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Top 10 video game plumbers of all time!

As far as unglamorous vocations go plumbing is somewhere near the top. This is particularly true in the world of videogames where typical jobs include space marine, super hero, and legendary savior of the universe. These unsung heroes of gaming have a couple high profile celebrity plumbers who everybody knows. But what about the rest of the video game characters working in this unsung profession?

Here is the definitive list of the top well known and unknown plumbers in gaming:

Mario Brothers:

If you don’t know who Luigi is, I really don’t know why you are reading this top 10 list. For the two of you who have been living in a bomb shelter for the last quarter century, here is the skinny: Luigi was created by the famous Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. Luigi is the younger brother, and toady, of Mario and who has been scientifically proven to be more famous than Mickey Mouse.
Why he made the list:
Luigi almost didn’t make the list. He is the ultimate second banana, a cowering loser constantly outshined by his overachiever brother. Ok, ok, you have to ask yourself, just how overachieving can a plumber be? Mario has starred in numerous games featuring championship kart racing, tennis, flying thru space, defeating giant gorillas and fire breathing dinosaurs, just to skim the surface. Luigi’s big title had him trying to catch ghosts with a vacuum cleaner. His one saving grace is that unlike any other video game plumber he is the only one who was portrayed, in film, by John Leguizamo.

Ben 10: Alien Force

Based on the Ben 10 cartoon, the game has Ben helping a plumber named Gorvan retrieve dangerous alien technology until he finds out that Gorvan has been selling the technology to the Highbreed and the Forever Knights… I don’t really understand the plot to Ben 10. It is convoluted in only the way children’s cartoons can be. There seems to be even less evidence of Gorvan doing any plumbing than there is of Mario and Luigi fixing the pipes. I’m slightly suspect that he actually has worked on any pipes ever but, there you go.
Why he made the list:
Gorvan is actually a pretty cool villain in the Saturday morning sort of way. Plus, as anyone that has received a visit from a plumber or HVAC repair person can attest, repair people always seem just a little bit villainous. I’m being charged how much? But you were only working for five minutes! I decided to give Gorvan the benefit of the doubt and keep him on the list even if there was scant evidence of his plumberly activities seeing that he seemed to catch the spirit of the stereotypical “evil plumber” perfectly.
Check out the game’s website here http://www.ben10thevideogame.com/ben10.html

Space Plumber
Unnamed Space Plumber

Published December 31, 1998 PC Space Plumber is a 30 level first-person romp that more than anything resembles Doom if you replace demons with plumbing. The game-play revolves around reaching extraction pumps before the water level gets too high drowning the hapless plumber in flotsam and jetsam. There are no enemies; just pumps and consoles that the Space Plumber must deactivate in a hopeless race against time. I imagine that the pitch for this game was not dissimilar to the pitch for the movie Leprechaun IV: Leprechaun in Space which immortalized the tagline “One small step for man; one giant leap for terror”. The pitch probably went something like:
“So, you are this plumber and you have to fix all this plumbing really fast or everything gets flooded.”
“I like it but it needs something extra, how about he is a plumber, in space?”
“You are totally stoned right now aren’t you?”
“If you keep my secret I’ll green light this project.”
Why he made the list:
This game with it’s nameless protagonist perhaps best captures the existential dread and mundanity of actual plumbing better than any other entry.

Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties
John the Plumber

Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties was the soft core flesh-fest released for the 3DO at the height of the FMV game craze of the mid to late 90s. If you missed this craze be very thankful. They were basically digitized choose your own adventure books written and acted by semi-literate escaped community theatre thespians. If you missed choose your own adventure books be thankful.
The internets tells us that we can easily beat the game using the following method: When a choice is offered, select the following options to win the game and get the girl.
He makes a first move!
He plans a vigorous assault later on!
The hairball takes advantage of the situation!!
Our heroine declines the disgusting proposal!
John heroically dashes off to save Jane!!
Jane rejects the power.
I want the Hollywood ending!!
Why he made the list:
Anything that increases the evidence that a plumber, pizza delivery boy, pool boy, or other postal worker can get action just by showing up makes my dream of one day being a traveling barista that much richer.

Resident Evil: Outbreak
David King

Resident Evil: Outbreak is the story of eight people who must escape perpetually doomed Raccoon City after it is overrun by zombies. One of the zombie outbreak survivors is David King, a plumber with a troubled past. Using nothing but duct tape and his cunning plumbing skills he is able to MacGyver his way into lethal weapons. Not only can he fashion weapons from picked up detritus but he carries wrenches he throws at enemies.
Why he made the list:
He carries wrenches he throws at enemies. Throws at zombies until they are dead. Have you ever tried to smoke a zombie with a wrench? No? That is because if you had you’d be dead. But that is just how badass David King is.

