As a species, human beings are fascinated with things they don’t understand. There are some that reject the bizarre and unorthodox, while others embrace it. In video games, strangeness tend to be commonplace and gamers tend to embrace it with open arms; no more than in some of the most popular types of villains in the gaming world, the ones that are absolutely, truly insane.
Villains like Bowser, a turtle dragon who just want to kidnap the princess or Ganon, a man who wants ultimate power to rule the world are incredibly commonplace. However, villains, the ones who are motivated by nothing more than whims or desires for chaos tend to be the one gamers are drawn to. These are the sort of characters have already gained some sort of power and now they are using it because they just want to. They might have a higher type of motivation— like they want to release chaos on the world and destroy order –but most of the time, they are just doing what they think is “fun”. People are drawn to the bizarre and, while a villain with a clear cut motivation and tragic backstory might be an interesting study, there is something about the chaotic nutcases that is so interesting and keeps players coming back for more.
A good example of this is Jinx from Riot’s Game: “League of Legends”. Jinx immediately attracted players to her because of her insane personality. Upon release, they showed off her character and her motivations with a music video—that particular video now has around 24 million views. Jinx’s motivation can be shown as she wants to destroy and wreck everything that resembles order in any way. She doesn’t care what lives she destroys or how much property damage she causes; she just wants to wreak havoc wherever she goes, no matter what. Ranked as one of the top champions, most of the “League of Legends” fan-community loves her, and it’s easy to see why: people love the chaos she brings and how much she enjoys her chaos. The best way to think of Jinx would be to compare her to the Joker from “Batman”, she’s just evil because “why not I want to destroy things”. It’s not about world domination, it’s about the fun she has doing it.
While more complex, Vaas from Ubisoft's “Far Cry 3” is another very chaotic character who has a very dark humor about him. In the “League of Legends” promotional material, we don’t actually see Jinx killing anyone, but it is implied. With Vaas, we see everything. Vaas isn’t just chaotic and fun, he has a very malicious edge to him that is terrifying to witness. Throughout the entire game, Vaas is out to get the player in any way he can. What’s even scarier about Vaas is that, at times, he can appear completely logical and lucid, usually just before he ruins the players day. Most of Vaas’ actions are just spontaneous and they have almost no motivation other than “This sounds like a good idea”. From the in game conversations we see that even those who work for Vaas are scared of him. Gamers loved Vaas and, since the game’s release, he’s been mentioned multiple times as one of the greatest gaming villains simply because of just how unpredictable he is. Vaas isn’t out for world domination— he already rules over his island—he just does whatever he wants to because he feels like it.
There are dozens of other characters that could be mentioned here, but one thing is undeniable: whether it is in movies, books, graphic novels, or video games, you can’t deny the immense popularity of these off the wall characters. Chaos cannot be contained nor predicted, and that is why it is so fascinating to watch.