Perhaps the biggest and most notable way companies sought to sell software during the 80’s and 90’s, for as long as video games have existed there have been video game mascots in which to sell them. Business intentions and ulterior motives aside, throughout the years we’ve been treated to some truly memorable characters each being synonymous with their brands, but which stand apart to earn the title of ‘Iconic’?
Here is our list of the 10 best video game mascots ever to be plastered across our commercials and cases:
Mega Man (Capcom)
The video game world’s one and only blue bomber, Mega Man’s popularity even today spawns far outside of his own mainline game series, becoming a notable fighter in Nintendo’s lauded Super Smash Bros. series as well as appearing many other pieces of media. Although arguably ill-treated by Capcom ever since late 1980’s with the release of Mega Man 8, Mega Man himself still stays culturally relevant by remaining a fan-favourite character that bridges the gap between retro and modern styles of action-platforming gameplay.
Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega)
Often considered the mortal enemy of a certain Italian plumber, Sonic the Hedgehog as a mascot represents Sega’s biggest attempt at wrestling the gaming crown from Nintendo during the console wars of the early 90’s. whilst his ability to run at supersonic speeds may not have been successful in racing past the competition, Sonic the Hedgehog’s current story is one of the underdog still clawing at the prospect of delivering a well-received modern entry. Regardless, Sonic’s impact within the industry has been one of the most significant, largely thanks to the character himself as opposed to the games he has featured in.
Nathan Drake (Uncharted)
Playstation’s answer to Indiana Jones, since entering the scene in 2007 the lasting impression made by Uncharted’s Nathan Drake is nothing short of amazing when considering that he’s just a regular guy. As opposed to relying intricate or otherworldly character design, Drake’s appeal comes as a result of his dry wit, sarcastic approach to danger, and his thrilling yearning for globe-trotting adventure. As players we wish we could live the life Drake gets frequently gets to, and it’s through this escapism that Nathan Drake earns his place as one of the top video game mascots.
Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil)
Despite not even appearing in the survival horror franchise’s original and tentpole entry, Leon Kennedy has since established himself as the Resident Evil man to beat, being notable for his odd choice of hair and commitment to rescuing the president’s daughter. Kennedy trumps Redfield in terms of being the most notable character simply because he’s a lot more believable, a sentiment helped by the fact that his biceps abide by the laws of human physiology. When the scare’s get going, Leon is the one you’ll want saving you.
Crash Bandicoot (Crash Bandicoot)
Created during the Playstation One era as Naughty Dog’s original flagship platforming franchise, Crash Bandicoot dominated Sony adverts and marketing even though nobody had a clue what a bandicoot actually was. For some, Crash remains as an artefact of a bygone era but for 90’s gamers his wild and whacky approach to platforming is something we held dear, making us all the more happy that he has returned!
One of the few pokemon that has remained front and centre throughout the series’ twenty year legacy, Pikachu’s appeal as a character and mascot transcends the medium of video games, being recognised by the uninitiated thanks to his unparalleled ‘cuteness’ factor. Regarded by some as Japan’s answer to Mickey Mouse, Pikachu shares this level of recognition and is still commonly loved by all.
Scorpion (Mortal Kombat)
Fans of any fighting game will instantly be able to recognise the dulcet tones of Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon’s voice yelling “get over here!”, being a staple essential to the Scorpion character. The undead ninja has become a fan-favourite fighter within Mortal Kombat, often gracing the box art of many entries simply due to his ability to represent the gory, visceral, and sometimes controversial gameplay NetherRealm’s series has become synonymous with. Also he looks freakin cool, need I say more?
Master Chief (Halo)
Originally designed to be somewhat of a cipher for Xbox players to project themselves onto, Master Chief has since grown into one of the platform’s most notable icons being notable for his stoic and “get it done” tendencies. A solider of few words, but all the more wise and engaging because of it, Master Chief proves that it a mascot doesn’t need flamboyant or eye-catching design to enjoy mass appeal, still being able to helm five mainline Halo entries that only looks set to continue.
Ryu (Street Fighter)
More proof that sometimes simplicity can hold the key to success, Ryu has headlined almost every mainline Street Fighter entry since the franchise originally began, mainly due to the character’s inherent accessibility for both fighting game veterans and newcomers alike. Ryu’s distinctive red headband remains iconic to the character to this day, being one of the very few Street Fighter characters avoiding significant or radical redesign, and this is for a reason.
Well this was hardly going to be a surprise was it? Mario acts as the very epitome of a video game mascot, ultimately standing head and shoulders above the rest simply because of the character’s ability to transcend the interactive medium whilst representing a high quality seal of approval for anything Nintendo-related. Mario has yet to appear in a truly broken or even bad game, and for this the short Italian plumber should be commended. It’s hard to imagine anyone ever surpassing Mario’s global mass appeal and it’s for this reason that he tops our list!