The Best Known Video Game Characters in America | GetCenturylink

Gen Z recognizes Rosa Parks 72%, Pikachu 85% of the time

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See how accurately Gen Z identifies video game characters and cultural icons in a lineup of decoys.

No one puts their fiber-optic internet speeds to better use than Gen Z. Of that age group, 26% prefer gaming to other forms of entertainment, 87% play daily or weekly, and only 10% stream movies or TV instead. 

It’s safe to assume that video game characters help shape Gen Z’s cultural context. But our team wanted to find out for sure, so we did a little experiment.

Keep reading below to see which video game characters put their mark on the youngest slice of grown-up society—and how memorable Gen Z finds them compared to famous people of past and present.

Pikachu takes 1st for most recognized video game character

  • Gen Z correctly identified video game characters at an average rate of 80%.
  • Survey takers recognized Princess Peach, a pal of Mario and Luigi’s, just 79% of the time.
  • Lara Croft trailed the whole group of most recognizable video game characters at 66%—perhaps because the player POV shows the back of her head.

Rosa Parks takes 1st for most recognized cultural icon

  • Gen Z correctly identified public figures with 56% accuracy, with the top 5 spots going to a diverse spread of icons: two artists, one activist, one politician, and one CEO.
  • Just 40% of Gen Z teens and young adults recognize Zoe Saldana, despite her Marvel Universe credits and remarkable status as one of the top-grossing actors of all time.
  • Thomas Jefferson also didn’t make the cut for top 5, with only 43% of respondents identifying him correctly out of five Founding Fathers.


We asked 1,800 Americans ages 16–24 on Pollfish to match video game characters and famous people with the correct portraits, out of five possible options per question. Our selection of video game characters came from the most-googled video games nationwide, our cultural icons from Business Insider, the Guardian, and The Famous People.

According to Pew Research, Gen Z includes anyone born 1997 or later (age 24 or younger in 2021).

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