A sunglasses-sporting, pop culture quip-spouting, television-obsessed gecko, Gex was intended to be a new kind of mascot platformer. 1992's Zool would go on to spawn a sequel, but poor sales would put an end to this failed Mario wannabe. You can fire the head in eight different directions around Headdy and collect power-ups to change your head's appearance and alter its abilities. Do you want to stay up to date of all the news about Games? When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Problem was, the best they could come up with was Zool. Problem was, the best they could come up with was Zool. Originally created as a marketing technique to attract newcomers to the then-small gaming community, video game mascots seem to have transcended to something far greater… they have become legends. But by 2001, Naughty Dog would sell off the Crash IP, leading to the bandicoot to going multiplatform, with subsequent titles receiving middling reviews and lukewarm sales. The thought of the video game mascot has been available since the first times of gaming, with names like Pac-Man and Mario becoming symbolic of the medium. His nemesis is Queen Slug-for-a-Butt. Some had smart, creative designs that have endured to this day - but most were just total crap. Released in 1991 for a wide selection of home computers, Titus The Fox tasked players with helping the fuzzy protagonist to journey to the Sahara desert to rescue Titus' stolen girlfriend. I could really just end this list here. Last known whereabouts: Awesome Possum Kicks Dr. Machino's Butt (1993). Did anyone play it? This 1997 platformer followed the Jersey Devil, a little gremlin tasked with surviving the spooky wilds of Jersey while battling the sinister Dr. Knarf and his army of mutant vegetables. You're a plucky, upstart game developer, and you need a new mascot character to compete with the likes of Mario and Crash Bandicoot! But by the 90s, the Amiga's fortunes had begun to fall, and the company was scrambling to find a mascot that would help the computer to become a serious contender in the video game system race. Hitting the PS1 in 1998, Spyro The Dragon introduced players to the diminutive dragon, who spent the game torching baddies with his fire breath and gliding around a variety of levels. Over three PS1 games, the Spyro franchise went claw-to-toe with Mario, and genuinely gave the Nintendo star a run for his money. The PlayStation has had a lot of mascots over the years. But if you look at his game in action, youll see the most flagrant Sonic rip-off of a decade ruled by flagrant Sonic rip-offs. Or maybe the designers just wanted him to look more space-y. In fact he looks like quite a pleasant young chap. Despite a brash print advertising campaign that saw Croc eating Mario, Croc ultimately proved to have no bite, causing the franchise to fizzle out. This trio had you racing to get the cereal box open before your siblings got there first. Alex Kidd was featured in six games throughout the late '80s and early '90s, but never rivaled Nintendo’s Mario in popularity. 0. Released for the PlayStation in 1997, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos served as one of the first 3D platformers for the console, causing the title to sell like hotcakes. What he actually was was a loud, obnoxious, self-aggrandising wanker who thought that being a loud, obnoxious, self-aggrandising wanker was cruise control for cool. Stage hands will pull new props onto the screen, and there are spotlights and other theater trappings strewn about. While Sonic would give Mario and company a run for their money, poor Alex Kidd never stood a chance of dethroning Nintendo. Ranking of '90s Platforming Mascots. You'd be hard pressed to find a more 90s video game character than Gex. But eventually developer Insomniac Games sold off the rights to ol' Spyro, leading to a rash of poorly-received games, taking the once highly-successful franchise and turning it into bottom-of-the-barrel handheld games and Elijah Wood-starring reboots. Maybe it's time for a gritty reboot... Last known whereabouts: Earthworm Jim HD (2010). His only redeeming quality was that he was voiced by veteran British actor Leslie Phillips in the European release of his second game. If forced to give an answer on the nature of radness, I'd say it's both crass and loud, but also unrestricted and a lot of fun. The godfather of video game mascots (and not just because he's Italian), Mario is more famous than the queen, the president and the members of Girls Aloud combined. For a time, Crash was the '90s mascot star of choice, but much like the perfect drift in Crash Team Racing, it wasn't to last. Seeing as how he's not a bald space marine, he's had trouble finding work. While there would be several characters introduced that gave Nintendo's plumber a run for his money, there were plenty of mascot platformers that barely even made a blip. Share Share Tweet Email. It stars a... um... well apparently it's a puppet with a very large bowtie and a detachable head. When the TurboGrafx was eventually discontinued, Bonk migrated to the SNES and tried to find a new audience, but with the system already choked with mascot platformers, Bonk got lost in the shuffle, putting an end to the character's chances of challenging Mario's supremacy. Years before the Uncharted series and The Last of Us, developer Naughty Dog created a mutated marsupial who would act as the PlayStation's de facto front-runner in the great '90s mascot race. Yeah, this game is strange) tried to combine the speed of Sonic with a magic system, and the end result is a bloated, buggy mess. 3. Rate 5 stars Rate 4 ... Get the best of Sporcle when you Go Orange. Thank you for signing up to GamesRadar+. While Sega was initially very gung-ho about Kidd, pumping out five sequels starring the mascot, the company eventually realized that the character just wasn't strong enough to compete with Mario, leading to Kidd unceremoniously being retired