If Mario was a plumber and Ryu a karate teacher: The highest and lowest video game earners

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If you’ve ever wondered who would top the video game character rich list in real life, then you’re in luck. A new study conducted by online gaming company Solitaired has explored which video game icons would earn the most money if their virtual profession was real, plus who would earn the least. 

Top of the rich list is Handsome Jack from Borderlands, with estimated earnings of £333,043 as a CEO. Special Forces soldier Solid Snake is next with earnings of over £100,000, followed by Virologist Albert Wesker from Resident Evil.

The study uses data from salary comparison sites, as well as publicly available pay bands to find an average yearly salary for more than 50 video game characters.

Call of Duty’s Alex Mason, Max Payne and L.A. Noire detective Cole Phelps are other high earners, alongside Gordon Freeman from Half Life and Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell.

Pac-Man – who’s listed as a Japanese security guard – leads the way on the list of lowest earners, with an estimated average income of £15,916.

Martial Arts instructor Ryu is also among the lowest earners, taking home an average of £21,713.

You can see the full lists of highest and lowest earners below…

The 20 Highest Earning Video Game Characters…

1. Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2) – CEO – £333,043

2. Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid) – Special Forces Soldier – £107,517

3. Albert Wesker (Resident Evil) – Virologist – £90,519

4. Alex Mason (Call of Duty) – CIA Operative – £82,317

5. Max Payne (Max Payne) – NYPD Detective – £75,922

6. Cole Phelps (LA Noire) – LAPD Detective – £71,846

7. Gordon Freeman (Half-Life) – Research Associate Scientist – £70,145

8. Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption 2) – Bounty Hunter – £69,750

9. Mortimer Goth (The Sims) – Scientist – £69,076

10. Isaac Clarke (Dead Space) – Engineer – £64,859

11. Duke Nukem (Duke Nukem) – CIA Special Agent – £62,837

12. CJ Johnson (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas) – Entrepreneur – £59,626

13. Bella Goth (The Sims) – Intelligence Researcher – £58,363

14. Michael De Santa (Grand Theft Auto V) – Film Producer – £54,563

15. Leon S Kennedy (Resident Evil) – Police Officer – £54,113

16. Homer Simpson (Simpson’s Hit and Run) – Nuclear Technician – £53,629

17. Master Chief (Halo) – Master Chief Petty Officer – £53,491

18. Doom Slayer (Doom) – Marine’s Master Gunnery Sergeant – £53,490

19. Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell) – Navy Seal – £48,729

20. Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine (Resident Evil) – SWAT Team Member (£48,158)

The 20 Lowest Earning Video Game Characters…

1. Pac-Man (Pac-Man) – Security Guard – £15,916

2. Link (Legend of Zelda) – Knight – £19,661

3. Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy) – Private First-Class Soldier – £19,964

4. Desmond Miles (Assassin’s Creed) – Bartender – £21,408

5. Ryu (Street Fighter) – Martial Arts Instructor – £21,723

6. Marcus Fenix (Gears of War) – Army Sergeant – £24,119

7. Don Lothario (The Sims) – Medical Intern – £24,784

8. Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher) – Pest Controller – £24,906

9. Niko Bellic – (Grand Theft Auto IV) – Taxi Driver – £25,521

10. Lightning (Final Fantasy) – Security Guard – £29,084

11. Crash Bandicoot – (Crash Bandicoot) – Bodyguard – £29,670

12. John Marston – (Red Dead Redemption) – Rancher – £32,770

13. Mario – (Super Mario Bros) – Plumber – £32,895

14. Tom Nook (Animal Crossing) – Real Estate Agent – £33,812

15. Isabelle – (Animal Crossing) – Secretary – £34,071

16. Freddy Fazbear – (Five Nights at Freddy’s) – Mascot – £35,078

17. Captain John ‘Soap’ MacTavish – (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare) – Army Sergeant – £35,953

18. Booker DeWitt (Bioshock Infinite) – Private Investigator – £36,000

19. Spyro (Spyro the Dragon) – Jeweler – £36,516

20. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog) – Professional Athlete – £36,592



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