A few days ago we did a post on female role models in video games. To follow up, here are 10 male role models. As before, we hope these characters can serve as inspiration to both young men and women.

Many of these games are rated T for Teen or M for Mature, so make sure to check out our library entries on them before deciding if the game is right for your teenager.

(Click here for the regular version)

Qico from Papo & Yo

 Qico (Papo & Yo)

Qico is a young Brazilian kid who must deal with an abusive, alcoholic father. He does so by escaping into a dream world and befriending a creature called Monster (who is a shadow of his father). Qico eventually must confront his fears and let go of Monster–and his father–because it cannot be cured of its rage and addiction. Qico shows caring and strength in the face of very real pain.

Lee and Clementine from the Walking Dead

Lee Everett (The Walking Dead)

(Spoilers!) Lee quickly becomes a father figure to a young girl he’s never met before. He is an unusual protagonist; although he was a college professor before the zombie apocalypse, he was also a convicted murderer. Despite his past he stops at nothing to protect Clementine, going so far as to sacrifice his own life to save her.

Varic from Dragon Age 2

Varric Tethras (Dragon Age 2)

Varric is an unusual dwarf since he was born on the surface rather than underground. He adopts a gruff exterior and deflects trauma with humor, but he is shown to be extremely caring and gentle when it comes to those he loves. He’s a skilled talker, but his light-hearted demeanor masks a strong ethical core.

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Kanji Tatsumi (Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4)

Kanji’s story revolves around his struggle with his sexuality and gender presentation. He is guilty of testosterone-fueled violence (though his causes may be worthy), but in the end comes to terms with his sexuality and realizes that he has nothing to prove. Kanji defies stereotypes.

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James Vega (Mass Effect 3)

At first glance Vega seems like your average macho soldier, but he proves himself not only a great soldier, but also a thoughtful and respectable individual and leader. He is tolerant of cultural and personal differences, and shows utmost respect toward his female Commander and his gay pilot. Vega also takes full responsibility for his actions, and his duty as a soldier doesn’t compromise his ethics.

Zack Fair (Final Fantasy VII)

 Zack Strife (Final Fantasy VII)

Zack is a happy-go-lucky character who sacrifices himself to save his best friend, Cloud Strife. His last stand ensures Cloud’s continuing existence. Zack’s humor and kindness are a lasting influence on Cloud’s life.

beatboarding

Beat (The World Ends With You)

Beat is a 15-year-old with a tough-guy demeanor, but he cares deeply for his little sister. He gives up everything–including his life–to take care of Rhyme and ensure the safety of her future. He also risks his life to protect his new friends, throwing his body in front of them to ward off attacks.

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Bruce Wayne (Batman Arkham Series)

Batman has always been a controversial role model, and of course his presence isn’t limited to video games. That being said, Bruce Wayne is admirable for his reliance on intellect (well, and a sizeable inheritance) to beat the bad guys. He’s just an average guy underneath the suit. And despite his vigilante style of crime-fighting, Wayne never kills.

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Sora (Kingdom Hearts)

Sora is a simple teen from the Destiny Islands when he’s called on a greater quest–to save the worlds from Darkness. Sora continually puts himself in danger to save his friends, even though his best friend, Riku, seems to have turned to darkness. Through all of this Sora maintains an upbeat attitude.

Here are the games we’ve reviewed in our library. The rest will be added shortly.

Papo & Yo

Mass Effect 

Dragon Age 2

Kingdom Hearts

Silent Hill

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona

The Walking Dead

Keezy Young

Keezy Young

Keezy is a gamer, illustrator, and designer. Her background is in teaching and tutoring kids from ages 9 to 19, and she's led workshops for young women in STEM. She is also holds a certificate in teaching English. Her first memory of gaming is when her dad taught her to play the first Warcraft when she was five. You can find her at Key of Zee and on Twitter @KeezyBees.