ToeJam & Earl
It’s quite hard to describe ToeJam & Earl to someone who hasn’t played it before. The two titular characters can’t really be classified as a particular species, and they’re decked out with gold medallions and sunglasses. That’s normal, no?
The gameplay in ToeJam & Earl itself resembles a combination of top-down action and dungeon-crawling, which made it quite the hit when the original ToeJam & Earl game launched in 1991 for the MegaDrive and Genesis. ToeJam & Earl was also one of the earliest examples of a co-op mode, and arguably pioneered the split-screen effect that physically splits the screen when the players drift apart.
Thankfully, modern gamers aren’t left in the dark here. Like Earthworm Jim, ToeJam & Earl was released on the PSN/Xbox Live, along with the Wii Virtual Console in 2006. This acted as a testing bed of sorts, to see if the franchise still resonated – and boy, was it successful.
A brand new ToeJam & Earl game is currently in development using funding secured via Kickstarter, which promises to capture the spirit of the original ToeJam & Earl game in a brand new adventure. It was one of the most successful video game Kickstarter campaigns on the platform, ending with $508,637 when it finished. Not too shabby, eh?
Ah, Bubsy. Bubsy the bobcat. We all know that you were practically a re-skinned Super Mario Bros, but did that stop us from loving you? Absolutely not.
For the uninitiated, the video game mascot Bubsy the bobcat was the star of his very own side-scrolling adventures, which dominated the mid-90s with a flurry of bad cat puns. Bubsy In Claws Encounters Of The Furred Kind, Bubsy 2, Bubsy In Fractured Furry Tales and Bubsy 3D were all released to general critical acclaim and audience success.
In the first Bubsy game, released in 1993, Bubsy must jump on enemy creatures called ‘Woolies,’ in order to collect his precious yarn balls. The player would do all this over the course of 16 levels, with 9 total lives. Besides being a fine example of how to use cat tropes in popular media, Bubsy was widely hailed as the next big video game mascot, following in the rather large footsteps of Sonic and Mario before him.
Bubsy is also a fine example of how time and perspective can swiftly kill momentum. In the years following the last Bubsy game, the series has drawn criticism for being a blatant Sonic/Mario imitator and its monotonous gameplay. It’s currently unknown if there’s any more Bubsy in development, but all signs point to a huge, resounding no.
And that’s our list on some of the forgotten video game mascots of the past! Hopefully, we managed to jog your memory a little bit. For more awesome content on some more recent platforming titles, check out our rundown of what makes games like Ratchet & Clank and Jak & Daxter so damn appealing. You’re welcome!