When you hear a game franchise title more often than not a single character will pop into your head. Companies take note of this and create mascots that swiftly become the face of their company and future portfolio. Here are some of the most iconic mascots in the world and the franchises to which they belong. Prepare for nostalgia.
10. Helghast – Killzone
Killzone‘s big bad guy, the military organization known as the Helghan Empire. These characters are irradiated mutations of the human race with brilliantly British accents and Nazi behavioral patterns. They don red-eyed gas masks to enable cross-galactic warfare in inhospitable environments. It’s these gas masks that have led the Helghast to become the iconic image of the Killzone franchise (and my Twitter header!)
A modern icon, Spartan 117 is THE face of Xbox. From Combat Evolved to his most recent adventure, Master Chief has been an iconic face for the best selling FPS franchise on Microsoft’s consoles. If you haven’t played as him, chances are you’ve seen a giant poster of him or a statue or a T-shirt or a TV ad… You get the idea. Microsoft went crazy with advertising for the later Halo games, leading Master Chief to be ridiculously famous in terms of franchise mascots (especially for being relatively new to the scene).
Arguably the most influential mascot for the PlayStation 3 console, SackBoy is the adorable face of LittleBigPlanet. Made out of stuffing, wool, and emotion, these little people gave the LBP games that charismatic persona we all know and love. They’re brilliant to play as, and their quirky features—such as being able to change their expression—was fantastic. (I love making my little guy run through missions looking utterly ticked off.) As LBP has sold well over 10 million units as a franchise worldwide, it’s safe to say a few people know this guy’s soft, fluffy face.
7. Brotherhood of Steel- Fallout
Now even though the Pip-Boy is one of my favorite designs from Fallout, the actual mascot of the franchise would have to be the Brotherhood of Steel. These power armor wearing badasses grace the cover of every Fallout game (sometimes in the Enclave variant). With Fallout 3 being highly regarded as one of the all-time greatest RPGs, it’s unsurprising how popular and easily identifiable the Brotherhood of Steel soldiers are these days. Hopefully the rumored Fallout 4 brings a new variant to the cover.
6. Spyro – Spyro The Dragon
Spyro’s heyday was over a decade ago, so this might be a throwback for some of you. Attempts to resuscitate our purple lizard friend have been made with mediocre results, but he still has relevance in the eyes of today’s youth. Most kids from the 90s such as myself will recognize even just his silhouette, with those signature horns and stumpy wings. Spyro was one of the original PlayStation’s best selling series, bringing flame-breathing and gem-collecting to the masses. Much to my enjoyment, they’ve finally put a Spyro Trilogy of the first 3 games on the European PSN store. My gliding days are not over yet!
5. Optimus Prime – Transformers
Ask anyone to name a Transformer and they’ll probably say Optimus Prime. He has developed into something of a Jesus symbol in the Transformers universe. He often dies and comes back in new or altered forms after epic battles with enemies, always leading his Autobot disciples to victory. His remastering in the 2007 film maintained his aura of awesomeness, and his trusty truck transformation keeps this iconic blue and red robot in the hearts of gen. From comics, cartoons, and books to movies, toy,\s, and trading cards, Transformers is and always will be Optimus Prime.
4. Crash – Crash Bandicoot
Another classic from the late 1990s is the Crash Bandicoot franchise, faced by everyone’s favorite mute bandicoot, Crash. He was originally intended to represent Sony Computer Entertainment, much as Nintendo had Mario and Sega had Sonic. Starting off life as a wombat named Willie, Crash thankfully developed his bandicoot nature in ’94. His box-smashing nature inspired his first name, narrowly avoiding the alternative “Smash Bandicoot”. From 1996 to 2010 he starred in 18 titles, and that may not be all as rumored reboots are in the pipeline. It’s undeniable that many people regard Crash Bandicoot as a game they used to play when they were younger. He still holds a place in many gamers’ hearts, my own included.
3. Sonic – Sonic The Hedgehog
No mascot list is complete without Sega’s big daddy, the blue hedgehog himself, Sonic. Stacking up as one of the most recognizable characters in gaming, he nearly monopolized Sega single-handedly and still releases games today such as Sonic Generations and episodic installments online. Arguably without Sonic, Sega would have never have conquered the 16-bit era in quite the manner that they did.
2. Mario – Mario Games
World-class Italian plumber Mario is beyond just a gaming superstar. This mustached face has been featured in over 200 video games since his debut in Donkey Kong in 1981. From there he has become the face of Nintendo, starring in best-selling games across their consoles from the Gameboy to the Wii without any indication of slowing down. Nearly every fancy dress party plays host to a Mario and nearly every Nintendo console plays host to a Mario game. It’s safe to say that Mario is one very famous Italian.
1. Pikachu – Pokémon
The central character in one of the best-selling anime franchises ever, the most recognizable and loved Pokémon, and a, icon in recent Japanese culture, Pikachu is arguably one of the most famous gaming mascots ever. Pikachu can be found in all sorts of promotional endeavors, merchandise, and even Boeing airplanes! Pikachu also has a few of his own movies and has made several appearances on The Simpsons. This little yellow mouse has touched the lives of literally millions of individuals, recognized and identified by most people you inquire about Pokémon with. It’s unquestionable his importance in gaming history, especially handheld gaming. Be right back, digging out Pokémon Yellow yet again.