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Gaming’s Unsung Tech Heroes


Video games are full of action heroes letting players live out their wildest dreams of becoming any number of incredible characters that have been created over the years. But any big action story comes with supporting characters that are integral in helping the hero stop the apocalypse/beat the villain/kill aliens. To borrow a neat phrase from Spider-Man: Homecoming, it’s the “guy in the chair” who provides tech-based back-up. But with video games, the tech expert often has more to do than just hack things from a distance. Let’s take a look at some of the unsung hero video game characters and how their computer skills saved the day.

Sombra (Overwatch)

After the Omnic Crisis, thousands of children were orphaned and left to fend for themselves. Sombra fell in with the Los Muertos gang and she joined their cause to take back Mexico from the rich and powerful who had profited from rebuilding the country after the crisis. She quickly became an incredible hacker, using the information she uncovered to blackmail and manipulate those who profited from injustice. But how do Sombra’s abilities help on the battlefield?

She can hack enemies to stop them from using their abilities temporarily. Obviously, before initiating a hack, players need to find a good position otherwise they’ll be left open to attacks. But since she can also hack first aid kits to spawn faster than usual, maybe taking damage isn’t such a big issue. There’s also her incredible EMP, which disables and hacks every enemy in the blast zone. Essentially, Sombra is the technical back-up that’s vital for any team if they want to tactically own their opponents. She might not be able to dish out the most damage, but she can give her enemies a serious headache.

Kinzie Kensington (Saints Row series)

In Saints Row The Third, we were all introduced to FBI Agent-turned-conspiracy-theorist-hacker, Kinzie Kensington. After she’s framed for treason against the United States by a rival gang, the Deckers, the Saints rescue her and she becomes a vital member of their team. The series takes the time to develop her as a character, exploring her struggles with agoraphobia and paranoia. And although she spends a lot of time as the Saints tech back-up, the gangsters would have been killed a long time ago without her.

She’s vital in bringing down the Deckers when she located their N.E.M.O. Chair (Neurological Electro Magnetic Onieroscope), and then uploaded the Protagonist’s consciousness into it so that they can attack Matt Miller and defeat the Deckers. Without Kinzie, there are several missions that just wouldn’t take place and a few weapons that wouldn’t exist because she’s that integral. She builds a replica of the Cyber Buster after scanning it inside the Decker Usernet cyberspace, giving The Protagonist a new gun with unlimited ammo. Then there’s the RC Possessor that she builds which lets players take control of random vehicles. It’s used (in typical crazy Saints Row fashion) to murder several wrestlers so the Protagonist can fight the villain of the game, Killbane. Do we even need to mention the opening to Saints Row IV where she hacks a nuclear missile, stopping it from annihilating Washington D.C.? Kinzie, we love you.

Lucca (Chrono Trigger)

Remember Chrono Trigger? It was a time-travelling adventure game made for the SNES in 1995, and it was brilliant. It focused on a group of friends led by Crono as they attempt to stop their world from being destroyed by a huge monster called Lavos. One member of the group, Lucca, manages to create the Telepod with her Father that opens time portals… And so begins their adventure. It all gets very complicated when they jump through multiple time-periods and enter alternate realities.

Lucca’s technological skills are invaluable to the group, like when she fixes a robot from the future – who then joins them on their quest to stop Lavos. But the most important part comes when Lavos kills Crono, she’s able to travel through time with her device to retrieve all the parts to build the Chrono Trigger. The device lets the group swap Crono out for a doll at the last second before Lavos kills him, and they manage to save their friend. Just because she’s not the main hero, doesn’t mean she isn’t a hero in her own right!

Marcus Holloway and the Quadcopter (Watchdogs 2)

In Watchdogs 2, the entire San Francisco Bay Area becomes a playground as players take on the role of Marcus Holloway, a hacker who was wrongly identified as a criminal by the newly upgraded Central Operating System installed in the city. He joins the international hacker group; DedSec, to take down ctOS to stop it from harming the lives of innocent civilians. He joins DedSec after deleting himself from the ctOS and even installs a backdoor into the system that allows him to manipulate it across the city. Luckily, because of his tech skills, he’s a perfect weapon against the system and Marcus’ abilities open San Francisco up like a sandbox.

Arguably, Marcus isn’t the real hero in the game… His Quadcopter is. Hear us out! The copter can tag enemies on the map through walls, letting players plan their attacks or hacks accordingly without getting shot at. It can even be upgraded to drop explosives, hack security doors or initiate mass hacks. The drone is perfect for navigating through vents or getting through restricted areas thanks to the speed boost. There’s no way Marcus would have made it into Blume’s HQ to bring down the corrupt CTO without it. Marcus Holloway and the Quadcopter, taking names and hacking databases.

Otacon (Metal Gear Series)

Okay, so Otacon’s role in the Metal Gear series is more of a scientist and an engineer, but his intelligence meant he was also very gifted in computer programming and hacking. He was actually fired from the FBI for hacking their central database… Oops. Otacon also developed Metal Gear REX when he was kept prisoner by the Sons of Big Boss, and once Snake broke him out of his prison – Otacon helped him find a way to destroy the weapon. He hacked into files to give Snake information on its weak points, as well as helping Snake escape a gas-filled hanger by hacking the main door. What we’re saying is that without Otacon, Snake would’ve died and a huge terrorist threat would have been unleashed on the world.

Otacon later co-founded the Philanthropy agency with Solid Snake after the Shadow Moses Incident. The group, which operated outside of any government, mainly focused on uncovering information on new Metal Gears. This is where his hacking abilities became incredibly useful – especially when discovering the U.S. Marines were beginning to mobilise their own Metal Gears. Yes, he might have some severe psychological issues stemming from a troubled few years as a teenager, but that only proves how much of a hero he can be – pushing through adversity to save the world.

These are our top tech characters who deserve way more credit for saving the day! Without these characters and their unrivalled support, the stories of protagonists and allies simply would not function. Tech heroes don’t just exist in the gaming world so if you – like the tech-savvy heroes above – are looking for the next challenge where you can apply your skills, then why not take a look at the opportunities available via the link below?

Entertainment Journalist with a self-confessed love of comic books, Twin Peaks and Fallout: New Vegas. Maker of things.