10 Forgotten Video Game Mascots

In recent years, video game studios have been judged more for their practices across the industry as a whole, rather than how good their flagship series. However, according to ancient scrolls dating way back to the olden
days known only as ‘”The 80s and 90s”, it’s said that every studio once
instead possessed a champion to defend their honour and attract the eye of younglings,
whose parents would be forced into buying them whatever game the champion showed up
in. Or something. A hero, a symbol, a mascot if you will, these
champions included such prominent figures as Spikey Blue Prickle Mouse, Plumber Man,
Female Robit, Green Plumber Man, Exclamation Pussy and BomBomBombman
Many of these have stood the test of time and will hopefully continue to do so for the
many decades to come before capitalism crumbles around itself – but even then we’ll probably
end up worshipping them as The Old God and sacrificing goats to them.
But what of the mascots who did fall by the wayside, who weren’t bright, shiny or cool
enough to survive against the blue blur and the red hatted jumping man in terms of memorability? Well, I’ll tell ya! I’m Peter from TripleJump and here are 10
Forgotten Video Game Mascots. 10. Sly Cooper – Sony
We start off with one of this list’s slightly more well-known characters, just to get him
out of the way but damn, the undue lack of LOVE that Sly Cooper has received over the
years definitely qualifies him for this list, even if he’s only somewhat “forgotten”, as
it were. A raccoon master thief, Sly Cooper appeared in Sony’s quadrilogy of 3D platformer
games from 2002 to 2013. Followed by his faithful entourage Bentley the Turtle and Murray the
Hippo, and pursued by his on-again-off-again romantic partner Carmelita Fox, Sly has done
everything from avenging his parents’ deaths, to breaking curses, fighting monsters and
travelling through time. Not doing the “thieving trash panda” stereotype
any favours, Sly is a born and raised criminal with such a love for shiny treasure and over
the top traversal that I’m pretty sure he was born in one of the dumpsters outside Nathan
Drake’s house. Now, as we all know, violent video games totally, definitely encourage
violent behaviour, am I right? (no I’m not) so likewise, if Sly became popular again he’d
probably be blamed for a wave of child pickpockets the likes of which we’ve not seen since
Fagin and the Artful Dodger ruled the streets, but if it at least managed to re-introduce
the word “swag” as something you write on potato sacks when you’re trying to unsubtly
burgle a joint, rather than, ahem, “the new generation’s alternative word for cool”,
then I’d consider it a fair price to pay. Bring back Sly 9. Gex – Crystal Dynamics
Spyro The Dragon had to overcome more than one scaly-skinned rival in his rise to Best
Reptilian Mascot of the 90s. Now Croc was cute, no doubt but perhaps the best contender
was Gex the Gecko. Coming about around the same time as other popular animal mascot platformers,
such as Crash, Banjo and Conker, Gex is considerably less cuddly and, in more than one way, slimy.
His rather long and slightly convoluted backstory chronicles him becoming a telly addict after
the sudden and tragic death of his father in a NASA-related rocket explosion, and subsequently
sofa-surfing for a while before learning that his late uncle Charlie had left him 20 billion
dollars in his will… with which he bought the largest TV in the world.
As you do. However, after all of that, the evil overlord
Rez pulled him through the telly into the media dimension and sought to, funnily enough,
make him the mascot for his world domination. With his first game released in 1995 and his
last coming in 1999, Gex straddles the middleground between family platformer and young
adult subversive game, constantly leaning causally on the fourth wall, like the “swag” guy that he is, but with too much wit to be properly understood by children, too few
wink nudge jokes to appeal to adults and a reliance on pop culture references that have
aged about as well as all of our content will do in another 25 years. Insert obscure UK
children’s TV show clip here! Can’t wait to watch this in 2045 8. Toro Inoue The Sony Cat – Sony
While many of these mascots came from the late 90s era of so-called ‘mascot platformers’,
this entry instead originates from the most popular and congratulated game genres of all
time: chatterbots. A chibi version of a Japanese bobtail cat,
Toro The Sony Cat is the angel to Tom the Talking Cat’s devil, although he’s only
properly appeared in games within Japan. With an unnecessarily detailed character bio, Toro
was apparently born on May 6th, likes Chūtoros, mantis shrimp, and nattō rolls, and, unlike
every other cat in history, dislikes being put in cardboard boxes.
Even though he is mainly considered a Japanese mascot, Toro has remained close to Sony’s
worldwide brand. But, if Mario ever decides to hang up his jumping boots and actually
do his job go an unblock some goddamn u-bends for once, then Japan as a nation will always
have this cute cat friend to fall back on. 7. R.O.B – Nintendo
ROB (that’s R-O-B in all caps) is the only member of this forgotten bunch that is physically
real, which is just as well because if Gex was an actual bloke, you know he’d be indiscriminately
breaking through one of your four living room walls and shouting out some sort of dated
Star Trek reference at you on a nightly basis. R.O.B (or Robotic Operating Buddy if you want
to get serious about this) was an accessory released in 1985 by Nintendo for the NES,
who immediately stole our heats, when he was in fact more of a Trojan horse that FOOLED
people into getting the NES system in the first place. Though he may have a charming
Wall-E like face, as a character, his personality is a little thin on the ground. That’s probably
because he’s really a literal CPU that doubled as a second player AI in all 2 of the games
that ended up being released for him – those being Gyromite and Stack Up. And yet, while
ROB was never a very popular accessory, being discontinued five years later in 1990, the
character has remained a part of the Nintendo brand to this day, granted cameos in games
like Mario Kart AND the Smash Bro’s series as thanks for his help in bringing Nintendo
of America back from the brink after the video games industry crash in 1983.
ROB, you might be a bit crap but we salute you for your service. 6. Alex Kidd – Sega
Back in the 1980s, Sega’s mascot had been a sentient rocket ship with legs called
Opa Opa from the Fantasy Zone series. However, in their search for a mascot that could rival
The Plumber, or, you know, even just had a face, they came across a small bipedal creature
that promised to match him… a child called Alex Kidd.
Looking like a combination of Merry Brandybuck and Goku, Alex was apparently based on the
monkey king Sun Wukong, a figure from Chinese Mythology, which I guess explains his hairy
appearance and massive ears. Apparently he’s only 14 years old… whilst also being hundreds
of years old at the same time, you know, like Bart Simpson.
An orphan who lives in a remote mountain cave on an alien planet, Alex trained himself in
the art of shattering boulders through sheer willpower alone. This might sound awesome,
and like something out of one of your Japanese Japanese animes but it for some reason translated
to him just slowly making his way through a video game level punching blocks, and so
didn’t really rival the novelty of an Italian plumber in moon boots. 5. Cool Spot – Virgin Games
Alongside other food brand-related video games, including Chester Cheater, Pepsi Man and the
M&M titles (other corn-based snacks, fizzy drinks and shell-covered chocolates are available),
1993’s Cool Spot featured the highly relatable, groundbreakingly-designed two-dimensional
red spot with legs, arms and sunglasses who doubled as the North American mascot for 7-Up.
Developed and published by Virgin Games, this sentient tiddlywink was basically a walking,
talking product placement, as obnoxious as he was obvious—BUY OUR MERCH However, for Cool-Spot’s European release, all forms of product placement and mentions of the 7-Up
brand were removed. This was because the European branch had a very different mascot for the
same drink, Frido Dido and 7-Up didn’t want their European
marketing scheme to be scuppered by something that looked like those
red stickers your teacher would put on your homework in junior school.
Not that this guy looked any better. 4. Wild Woody – Sega
You know in the Art Attack intro when all the giant stationary jumps out of the pencil
case and starts flailing around? Well, Wild Woody is what happens when you take that concept
and merge it with the personality of the Pepperami mascot, resulting in a crazed, lead-filled
wooden maniac. He was unleashed onto an unsuspecting world
in 1995 by Sega, or – according to his own universe – by a totem pole head who decided
that his other totem pole head brothers creating fantasy worlds inside paintings and comic
books equated to an End of the World Emergency that only Woody could fix. That was one sentence
of lore and I’m already lost. Armed with an eraser, a newfound self-awareness
and such an unfortunate name that it doesn’t matter which end is the pointy one, Woody
proceeded to utterly crash and burn, fading into obscurity after his first and only game.
