By Dalai 48 Comments
Mascots? Yes, mascots.
The video game industry has relied heavily on video game mascots since the days of Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, but this generation might be the first generation that has forgotten how to make a great kid-friendly, yet universally appealing mascot. This generation is filled with ultra-realism or space marine action (not that there's anything wrong with those games) yet traditional video game characters are being ignored even though I believe there's still room for the typical anthropomorphic heroes and cartoon human protagonists. From the top of my head, I can think of only 3 new characters this year that can achieve mascot status.
- Sackboy could eventually become Sony's equivalent of Sonic or even Mario as a character that can define the company. Sackboy is just the most recent creation Sony can call their own, but Sony has probably been the most aggressive company in the past several years when it comes to creating fresh characters to compete with Nintendo's stack of 80s and 90s stalwarts. After Sony ditched Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, they just ramped it up last generation with Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Daxter, and Sly Cooper. This generation, the only new boy in town is Sackboy, but give him credit for being pretty good at his craft. He's a master of disguise and damn near adorable, something we need to see more often.
- The Rabbids are really more of a race than a single character, but they've managed to screw Rayman over by taking over the Ubisoft mascot scene. Yes, they're mostly about minigames, but at least a little bit of love is put into the games unlike the tsunami of half-assed minigames during the Wii's early days. Maye the Rabbid craze has faded a bit due to overexposure, but they can still make me laugh... maybe it's because they're the most French of the mascots we've seen lately.
- And finally, de Blob. THQ stumbled upon a family-friendly game that's not based on a Disney movie or rhymes with Plungemob Snarechants. de Blob reminds me a bit of Kirby with Sonic's attitude circa 1992, before Sega ruined him. I was glad to see de Blob get a sequel as well as widening his audience to the HD crowd and I'd like to see it pay off.
The aforementioned mascots of this generation are doing their damnedest, but what about the established mascots? Mario and Sonic are forever going to exist, but why no Rayman? Where's Jak & Daxter? Or Fox McCloud? Or fucking Conker? I'm gonna have to call out Nintendo a little bit here for not helping this situation by relying a little too much on Mario (although Galaxy 1 and 2 and New Super Mario Bros. were amazing) and forgetting how to make new characters that aren't Miis. And maybe that's the problem? Miis, Avatars, and... avatars could be partially responsible. Also, where the hell is Microsoft?
So is the traditional video game mascot yesterday's news or am I paranoid?