This generation is lacking in new mascots.


Eh, close enough.
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?
48 Comments
49 Comments
Posted by Dalai

Eh, close enough.
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?
Posted by Red12b

   
Mascot of our generation
Posted by Weltal

Catchy mascots are hard.
 
Dudes that have shaved heads are easy.

Edited by Wrighteous86

I don't think video gaming needs "mascots" anymore.  That's probably part of it. 
 
It seems like you're more referring to "family friendly" characters, though.

Posted by McGhee

Miranda's ass: My favorite mascot of this generation.

Posted by TheHT
@Red12b:  That's pretty deep brah.
 
@McGhee_the_Insomniac: That too.
Posted by JJWeatherman
@McGhee_the_Insomniac said:
" Miranda's ass: My favorite mascot of this generation.

"
Dat ass.
Posted by Twitchey

I see what your saying. 
Now a days most people look only at the "badass" mascots like Kratos, and Master Chief.
I love Sackboy though, I even have a little Sackboy right next to my PS3 so I can see him when I switch games, but Kratos kills gods man, GODS.
 
I wish Sony wouldn't have ditched Crash Bandicoot, or alienated him. I hated the new Crash games where he supposedly rides giant mutants and has tattoos and mohawks. What ever happened to the good old days? Run forward and break boxes, watch out for enemies, try to get mask, and all that good stuff. 
 I never could get into Ratchet & Clank.
I did love the Jak & Daxter games up until the third one, then the series just did a nose dive.
I'm not saying the Jak racing wasn't fun, but it wasn't what the series was. 
 
Well I've strayed from the point.
In the department for mature mascots, Nintendo needs one.
In the department for family mascots, Microsoft needs one. Sony has Sackboy so they're good.

Posted by IBurningStar

Technology now allows more realistic looking characters to be created so more realistic characters are being created. Consumer tastes also changed, and cartoonish mascot type characters aren't as popular as they use to be.

Posted by Jasta

 Yay? Nay?


Posted by John_Lawlz
@Jasta: Yay, nothing BUT yay.
Posted by Dolphin_Butter
@JJWeatherman said:
" @McGhee_the_Insomniac said:
" Miranda's ass: My favorite mascot of this generation.

"
Dat ass. "
ASS-cot is more like it! Am I right!?
Posted by Hizang

Ratchet and Clank
Posted by Video_Game_King

Didn't mascots mostly die off in the previous generation, when their main vehicle (platformers) went out of vogue? Sure, there were some platformers, but they weren't the big genre anymore.

Online
Posted by ImperiousRix
@Red12b:  
Too true... and very sad, actually.
Posted by craigbo180
@Sleepy_Insomniac said:
" ASS-cot is more like it! Am I right!? "
God damn it.
Posted by billnyethesciencepie
Posted by LordAndrew
@Video_Game_King said:
" Didn't mascots mostly die off in the previous generation, when their main vehicle (platformers) went out of vogue? Sure, there were some platformers, but they weren't the big genre anymore. "
There are still kart racers though. That's how you know when a character has become a mascot, when they star in a kart racer.
Posted by Kyreo

 The face of a True Mascot.  
Posted by Video_Game_King
@LordAndrew: 
 
There are? Name one besides that Sega one. Also, ModNation Racers doesn't count, since it focuses more on user-created content and has no recognizable mascot (that I can think of).
Online
Posted by Hosstile17

The average age of video game players has gone up dramatically. At the same time, last generation was where the mascots went to die. Between the squandering of past franchise mascots, through terrible 3D platformers and ME TOO Kart Racing shit-stravaganzas, many of the classics from the 8 and 16 bit era were left by the side of the road (PUNS!). Not to mention, for every Raving Rabbid that popped up into relevance, there are ten Blinx: The Time Sweepers, to go along with it. 
 
I will boil my rant down to this, there were too many. There weren't enough good ones to make people even want to search through the mountain of shit to find a quality mascot platformer. But, look on the bright side, this industry is cyclical. They will come back around.

Posted by AjayRaz
@Sleepy_Insomniac: GOD DAMMIT SLEEPY 
Posted by Marz

Xbox = Master Chief
Nintendo = Mario
Sony = Kevin Butler
 
i thought it was all common sense by now :)

Posted by Hosstile17

The bulk of the people that are buying games out there don't even know what the internet is. If the internet was a real representation of the game buying public, Mass Effect 2 would have sold 20 million units and Madden would sell terribly. 

