Remembering Gaming’s Forgotten Mascots

Have you ever thought whatever happened to Gex? No? Okay...

Story Highlights

  • Mascots in gaming have generally disappeared over the years.
  • But there was a time when every studio and gaming console had its own poster boy.
  • Sadly, with changes in trends, several mascots fell into obscurity and are barely known nowadays.

While mascots might seem like a thing of the past, it wasn’t that long ago before every company or video game console had its own poster boy. As gaming has developed, we’ve seen some of these mascots continue to retain their popularity. Sega’s Sonic, or Nintendo’s Mario, for example, are still large titans when it comes to pop culture. 

But not all mascots are as lucky. In fact, as mascots in general have faded into obscurity, many that once used to be the face of gaming can barely even be recognized by most people. While this is sad to see, it’s also serves as an indication of how the gaming landscape has changed over the years. Today though, that’s take a moment to turn back the clock and remember all the many mascots we’ve lost over the years.

  • About the Author: Danish Bukhari has been gaming for decades, more recently playing RPG titles like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Elden Ring, making him highly knowledgeable on the subject.

Bubsy the Bobcat

Originally created to serve as a rival to Mario and Sonic, Bubsy the Bobcat brought a lot of the same charm that represented the early 90’s era of gaming. But the problem with this furry little guy was that he really lacked anything that made him stand out from the crowd. It didn’t help that the games that Bubsy unfortunately got to be a part of weren’t nearly as good as what other platformers were doing at the time.

Bubsy Loved Making Feline-Related Puns (via Bend Studio).
Bubsy Loved Making Feline-Related Puns (via Bend Studio).

If you haven’t seen Videogamedunkey take a shot at one of these games, I highly recommend you do. Simply because seeing the sheer agony involved in trying to control this thing is something that needs to be studied. Meanwhile, you had Sonic and Mario utterly redefining what games could be. So it’s not too surprising why Bubsy soon ended up running out of all of its nine lives. 

Bubsy himself was also kind of annoying. The character relied a bit too much on chaotic humor to be funny, which is really a hit or a miss. From his design, and just general appearance, he didn’t manage to leave as much of a mark on audiences as other mascots did at the time. And nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who can recognize the guy.

Ristar the Shooting Star

Ristar is kind of an unsung hero that not many gamers might even know about. If things had been slightly different, this golden star might have been the face of SEGA, getting his own movie alongside the likes of James Marsden, instead of Sonic. But instead, he gets to grace this list, so clearly, something went wrong. Ristar was the mascot for one of Sega’s 1995 platform games.

Ristar Is One Star That Sadly Burned Out (via SEGA).
Ristar Is One Star That Sadly Burned Out (via SEGA).

Borrowing a lot from Mario, this was a lovable protaganist who could stretch his arms in just about every direction. While there was nothing particularly wrong about the character, or even its main game, the issue was that it came out way too late in Genesis’s lifespan. By the time Ristar was swinging to the scene, most people had already upgraded to the next generation of consoles. And so, it got left in the dust.

Gex the Gecko

Gex might be the weirdest mascot out of all of the ones I’ve talked about so far. Mainly because I struggle to see just who this guy was meant to appeal to. Crystal Dynamics’s wisecracking gecko feels like it belongs in a Family Guy episode from the early 2000s with all the references that it makes to pop culture. Almost all of it is outdated by now, but even at the time, it’s hard to see how this style of humor was meant to appeal to kids.

YouTube video

Gaming as a niche wasn’t large enough to attract people of all ages. And companies were mostly targeting kids and teenagers back then with their games. So when the Gex platforming series debuted on the Sega Saturn and PlayStation, it was in this weird middle ground where the jokes didn’t appeal to kids, and the platforming nature and character design didn’t feel mature enough for adults. 

Now that the gaming landscape has diversified quite a lot, there might actually be more people who’d enjoy Gex’s style of humor. But it’s hard to see any company that would want to gamble on this gecko’s failing stand-up career. 

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Danish is an opinion piece writer at eXputer who loves sharing his takes on the industry. He is a long-time PC gamer with a passion for delving into the discussion and discourse surrounding the titles that he plays. Often eager to jump right into the fold and formulate his take on the latest topics, his noteworthy presence on gaming forums, and keen insight help him understand the gaming community in a thorough manner. This helps him provide a more nuanced look into any topic or discussion.

Writes Opinion Pieces at eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Mass Communication.

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