Debut title: Final Fantasy VII
Year released: 1997

Seemingly just a simple flower girl, Aeris Gainsborough revealed herself to be much more than that in Final Fantasy VII, serving as one of Cloud Strife's primary romantic interests in the title before meeting her untimely and tragic demise. Was there anything crazier than seeing Aeris take Sephiroth's Masamune straight through the chest? Throughout the entire game, we'd come to fall in love with Aeris' upbeat, joyful edge, and the way that she sought to lift up an otherwise somber atmosphere time after time. But in one fell swoop, Aeris was gone, and so was the last pure spark of innocence in the game. That was cold, Square. Real cold.