Top 10 – Companions
Ah yes, the companion. Unlike the sidekick, the companion is something that might not necessarily follow you because it believes in the same things as you do. Instead, a companion is there because it wants to be by your side, for whatever reason.
10) Weighted Companion Cube – Portal
Not in cruelty, not in wrath
The Reaper came today
An angel visited this grey path
And took the cube away
A box of love, an essential part of solving Test Chamber 17, the one friend you have in this isolated place, and she makes you kill it. Does it speak to you? What does it say? It’s something to love, and to cling to, nothing to fear. The Companion Cube is the last thing between you and madness, and Aperture science mass produces them like they just don’t mean anything, and makes you burn them like it’s not important.
Alright it’s a repurposed storage crate, but it’s fun, and it became weirdly huge given how briefly you interact with it in the game itself. Testament to the writing staff behind Portal, just a few fleeting comments and a bit of grafiti turned a reskinned block with a heart on it into one of the most popular characters in gaming for many years to come.
9) The Hireling – Munchkin
In a game of Munchkin there’s not a single soul who’ll willingly throw themselves into the jaws of death to save your life. Alright, not willingly, you kind of throw them under the bus to save your own skin, or other people kill off yours without a second thought to up their level. Not cool guys. Continuing the noble tradition of “the guy you hire to carry all your crap” the Hireling started out in Munchkin as one really strong guy who carries extra stuff, but the role has since expanded to include a few other notable examples, and also sidekicks, mooks and minions.
Quite possibly the most useful cards you’ll possess, and as a direct result they’re often the most vulnerable as well. Let’s not forget that the more loot you can use at once the more of a threat you are to everyone else, so your in your rise to power you might well find it is those most loyal to you are the ones who end up hurting the most.
8) Teddy – Among the Sleep
Among the Sleep was a rather interesting game, which saw you playing as a rather young child who must go through a terrifying world. We’ve covered this game off in Top 10s in the past, but this time, we’re back with the Teddy. Teddy has his own voice and keeps the child protagonist of the game safe and sound, at least mentally. He helps the child feel safe and secure, all whilst holding onto the Teddy.
Whilst this game handles some incredibly heavy subjects, Teddy is there as both a small bit of light relief at the start and the games main plot device. The teddy is always there for you, helping you go through the terrifying world. There’s not much more to say about it really, except he’s there with you through the entire experience.
7) Minions – Despicable Me
This is a weird one, but hang in there with us for this. The Minions do indeed have their own movie, which isn’t the most common of routes for a companion, but hey… It’s happened with Finding Dory recently, so why not? But what makes the Minions a companion? How can they be a companion when there are so many of them?
Their master, Gru, can barely function without them. This much is proved to be true in the movies, in which they’re often subject to being the glue that holds Gru together. They help around the house, they help with experiments and with many other jobs. These minions are created to willingly serve and that’s all they do. They love to serve their master, Gru – and Gru loves to have them around, even if he wants to pretend he’s this tough villain.
6) Lydia – Skyrim
Also known as “Dammit Lydia, get out of the way!”, Lydia also features in our list of Sidekicks with the exact same joke, and once again beating out the Adoring Fan from Oblivion (sorry little dude) because she is every bit the devoted servant but more famous. Probably more like infamous at this point actually, she has a tendency to charge blindly into her duties with all caution thrown to the wind. Traps, opponents, and where your aiming be damned, she’ll protect your life if it kills you both.
Lydia is one of the first companion characters you’ll pick up in Skyrim, and most of them are more careful about where they put themselves. She does have her uses of course, she’s great at helping you spot traps (by triggering them) and carrying heavy things, taking on board any armour or weapons you’re happy for her to have. Plus she’s a prime candidate for glorious sacrifice for Boethiah, she’s a fair trade for a suit of ebony mail.
5) Kyubey – Puella Magi Madoka Magica
I knew there’d come the day that I had to talk to the members of GeekOut about Puella Magi Madoka Magica. I knew there was a day I would have to talk about magical girls here on GeekOut, but never did I expect to pull the subject up during a Top 10. We’ve covered people who are into the anime, but never what this cute little creature is all about.
Kyubey seems like a typical companion when we are first introduced to him, however your perceptions on the character changes rather quickly. Kyubey has a very clear purpose, but there is a level of companionship involved. He will offer advice to the magical girls in this show, however there is a limit to how far he’ll go to help them. An intriguing character who seemingly possesses more than one motive. Would you make a contract with him?
The greatest dane, loyal friend, weird anthropomorphised dog. Scooby-Doo and best buddy Shaggy Rogers inexplicably follow the other members of Mystery Incorporated to resolve supernatural situations into perfectly natural crimes despite the fact that the merest suggestion of monsters, ghosts, and other assorted spooky things terrify the life out of them, in some cases quite literally. They are well adapted to their cowardice, having perfected the art of disguise to almost super-heroic proportions, phenomenal speeds and staggering feats of gymnastics.
