Yes, I know that I’ve already written about plenty of video game mascots. Very similar to Kao The Kangaroo indeed. Most recently I wrote about Mr. Rhino. The mascot and the main protagonist of Exit Limbo. But that was a highly charged humanoid rhino. What about the rest?
Well, I’ve had the pleasure to write about other fantastic mascots as well. Such as Pac Man for instance. Or Mega-Man. Can’t forget about one of the all-time greatest mascots of the video game industry, Jill Valentine of course. But for now, I’m going to focus on various mascots. What makes them so special and memorable? What’s the story behind their creation? And of course what do they represent?
Furthermore, this particular post is inspired by another great mascot and another great game. Kao The Kangaroo. However, before I go any further with this post, I must mention the news that Tate Multimedia announced just recently. The company is currently working on a new Kao The Kangaroo video game. The new title will see Kao on a new journey featuring a new story, challenges, enemies, visuals, and more. So, stay tuned for that one.
But for now, I must also mention that we do have Kao The Kangaroo on our summer sale, so you better hurry up. However, before I go any further with this post, I feel that a brief summary of the game is in order.
Kao The Kangaroo: What’s the game all about?
Well, much like the title suggests, it’s about Kao The Kangaroo. It’s also a classic 3D arcade game developed by Tate Multimedia and published by Plug In Digital. The game-play is a vintage yet fun experience with Kao at the center of it all. Kao is a young kangaroo living with his family in the jungle. Kao the Kangaroo first launched on PC and Sega Dreamcast in 2000, where the titular hero bounced ‘n’ clobbered their way through five bizarrely interconnected worlds, including an underground mine, an arctic tundra, and outer space. But now, Kao and his family are captured by a ruthless hunter and his goons. So, it’s up to Kao to drive the invaders from his home and save his family. Will you be able to do it?
Kao The Kangaroo: What are mascots anyway?
Well, the very definition of a video game mascot states that mascot is a type of a character used by video game companies to promote both the company and their specific video game series and franchises. At times they’re quite similar to the mascots from famous sports events (for instance the Olympics) so don’t be surprised to find them on various sports events.
Honestly, I thought about presenting this post in different ways. First and foremost I thought to focus solely on obscure and forgotten videogame mascots from the past. Awesome Possum, Glover, Ristar, Croc and so many others. But then I figured it’s a too obscure way of approaching this topic. Secondly, I thought of dividing the mascots in decades. Starting with the ’80s and ending up with the early 2000s. And thirdly I thought about solely mentioning animal videogame mascots. Since Kao The Kangaroo is an animal of course. Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong, and even the Angry Birds.
But then I thought that I’d be missing out on so many great mascots that are worth mentioning, and sadly are not animals. Such as VaultBoy from Fallout, Lara Croft from Tomb Rider, Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid and the one and only Mario. So, why not mix the bag and include everyone? However, with time and space limitations, I won’t be able to include everyone. Inevitably, some of your favorites will be excluded, and I’m sorry because of that.
Let’s begin, shall we?
Fraternal twin brother to Luigi, Mario is the stereotypical representation of almost every Italian. Short, pudgy with a thick mustache. He’s also a plumber (by profession) and Mario (or Super Mario) was first introduced in 1981. Fun fact about Mario is that he made his debut under a different name. Mario was credited solely as “Jumpman” in Donkey Kong the video game. Not Mario. Jumpman, most likely because he jumps in the games. Furthermore, he was actually named Mario in the next game called Donkey Kong Junior. In fact, it’s the only game in which Mario is the antagonist. Today, he’s considered an icon in the gaming industry and probably the most recognizable video game mascot ever. Even Shigeru Miyamoto stated that Mario is the favorite character that he ever created, so there’s that.
Sonic The Hedgehog
He’s an extraterrestrial hedgehog, he’s blue and he’s incredibly fast. However, did you know that Sonic was created without the ability to swim? Indeed. Why? Well, because of a mistaken assumption by Yuji Naka that not all hedgehogs could swim. So Sonic couldn’t swim either. But in terms of the video-games, Sonic’s first shown appearance was in the 1991 arcade racing game Rad Mobile.
He was nothing more than a decorative ornament hanging from the rear-view mirror. But, Sonic’s first playable appearance was in the platform game Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. The game also introduced his nemesis Dr. Robotnik, and the rest is now history. And much like Mario, there’s a feature-length film adaptation of the game. However, Sonic had a much more successful attempt at bringing it to the silver screen. Although a childhood guilty pleasure, the Super Mario movie is not that good. Sorry not sorry.
Can you believe it’s been 26 years since Lara Croft was first introduced to the audience? She’s the main protagonist of the video game franchise Tomb Raider of course. And one of the most iconic video game characters ever created. Lara is a highly intelligent and athletic English archaeologist. She also ventures into ancient tombs, hazardous ruins around the world, and discovers long-buried secrets. However, the creator, Toby Gard created Lara Croft to counters the stereotypical female characters that existed at the time. So, with that in mind, he’s one of the most iconic characters ever. So far two separate actresses played Lara Croft on the silver screen. And they’re both Oscar-winning actresses. First Angelina Jolie in 2001 and 2003, and then Alicia Vikander in the 2018 Lara Croft Reboot. Coll right?
Pikachu is essentially a cute yellow rodent-like creature (similar to the large-eared pika) with powerful electrical abilities. And yes, he’s cute, cuddly and awesome, and you can clearly see the impact that he had not only in the video game industry. He’s essentially a simple design but with a design with a huge impact. In the gaming industry and the pop culture as well. However, in the video games, Pikachu appeared in every single video game except in Black and White. But, the very first appearance was in Pokémon Red and Blue February on 27, 1996. However, today Pikachu (as a mascot) is a staple in Japanese pop culture. And of course is wildly regarded as one of the best mascots in the world. And even Ryan Reynolds voiced him in the motion picture adaptation, Detective Pikachu. So, that’s saying a lot, don’t you think? Yup. We thought so too.
Such a happy mascot for such a sinister game. Right? The Vault Boy is the mascot of the company Vault-Tec from Bethesda’s Fallout franchise. Within the Fallout universe games, Vault Boy is the mascot of the Fallout series and he provides an iconic representation of almost all stats. Stats like perks, traits, skills and so on. In regards to his appearance, he is a young male cartoon character with wavy blond hair, wearing a vault jumpsuit. In most cases, he sports a huge smile (a grin if you will) but he does make other expressions as well.
And did you know that he was originally designed by Leonard Boyarsky, and based partly on Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly board game? That’s right. But it was Tramell Ray Isaac, who eventually finalized the look of the character as he is known today. However, don’t confuse Vault Boy with Pip-Boy- the personal information processor used as a game interface. Those are two separate characters, and here in this section, only Vault Boy matters. Vault boy is iconic and I have to include him.
Kao The Kangaroo: What’s your favorite?
What’s your favorite video game mascot? Tell us in the comment section. We’d love to know all about them.