Gen Z Polled on Best-Known Video Game Characters

A poll of 1,800 Americans ages 16-24 shows Gen Z recognizes characters like Sonic and Luigi more than figures like Bill Gates or Rosa Parks.

Published: October 27, 2021 1:44 PM /


Pikachu, one of the best-known video game characters according to a recent poll.

It's safe to assume that Generation Z, which is made up of people ages 16-24, are heavily influenced by video games. A recent poll held by GetCenturylink tests zoomer knowledge by showing their best-known video game characters along with famous cultural icons.

The Best-Known Video Game Characters (According to Gen Z)

In the poll, each of the 1,800 test subjects were asked to identify well-known video game characters and cultural icons out of a lineup of decoys. The video game characters used in the poll were chosen based on the most-searched video games nationwide, while the cultural icons came from Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Famous People. In the final results, the average score in the video game category was an 80% rate of choosing correctly, with Pikachu being the most-recognized at 85%. Trailing behind comes Mario (84%,) Sonic the Hedgehog (83%,) Luigi (82%,) Kirby (80%,) Princess Peach (79%,) and Lara Croft in last place at 66%.

Rosa Parks, the most-recognized cultural icon in the poll.

Meanwhile in the cultural icons category, the Gen Z test subjects correctly identified the figures with a 56% average. The top 5 came from a diverse set of icons, including artists, an activist, a politician, and a CEO. Claiming the #1 spot is African-American civil rights activist Rosa Parks with an average of 72%. Following that is Bill Gates at 67%, Dua Lipa at 63%, William Shakespeare at 62%, and Winston Churchill trailing at 48%. Among those that didn't make the top 5 include American Founding Father Thomas Jefferson at 43% and top-grossing actor Zoe Saldana with only 40% of those polled correctly identifying her.

Obviously, this is not an indictment of Gen Z in particular. The same poll for most age groups, with entertainment icons suited to them, would likely yield similar results. Also, Gen Z is projected to be both the most educated yet, while also being very aware of and involved in various societal and cultural issues, like voting rights or climate change.

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| Former Staff Writer

I am a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a major in writing and a minor in gaming. I have a passion for video games and writing. I also… More about Brian