We aren’t often forced to acknowledge the ravages of time on our bodies when we dive into our favourite games. In fact, aging is probably one of life’s unfortunate truths that video games help us escape from, with old video game characters typically taking up an NPC role. Unless you play The Sims, that is.

With many of our favourite old video game characters fending off Father Time like he’s just another boss, it may be the case for many that assuming control of a forever-young elven sorcerer is part of the appeal. Sure, titles like Chronicles of Elyria gained traction with their promise of a revolutionary aging system - but the real irony is that we’ll all be dead and buried by the time that game sees the light of day.

Well, here comes Compare the Market with a reality check in collaboration with Carol Holland, Professor in Ageing Research at Lancaster University and a 3D designer. With these powers combined, Professor Holland has rendered some of our favourite video game heroes as they would look if they aged like the rest of us. Because sometimes the best answers are to questions that we never asked.

old video game characters

In the case of the Mario brothers we take it on creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s own word that Mario was around 25 when he first leaped into our lives in 1981, with 25-year old Luigi debuting two years later. Meaning that in 2021 they would be 65 and 63, respectively.

It’s thanks to years of rigorous exercise pounding on Bowser and taking part in multiple sports, in addition to a healthy Mediterranean diet, that these two have aged rather well. Although all those years of jumping all day every day must have taken their toll on the ankles.

old video game characters

If we’re comparing exercise regimes, however, then surely Lara Croft takes the crown. With this year marking Tomb Raider’s 25th anniversary, Lara would be 46 if we weren’t instead de-ageing her in more recent instalments. It's not as if she couldn't still be kicking ass at her age, after all.

With CJ being 36 at the time of GTA: San Andreas’ release in 2004 (when Los Santos first arrived on the scene), that would make him 53 today. With both characters leading rather high-octane lifestyles, it’s no surprise that they're both in pretty good shape - if perhaps nursing some long-term injuries from their energetic escapades.

old video game characters

Then we finally reach the opposite end of the scale with Dr. Eggman, whose signature egg shape is still going strong at 80 years old. How this man has survived to such a ripe old age despite being repeatedly blown up by Sonic while inside the machines he used as modes of transport we’ll never know. But the less time spent dwelling on the physics (and those particularly shapely legs) the better.

For a 360-degree look at these old video game characters in all their glory, swing by the official Compare the Market website.

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