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The main character (or protagonist), is a type of character that serves the main role of the game or franchise. The main character is playable most of the time in the game.
Mario is the titular protagonist of his own series and spin-offs. In subseries such as Mario & Luigi, Mario and Luigi are the main characters. In Super Mario games, Mario aims to rescue Princess Peach who is held captive by Bowser. In Super Princess Peach, the roles are reversed which makes Peach the main character.
In The Legend of Zelda
Despite the series referring to Princess Zelda, Link is the protagonist who is destined to save Hyrule from Ganondorf, or his alter-ego, Ganon. Zelda made a few epononymous appearances as the main character.