Ratchet and Clank
T. Plumber

If you were trying to name characters that have been in every single Ratchet and Clank game you might miss the ubiquitous T. Plumber. Perhaps this is because he is usually shown from behind, working on some faulty plumbing. Though he has been on the edge of every one of Ratchet and Clank‘s adventures he has remained mostly a character who does not much more than his plumberly duties. Grand adventures for him include having Ratchet fetch him crystals to make a necklace for his wife and dispensing key quest items to Ratchet.
Why he made the list:
T. Plumber isn’t some swashbuckling hero plumber, no, he has his priorities straight: fix the pipes, collect his paycheck, go home, relax with the wife and kids. His down to earth outlook on life keeps the world of Ratchet and Clank grounded. He’s the type of plumber we all would wish to be, if we were plumbers. Or maybe not…

Astro Plumber
Unnamed Astro Plumber

Astro Plumber was released in 1985 by Blue Ribbon exclusively on the Amstrad/Schneider CPC. Much like the unnamed space plumber the unnamed Astro Plumber is both a spaceman AND a plumber. He fixes leaks with his plumbing laser. Unlike Space Plumber there are leak-loving enemies who are willing to kill Astro Plumber to prevent him from fixing the pipes. Additionally Astro Plumber is in constant peril of running out of air, because he is in space you know. According to the internets it is a “well designed game”.
Why he made the list:
The game is like Space Plumber with enemies so it‘s gotta be good right?

Pipe Mania
Buffalo Bonzo the Cowboy Plumber Outlaw

Pipe mania is a puzzle game that has been around for a long time. The player has to connect pipes before water overflows. Blah blah blah. Who cares about the game? One of Pipe Mania’s enemies is a freaking cow in a cowboy hat named Buffalo Bonzo who is also a plumber. That is the best possible plumber themed enemy possible! Except maybe Plumber Darth Vader?
Why he made the list:
Did you not read the last paragraph? Did you not read his name, Buffalo Bonzo the Cowboy Plumber Outlaw? Did you not follow that Buffalo Bonzo the Cowboy Plumber Outlaw is a cow cowboy who is also a plumber and a desperado? If you don’t understand now I can’t explain it to you.
Check out the game online here, http://www.pipemaniagame.com/

Freedom Fighters
Christopher Stone

Christopher Stone AKA the "Freedom Phantom", leader of the Manhattan Resistance, and plumber extraordinaire is the 32 year old protagonist of the 2003 sleeper hit “Freedom Fighters”. Freedom Fighters is a game about the invasion of contemporary New York by the Russians. In Freedom Fighters Christopher Stone leads the rebel resistance to the Red invasion of New York from their secret sewer base. He is a great leader. In game terms, the game has an excellent squad based combat system. There is not much to him: he is half plumber, half born leader, and half badass. That is like 50% more awesome than most other videogame characters.
Why he made the list:
The opening few minutes of the game might be the most believable 3 minutes of the profession of plumbing depicted in a video game. Additionally the game was really quite good when it came out and was released on PS2, Xbox, Gamecube and PC so you probably own something that will still play the game.

# 1
Mario Brothers

Mario is a short Italian plumber who lives in the Mushroom Kingdom. A tome could be written about his adventures and exploits attempting to rescue princesses from the evil Bowser. Mario is the most famous plumber in video game history. He is undoubtedly the most famous video game character ever. He has appeared in practically every genre of game possible with the exception of FPS. He paved the path that all video game plumbers follow. Whether they have the smallest cameo or are the stars of their own series every plumber will seem just a bit like an homage to this video game plumbing giant.
Why he made the list:
Mario has appeared in over 200 games alone as well as numerous television shows, comics and a feature film. Mario games, as a whole, have sold more than 201 million units, making the Mario series the best-selling video game series of all time. Love him or hate him he ranks up with Hamlet, Jesus, Mickey Mouse, and the Beatles in name recognition.


  1. Saving grace #2 for Luigi: He kicked ass in Super Mario 2. Then again, everyone kicked ass in Mario 2 next to Mario himself. ("Let's make the lead character have no special abilities; that's a great idea!") Then again, Nintendo didn't even make the game…

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