The Mascots - Icons in Videogames

The development of technology and the increasing sophistication of marketing over the years led to arising new faces that have variable success and is highlighted by the positive and negative, within the games and beyond.

By canana, Posted 20 Jun 2009

What is a mascot? It is only one element of marketing, a way to reach consumers and to give the brand a friendly face? Or exceed their business functions and become a real point of reference to be more recognized than the brand?In the universe of video games, there are pets that fulfill different functions and reflect different stages in the evolution of the industry. The development of technology and the increasing sophistication of marketing over the years led to arising new faces that have variable success and is highlighted by the positive and negative, within the games and beyond.

Mascots, Pong, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Sonic, Big Daddy

In the early years of the industry during the 1970s when videogames came to people's lives as a form of entertainment and grown exponentially over the years, it is impossible to speak of mascots - the limitations of the technology needed a way to video games that was in small pieces of light on the screen in motion without any evidence that clearly identify - Pong, Asteroids and Space Invaders have become games of worship even if the player controls elements of personality completely empty - in these games, the element that the player controlled operated entirely as an extension of the player and, as a minimalist, leaving the rest to the imagination.

Mascots, Pong, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Sonic, Big Daddy

Only in 1980, with the arrival of Pac-Man to the arcades for is that the players were offered for the first time with a visible character in a video game - Pac-Man was the first element in a video game to have characteristics that the distinction, more than a light that has dragged the screen, Pac-Man was a creature with whom the players who are familiar and sympathetic. Here is the main element that sets a mascot in a video game - from the moment the players are fond of character and they want it to happen, it means that the mark has the green light to push ahead.In 1980, Namco gave rise to a phenomenon that has generated huge repercussions across the industry. The advancement of technology combined with the growing imagination of the creators of games meant that the characters gain more prominence - in 1981, Donkey Kong introduced a character who, although he was not well defined or cause impact on both public and Pac-Man, would by becoming a true emblem of the industry of videogames and started a real wave of games for platforms that flooded the landscape.

In the years that followed, the development of characters followed closely the development of games - the players know the characters as Willy Spectrum, star of Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy and Chuckie Egg, while the rebirth of the game consoles after the crash of 1983 and that Nintendo has brought to the homes of the players took the name of Mario even millions of players.

Mascots, Pong, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Sonic, Big Daddy

As in film and in a book, a character to impose over their peers must have charisma, strength, an appropriate environment, good management by the mark, the personal touch of its creators and the desire of the public ... because without this there is no mascot. Super Mario Bros. (1985) is one of the best examples - the Mario character, a sprite of 8-bit, had four colors, no facial expressions, no extraordinary characteristics, moved to the left and the right and jump and only if differs from brother thanks to an operation to plalette swapping. However, the quality of the game, the way it was received and intelligent operation of marketing for Nintendo around its title, to include it with the NES in the West, led to Super Mario Bros. reach the 40 million copies around the world and consolidated Nintendo's Mario.It would be in 1991 with Sonic, the real anti-Mario, that would find its SEGA mascot, Alex Kidd as not, nor Toejam & Earl managed to be up to the challenge - that is, characters are able to compete with Mario.

Mascots, Pong, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Sonic, Big Daddy

And in fact the two were the opposite side of videogames during the first half of the 1990s. From 1991 until 1994, four games by the protagonists of the blue hedgehog on the SEGA Mega Drive [Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles] - Between 1990 [Super Mario World] and 1995 [Super Mario World 2], the only real appearance of the mascot of Nintendo was in the collection Super Mario Allstars [1993] . Sonic had to be a much tougher character than Mario - just mention that the eyes of the public, Nintendo is now considered child and SEGA is now regarded as the vanguard, this is the power of a mascot well managed.

Mascots, Pong, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Sonic, Big Daddy

What would be Metal Gear Solid Snake and without Halo without Master Chief? Will continue to have as strong an effect on their fans if they were not powerful roles of characters able to captivate millions of people? And what about the Big Daddy from BioShock, a disturbing enemy that eventually become the best known part of the game? You consider it an anti-mascot?If we want to reach a conclusion about the mascots in videogames, the only things we can say without any doubt is to be charismatic, able to impress the players with the potential to leave a lasting impact, the format, behavior and morality ultimately becomes insignificant compared to the dynamics that they can create characters.

From the moment that the public accepts the character, begins to see it as the face of your brand and identifies it as the main force that leads to buy and play a game, we found a mascot, is in the past, present or in future.

Marco Cecilio, NoobFeed

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  • Very interesting and quite good article Marco. So true. Games need their mascots or their unique icons, the heros that gamers feel like they 're closer to them. Very similar to what happens in the movies. But a game (and moview) sometimes needs more than a catchy icon/hero. It needs a very good scenario and a great setting.

    Posted Jun 20, 2009
  • avatar RON

    Can't agree more. It's simple and has a very strong logic behind it. If you like the mascot, you're going to like whatever he takes part in. If it's a game or movie or even a book. James Bond when it comes to movies and there are  Mario, Master Chief many many successful mascots for games. Think of Halo without Master Chief? I see no one's even playing Halo anymore.


    It's a pure and great business strategy. TV ads, magazines, whatever we can think of have their mascots and this will go on and on.


    Great article canana. This reminded me that we should create one mascot for NoobFeed too ;)

    Posted Jun 24, 2009
  • Wow wow wow..amazing article cananaLaughing

    Posted Jun 25, 2009
  • I agree with Nirvana. How come I didn't notice this article.


    Lara can be a very good example too. I don't know about boys, but girls do like to take her as their mascot :) There are many things involved in this though. And, the great thing about it that we chose the mascots not matter how many and how good ones the industry makes for us.

    Posted Jun 26, 2009
  • Thanks for the comments!

    Posted Jul 04, 2009

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Publisher(s): NoobFeed
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Themes: Feature, Editorial, Interviews, Opinion Pieces
Release Date: 2009-02-14

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