You can run, but you'll only die tired: Gaming's 'baddest' villains

When your best just isn't good enough

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Most Memorable

Winner: Cats (Zero Wing for the Sega Mega Drive)

On the surface, Cats is an unremarkable villain: a generic commander in a futuristic interstellar war. But when he planted a bomb on the freedom fighters' space station, Cats ensured his place in gaming history by delivering this infamous line:

"All your base are belong to us."

The poor translation of this Japanese game for the European market made it an online phenomenon years after its release. Its creative English swept the Internet in the form of a music video, with the phrase insinuating itself into every aspect of American culture. Wikipedia currently lists instances of this phrase appearing in television, newspapers, movies, music, books, software, Web sites and video games.

Cats
 
Cats

Everything are belong to somebody -- and we owe it all to Cats.

Runner-up: Bowser (every Mario game for every Nintendo system, ever)

You might've dabbled briefly in gaming in the mid-'80s, then decided to "grow up." Or maybe the hidden world of a plumber and his mushrooms lured you deeper into the then-emerging medium. Or perhaps you're new to gaming entirely. No matter your age or dedication, chances are you've encountered the buffoonish dinosaur known as King Bowser.

If a princess has been kidnapped, or there's mayhem in the Mushroom Kingdom, you can count on Bowser being the one responsible. Nintendo's Mario has bumped up against the King of the Koopas, a race of hostile turtles, and his seven children, the Koopalings, innumerable times -- and not just in the run-and-jump action style for which Mario is known. The versatile Bowser has attacked Mario on go-karts, tennis courts, soccer fields and baseball diamonds.

Anywhere a plumber and his princess are, from 1985's Super Mario Bros. to 2007's Super Paper Mario, Bowser will turn up like a bad penny. His astounding versatility ensures that all gamers have, at one point or another, butted heads with his horned highness.

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