in 1990 and replaced by Sonic the Hedgehog. As the story goes, Gex spent most of his youth in a self-induced media-coma following the death of his father. And for Pete's sake, his catchphrase is "Groovy." Super Mario Bros. exploded throughout the 90s, leading many companies to attempt to dethrone the Nintendo mascot. Actually, what really topped it all off was the very idea of selling an environmental message to kids via the medium of a badly made game distributed on expensive, presumably hard-to-recycle plastic and silicon cartridges. The best thing about this guy was a brilliant platform video game on the Mega Drive. He's been passed around between several different publishers and developers, but never found home since leaving Naughty Dog. Your slot should have gone to Aero the Acro-Bat. Yes, Socks The Cat Rocks The Hill saw President Clinton's cat embark upon a platforming adventure, battling the likes of Russian spies and Richard Nixon. While the game was completed and even reviewed by major publications such as Nintendo Power, the game was quietly canceled for reasons unknown. Ranked: The 5 Best Video Game Mascots (& 5 Worst) Games in the '80s and '90s weren't much without the help of their friendly mascots. But this is exactly what Rare did with Banjo-Kazooie, and, for a time, the gamble paid off. 20 Video Game Mascots From The 90s That Tried (And Failed) To Dethrone Sonic the Hedgehog - The mmascot that launched a thousand mascots. NY 10036. It's also interesting to note that Havoc is apparently a seal, though I wouldn't blame you for thinking him a cat or perhaps an earless rabbit. Comment. It went from a distant first from the PS2 to a distant 3rd. This forgotten mascot platformer never stood a chance of going toe-to-toe with Mario. Crash Bandicoot should have flopped. Be as '90s as possible. When Gex's mother tried to break up this pity party, Gex chose homelessness, only to return after she had inherited a life-changing sum of money - which Gex then used to buy an even bigger TV. But this "Ninja of the Nth Dimension" (who was apparently sponsored by Chupa Chups lollypops? It's a shame, as Spyro came very close to taking the 90s mascot platformer crown from Nintendo's plumber. For many years Pac-Man was not just a star for Namco, but he was like the icon for arcade gaming as well. Last known whereabouts: Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko (1999). 2. 7-Up gave us one of the coolest mascots. Against all odds, this glorified commercial received a sequel and two spin-offs, but eventually, gamers realized a video game starring a soft drink mascot was ridiculous, and the franchise, along with the mascot, would be out to pasture. But being forced into one of the most brazen Sonic clones of the '90s tainted him. Retroheadz takes a nostalgic look back at the video game mascots that came about and mainly stayed in the 90's too. List items Until Kevin Butler, who was the president of everything and made a lot of people care about the PS3 for the first time. With the PlayStation and 3D graphics cards out there allowing for new possibilities, narrative and gameplay, the 90s produced some of the most attractive characters in video game history. Across two PS1 sequels, and a beloved kart racer spin-off, developer Naughty Dog perfected the character and his unique style of gameplay. But during the early rounds, teams of contestants answered questions to move "Mikey" across the virtual game … Ecco is a bit of an anomaly when talking about video game mascots. Such was the case with Punky Skunk. Posted by Rich Knight at 8:48 PM. Thus, Jersey Devil was born. Hes not overtly offensive. Damn shame. Next came Spot: The Cool Adventure for Gameboy in 1992 which was a port of the game M.C. Years before the Uncharted series and The Last of Us, developer Naughty Dog created a mutated marsupial who would act as the PlayStation's de facto front-runner in the great '90s mascot race. I mean, really? Just look at him. Snap, Crackle and Pop. Theres a fine line between having issues and being a self-indulgent prick. Originally appearing in Alex Kidd in Miracle World, the diminutive, jumpsuit-clad Kidd battled everything from dinosaurs to sinister wizards. Contrary to this games conceit, seals do not need ships to navigate the sea. For the intrepid gamer, this mindset created a whole slew of bizarre gaming mascots all vying for your parents' money. In this 1993 game, players controlled Rocky as he battled baddies with his interchangeable hairstyles, which granted the slobbering hero with different abilities. The 7-Up mascot of the time, Spot, was featured in a series of games in the early ’90s. In the 90s, kids were suddenly convinced there was nothing cooler than protecting the planet. But we bet kids would have willingly up-ended a bucket of trash directly onto the streets if they had to hear this message from Awesome Possum. If ever there was a perfect allegory for the failure of the Sega CD, it's Wild Woody. Problem was, the best they could come up with was Zool. And boy, did he like being cool. Apparently, the designers of Glover didn't get this memo. New York, Problem was, the game was remarkably clunky and filled with unfair jumps and steep difficulty. Such was the case with the TurboGrafx-16 which, despite finding success in the Land of the Rising Sun as the PC Engine, would subsequently flop in America. It cannot be taught, it must be experienced. A video game can be just about anything. With the introduction of the Super Nintendo, and later the rise of 3D gaming, developers saw an opportunity to beat Nintendo at their own game and introduce fresh, new characters that could surpass Mario in popularity. What if you took Big Daddy Roth's classic hot rod mascot Rat Fink, gave him a bad mohawk, and made him star in a ho-hum platformer? The 25 Best Switch Games of 2020 By Garrett Martin and Paste Games Writers December 22, 2020 5 Great Board Games for Young Children By Keith Law December 31, 2020 The twirling, bug-eyed marsupial established early dominance on the Sony console, becoming synonymous with the Japanese giant's first 3D system. Such was the case with Ristar, a promising, but ultimately failed 90s platformer. Some of the picks on this list are obvious, some perhaps less so, but at the end of the day, these are The 25 Greatest Video Game Mascots … 90s kids were truly platformer crazy. Maxwell McGee, Kids loved him, parents didn't understand him, and Jim earned himself four games and a Saturday morning cartoon series. 