Clowns are pretty damn unsettling at the best of times. Why do they need such big shoes? And what’s really under all that makeup?
These giggling ghouls have been appearing in videogames for years, so since Halloween is round the corner, and an army of killer clowns is rising to take us all, why not take a look at some of the finest digital pranksters?
Needles Kane (Twisted Metal)
Needles Kane is a killer clown with a flaming head who drives an armoured ice cream truck called Sweet Tooth, because why not?
Arguably the face of brutal racing/crash ’em up game Twisted Metal, our boy Needles has appeared in every game in the franchise to date, but would you believe he actually really loves ice cream and keeps a ready supply in the back of his truck?
I mean, he stores it next to the bodies of his victims, but nobody’s perfect.
Kefka (Final Fantasy)
Kefka is straight up crazy. A psycho jester with a penchant for theatrics and a deep hatred of pretty much everyone and everything, the Final Fantasy VI big baddie is one of the most popular villains of the entire franchise, probably second only to VII’s Sephiroth.
Short tempered, unpredictable, and pretty much in love with the sound of his own voice, Kefka is pretty much the Final Fantasy equivalent of the Joker – except he can use magic and eventually becomes a God, which isn’t ideal for anyone involved.
Zombie Clowns (Left 4 Dead 2)
A lot of people are scared of clowns, and there are plenty of folk who shudder at the thought of zombies, the latter of which are a total possibility by the way – I’m telling you, stock up on tinned food and barricade yourselves indoors now.
Impending apocalypse aside, the zombie clowns that roam the abandoned carnival of Left 4 Dead 2 are a horrific amalgamation of two very creepy, but very different groups.
Be sure to mind their squeaky shoes too, as this once comical noise quickly attracts a horde of killer clowns – brilliant, but deadly.
Donbalon (NiGHTS Journey of Dreams)
Donbalon may have a ridiculous name and look more like an over-designed bauble than a genuinely creepy clown, but don’t be fooled – this boss from SEGA’s criminally underrated NiGHTS Journey of Dreams is a slippery customer, and one I’d wager terrified its fair share of kiddies back in the day.
Seriously, Donbalon might appear dumb at first glance, but it’s genuinely a weird looking dude – especially in motion. His wiggly long arms essentially make him a fucked up Mr Tickle, which is a terrifying notion.
And his laugh? Good grief, it’s the kind of laugh you don’t soon forget.
Ronald McDonald (McDonald’s Treasure Land adventure)
Ronald McDonald is a fucking creep, okay? There’s nothing about the guy that implies he is either friendly or approachable. The fact he got his own videogame while the Hamburglar has to steal just to make a living is a fucking disgrace, frankly.
But I digress, beyond the unjust vilification of an innocent hamburger enthusiast, the creepiest thing about McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure is the way Ronald struts across the screen, spraying everything in his path with mysterious magic powder. It’s just too weird.
Maybe this one isn’t as bad as all that, but personally I really fucking hate Ronald McDonald, so allow me this one indulgence.
Adam the Clown (Dead Rising)
In a game primarily about fighting hordes of undead monsters, it’s interesting to note that one of most disturbing encounters is with a human clown who goes insane after his audience is eaten, and then decides to terrorise folk with a pair of chainsaws. As you do.
This twisted children’s entertainer has a variety of clownish attacks, including flame breath, gas filled balloons, and throwing knives. See, this is what happens when you don’t thoroughly vet your clown before hiring.
Mad Clown (Super Punch-Out!)
I dunno, I just think there’s something pretty terrifying about a massive clown that could use his fists to pummel you into the ground if he so desired (and he probably does so desire).
Mad Clown had quite a career trajectory, leaving his life as an opera singer behind after a nervous breakdown. He then joined the circus, but basically realised he hated juggling (seriously), so became a boxer instead.
Just imagine it: Being trapped in the ring with a depressed, disillusioned clown who wants nothing more than to beat the shit out of you. Grim.
Mr. Giggles (Timesplitters)
I mean.. just look at this thing! Mr Giggles is not the kind of clown you’d bring home to meet your mum, that’s for sure.
The story goes that a young Mr Giggles was taken in as a small boy by a loving English family – though he was never really happy until he ate them and joined the circus, of course.
Just goes to show you can never trust anyone who wears a tie.
The Joker (Arkham Series)
There are some who might argue that Mark Hamill’s take on the clown prince of crime is the definitive one – so it was something of a coup for Rocksteady when the artist formerly known as Skywalker agreed to reprise his role for the fantastic Arkham games.
Over three games, this version of the Joker delights in being a dick. Often pulling the strings behind the scenes, manipulating Batman, and delivering long, rambling monologues as we go about our superhero business, this Joker is one of the most captivating villains in gaming, and a truly sinister clown.
So, if any ‘killer clowns’ decide to come round your way this Halloween, just remember: They’re all dirty fakers, and not a patch on the nine reprobates above.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.