Top 10 Greatest Video Game Scientists

March 9th, 2008
It seems counterproductive to be gaming when you have a pelican’s beak full of assignments each week like I do. And it is, but when a problem set or a pelican is getting you down, in the long run a good gaming session can do wonders for your counter-counterproductivity. So, Kieran and I have compiled a list of our favorite video game scientists and the ways they inspire us to succeed!


10 – Professor Oak, Behavioral Scientist, made famous by Pokemon.

Lead researcher at the Oak Pokemon Research Laboratory in Pallet Town, Professor Oak studies the behavior of various Pokemon in their natural environments. Professor Oaks is known for his generous public outreach intitiative. You can’t go wrong with a selection of a free water turtle, free fire lizard or free plant dinosaur. His field of research is pretty interesting but not even 439 pokemans can measure up to the waterfall of gaming joy that lies ahead in this list.

Mortimer Goth and Wife

9 – Mortimer Goth, Retired Mad Scientist, made famous by The Sims.

More commonly known as “the guy in The Sims whose wife you tried to seduce when you lived as a bachelor”. In Sims 2, where his wife is mysteriously missing (due to an alleged alien abduction), we see an older retired Mortimer enjoying the wealth he accumulated at the top of his Science career class as an esteemed Mad Scientist (§1000/day). His fame and fortune serve as inspiration to Sims and real-life humans alike pursuing a similar career path.


8 – Dr. Mario, Physician, made famous by Dr. Mario.

Very little is known about where or when Mario received his medical training. However, based on Mario’s innovative method of treating disease (haphazardly combining a random stream of pills in his patient’s bodies), it was probably somewhere prestigious. Nonetheless, true gamers always take medicine the Dr. Mario way: as long as the colors match, the virus disappears!

Lester Chaykin Doing Science

7 – Lester Chaykin, Physicist, made famous by Out of This World.

It’s hard being a particle physicist on an alien planet. The laws of physics still apply but weakly kicking and laser-blasting aliens isn’t exactly what you are bargaining for on a late night at the lab. Everything was going great the night he drove his Ferrari to the local synchrotron to get in some after hours particle collider time. But due to an unfortunate lightning strike, his research had to be put on hold until some serious puzzle-solving and alien-killing could be done. Download for PC here!

Professor Hojo

6 – Tie! – Professor Hojo, Biomedical Engineer, made famous by Final Fantasy VII.

Not exactly the most likable scientist on the list, Professor Hojo disregarded the ethical research regulations at the Shinra Science Department and conducted his experiments on unwilling human subjects. Ever passionate about his mad science, he chose to inject cells of an alien entity into his unborn child in the womb of his wife, which ultimately led to one of the finest video game stories ever told!

William Birkin, Horrifying Zombie

6 – Tie! – Professor William Birkin, Virologist, made famous by Resident Evil.
Professor Birkin had the privilege of starting his job at the Umbrella Corporation at the tender age of 15. Shortly after getting the job he and his colleagues suceeded in creating the T-Virus “through synthesis of the Progenitor-Ebola virus and leech DNA”. Let’s read what Wikipedia has to say about it:

[The T-Virus] has the abilities to animate dead tissue, to substantially mutate its host, and to infect nearly any tissue in any type of host […] by killing and replacing any mitochondria in infected cells, and then combining with these cells to produce enough energy for motor and lower brain functions.

By doing this, most of the bodies systems, such as the circulatory or respiratory systems, are made redundant. However, this process has the drawback of severe necrosis in the host, and produces the distinctive rotted appearance of the hosts.

As a side effect of the virus’s cannibalization of its host, specifically its digestion of the host’s frontal lobes, all hosts suffer from greatly increased aggressiveness. In previously living hosts, the virus also damages the hypothalamus, which results in a flood of neurotransmitters, enzymes, and hormones which induce a psychotic rage and hunger in the host.

Which, translated from science speak to gamer speak, means “survival horror zombie video game”. Bottom line, shouldn’t have gone into industry.

5 – Dr. Fred Edison, Mad Scientist, made famous by Day of the Tentacle.

Dr. Fred Edison is a scientist with ideas. In D.O.T.T, one of my finest memories of gaming, we immediately see his work in tentacle-engineering go awry, and are subsequently forced to travel through time to prevent the mishap. Thankfully, Dr. Edison (descendant of Thomas Edison) allows the use of his Chron-O-John, which successfully combines high-tech time traveling technology with low-brow comedy. Why time travel in something as ridiculous as a DeLorean with gull-wing doors when you could travel in a series of port-o-potty’s powered by a diamond?


4 – Dr. Light, Roboticist, made famous by Megaman.

Don’t you hate it when you win a Nobel Prize and all your colleagues get all jealous and bitter? Then, once you think things are back to normal, they procede to go insane with jealousy and copy all of your work but use it for evil?

That happened to Dr. Light when he was recognized for creating Megaman! Dr. Light met Dr. Wily after graduation and they formed Light Labs. They toyed with robotic automata and even robots capable of independent thought, but when Dr. Wily grew tired of living in the shadow of Dr. Light he decided to shoot for world domination instead. Can’t blame him!

Lucca Invent’s Stuff!

3 – Lucca, Inventor, made famous by Chrono Trigger.

Wait, a female scientist/engineer? Basically unheard of in a video game, but that’s not why Lucca made the list… it’s just that we have so much in common! Her living room (above) is littered with random textbooks and strange webs of cables connecting mysterious power cylinders much like my own room (but replace the power cylinders with beer cylinders).

If you’ve played Chrono Trigger you’ll also note Lucca’s admirable motivation to study science, which jerks tears at the thought. In a way, it’s also similar to my original motivation to study science to get cash, which also causes me to jerk tears. Did I mention she made a time machine and a fighting robot? She’s like the best of Dr. Light and Dr. Fred Edison combined!


