Gaming’s Top 10 Iconic Weapons

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Iconic gaming weapons

Gaming has a plethora of iconic weapons grace screens. From fantastic sci-fi blasters to magic weapons that bestow their welders with awesome destructive might, gaming loves its weapons. With so many wonderful weapons to choose from I knew it would be no simple feet to chisel the list down to just ten. Luckily, at But Why Tho? we ask the tough questions. Before we get to my top Iconic Gaming Weapons list I wanted to let you know about a couple of ground rules I set up first.

Rule number one for top Iconic Gaming Weapons: It must originate from a video game. That’s right. Original creations only. That means no lightsabers, laser watches, or poke balls! These wonderful toys were built from the ground up for gamers to wield in the digital space. Rule number two for top Iconic Gaming Weapons: No techniques or abilities. Moves like Ryu’s Haduken, or Bayonetta using her hair for her attacks are iconic but they are also internal skills they have trained themselves to do. Not an external weapon. With those restrictions in place let’s take a look at what I think are the top Iconic Gaming Weapons.

10. Vampire Killer Whip

Iconic gaming weapons

The ancestral weapon of the Belmont clan, the Vampire Killer has aided players in their quest to ride the world of Dracula since the NES era. It’ great reach made it a stand out choice whenever available and gave the Castlevania series a constant feature for numerous iterations of the game. Like all the weapons on this list it’s hard to imagine the series without this iconic weapon.

9. Buster Gun

Iconic gaming weapons - But Why Tho

One of the most prolific entries on this list is the Buster Gun. Having appeared in over 50 games spanning 40 platforms you’d have to try to be unfamiliar with Mega Man’s signature weapon. In fact, it’s presence is so plentiful that it almost makes it a little less meaningful to me. Still, with the ability to absorb the powers of fallen enemies and a charge up attack for extra damage there’s little reason to question why Dr. Light sees this weapon as the right choice for his greatest creation.

8. Hidden blades

Assassin's Creed II

Some weapons function as symbols that encompass a game’s entire theme. Sleek, stealthy, and the ability to strike completely unseen. This perfectly sums up both the hidden blades, as well as the franchise as a whole. The moment we first time saw Altair pop out the hidden blade to slay a Templar all those games ago we were hooked. And even though the series has moved away from its signature weapon it will always hold a place in gaming history.

7. Portal gun

Most weapons become famous for their raw destructive power. Or perhaps the new and exciting ways it allows use to dispatch our foes. The iconic portal gun is in a class all its own. The Portal gun is the only tool given to Chell in the original Portal to escape the devious test chambers of the AI GLaDOS. And yet, it was all gamers could’ve asked for. From the moment you slapped those two portals on walls and stepped through you knew you were in for an experience like no other. And still, to this day, no series as ever duplicated, with such precise  elegance, what Portal did with that wonderful gun.

6. Key Blade

Ever since Kingdom Hearts originally dropped onto the PlayStation 2 the key blade has been a striking addition to gaming’s collection of combat aids. With a design that stands out as the most logic element of it’s series plot the key blade has cemented its self, not only as a fan favorite weapon, but the only part of Kingdom Hearts many of us can understand.

However, if any one would ever doubt the impressive power of the key blade let me remind you of something. With only that trusty weapon, and the aid of Goofy and Donald, Sora bests, not only Cloud, but Sephiroth. And on his first outing no less!

5. Dual Pistols

How iconic is the image of gaming’s Lara Croft sporting her twin pistols and looking simultaneously like a bad ass and a bombshell you ask? Well, it’s the only image on this list that is iconic enough to have graced the silver screen not once, but three times. Lara with her dual pistols is an image of strength and power. Going all the way back to her origins when female protagonists in video games where hard to find, there she was. Lady Croft sporting those pistols. It’s an image that truly is the very definition of the word iconic.

4. Fire Flower

Iconic gaming weapons - But Why Tho (4)

Within the multitude of power-ups in Mario’s arsenal their is only one purely offensive weapon that goes all the way back to his early days in Super Mario Bros. I speak of course of the Fire flower. When I was six this was the coolest weapon in video games. And what put this weapon on the top of the charts? The fact that if you were skilled enough to reach Bowser bearing this mighty weapon’s power it was all but an auto win. It felt like Nintendo gift for your mastery of the platforming arts. Three quick button presses and your greatest nemesis was done for. My first gaming power trip. And I still love picking a fire flower to this very day.

3. Buster sword (Users: Cloud And Zach, Game Series: Various)

Final Fantasy VII is filled with larger than life elements. From character, to story moments, and most certainly in Cloud’s preferred choice of weapon.  The buster sword is so big some iterations of it are capable of completely concealing it’s bearer behind it. The upper body strength necessary to wield such a titanic weapon alone instantly cements Cloud as a bad ass in the player’s mind. Throughout FFVII Cloud shows he is more comfortable letting the buster sword do the talking. And that was just how gamers wanted it.

2. Lancer ( Users: Various, Game Series: Gears of War)

Gears 5 Multiplayer

Throughout this countdown, we’ve talked about many types of weapons. Weapons that were unique. Weapons that, from first glance, wowed is. Weapons that made us cackle with glee when we used them. Weapons that made us feel unstoppable. Weapons that take on a symbolic representation of its own game series. But none of the weapons we’ve looked at did all of these things. But the lancer does.

From the first time I saw the lancer, I was floored. The dual thoughts of “That’s so cool!” and “How has no one ever made this before?” ripped through my brain in rapid fire succession. And playing with it felt so good! It has the best fire rate in the game, not too much recoil, and that chainsaw. Ripping into a Locus Drone with that bad boy has never grown old. And it’s the perfect reflection of the game it appears in.

It is a hard, inelegant weapon. It is the sort of weapon designed by a desperate race who are clinging to life, and lashing out with rage. To use its trade mark chainsaw never looked easy. Seeing one of the gears force that chain through an enemy felt like the perfect representation of the struggle the humans of Serra endured. It’s Everything it needs to be. It’s just so utterly perfect.

1. The Master Sword (User: Link, Series: Various)

Fan Art by the author

The eternal war of good against evil is easily the most used theme in all of gaming. Whether it’s an orphaned heiress fighting supernatural forces, a plucky blue robot combating an evil genius, or the last remnants of humanity clinging to life against a relentless hoard of monsters, the struggle is ever-present in gaming. And no where is that endless struggle more emphasized than in The Legend of Zelda. And no single thing in that venerated series more captures the enduring radiance of the good than The Master Sword. It is always the final piece with which to fell Gannon. The weapon that can only be wielded by the legendary Hero of Time.

It is so powerful in its presence that my first painting I ever did was of it. And I have repeatedly returned to it to gauge my progress. It is a reminder that, even in the darkest hours, their is yet light. The ultimate weapon.

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