Mario? I think I’ve heard of him. Sonic? Yeah, he sounds familiar. Master Chief? Vaguely, I guess, yeah. All bad jokes aside though, there are certain mascots who you just KNOW are supposed to be a company’s pride and glory; whether you see them on commercials, cereal boxes, or in their own movies, certain characters just stand out. And then, other characters don’t. Here’s a list of the top ten mascots you probably didn’t even know were intended to be mascots at all.
10. Chuck the Plant—Mascot for LucasArts
Okay, I’m already cheating a bit here, but Chuck the Plant IS a mascot (of sorts) for LucasArts. First making his appearance in Maniac Mansion (Hey, the cursor says his name is Chuck!), he’s appeared in other LucasArts titles such as some Indiana Jones games, and also in some non-LucasArts titles as well, such as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Look for a plant named “Charley” in Mia Fey’s office). Ah, Chuck the Plant. Besides you, all I think about when I think of LucasArts is Star Wars. But you kids probably never even HEARD of that movie before. It was a popular film in the 70s. You might be able to find it on Bing somewhere. Maybe.
9. Bubsy—Mascot for Accolade
Bubsy is annoying. Before every stage, he says something stupid like, “Whatever blows your hair back!” and crap like that. And he collects yarn balls instead of monetary things like rings or coins. Lame. Still, and I’m aware that this is a TOTAL contradiction to everything I just said, but I think Bubsy is awesome and I hope he lives on forever. Running, jumping, floating, and doing pretty much everything else you would expect a bobcat with an attitude to do, Bubsy was Accolade’s mascot for about a month before they moved on to other cool things, like Barkley Shut Up and Jam!. But that Bubsy sure was one hepcat while he lasted. Until you put him in 3-D. Oh, Lord, what were they THINKING?
8. Captain Commando—Mascot for Capcom
Wait, Ryu is Capcom’s mascot, right? No, wait, Mega Man is, right? Well, yes, they’re BOTH Capcom’s mascots, but for a very brief time in the early 80s, the captain, probably most known nowadays for being in the Marvel vs. Capcom series was Capcom’s favorite blue boy, appearing on the back of boxes and in other game’s instruction manuals. And this was all before he even had his own GAME, mind you! Talk about presumptuous. Captain Commando is about three shades of badass in a visor, so it’s no wonder why he was their public sponsor for a little while. It’s just a shame that the other blue bomber (Mega Man) pretty much took his place as the character who represented the company. I mean seriously, how many other characters besides Captain Commando have a ninja, a baby, and a mummy as companions? None, that’s how many!
7. Karnov—Mascot for Data East
Wherever GTA IV’s Niko Bellic came from, he has nothing on Karnov, the Slavic badass from Karnov’s Revenge and Bad Dudes vs. NinjaDragon. How badass is Karnov? So badass that he’s even a final boss at the end of the Street Fighter rip-off, Fighter’s History. I know, I know, that game sucked, but still! Karnov can blow fire out of his mouth. How many other mascots can do that? Besides Spiro, of course.
6. Bonk—Mascot for NEC
I wanted a TurboGrafx-16, even though the system sucked, just for Bonk. Bonk, if you can recall, is a caveman that slams his head into things and climbs up walls with his teeth. Fascinating. An interesting story about Bonk though is that he wasn’t even originally supposed to be a video game character at all. Instead, he was originally just a comic character named “PC Genjin,” that became so popular that a game was built around him. Also fascinating. In a nutshell, Bonk was a pretty cool replacement for the hedgehogs and plumbers of the world, and we loved him for it. He was a caveman with a giant head, what else could you possibly want?
5. Bomberman—Mascot for Hudson Soft
Bomberman is the cutest little terrorist you ever did see (And yes, I’m aware that I’m now probably on over 1000 government watchlists now). Bomberman was an interesting choice for a mascot for Hudson Soft, especially since they also had the amazingly awesome penguins from Binary Landas a choice to represent their company (Sarcasm? You bet!). What made Bomberman so viable as a mascot though was the fact that he truly represented the cartoony side that Hudson Soft was trying to display for their games. Plus, with his little blue torso and big white helmet, he’s pretty recognizable, so that’s always a plus.
4. Liu Kang—Mascot for Midway Games
I’m always pretty surprised by this one, even though he seems like the obvious choice. When Mortal Kombat originally came out, it was HUGE! I mean, just check out these people going nuts on “Mortal Monday” if you don’t believe me.
Anyway, even though Liu Kang was gnarly and all, I always thought that Sub-Zero would be a much better mascot for Mortal Kombat, being as how (Wait for it) COOL he was. But no, Liu Kang, which I guess was supposed to be the
3. Samus Aran—Mascot for Nintendo
I don’t know if you knew this or not, but Samus Aran is actually the third heavy-weight mascot for Nintendo. She’s like Frankie, the bonus Jonas, of the Jonas Brothers, if you will; a third wheel in an already pretty cool rotation of Mario and Link. What I love most about this mascot though is what a contrast she is with the other two big ones for Nintendo, as her locales are dark and gritty, and she’s a bounty hunter, for crying out loud. That’s a far cry from elves and plumbers. Plus, she looks good in a bathing suit. Not many mascots (Besides the DOA girls) have that going for them.
2. Kratos—Mascot for Sony
We’ve come a LOOOONG way from the box bouncing bandicoot that was Sony’s original mascot, namely in the pasty white ghost of Sparta who enjoys three-somes with nymphos and ripping soldiers in half with his bare hands. What makes Kratos SUCH a good mascot though is that he makes all other mascots look like punks in comparison (Besides this next one, who I’m pretty sure could KILL Kratos with one judo chop to the face). Kratos has probably the most compelling story in gaming right now and is EXCLUSIVELY a Sony character. So if you want to scale Mount Olympus to tear Zeus a new one, you can only do it if you have a Sony system. Now THAT’S what I call a mascot—a character that makes you believe you NEED the system that they’re on. And Kratos certainly does that. I’m pretty hosed that I’m going to have to pick up a PS3 just to play his final outing, but I will do so since I have to. I just love Kratos that much.
1. Segata Sanshiro—Mascot for Sega Saturn
Let me just start off by singing Segata Sanshiro’s theme song (And yes, that’s how awesome Segata Sanshiro is, he has his own theme song). Ahem, “Segata, Sanshiro, Segata Sanshirooooo! Sega Sataaaaarn, shirooooooo!” And that’s it. The song (If you don’t know Nihongo) is basically just his name over and over again and the words Sega Saturn mixed in , but what else does it have to be? Segata Sanshiro was amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I kind of think he was TOO cool for the mediocre system he was on, as the Sega Saturn didn’t deserve a mascot who could literally pick up a human being, throw them, and then have them explode into a ball of flames. I kid you not, he actually did that. Just check out the clip below to see that I’m not joking. What I love MOST about this character though is that his commercials seriously don’t make any sense. I mean, they definitely connect to the game he’s advertising, but the first thing I think of when I think of winter sports isn’t a martial artist out racing a speed skater with his bare feet. I mean, honestly, that’s too spectacular to ever advertise anything other than thongs worn by Tom Brady’s super hot model wife. No wonder this mascot never made it over to these parts. Watch Segata Sanshiro in all his glory below.