A great game needs a great character, whether it’s Lara Croft or Tommy Vercetti – and game-character designers are today creating characters that impact outside of their native games. Here’s a rundown of the very best.

THE BAT: 1972
Game: Pong Developer: Atari Publisher: Atari

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The Bat earns a place here by being the first mass-market video game. The earliest computer ping-pong was developed by William A Higinbotham in 1958. In 1966, Ralph Baer invented a design for running games over TV sets, which was patented. In 1970 he teamed up with TV-maker Magnavox, convinced the game would help sell TVs. They developed the Odyssey 1TL200 for home use. In 1972, a guy called Nolan Bushell played it, set up Atari soon after and, joining forces with college rookie Al Acorn they designed arcade Pong. 
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<h2>SPACE INVADERS: 1978<BR>
Developer: Taito Publisher: Midway Games</h2>
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Characters remaining: 335