Popular characters can be the lifeblood of a video game. From Mario to Ratchet to Master Chief and beyond, players want to connect with larger than life heroes when exploring large worlds. This week on Power Button we set out to establish what makes for solid characters, then rank several popular virtual men, women, and talking animals to see which are the best examples of deep characterization. Does it matter that Link never speaks for himself? Do the best characters come in playable pairs? Is Nintendo falling behind when it comes to creating modern heroes? Can Microsoft's stable of heroes break free of the action-packed stereotype? Are Ratchet and Clank the deepest characters that the Sony world has to offer? We raise these questions, answer some of them, and dismiss others during a spirited discussion that runs just under eighty minutes (we do go on sometimes, don't we?). Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, or subscribe via iTunes, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach all three of us via and you can even follow all of us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons,@aubradley84, and @JoeyDavidson or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.