It’s-a Me, Mario! (Your Nintendo Guide to Male YA Protagonists)

by sarahenni on December 1, 2011

The enduring characters from Nintendo are, of course, not limited to just ladies. Mario and Co. are some of the most recognizable video game personalities out there, so with help from the YA Highway ladies, I put together another list to show how male YA characters lined up with their digital counterparts.


Role: The all-around Good Guy.
Characteristics: A little cocky, perhaps, and determined to get his way. But ultimately Mario stands for courage, adventure and getting the girl.
YA Counterpart: Harry Potter; Adam from If I Stay; Seth from Wicked Lovely; Michael from Some Girls Are; Jack from The Marbury Lens; Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door; Joe Fontaine from The Sky is Everywhere; Every John Green Main Character Ever


Role: The sidekick.
Characteristics: Usually a little goofy. He’s got to be good for a laugh, because that’s the only way he’ll get noticed standing beside Mario all the time. Suffers from suppressed inferiority complex, secretly jealous of Mario sometimes. Usually ends up with best friend of The Girl.
YA Counterpart: Ron Weasley in Harry Potter; Radar in Paper Towns; The Colonel in Looking for Alaska; Link from Beautiful Creatures


Role: The Bad Boy.
Characteristics: Rude to the point of being mean. Poor communicator. Laughs in the face of Mario and Luigi, because even though they work so hard to beat him, it always seems like he can backflip off the top of a castle onto a magical ship and sail away. (Alright that doesn’t translate as well to most YA books but seriously Nintendo. Seriously.)
YA Counterpart: Noah Shaw from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer; Archer from Hex Hall; Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter; Ren from Nightshade

Shy Guy

Characteristics: Quiet. Kind. Usually artistic. Not as tall, cute, having of facial features as those other guys. Self-esteem issues.
YA Counterpart: Peeta from The Hunger Games; Sam from Shiver; Miles from Looking for Alaska; Lee from Tomorrow, When the War Began


Role: Bad. Ass.
Characteristics: General Chuck Norris-level badass-ery, deceptively complicated backstory. Falls for equally badass chick. (Yeah, that’s a princess with a sword. Awesome.)
YA Counterpart: Jace Wayland from The Mortal Instruments; Gale from The Hunger Games; Po from Graceling; Brigan from Fire

What do you think? Any characters I left out? Character types I totally overlooked?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori M. Lee December 1, 2011 at 10:10 am

haha, I love these and the female one as well. And yeah, Link embodies badass <3


sarahenni December 1, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Agreed!! He’s rather studly.


Yahong December 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I’m perpetually in love with the Shy Guy in YA novels. <3


sarahenni December 1, 2011 at 11:14 pm

:D They are usually rather adorable.


commutinggirl December 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Yay…more Nintendo analogy :-) My male characters seem to be a hybrid of several Nintendo guys. For example one of my male MC is a mix between Link and Mario :-)


sarahenni December 1, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Ooh, that’s a good combo!


Rida December 1, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Look, a correlation between my love for Link and my love for Gale! How cool :)

Also, Mario rules. That is all.


sarahenni December 1, 2011 at 11:15 pm

HA I am glad to provide a Link—Gale connection for you ;)


Krispy December 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm

This post was already awesome, but it became made of win when you put GALE and PO under badass. Because they are. And I love them. Now I need to find someone to play Zelda, so I can watch (I can’t play these games myself. I get too stressed out). :P


sarahenni December 1, 2011 at 11:16 pm

I LOVE PO!!! Was excited to include him :) And I hope you find a Zelda buddy!


Katy Upperman December 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Love the Noah Shaw/Bowser comparison… perfection!

Hilarious as usual, Sarah!


sarahenni December 1, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Oh man, I had a little fun with that one ;)


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