2 – Dr. Hal Emmerich AKA “Otacon”, Weapons Researcher, made famous by Metal Gear Solid.

Everyone needs a scientist on speed dial, especially if you’re Solid Snake and you have an arsenal of high-tech weapons and computer systems working against you in your daily life. Otacon is a weapons research expert by trade but he’s a deft hand at mourning Solid Snake’s various and frequent deaths (“Snake? Snaaaaaaaake!”).

However, Otacon is not just a brilliant scientist and a compassionate friend. After he realizes that his invention Metal Gear will be used for evil, he turns the tables on the bad guys and uses his scientific know-how to undermine international nuclear proliferation! For sparing the world from nuclear holocaust using science, we salute you Otacon.

Nobel Prize for Gaming Achievement

1 – Gordon Freeman, Physicist, made famous by Half-Life.

It should be no surprise that we awarded the Gaming Nobel Prize for Excellence in Science to Dr. Freeman. Often research projects don’t quite go as planned, and it’s the responsibility of the scientist to fix the problem using whatever means necessary. In Gordan’s case, that project was “scanning beam analysis”, the problem was an interdimensional time rift teeming with aliens, and the means to fix said problem was a crowbar! When push comes to shove with alien oppressors, Gordon isn’t afraid to use a Zero-Point Energy Field Manipulator to get the job done. Here’s a little background information on his prestigious career from the Half Life 2 Prima Game Guide. Congratulations Dr. Freeman!

While a visiting student at the University of Innsbruck in the late 1990′s, Gordon Freeman observed a series of seminal teleportation experiments conducted by the Institute for Experimental Physics (see Bowemeester, Pan, Mattle, Eibl, Weinfurter, Zeilinger, “Experimental Quantum Teleportation” Nature, 11 December 1997). Practical applications for teleportation became his obsession. In 1999, Freeman received his doctorate from M.I.T. with a thesis paper entitled: “Observation of Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Entanglement on Supraquantum Structures By Induction through Nonlinear Transuranic Crystal of Extremely Long Wavelength (ELW) Pulse from Mode-Locked Source Array“.

Disappointed with the slow pace and poor funding of academic research, and with tenure a distant dream, Gordon cast about for a job in private industry. As fortune would have it, his mentor at M.I.T., Professor Alex Kleiner, had taken charge of a research project being conducted at a decommissioned missile base in Black Mesa, New Mexico. Kleiner was looking for a few bright associates, and Gordon was his first choice.

Considering the source and amount of funds available to the Black Mesa Labs, Gordon suspected that he would be involved in some sort of weapons research; but in the hopes that practical civilian applications would arise (in areas of quantum computing and astrophysics), he accepted Kleiner’s offer. Apart from a butane-powered tennis ball cannon he constructed at age 6, Gordon had never handled a weapon of any sort-or needed to… until now.

Black Mesa Staff Picture

Dr. Freeman with the Black Mesa Research Team

Runners-up Great Scientists of Gaming

Alkor the alchemist from Diablo II
Dr. Andonuts from Earthbound
Dr. Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog
Citan from Xenogears
Who did we miss?
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Posted by Chris Filed in General
13 Responses to “Top 10 Greatest Video Game Scientists”
Osama Says:
March 9th, 2008 at 11:08 pm
Good list! A lot of scientists I didn’t think of myself 😀

Kevin H Says:
March 9th, 2008 at 11:18 pm
Awesome list! Especially having Dr. Fred.
I would add ijust a couple more:
– the Final Fantasy Inventor/Engineer extraordinaire Cid!
– the Rapture scientists from Bioshock; tho I don’t think there’s one in particular, they did create the awesome Little Sisters and Big Daddies. They also invented the gene altering Plasmids!
– Warren Vidic from Assassin’s Creed is pretty neat too, the Animus allows someone to tap into their genetic memories and control their ancestors!
And last but not least…
– GLaDOS and the Aperture Scientists! The Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device is one of the best game guns ever, and is practical for those short teleportation trips. The gun is the best but sadly the cake is a lie 😉

D Says:
March 11th, 2008 at 11:42 am
You know you awarded Gordon Freeman with the “Svenska Riksbanken (Swedish national bank’s) prize in economical sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel”. Otherwise, great list.

crusader extreme Says:
March 24th, 2008 at 11:27 am
very useful information 🙂

Just Guess Says:
August 21st, 2008 at 2:40 pm
what about Dr. Bridgette Tenenbaum,or Dr. Suchong??? God,Bioshock gets left out of everything…

Top Computer Games Says:
December 20th, 2008 at 5:46 am
I found your site on bookmarking site.. I like it ..gave it a fave for you..ill be checking back later

Itoe Fujiwara Says:
January 13th, 2009 at 1:49 pm
Warren Vidic FOREVER! He should be in it, too!

Alien Sightings Says:
February 10th, 2009 at 5:58 am
You have amassed some great titles here – my personal favorite is the classic Snake, Snaaaaake!. That said I did not know that Mortimers wife in Sims 2, was abducted!

edekndxdnendkjc Says:
April 28th, 2009 at 6:34 am
wow i love all the games listed

james braselton Says:
June 23rd, 2009 at 2:44 pm

james braselton Says:
June 23rd, 2009 at 2:51 pm

shadow Says:
August 9th, 2010 at 1:29 pm
totally agreed with you, well maybe I put William Birkin in a better position, with all the evil that he made he deserve a place in the hall of fame.

Dave Says:
November 15th, 2011 at 4:54 am
Ha..I didn’t know that Mario is known as a doctor.

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