Video games are fun and all, but with so many of them on the market, it takes some new thinking from companies in order to entice consumers to play theirs. One way that developers draw attention to their properties is through creating a specific game character that audiences can latch on to. This not only makes games more marketable but more familiar as well, with developers being able to build entire franchises off of a specific character.
Most are quick to point out that Nintendo is the biggest user of this strategy. While that's very true, many other companies and developers have used this strategy. Capcom, Namco, Yacht Club, Konami, Microsoft, and more have all created their own characters to draw the attention of the public and increase their sales.
You gaming wizards out there are going to have to draw on your knowledge of the industry to figure out whether these gaming mascots are from Nintendo or a different company altogether.
Kirby of the Stars is a mysterious little puffball. He was initially created as a "placeholder" character before a more detailed one could be made, but the developers loved the design so much that they simply kept it in. Kirby has since been the star of his own franchise, and is known for inhaling enemies and taking their powers. Kirby has also starred in several spin-off games that see him playing pinball, golf, Puyo Puyo, and even one where there are multiple Kirbys at once.
The Blue Bomber
Back in the day, Mario wasn't the only big platformer on the market. One of the more difficult games followed the character known as Mega Man. This heroic robot had his trademark blaster as he worked to rid the computer world of viruses and other robots. He has been the star of many games, but after some time, has been on a long hiatus. What makes this even more disappointing is that he's been used in crossover games, but hasn't starred in his own.
When it came to the arcades, no character dominated the scene quite like Pac-Man did. His game was based around an extremely simple concept: there was a maze littered with little dots. Pac-Man had to eat them all without being caught by the ghosts. Since then, the character has made the jump into many other genres, including racing, party, and 3D platformer. Despite many of those games not being up to snuff, Pac-Man is still one of the most beloved characters of the industry.
When the arcade machines were huge back in the day, out of nowhere came this little guy. Q-Bert proved to be a big success, as the simple design of it jumping on all of the squares in a level while avoiding enemies was difficult yet inviting enough to keep people coming back for more. Q-Bert is one of the oldest mascots in the gaming industry and has since become an icon, appearing in films like Wreck-it-Ralph and the poorly received Pixels.
Where Have They Gone?
I'm sure you all remember how beloved Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie were on the N64. These 3D platformers defined what the genre could be and have since become more iconic as a result. However, after those two games, the series essentially dropped off the face of the Earth, leaving nothing more than a Banjo-shaped hole in our hearts. There was attempt to revive the series later on, but the game created was a far cry from what the Banjo series had been in the past.
He's the First Member of the DK Crew
DK! Donkey Kong! He's the leader of the pack! You know him well! Rapping aside, Donkey Kong is another one of the oldest gaming characters in history. First appearing on arcades, it's astounding that he still plays a part in the industry today. While initially a villain, he has since become a protagonist with the Donkey Kong Country series. In those games, his hoard of bananas is often stolen by the vicious King K Rool, which means that he has to journey across DK Island to get his food back and beat the Kremlings.
In the depths of the universe sits the Solana Galaxy. In it sits a brilliant yet small Lombax known as Ratchet. When he gets involved in a sinister plot through the tiny robot that he dubs "Clank," the two then go on many adventures that have spanned several years. They have traveled across numerous galaxies and even commanded armies during war times. Their prowess on the battlefield is also aided by the bombastic arsenal of weapons they buy from Gadgetron and Megacorp.
Go into any environment with a Pokemon shirt, and I guarantee someone will ask if that's Pikachu. This yellow mouse, ever since its role in the anime, has become the staple of the series. Everyone knows who it is because of its prominence in pop culture. Pikachu has appeared in just about every Pokemon game to date as well as being the star in several spin-off games (many of which weren't particularly good). He is Ash's best bud and the first face you see before exploring the world of Pokemon.
When it comes to difficult games, none do it quite as well as Battletoads. This old beat-em-up put players in the role of 4 edgy frogs who can kick, lick, and punch their way across many levels (we'll ignore the fact that they're knock-offs of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). These four characters would struggle to gain a bigger presence in the industry after this game, as their developers practically forgot about them in favor of other projects. Still, they would have some presence in games like Killer Instinct.
Steel Thy Shovel!
Steel thy shovel! Those are the first three words you'll see pop up on screen before you step into the armored shoes of the shovelrous Shovel Knight. After losing his partner on the job, he went into retirement before getting wind that the Enchantress and the Order of No Quarter had risen to take over the land. Shovel Knight then must slice, dig, and pogo his way to the Dark Tower where the Enchantress lives. Since then, he's become a huge character in the gaming community.
Where Did He Go?
Another one of the big gaming mascots in the past was Spyro the Dragon. He was a purely 3D platformer that incorporated gliding, fire-breathing, and charging into his repertoire. He had an excellent trilogy when he first hit store shelves, but since then, has been the star of some lackluster games. That said, he has played a big role in the Skylanders series, where he received a visual overhaul that didn't please too many fans. It was mostly made for new players.
Gotta Go Fast!
