Atlus’ Favorite Hero Of Dotnia Is Shirtless Man-Cannon

3D Dot Game Heroes for the PS3 passed under the radar of a lot of gamers. Offering an incredibly solid Zelda-like experience, the game reveled in its retro-ness. It also offered the fun opportunity for players to build their own pixelated character.

Atlus USA challenged North American players of 3D Dot Game Heroes to make a “custom hero to end all heroes”. Yesterday, they announced the winners of that contest.

Top winner was the aptly-named “MANNON”, created by “TheRat”. He is a man with tank tracks and a large cannon in his chest. A “mannon” if you will. Do you see what they did there?

“TheRat” scooped $100 in video game credit from Amazon.com for winning the contest. In the words of Aram Jabbari, Manager of PR and Sales at Atlus, “who could argue with a shirtless man-tank armed with a chest cannon? Precisely.”

Jabbari was impressed with the standard of submissions, noting that “we were fairly certain it would simply be a matter of crowning whichever two or three submissions weren’t inappropriately phallic in nature, but to our extreme amazement, there was an overwhelming number of awesome and highly original submissions.”

How little faith he puts in the minds of gamers. Surely no-one would be so crass as to produce a phallic symbol given the opportunity and an appropriate toolset? Or is that the character modeler’s equivalent of the programmers’ “HELLO WORLD” test?

Five other creations scooped a prize, too: “ASCII” by “Triston” (pictured, right). “Sheepsuit” from “Orison”. “Bunnblade” by the wonderfully-named Ricks C. Anderson II. “Birdie in a Cage” by “townkinkykid”. And “Phoenix” by Jon Preston. All of these creations got themselves a $25 Amazon voucher.

User-generated content is a fast-growing part of gaming. With titles such as 3D Dot Game Heroes and LittleBigPlanet, not to mention the upcoming ManiaPlanet for PC, it’s a good time to be a creative gamer.

It’s easy to wonder, though, that if Atlus clearly wanted people to share their 3D Dot Game Heroes creations, why didn’t they make it easier to do that within the game? Instead, gamers have to save their creations to the PS3, transfer the file to a memory stick and then post it on the Internet themselves. It might have been nice to see some social features allowing PSN friends to exchange characters, for example. Part of the joy of user-generated content, as LittleBigPlanet designers will know, is sharing that content with other people.

3D Dot Game Heroes is out now. It’s the kind of game that will probably be quite difficult to find in a few months’ time. So gamers who are the slightest bit interested in a retro Zelda-alike should snap up a copy they can.