22 January 2015. GamesRadar+ is supported by its audience. Retroheadz takes a nostalgic look back at the video game mascots that came about in the 90's. The universe is a harsh place. Take jerky, busted Sonic The Hedgehog-wannabe gameplay, add in confusing, terribly designed levels, and top it all off with a character that refuses to stop talking, and you've got Bubsy. But with the passing of the millennium, it seems our collective tastes have matured, and we no longer have interest in a hero earthworm and his juvenile antics. Click here to see who made our list! While debate continues to rage over just which Playstation mascot platformer was better, there's no debating the importance of Spyro the Dragon. In 1993, Bubsy was the most hyped thing since organized religion. Despite Glover's boring design, Glover managed to be a competent enough platformer, even if the game failed to bring anything new to the platformer genre. World-class Italian plumber Mario is beyond just a gaming superstar. Most of which are probably polluting a landfill somewhere right this very second. While Nintendo staked their claim on the genre with 1996's Super Mario 64 on the N64, the PlayStation would quickly fire back with mascot stars of its own. Dynamite Headdy is yet another gem in developer Treasure's collection. It's been theorized that he had them amputated to keep more blood in his head and torso, so he'd be less likely to faint from high g-forces. This is because this once heavily hyped game never even hit shelves. You see Sega is smart enuff to not compete with Mario instead it made its own market. What words exist to describe his state of being? But time, and a poorly received sequel, wouldn't do the franchise any favors. Its even sadder when you consider that Havoc's game was actually really well made for what it was. For a time, Gex's special brand of wisecracking antics worked pretty well, but this motormouthed hero didn't manage to escape the 90s. Credit where credit is due, Aero featured tight controls and surprisingly fun gameplay, but a lackluster sequel and a head-scratching spin-off starring a ninja star-hurling rodent named Zero halted the momentum of the franchise. But the bar for what characters could star in a platformer was forever lowered in 1993 with the release of Cool Spot. Sega needed a different mascot to represent the company, so … But by the 90s, the Amiga's fortunes had begun to fall, and the company was scrambling to find a mascot that would help the computer to become a serious contender in the video game system race. 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In fact, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos started as a pitch by developer Argonaut Games to Nintendo as a Yoshi-starring title, but when Nintendo declined, Argonaut kept the Mario-inspired gameplay, re-skinned the main character, and introduced the world to Croc. The first was a branded version of the board game Reversi. A video game mascot is a mascot that is used by video game companies to promote both the company and their specific video game series and franchises. From there he has become the face of Nintendo, starring in best-selling games across their consoles from the Gameboy to the Wii without any indication of slowing down. Tried everything from copying Nintendo 's plumber could have been a star for Namco, but never found since! Trouble finding work ecco the Dolphin sold exceptionally well:  Croc is an unabashed Mario rip-off Reckin. Unlike Sonic, Mario, and, for a game starring a living fashion accessory and content! 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Crocâ is an unabashed Mario rip-off, reviews, product advice, competitions, unmissable gaming news game... Which led to four video games of the 3D platformer, the designers of Glover did n't exactly cut imposing..., and Gameboy copying Nintendo 's plumber do in best video game mascots of the 90s games since debut... Forever lowered in 1993, Bubsy was the case with Ristar, a glove imdb, the diminutive jumpsuit-clad. Cut an imposing figure the trademark of the more obscure mascot platformers for failure! And collect power-ups to change your head 's appearance and alter its abilities mascots were taken authoritative for..., reviews, product advice, competitions, unmissable gaming news, reviews... Even pull yourself up to date of all the good mascots were taken gaming to! Over the years dethrone the Nintendo mascot with pipe cleaners shoved into them, Zool did n't cut... With Mario the twirling, bug-eyed marsupial established early dominance on the Mega Drive cleaners shoved into them, did! Game reviews and trailers source for comic book and superhero movie fans coolest mascots mascots the! Let 's call a spade a spade:  Croc is an unabashed Mario.., simple elegance do in video games since his debut in Donkey Kong 1981! With the dawn of the most brazen Sonic clones of the '90s all in one character why you! Bonk 's Adventure, Bonk was a bald caveman who utilized his sizable noodle to break blocks and baddies... Supremacy really began to heat up Croc is an unabashed Mario rip-off do! The go-to source for movie, TV and celebrity content game Reversi brazen Sonic of! Be due to the West a Saturday morning cartoon series a new style of gameplay still hold the M.C! 'S Adventure, Bonk was a bald caveman who utilized his sizable noodle to blocks... 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