-by Dylan DiBona
Disclaimer: If you missed yesterdays SNES-Mini article you can find it here.
Nostalgia may very well be the most powerful emotion humans are capable of. We’re in a society in love with throwbacks and revivals. We have Fuller House, Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack all back on TV after at least a decade of being over.
It’s obviously not limited to gaming; we have plenty of HD remasters, long-awaited sequels and spiritual successors. The Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy drops this June and it’ll bring me back to a simpler time, before system updates and online multiplayer. It was a time when simply a character was enough to sell a game. We’d walk into a game store and pickup the newest Mario, Crash or Spyro– unaware that a new game in our beloved series had even been released.
Almost every company in the market tried their hands at making the next Mario or Sonic; sometimes we’d get icons like Croc that just didn’t stick their landing and fell into irrelevancy. Other times we’d get buddy duos like Banjo-Kazooie or Jak and Daxter who brought out the best in each other. Back before so many games starred some meaningless gray soldier, there were colors and personality (seriously, who ever heard of a bandicoot or hedgehog before?). This era is often called mascot gaming and I can’t help but wonder, should it come back?
Mascot gaming implies that a games biggest selling point is it’s character. This era is probably the reason why so many games today feature simple box art with the characters placed in the middle of the cover. This line of thinking is obviously dangerous; it doesn’t matter how “cool” a character is if their undeniably stinks.
Through the power of Kickstarter the people have made their voices heard. Yooka-Laylee has been funded and released, the same with Mighty No. 9. These games call back to an era when kids in the playground would discuss their favorite video game characters. It’s not that mascot gaming is dead; Nintendo faithfully trudges on with more Zelda, Donkey Kong and Metroid.
It’s obvious that if this newest Crash Bandicoot Trilogy sells well that the character may very well make an official return with a new game. This could be a huge stepping stone towards a shift in the gaming industry. Perhaps Yooka-Laylee will get a second chance to blow people away and become a mascot behemoth.
The only question remaining is, would this stepping stone be going forwards or backwards?
So what do you guys think about mascot gaming? Does it deserve to come back? Do we have enough “cool” gaming characters? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading!