The world of comic books has birthed some of the most recognizable characters in modern media. From the brooding Batman to the web-slinging Spider-Man, these names have woven themselves into the fabric of pop culture and entertainment. While heroes get most of the love, there are a select few villains who have risen above their station to become even more prominent than their heroic adversaries. One such villain is the Crown Prince of Crime, the Joker, one of Batman’s most prominent antagonists and arguably the most iconic bad guy in comic history.
The Joker has been a thorn in Batman’s side from the very beginning, following the Caped Crusader through depictions that go beyond the confines of the DC comics. Whether it’s film or television, the Joker can always be found terrorizing Batman and company with his dastardly schemes. Their feud has frequently found its way to the world of gaming as well, and it’s here that some of the best depictions of Joker exist. Although some of them may vary dramatically in tone, all the best Jokers in video games share the character’s penchant for insanity, mayhem, and pushing the Dark Knight to his limit day in and day out.
The Joker in the LEGO Batman Series
In the eighty years since the Joker was introduced in the comics, he’s evolved from a petty nuisance to a threat to the world, with his methods ranging from cunning to outright horrific. In the LEGO Batman series, the Joker is more in line with his earlier comic and television depictions, balancing a sense of campiness with genuinely cruel intentions. The first game in the series sees him at his generally evil self, with future installments upping the ante until he’s leading the Legion of Doom against the Crime Syndicate. It’s a version of the Joker all fans can appreciate, helped by the signature charm of the LEGO game series.
The Joker in Injustice
Every so many years, a depiction of the Joker will have the clown commit a crime so large in scale and devastating in its effects, that it will change the world altogether. The Joker in the Injustice franchise is one such version, as he plays his greatest trick yet by deceiving Superman into killing a pregnant Lois Lane and detonating a nuclear bomb in Metropolis. The clown meets his end soon after at the hands of an enraged Superman, but he ultimately sets in motion the creation of the Man of Steel’s oppressive Regime. Though he wasn’t there to live through all of it, the Joker’s fingerprints are all over Injustice‘s story.
The Joker in the Batman: Arkham Series
Few superhero games are as comprehensively successful as the Batman: Arkham series. Rocksteady essentially created the blueprint for every story-based superhero game of the last fifteen years, and its depiction of the Joker helped accomplish that. From his Titan-fueled schemes in Arkham Asylum to his hallucination-induced appearances in Arkham Knight, Batman: Arkham‘s Joker has endeared itself to fans as one of the greatest video game versions of the character. It also helps that Mark Hamill contributed his iconic voice to the villain, providing a sense of familiarity for fans of Batman: The Animated Series.
A select few comic villains have reached the same prominence as the Joker, and even less have maintained the same levels of popularity over such a long period of time. The fact that the clown received his own, rather successful, solo movie in 2019’s Joker is a testament to his fame, as is his consistently remarkable video game appearances. Although it’s been some time since he served as the main antagonist of a video game, the Joker‘s previous depictions continue to shine as some of the greatest comic book villain appearances in gaming history.
MORE: Fans Debate Whether The DCU Batman Should Have White Eyes Or Not