Creating a mascot is hard. Knowing what people will respond to, and then want to continue to spend money on, is a total crapshoot. Many successful mascots had very little thought put into them. Mario is based on the landlord for the offices Nintendo was located in. Pac-man? Based on a pizza with a slice missing. But some mascots tossed to the wayside didn't’t deserve such a cruel fate. Which ones? THANKS FOR ASKING AND SETTING UP THIS ARTICLE! Here are 9 Video Games Mascots I Wish Had Been A Bigger Success:
A happy caveboy with a giant head, Bonk was a part of the long run of 2d side-scrollers that were made during the early nineties. So what made him so special? The games he starred in weren’t garbage; they were actually pretty good. Also, with the rough time the Turbo-Grafx-16 had in the system market, it seemed nice to throw a bone to one of their flagship games.
Chocobos? Moogles? Oh no, those guys have nothing when it comes to the weird, terrible grammar-having things from the cult classic RPG Earthbound. Mr Saturn was frequently represented in promotional items like key chains and plushies, but the game never sold that well, so Mr Saturn just never got the spin-off games/cartoons that they deserved (they don’t really have a gender).
A lot of attempts at creating a new video game mascot failed because they never really tried that hard to come up with anything unique. Lizards, cats, spacemen, who cares? Crash Bandicoot is great because someone sat down and went “What is the least-known animal we can think of?” And this was an era before you could just Google “animals you’ve never heard of”. While Crash Bandicoot had a long run on the PS1 (three games and a cart racer), Sony just let him go as they moved onto the PS2. Anyone who’s been dumped knows that’s a rough way to be treated…
They were bad! And dudes! WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?! No, but seriously, Billy & Jimmy Dragon called, they want their shtick back.
PaRappa the Rapper
He’s a 2D dog who raps the way your Dad would rap if you gave him some time and a bunch of 80’s rap albums for research. There was an unofficial sequel with UmJammer Lammy, but rock and roll is almost too easy to grasp for out of touch game designers, so it lacked the bizarre charm of a video game about rap made by people who seemed familiar with rap only up to “Rap lyrics rhyme”.The game did end up getting a sequel, and spawned a lot of merchandise inside of Japan, but where’s the love, North America?
Not only were Worms cute cartoon characters who also shoot rocket launchers, holy hand grenades (Monty Python reference, you nerds), and exploding, but as a turn based strategy game it required a lot of on your feet planning to try to stay ahead of your friends and not let them get the drop on you. Smart game mascots deserve credit, too!
Another game that got a sequel, and appeared in some ensemble games, but not only were the Viewtiful Joe games amazing, he was a really awesome mascot. Where most games look like they’re made by the same generic 3D animation program, VJ had a really great cell-shaded comic book style, as well as a lot of cheesy voice-over.
I don’t care how many games Battletoads ended up encompassing, THEY DESERVED MORE! Such a weird design choice (right down to the self-conscious sunglasses they wore) combined with incredibly difficult games, Battletoads would be just the kind of old-school game we could use these days. They definitely deserved at least as much success as Earthworm Jim. Why no cartoon for them?
LOL J/K BUBSY IS THE WORST! A perfect example of someone creating a mascot by just throwing darts at a few stock images pinned to the wall and then looking at what he hit and saying “Okay, one word name, he’s a cat, and it’s a platformer.” Also starred in Bubsy 3d, widely regarded as maybe the worst game ever on Earth.
What mascots do you wish were more popular? Let us know in the comments!