Oh the glory days where the NES actually had some competition. Much of the backlash of that console was headlined by this hedgehog, otherwise known as Sonic (or the Blue Blur). He was known for being able to run at the speed of sound and defeat all enemies in the process. Despite how excellent and beloved the character is, Sonic has had a shaky track record when it comes to the quality of his games. There have been some heavy hitters and terrible titles all the same.
That Sword is Too Un-Wieldy
Once a soldier, always a soldier. The skilled fighter known as Cloud Strife is one of the most capable people of Shinra. His aloof attitude turned him into an effective leader when trying to take down the villain known as Sephiroth. As it turns out, Cloud has a tragic backstory of his own, including the origin of his sword. However, these moments shaped Cloud into the powerful soldier he is today, and he is one of the most popular RPG characters as a result.10
For generations, the world of Hyrule has been plagued by the dark force known as Ganon. Every time, the one who learns to stop him is the hero known as Link. Link, while being reincarnated over many years, goes through many of the same beats each time. Find the traditional green tunic, get the Master Sword, and chop up all the enemies in your path. However, each time, Link is given different abilities and friends to help him along the way.
Don't Reset Your Game
Often times, games can really kick your butt, or you can screw something up badly. What do you do in these situations? Simple. Just turn off your console before the file saves over and pick up before it all went to Hell. Unfortunately, Mr. Resetti isn't going to allow you to do that. In his games, if you decide to keep resetting, he'll find you and treat you to an extremely long piece of dialogue. You'd have to be really desperate before shutting your system off next time.
The Fight is On!
Kid Icarus is a franchise that many people thought would never receive any attention after its first two games. Yet for some reason, it was brought back on the 3DS a few years ago, and with it, so was the game's protagonist: Pit. Pit is an angelic warrior who works for the goddess Palutena. As he fights to defend her and his world, he must also come face to face with Hades and the monsters of the underworld. Expect some great dialogue from Pit along the way.
In a post-apocalyptic world, the Earth is ruled by these human/squid hybrids. One of their favorite pastimes is a little game called Turf War. In it, their goal is to cover as much territory as possible with their own ink while preventing the other team from doing the same. These Inklings (as the hybrids are called) can also turn into squids to travel through their own color of ink. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Apparently, these guys are pretty fashionable too.
Sackboy is the protagonist of a small series known as Littlebigplanet. In it, you have the ability to create just about any level you want, but it's the little ragdoll that gets all of the praise. Without saying any words, he is one of the most expressive gaming characters. You can see every emotion on his face as it arrives. He also has a particular affinity for cosplay, being able to dress up as different characters from across the gaming industry.
The Not-So-Blue Bomber
When it came to intense 4-player action, no games did it quite as well as Bomberman. This little guy became famous for his ability to throw bombs whenever he pleased. This led to some intense action and strategy throughout his series. He made the jump into a 3D platformer and even a gritty reboot before going a long hiatus. However, he has since made a resurgence in the form of Super Bomberman R, which brings back the classic formula of the franchise.
More Than Meets the Eye
When you have a problem in the galaxy, there are few people better equipped to solve it than Samus Aran. Being one of the most skilled bounty hunters, Samus has all of the appropriate tools to take down aliens and space pirates of all kinds. With her trusty Varia Suit and arm cannon, she can take down all foes with extreme excellence. She is one of the greatest female characters in the gaming industry. In the first game, the revelation that she was a female wasn't given until players beat it.
In the days where Super Mario 64 was dominating the market, there came a little game known as Crash Bandicoot. It starred a character of the same name who traveled along linear levels with 3D elements brought in. The series quickly became one of the biggest at the time, but after the rights were thrown up in the air, many thought that we would never see the character again. Thankfully, some brave souls decided to bring the character back with a remaster of the first three games.
More Transformations Than Shantae.
If you don't recognize these characters, they're all one person known as Wonder Boy (or Wonder Girl). Wonder Boy was afflicted with a curse in his game that turned him into a strange lizard. At that point, he has to go on a journey to get his old body back, but along the way, discovers more useful transformations to help him defeat enemies and find treasure. The character originally appeared on an older console before being completely remade for modern systems.
When it comes to fixing up ships, there are none in the galaxy more capable than Slippy Toad. Not only has he worked on multiple Arwings in his day, but he also manages to be a decent pilot himself, knowing how to shoot, dodge, and barrel roll when necessary. Unfortunately, Slippy can be quite annoying to his comrades, as he tends to speak often about the same thing over and over again. The character himself has become a meme of sorts.
If you don't know who this is, then you should probably stop taking this quiz. The gaming industry was nearly saved by this Italian plumber, and he has since spawned one of the largest franchises in history. Mario began his career saving his lovely girlfriend from the tyrant known as Donkey Kong, but quickly graduated to stomping on turtles to save his new girlfriend from a psychopathic monster turtle (as most game heroes do). He has also been in tennis, golf, and racing games.
When Spring Man awoke with his incredibly long arms, he decided to use them for fun and good. Being only 20 years old, Spring Man loves using his long arms to change the channel or eat incredibly stringy pizza, but that's not all. He has a sense of heroism that compels him to save those in need. But that's not where his true power comes to the forefront. It's when he competes in fighting matches, where his guarding, grabbing, and punching are all put to the test.