After talking about all the unfairly delicious-looking foods in games last week, it’s probably best to step away from things like treats and items for a bit. Instead, how about something both gamers and in-game characters can enjoy? Something like say, cute mascot characters? There’s a reason mascots are still around in both the real world and the imaginary worlds of games: they’re just plain fun! Mascots are memorable, can put a fun face on just about anything, and instantly add some extra appeal to whatever they’re attached to. This is true in real life, and even more so in games. So, here are a few of the best.
Jingle (Animal Crossing)
Out of all the special event mascot characters in Animal Crossing, I think Jingle is my absolute favorite. Not only is he associated with Christmas, but he has all the cheer one would expect from a character embodying the most festive time of the year. He’s just so…pure! Every conversation with Jingle has the reindeer going starry-eyed over one aspect of Christmas or another. He absolutely loves the season and loves talking about it to anyone who’ll listen.
That cheer is actually a bit catchy too, as every interaction I’ve had with him over the years has gotten me thinking about all the joys of Christmas. It’s been especially powerful as an adult, since he somehow is able to override my usual cynicism and gets me to think about it in the same way I did as a kid. It’s almost magical in a way. I don’t know how you do it Jingle, but never stop!
Jack Frost (Shin Megami Tensei / Persona)
Jack Frost isn’t an especially powerful, uh, monster (is that what they’re called?) in Persona or Shin Megami Tensei, but it stands out to me nonetheless. There’s something about that permanent, snowman-like grin on its face and it’s “hee-ho!” laugh that just makes me smile. I consider it a mascot character, because he’s basically Atlus’ actual mascot, and references to him show up in all of their games.
The most notable of these for me is in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, where the little snowman-jester serves as the mascot for the local convenience store chain. Every time you purchase something at the “Hee-Ho Mart,” you get to hear that goofy laugh. It’s a small thing to be sure, but still fun.
Vault Boy (Fallout)
Fallout is a bleak game set in a ruined world. Everyone is struggling just to survive from day to day, and watching their difficult lives unfold can be downright depressing. Fortunately we have Vault Boy to add some much-needed levity to the situation. He somehow simultaneously a perfect fit for this devastated world and totally out of place. Hi existence should feel wrong in this context, and yeah it kind of does, but somehow that makes his effect that much more powerful.
Vault Boy brings the utter insanity and silliness of this world’s state right to the fore, and it’s absolutely hilarious. Out of all the things from the old world to survive both the nuclear Armageddon and the century of aftermath, it’s the corporate a mascot of a company that was largely responsible for causing this situation in the first place! It has no right to try and put a happy face on all this misery, and there it is anyway. It’s kind of twisted if you think about it, but still somehow just plain funny!
Pokemon is perhaps the most ubiquitous gaming brand in the world. Everyone knows it, and absolutely everyone knows Pikachu. Even older people who’ve never had any contact with gaming whatsoever know about this yellow mouse with the lightning bolt-shaped tail, he’s just that popular! He’s so popular that he’s even used as a mascot within the Pokemon universe!
There’s all sorts of Pikachu merch inside these games! From bags and stickers for trainers to wear, to giant plushies used to fill out one’s secret base, the little yellow rat is everywhere! In a world filled with all kinds of cool, cute and crazy monsters, Pikachu still holds the popularity crown! Just…wow! It’s kind of amazing, don’t you think?
These are just a handful of perhaps dozens (even hundreds?) of fun mascot characters in gaming. I mean, you could do a whole list on just Animal Crossing or Pokemon! These are just some of my favorites. What are some of yours? Please let us know below and stick around for more Listmas goodies coming later this week!
Image from Nintendo official website