FRANZlSKA

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Mascot Species from Worst to Best

Every once in a while, games and game series will feature fictional species of animals which show up throughout the game and scream marketing, whether because they were designed for the sole purpose of marketing or because they just happen to be perfect for it. In fact, quite a few of these have appeared in video games over the years, begging the question: "what's the best mascot species ever made?"

Note: In the case where something is an established mascot character rather than part of a mascot species (ie: Ash's Pikachu instead of just Pikachu, or Tamadra from Puzzle Vs. Dragons), they are not eligible for the list. Also, some of these species have concept pages, some don't. In cases where they don't I'm just going to put the game on the list, and denote the species in question.

List items

  • Okay, I know I just said "market potential" but I'm honestly not sure what the plan was here. They clearly intended these things as some kind of mascot, considering they had a whole game named "Croc: The Legend of the Gobbos", but I can not in any way imagine someone having an attachment to these nightmarish balls of hair with eyes.

    Even having played Croc as a kid does nothing to redeem these things, because there's just nothing to latch onto with them. It's honestly a bit impressive.

  • In their original property, the kopin are said to bring happiness and good fortune to anyone who sees them. It's ironic, then, that any time I look at them I feel an acute malaise and discomfort wash over me.

  • Some people have a soft spot for the rabbids, and I can almost understand it. Rabbits with a T are pretty cute... but once you get past the rabbit ears these things might as well just be weird human men. They have had a couple of surprisingly good games, but the rabbids games that succeed do so in spite of the rabbids, definitely not because of them.

  • Some would disagree, but NiGHTS into Dreams was actually a pretty okay game. I genuinely believe that NiGHTS has one of the best character designs in video game history. I can't extend that to the nightopians though, because they're just sort of babies with large conical heads. Mildly offputting in drawings, terrifying when they make the swap to 3D.

  • Look one of these things in the eyes and tell me you would want to buy a stuffed animal of one of them. I'll wait.

  • Real-life worms are among the most unpleasant creatures out there, so some credit is definitely due for making these things a bit endearing, but they just aren't for me.

  • I've always been pretty much perfectly neutral on Mr. Saturns. They make for good comedic effect when tossing things at others in Smash Bros., so there's that.

  • Tims

    The tims don't have much going on, but they do have big floppy ears and pastel colored fur, which is kinda cute I guess. For everything thats wrong with this game, the tims aren't it.

  • Okay now what if someone made tims but way before Balan Wonderworld, and they had a bit of personality to them?

  • The dream eaters are a bit of a weird mixed bag. Meow Wow is an amazing design, and if I were just considering Meow Wow, the dream eaters would rank much higher. That said, all of the other dream eaters in Kingdom Hearts 3D feel like they desperately want to be the next Pokemon or Digimon, only to have nothing much to show besides an overly complex color palette and too many small details.

  • In terms of iconicism, the creeper is way up there. It's instantly recognizable, despite its fairly simple design. That said, the whole "exploding and leaving a crater in your nice home" mechanic winds up being far more of a hassle than an interesting consideration, making them a bit of a nuisance to actually fight.

  • Junimo

    It's a universal fact that spheres/orbs are a pretty friendly shape, and junimo are a pretty good example of that. Vaguely apple-esque, complimenting their nature theming, and just jaunty enough in their movement to be a good bit of fun.

  • Another iconic mascot choice, the goomba share a decent bit with the creeper. They're recognizable and they're fairly simple, but they also immediately come across as enemies, due to their big fangs and furrowed brows. Easy to overlook amid the other, more interesting Mario species, but by no means worse for it.

  • I think that Overwatch is a bit of a mess these days, as is Blizzard themselves.

    That said, I would consider buying a plushie of one of these. A bright, cheerful design that tries just hard enough.

  • Porcavian

    Is the porcavian just a pig with wings? Yes.

    Does the addition of some vestigial wings and a slightly concerned appearance improve upon the pig? Also yes.

  • It's the little things that make the pikmin endearing. At a glance they're just tiny people, much like the kopin, but their stubby limbs contrasted with their determination to accomplish tasks is admirable. Pair this with the slight variances between pikmin types, the idle animations where they harmlessly chase other tiny creatures around, and the little songs they hum while out marching, and it's hard not to appreciate these little guys.

  • Raposa

    The specifics of the fox-like raposas' design shifts quite a bit over the Drawn to Life franchise. Some of these styles aren't particularly interesting, while some are so cute I would willingly watch an entire spin-off just about the raposa. Add into that a touch of personality added to each one, and the raposa are more than fine by me.

  • Some of their more recent appearances get a bit too photorealistic for my taste, but even a photorealistic chocobo is still pretty cute.

  • Strabby

    They clearly intended for the strabby to be this game's mascot snak, considering how prominently it featured in all of the game's promotional material. It didn't quite reach the mark, but I still have a soft spot for strabby, weird leaf legs and all.

  • I never actually cared for the chao garden as much as most people seem to have. As a kid I found it too confusing, and as an adult I recognized it for the endless grind that it was. That said, I'm not so far gone as to be unable to appreciate the chao themselves. Helpless though they may be, I'd gladly jump into the ankle-deep swimming pool of the chao garden to gently pick up a struggling chao, put it safely on land, and reassuringly pet its head again and again.

  • As much as Pokemon kind of overused pikachu as a mascot for a while there, it's not without good reason. As a species design it's a great design, finding a good balance between simplicity and detail, even if I think that the chubbier pikachu of yore was a bit better.

  • I feel like I should hate these things. They're not especially cute, they're incredibly chatty, and they may as well be intended as fodder to pad out the army of hell.

    All that said, something about their love of exploding, machete-based violence, and the word "dood!" got me immediately. Probably helps that everyone in Disgaea views them as so disposable so as to not be worth paying any attention to. Can't help but feel bad for the doods.

  • Bunger

    Yes, I'm putting Bugsnax in here twice. Everyone knows bunger is the real mascot of this game. Its little curly fry legs, its tiny hops of excitement at the presence of ketchup, its soft muttering of "bungerbungerbunger" under its breath at all time, what's not to like about the bunger? Nothing. Bunger.

  • Chilly Bowl Seal

    I can't count the number of times I've had my food truck shot at, the outside world consumed by the visage of a seal, vanilla-flavored hand placed ever so slightly below its mouth, as if it were laughing at my plight.

    And yet? I still think the chilly bowl seal is adorable. One of the most adorable mascots ever made. I mean it's a bowl of ice cream that's also a seal, come on.

  • Palicos

    If I had the opportunity to choose between a meal cooked by Gordon Ramsay and a meal cooked by Meowscular Chef, there would be no competition. Yes, they might just be cats on two legs, but they're cats on two legs that wear cool clothes, wield deadly weapons, and cook a mean fish. Apparently that's what it took to improve on cats, which might as well be the #1 mascot of real-life to begin with.