However, he has remained somewhere at the back of the cultural zeitgeist, resurrected
in lists like these and having his legacy kept alive simply through the power of his
terrible, cursed name. But in the wake of other games with similar
drawing mechanics like Okami, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that he could somehow
return to us in a more interactive, drawing-based game… but we must stop this from happening
by any means necessary. 3. Awesome Possum – Tengen
The state of the environment is a growing concern, despite all of the warnings that Tim Curry-voiced animated movies and video games gave us about evil
corporations polluting the atmosphere. And one of those Curry voices was that of Awesome
Possum; a name that fails to rhyme in most English-speaking accents just as much as it
failed to single headedly fix the climate crisis. In a plot that sounds suspiciously familiar, we follow this creature that spins in a ball
as it battles an evil megalomaniacal scientist who wants to continue polluting the planet
for his own evil means. Literally all we’re missing here is bright, primary coloured fur
and a hard-boiled egg. And thanks to creator Tengen going defunct
in 1994, Awesome Possum’s legacy will always remain as a Sonic the Hedgehog rip-off with
half the fun and none of the decent controls. It is of course commendable that, unlike Sonic,
he chooses to collect cans and bottles in an effort to make recycling hip and cool,
though I’d really rather do without the constant shouts of ‘I’m awesome!’ and
‘That was awesome!’ ‘Oh boy, that’s awes-‘ WE GET IT! 2. Parrappa the Rapper – Sony
My name is Peter Austin and I’m here to say
Parappa is a game that Sony made Well, technically they only published it
But Nano On-Sha, the developer, has too many syllables to fit Have I reached peak white yet? Good.
Parappa The Rapper is a two-dimensional bipedal rapping dog, for some reason, who tears his
way through a series of rap battles with his many different teachers so that he can learn
to be ‘well proper street and that’. Drawn in a style that is most forgivingly
described as ‘unique and reminiscent of the graffiti art that is synonymous with the
rap and grime genres’, and most unforgivingly described as ‘totally radical’, Parappa
the Rapper is considered by many to be the first true rhythm game. The franchise boasts
a sequel, a spinoff, numerous ports, and two separate anime series in 2001 and 2016, and
the character himself has appeared as a fighter in Playstation All Stars. In fact, by some
metrics, it could be argued that that PaRappa isn’t quite forgotten but certainly when
you’ve got Crash, Spyro and even Sir Daniel Fortesque continuing to live it large to this
day, I think it’s fair to say that this poor rapping goodboy has at least faded into
an unfair level of relative obscurity. 1. Ristar
Or “wristar” as a lot of people apparently pronounce it. Yes, I have it on good authority
that this is something the world is divided over, even down to the small splinter group
who say “reestar”. Kind of apt nowadays. REEE We’ll stick with Ristar for now.
And man, what a pretty boy. Okay, admittedly his in-game sprite looks angry af, but the
game as a whole is definitely a good-looking one with colour palettes and animations that
still hold up today, 25 years on from its Sega Megadrive debut. In fact, this makes
it all the more surprising to learn that this boy was essentially a reject concept for another
Sega hit and was picked up out of the proverbial bin just before the proverbial bin lorry came
to crush him into a proverbial bin cube. It’s true. If you’ve watched our frankly excellent
list video on 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sonic The Hedgehog then you’ll be
aware that in the earliest stages of the blue prickleboy’s development, various other
character concepts were thrown around before a speedy hedgehog was settled on. One such
idea was a Rabbit who could reach out and grab stuff with his extendable ears.
Enter Ristar four years later. Admittedly, he now looks nothing at all like a rabbit,
but those stretchy arms are not only present but actually super fun to play around with.
With a surprising number of traversal moves, these rubber limbs allow Ristar to make quick
work of his side-scrolling world and are even integral to his primary attack.
It’s a genuine shame that this little piece of mascot gold ended up falling by the wayside
and with an aggregate review score of 90% it’s also pretty inexplicable. And that’s our list. Are there any other
mascots, good or bad, that have been lost to the sands of time? Let us know in the comments
below. You can follow myself and TripleJump on Twitter here and if you want to support
the things you enjoy then check out the rewards on our Patreon. Finally, don’t forget to
like the video, share it with your friends and subscribe to the channel. I’ve been
Peter from TripleJump and thanks for watching

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