has some dialogues in Hindi which she shares with her daughter Devi Nayar, the game’s other Indian-origin character.
8. Harbor: Valorant
To say that Valorant is popular in India is a huge understatement. Across Indian colleges, Valorant is a celebration and also a means to settle the rivalry between the highly skilled top dogs. So Riot Games had to take extra care while introducing their first Indian-origin character – Harbor. He has water-bending abilities and is suitable for both aggressive and defensive styles of gameplay. And one of the best things about him is his Indian accent, which feels real and kind of like a lot of us talk in real life. So kudos to Riot Games for going the extra mile.
So, that was our list of the coolest desi characters in games.