Exploration requires a certain set of characteristics; bravery, wisdom and overall survivability. You need to be brave to go somewhere uncharted, you need to be wise so you don’t eat something that’ll hurt you and you need to be able to survive, so you can return and tell of your exploits. Well, in today’s Top 10 list, we’re focusing on these brave individuals who’ve seen uncharted territories – and come back to tell us all about it.
10) Jebediah Springfield
Jebediah Obadiah Zachariah Jedediah Springfield was a pioneer in the earliest days of the colonisation of the Americas. Alongside close friend and ally Shelbyville Manhattan, he led a small group of settlers across the midwest to a place with bountiful farmlands for the planting of lemon trees and turnip crops, there to divide between the twin cities of Springfield and Shelbyville, founding a centuries-long enmity.
Of course, as the city embiggened, it became inevitable that some curious soul would discover the secret of Hans Sprungfeld, the truth perhaps not so cromulent as the myth that he built around himself. His past is not so terrible that we’d have kicked him off the list however, although Zapp Brannigan was a close contender for the second place slot.
9) Steve – Minecraft
You may think this is a joke entry, but actually Steve encompasses everything an explorer should have about them. Steve’s able to wield different tools, able to level areas to his advantage and yes, he can punch trees down to turn into said tools. All in all, Steve is perfectly equipped to encounter lands he’s never seen before, as well as lands that nobody has ever seen before. Indeed, Steve is the ultimate explorer.
When you start up a new game in Minecraft, you’re effectively creating a perfectly unique world. Whilst the general biomes are similar, everything is unique. You can generate worlds with floating islands, with lots of water, with very little water – It’s all completely unique and randomly generated by your worlds ‘seed’. I’m glad the Steves of the world are able to encounter and build wonderful landmarks.
8) Patema Inverted
Bit of an interesting one for you, as Patema never intended to wander into the world. She wanders around in reverse, where up is down and one misstep will lead to an endless fall into the sky. So when she ends up finding a boy called Age – Who is able to walk in a non-reversed world. Patema comes from a world called Aiga, in which the gravity has been reversed – But only for those who are from down there. With their bodies being accustomed to inverted gravity, that becomes their base gravity.
It’s a really touching story, with a lot of emotions poured in. Don’t be fooled into thinking this one is all cute and cuddly, as it hits you right in the feels at times. Patema has to quickly learn that she needs the support of Age – and vice versa. They hold hands and are able to go anywhere together, in each others worlds. Low entry here, as Patema and Age only end up exploring other worlds by accident.
7) George Stobbart – Broken Sword
George Stobbart is the main protagonist of the Broken Sword franchise, having been around since the very first game. If you’ve never heard of Broken Sword, it’s a classic point & click adventure game. Now, one thing that’s a bit strange here is that George doesn’t necessarily spend his time dedicated to finding ruins or anything, but sometimes he can stumble upon them on his quest.
He’s a staunch opponent of the Knights Templar, which sounds a bit far fetched. As such, he ends up going wherever adventure takes him. Sometimes he has a map, sometimes he does not. He explores places of historic interest, whilst they remain relatively untouched, except by the evil organisation he chases. All in all, George is brave, but hoo boy, is he foolish for going in without much to go on?
… He may just be foolish for taking on a gruff goat.
6) James T Kirk – Star Trek
Boldly going where no man’s gone before, James T Kirk sure does love to find new alien planets. Easily one of the most famous characters from Star Trek, as well as one of the most famous pilots of all, Kirk represented the United Federation of Planets as a professional explorer. As such, it’s impossible to leave him out of this week’s list. He explored because he enjoyed exploring, which gives him this mid-high placing on this list.
However, his exploration and exploits led him to getting the attention of plenty of women along the way. This is somewhat troublesome, sometimes leading the crew astray in the process. Fortunately, James’ is dedicated to his craft, meaning that he’d always go back to his ship and his crew. Afterall, once he was finished, he would just pack up and leave… Not really a good role model, but we never pretended this list had to be filled with role models!
5) Tulio and Miguel – Road to El Dorado
A shoutout to one of the most underrated Dreamworks films of all time, perhaps lesser known because of the moral ambiguity of the characters who set off in search of riches and fame, and unintentionally find power and glory when a duplicitous priest names them gods. As con men and scam artists themselves, they really should have seen that one a mile away.
Their treasure hunt through Mesoamerica sees them travelling with (read “stowing away on the ship of”) real-world historical explorer, Hernan Cortes, who contributed to the fall of the Aztec Empire. Tulio and Miguel ensure that the destructive Conquistador will never destroy the city of gold, whose people they have come to respect and appreciate, despite the attempted murder. They also leave without much by way of treasure, a performance parotted by the box office takings – yeah, this one made a loss – but they found the true riches of friendship along the way.
4) Indiana Jones
How could we forget Indiana Jones? He’s literally one of the most iconic explorers in all of pop culture. If we had left Indie out of this list, we’d probably have been crucified as one of the worst websites in history. However, he just misses out on our Top 3 spots, as hey, whilst he’s been around for a long time, there’s one odd anomaly which makes him not quite the explorer he thinks he is.
