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?


Ah, nostalgia. It makes me sigh over the memories of My Little Ponies (pre-Bronies) and my heart flutter at the memory of how crazy adorbs JTT was. But with those things, my passion faded over time. Not so for one crucial element of my childhood.

Yep. Nintendo.

I have no fewer than three Nintendo devices in my home right now, and if you follow me on Twitter you may have heard my recent struggles with Skyward Sword. Something about the games that Nintendo produces has hooked me for life. And in thinking about that recently, I realized it’s because Nintendo, at its core, relies on games with a strong storytelling element. You don’t love Nintendo—you love Mario. Princess Peach. ZELDA. The stories, and the characters, are somewhat universal, and I’ve come up with a list of how I think some classic video game characters are reflected in YA.

Princess Peach from Mario

Role: The Leading Lady
Characteristics: Runs with the boys and kicks a fair amount of butt without changing out of a ball gown. Sometimes wanting to be a part of the action can backfire, though, putting her and everyone else in more danger.
YA Equivalent: Clary Fray, The Mortal Instruments; Evie, Paranormalcy; Sophie Mercer, Hex Hall; Karou, Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Princess Ruto from Zelda

Role: The Damsel in Distress
Characteristics: Damned near intolerable. Routinely gets herself in trouble, then spends most of her time batting eyelashes at the guy swooping in to save her, whom she is too stubborn (or oblivious) to actively help. In fact, she sometimes does the opposite! (Link had to carry Princess Ruto through an entire level!)
YA Equivalent: Bella Swan, Twilight

Samus Aran from Metroid

Role: The Badass
Characteristics: Has a weapon. Knows how to use it. The Badass knows how to take care of her own, and when she faces evil shit on the daily, she takes it out with nary a whimper.
YA Equivalent: Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games; Mary, The Forest of Hands and Teeth; Katsa, Graceling; Mandarin, Like Mandarin

Rosalina from Mario Galaxy

Role: Quirky sidekick
Characteristics: Fun, cute, and a bit … out there. Evokes the lighter side of the generally angsty main character with a relentlessly positive, plot-driving attitude. Until, that is, we see her vulnerable/sensitive side when it highlights a major theme.
YA Equivalent: Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter; Alice, Twilight; Zuzana, The Daughter of Smoke and Bone; Jenna Talbot, Hex Hall

Princess Zelda from Zelda

Role: Revolutionary
Characteristics: She’s not just kicking butt as handily as any badass, she’s masterminding a revolution. Unlike the Badass, she isn’t in it for survival, she’s after a greater good—the survival of her kind, the eradication of evil … your typical teenage drama.
YA Equivalent: Tris, Divergent;