Posted by Dalai
@LordAndrew said:
" @Video_Game_King said:
" Didn't mascots mostly die off in the previous generation, when their main vehicle (platformers) went out of vogue? Sure, there were some platformers, but they weren't the big genre anymore. "
There are still kart racers though. That's how you know when a character has become a mascot, when they star in a kart racer. "
Or a minigame collection.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Dalai: 
 
Not a good example, since they look pissed to be in that game to begin with :P.
Online
Posted by Faint

It's also grossly lacking in good JRPG's. :(

Posted by Hosstile17
@samusaran253: I don't really see the difference. People play the games they like. I play Madden every couple years. I buy Halo. I like racing games. But, I also play RPGs. If you play games, you count.
Posted by Snipper138
@Faint said:
" It's also grossly lacking in good JRPG's. :( "
QFT
Posted by Skald
Posted by MKSKILLZ16

Agreed, however, I'm of the opinion that I don't really care if there is a mascot for anything.

Posted by James_ex_machina

at the age of 40 I could careless about mascots  
Sonic used to be a fav of mine but after going back to the classic games I realized they just don't hold up today. 

I prefer good characters. Alan Wake and Barry from Alan Wake...; TK Baha, Crazy Earl from Borderlands. 
Entertaining characters. Reminds me of the USA Network commercials. 
 
anyway mascots... who needs them. 
I'm tired of these goofy costumes people wear at sporting events. 

Posted by LordAndrew
@extremeradical said:
" I know nobody wants to hear me prattle on about iPhone games, but Doodle the Doodler and The Red Angry Bird are about as mascot as you can get. "
I am so tempted to create a character page for "The Red Angry Bird".
Posted by Jimbo

Sackboy should have been the face of Move.  I hate this phrase, but that was a 'no-brainer'.  Dude is infinitely versatile and customizable and perfect for their target audience.

Posted by scarace360
@Sleepy_Insomniac said:
" @JJWeatherman said:
" @McGhee_the_Insomniac said:
" Miranda's ass: My favorite mascot of this generation.

"
Dat ass. "
ASS-cot is more like it! Am I right!? "
I hit that.
Posted by Claude

The best mascots are being left behind. Star Fox and Captain Falcon calling. A little air here. Minor as they may be, they mean something to me.

Posted by Spoonman671

Mascot?
Posted by bartok

What about those lovable meat heads from Gears of War ?

Posted by kingzetta

360: master Chief 
PS3 Nathan Drake
Wii Mario 
 
DONE

Posted by Gabriel

I wish Bayonetta was the mascot of this generation.

Posted by bonbolapti

That reminds me of the beginning of the playstation's life cycle. There was this purple spikey polygonal head, and I think I heard that Sony was trying to pass that off as their mascot. But then there was crash for a while.
 
Mascots to me are the same thing as catchphrases, and it was such a specific era for that kind of thing and in this day and age I don't think that really flies. Mainly because I think there's a part of it that represents a monotony that the internet generation doesn't like. So everything has to be fresh and new and always changing. Which is why it's so crazy that Mario still has a lot of staying power.

Posted by Daveyo520

Why do we need mascots? I find the idea kinda stupid.

Posted by Spyke88

Mascots were a fad. But as most fads, it had to end. Why? Because it didn't grow to be a phenomenon!

Posted by Mr_Skeleton
@McGhee_the_Insomniac
Miranda's ass: My favorite mascot of this generation.

I had a really good answer but I no longer remember what I wanted to say.
Posted by kingzetta

@Dalai: what about Nathan Drake and Marcus Phoenix

Posted by themangalist
@bonbolapti said:
That reminds me of the beginning of the playstation's life cycle. There was this purple spikey polygonal head, and I think I heard that Sony was trying to pass that off as their mascot.
Sad when you said playstation and purple spikey I was reminded Spyro. And how far he has fallen.
Edited by sungahymn
Francis York Morgan -- the mascot! That sounds fantastic! Don't you agree, Zach?
Posted by Hailinel

@themangalist said:

@bonbolapti said:
That reminds me of the beginning of the playstation's life cycle. There was this purple spikey polygonal head, and I think I heard that Sony was trying to pass that off as their mascot.
Sad when you said playstation and purple spikey I was reminded Spyro. And how far he has fallen.

The trajectory of Spyro's life has been a very, very weird one. From good, to crap, to Elijah Wood, to a kid's toy franchise. What the heck is even going on anymore?

Posted by BoG

@DolphinButter said:

@JJWeatherman said:
" @McGhee_the_Insomniac said:
" Miranda's ass: My favorite mascot of this generation.

"
Dat ass. "
ASS-cot is more like it! Am I right!?

Dat ascot

In all truth, I had noticed a seeming lack of mascots. However, I have concluded that this isn't actually the case. The mascots are simply changing. Rather than cute critters, we're getting tough heroes. Nathan Drake is one of Sony's most popular characters. Marcus Fenix is this generation's master chief. The tough guys are taking over. Make way cutesy animals!

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