Self-preservation is a must, and Scooby has shown himself to be highly self-serving, unwilling to risk his life for anything less than a Scooby-Snack, but when push comes to shove and the hour calls for a hero, a hero he will be, and nothing – no, not even his stomach – can compel him quite like his friends in jeopardy.
3) The Luggage – Discworld
The single greatest travel accessory in the world, specifically the Discworld, the Luggage is a chest capable of following its master through and out of time and space. It will slaughter a regiment of soldiers, swallow sharks, and still do your laundry without even trying. The owner of a Luggage can look forward to a lifetime of faithful service. Rincewind’s particular specimen is not without his own motivations however, it’s noted to be particularly bloodthirsty, and in the course of following its new master around has been to to Hell, the Dungeon Dimensions, and was temporarily a god.
It’s a parent, a crisp thief, and an outright murderer. While its entire purpose should be to follow its master around unfailingly, this one has proven capable of taking the initiative from time to time. Oh it always comes back in the end, and while its own adventures are usually as a direct result of its efforts to pursue Rincewind, it has a habit of… well, taking its time, often showing up at narratively convenient moments.
2) Rose Tyler – Doctor Who
Alright, here’s where we hold up our hands and admit to a fairly broad ignorance of Doctor Who, Rose is here as a place-holder for all of the companions because we’d be fools not to place them on the list and way up towards the top, and we actively encourage you to make a case for your favourites here, on Facebook or Twitter.
We’ve used Rose because she’s more than just a sounding board, a voice for the audience and someone to ask for explanations. While all – or at least most – other companions have demonstrated distinct personalities, it wasn’t until the series returned after a long hiatus that the companions were given a more thorough backstory, personal connections, real moments of heroism of their own. Billie Piper is an amazing actress in her own right, and won a few awards for the role, and while other sources may rate other companions higher we say credit where credit is due.
Other note worthy companions include the shamelessly brash and confrontational Donna, bomb-throwing teenager “Ace” McShane, and immortal Jack Harkness who got his own spin-off series. Rose is not without her detractors but we think she has a place here. Discuss.
1) Pikachu – Pokemon
We all know of this lovable little mousey companion. Some of us have grown up with it and some of us even go to conventions dressed to it’s likeness. This isn’t just a faithful companion, it’s a dead serious, loyal, defensive companion who doesn’t know when to quit. This is a companion who has been with us since the 90s and is still going strong now. This is a companion that over the years has lost a fair bit of weight (Though we all still love the podgey Pikachu from yesteryear).
Yes, Pokemons mascot itself, Pikachu, is our number one this week. It wasn’t even close, either. Yes, Rose Tyler is a great second best to this shocking little mouse, but Pikachu literally fights Ash or Red’s foes, not because it wants to be the best, but because it believes in its trainer. Whether rightly or wrongly, Pikachu will do whatever Ash/Red puts them through. Tough, even though it’s unevolved, a serious travelling buddy and all round good friend, Pikachu tops this list… Because it’s the very best, like none of these others ever were.
Companions are a tricky business, as they require some form of devotion for those it follows. Whilst they don’t need to have a real reason, a companion will often do things just because they want to follow the person/people they are with. Join us as we celebrate two more companions who should at least be considered for the companionship they offer.
Lemmings are funny creatures. In the real world, they don’t really jump to their deaths, at least not typically. They also don’t go out of their way to build little bridges, or to block other lemming’s off from falling off edges to their deaths. They also don’t explode on contact with the ground and don’t have adorable little umbrellas that they open up when they need to gently float down to the ground. Oh wait, they do..?
Lemmings was a puzzle game series, where you had a bunch of Lemmings, gave them an ability/job to do and tried to rescue as many of them as you possibly could. This game was a perfectionist’s nightmare, as often you’d have to kill off your Lemming companion in order to progress through the game.
Vault-Boy – Fallout
The Vault Boy is a character that is iconic to the Fallout franchise and even though it isn’t a real person, it is indeed something that follows you around the barren wastelands. Vault Boy is your friend in this, in so much as you see him just about everywhere. Heck, a lot of the marketing surrounding Fallout involves Vault Boy to some capacity, so perhaps he’s really a companion to all of us as he sells us Bethesda’s merchandise.
It doesn’t quite make the list, because Vault Boy is more like a brand mascot, but no matter what, you will be aware of his existence in the Fallout franchise. People often make their very own Vault Boy wrist-guards and even cooler, you can play Fallout Shelter where you get even more interaction with the blonde smiling buddy.
Time for us to hang up our boots and to grab a cuppa with our besties, as this weeks’ Top 10 is over with. But as always, the fun never truly ends with these lists, for now we have to make the hard decision as to what we should have for next weeks’ vote. So as always, please click one of the options in the poll below to make a vote. Seriously, go for it.
Now that we’re truly finished with this weeks’ list, it’s time for us to reflect on the travels we’ve been through. Do you think Pikachu was a deserved winner of this weeks’ list, or do you think there are better companions out there? Did we forget any really important companions? Was our ordering on point this week? As always, please remember to leave us a comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.