First of all, he always explores tombs and ruins that have been previously charted. It’s rare he will go to anywhere that’s been forgotten about. Okay, it’s fair to defend him a bit here, as it’s not often he goes anywhere that most people would go – He doesn’t go to places for a holiday. He’s a professor of archaeology, which made the profession go from a bit of a geeky one, to something people actively tried to pursue. If we say nothing else, Indie helped make an important profession mainstream – That’s just awesome!
3) The Time Traveller – H.G. Wells Time Machine
Fun fact, this character does not have an actual name, although it’s often presumed to be an avatar of Wells himself. The Time Machine is a sled of sorts, a stationary object designed to move backwards and forwards through time and time alone, meaning the Traveller never really went much further than walking distance from home. Millions of years into the future, sure, but maybe only twenty minutes brisk jog from the far flung possibilities of his living room.
From his chair he watched as his rooms were demolished, empires rose and fell, watched the progress of the dinosaurs as they dominated the world for longer than there ever has been mankind. Finally he stopped off in – what we might refer to as a new world of sorts, in which mankind is divided into the carefree and dimwitted people of the surface, and the grim but intelligent subterraneans. You see folks, you can be an explorer from the comfort of your own home.
2) SG1 – Stargate
With the added convenience of regular access to a stable and safe wormhole, the first-contact team SG1 have probably explored more worlds and made contact with more species than even the Star Trek crews could have managed. Admittedly the technology was not theirs in the first place, and its usage has brought down the attention of a galaxy dominating super-power, but exploration is only exciting if there’s a risk of danger.
Dr. Daniel Jackson and Cpt. Jack O’Neill seem… a little different compared to their first foray through the mysterious portals that revealed so much about our own history. I think maybe they’ve had some work done? Or maybe a cast change? Otherwise it’s an all new team of entrepid adventurers wandering from planet to planet without ever stepping into the void between. Except for all of those times they were in space of course.
1) Lara Croft – Tomb Raider
How could we not?
The poster girl of the 90’s, Lara Croft was everywhere. Many teenage boys and girls had posters of her, for a variety of reasons. She was featured in several adverts, such as for cars and finance. Lara Croft has been everywhere imaginable – But most importantly, Lara Croft is known as the Tomb Raider. We mentioned how Indiana Jones got discredited due to a lot of his places being well documented; this is where Lara differs.
Okay, so in some of the older titles a lot of the tombs she explored were considered well known, but it wasn’t until later in the franchise did she start to go to lesser-explored places. With her recent games gaining a lot of traction, it’s fair to say that Lara Croft’s appeal is as great now as it was back in the 90’s. The real question is what marketing campaign is she going to end up in next…
… and will she be driving a Land Rover in her next game?
Ah yes, we’ve discovered two frauds amongst our list of Explorers. Two entries where people claim to be explorers, but yet are not. This doesn’t make them bad for what they are, because one of our entries we love to bits, but my gosh, don’t let them tell you about their adventures, as they’re likely fabricated!
Dora the Explorer
Swiper, stop bloody swiping everything, you git!
We had to include Dora the Explorer on this list of fictional explorers, but we certainly couldn’t give her a Top 10 space. Indeed, her name is a bit of a conundrum. For someone with a moniker like ‘the Explorer’, you’d expect her to have discovered something by herself. However, we can’t be too mean, she’s just a child and that’s why we’re cutting her a bit of slack. It’s great she has an active imagination.
However, let’s not kid ourselves. This little explorer doesn’t really explore anything. Indeed, she relies on people to tell her where everything is. She relies on children to help her stop Swiper, who is always swiping things. She’s quickly become ‘Dora the Liar’ to me, even if she is just a child. M’aiq, you’ve got some competition!
Embracing the pulp fiction style 1920’s adventurer from his pith helmet to his wingtips, chap hop maestro and all round jolly good show Professor Elemental certainly looks the part, and has the look of man who potentially could be encountered in the wilds of Borneo or the Niger Congo alongside his company of willing aides, all of whom named Geoffrey, or Jolly, or Bunty. Sadly, ‘tis not the case.
You see the character of Prof. E is a bit of an explorer, or at least he claims to be, it can be rather hard to tell for sure. His board game (amongst other things) throws doubt onto his wild claims, a game in which you gather curios and tidbits from around the city of London to defraud your fellow explorers into believing you’ve travelled to the farthest flung reaches of the world. And perhaps, just perhaps, the Professor’s been at the same game all along? To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen his orangutan in person.
Land ho! Just like Captain Cook, we’ve discovered somewhere new to tell everyone back home all about! Thankfully, we didn’t have to go far, as the above list just wouldn’t stop telling us about this new place they’ve all found. Whether it’s a tomb, a crypt, a cave, or hey, even some long-lost maze-like ensemble of buildings, we’ve seen a lot of new places thanks to these guys. Now, like the above explorers, you should all tell us what you can foresee coming up in next week’s list.
You may have noticed that next week’s lists are a bit spooky. That’s because it’s October and as we get closer to Halloween, things will get spookier and scarier around here! Keep your eyes peeled for more, however in the meantime, what did you think of today’s list? Did we get the right characters in, or did we forget about an important explorer? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.