In recent years, clowns seem to have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, at least when it comes to them being used to scare people, anyway. Whether it’s a strange clown scaring Pokemon GO players in Florida, It‘s Pennywise terrorizing audiences in theaters, or the many random clown sightings that started happening last year, creepy clowns seem to be everywhere.
While they aren’t as iconic as their cinematic counterparts, clowns have appeared in plenty of video games, and they have almost always been used to terrify rather than amuse. As a result, we’ve decided to nail down the five best clowns in gaming history.
For the purposes of this list, we’re sticking with clowns that originated in video games. This means that characters like The Joker from the Batman: Arkham games aren’t eligible. With that in mind, read on to find out which red-nosed performers made the cut.
Everyone handles a zombie outbreak differently. Some people try to hide from the undead swarms, others stand up to fight against the monstrosities, and others still let the carnage go straight to their head, eating away their mental health until they become even more dangerous than the zombies. The latter is what happened to Dead Rising‘s Adam MacIntyre, who performed as a clown at the Willamette Parkview Mall until his audience was eaten alive by a zombie horde.
Driven insane by the horrors he witnessed, a psychopathic Adam attacks photojournalist Frank West with a pair of mini-chainsaws in the first Dead Rising game. Despite attacking Frank with his signature chainsaws and other quirky weapons like exploding balloons, Adam is eventually defeated by Frank, and dies in a rather gruesome fashion; he falls onto the chainsaws, and laughs maniacally as the blades tear his body apart.
In a series full of iconic villains, the jester Kefka Palazzo stands out as arguably the most memorable. Serving as the primary antagonist of Final Fantasy 6, Kefka is absolutely insane, and commits a number of shocking atrocities throughout the course of the game, such as poisoning an entire castle full of people. While Sephiroth is often given credit as the greatest Final Fantasy villain, we have to say Kefka certainly gives him a run for his money. Out of all the clowns on this list, Kefka is the one people would least like to meet in a dark alley at night – and he doesn’t even have chainsaws.
1988’s Narc is known for being one of the most controversial games of its time, tasking players with murdering legions of drug dealers and thugs working for the criminal organization K.R.A.K. One of K.R.A.K.’s members is Kinky Pinky, a psychotic clown entrusted with K.R.A.K.’s pornography distribution. While he’s slightly toned down in the NES release, Kinky Pinky actively attempts to abduct women in the arcade version of the game, and one of the main goals of the stage is to prevent that from happening.
Mr. Mime from the Pokemon series may technically be a “mime,” but his appearance is clearly a combination of clowns and their silent counterparts. Thanks to his clownish appearance, Mr. Mime invokes the same sense of creepiness that a lot of real world clowns do, and has also been called one of the dumbest looking Pokemon of all time.
Serving as Twisted Metal‘s mascot, Sweet Tooth is arguably the most recognizable video game clown of all time. The split personality of Marcus “Needles” Kane, Sweet Tooth is a murderous psychopath (like almost every other clown on this list) who lives as a serial killer when he’s not busy destroying vehicles in his deadly ice cream truck. In Twisted Metal: Black, the fire on his head was revealed to be the fires of Hell, which are used to punish him for the horrific atrocities he has committed throughout his life.
Besides the clowns listed here, there are other notable video game clowns that have left an impression on players. The previously mentioned Joker comes to mind, especially because of his appearances as the central antagonist in Rocksteady’s excellent Batman: Arkham games, as does Mad Clown from Super Punch-Out!! And with clowns, especially killers ones, becoming so popular lately, there will likely be many more clowns appearing in games that could make this list in the future.