Gone, but not forgotten
Sonic the Hedgehog changes his mind like a girl in a Katy Perry song changes clothes (which, if Ms. Perry is to be believed, is often). First, he's fat and running to the right, then he's falling in love with a human girl, then he's turning into a Werehog, then he's flipping around the world like an astronaut, and now with Sonic Boom he's gotten himself a big ol' scarf. I can't wait to see where this goes.
All of these reboots have gotten me thinking: what about the mascots who actually need reboots? There are plenty of names from yesteryear who haven't seen the light of day in a long time and more than deserve some more time front and center. I've found a few names that should get a new lease on life, at least for one game... and none of them need scarves.
Every time I see a Geico commercial, I'm reminded of Gex, the sharp-tounged gecko from the PS1 era. Through three games, this foul-mouthed lizard mixed pop culture with platforming to create a series with action and laughs. Super Mario 64 they were not, but Deep Cover Gecko and Enter the Gecko used that formula pretty well for the time, and while I dont mind going back and playing through it again every once in a while, the dated references take some of the oomph away.
If Dana Gould would be available to lend his voice again, Id be all about another foray into the Media Dimension. TV and movies have evolved quite a bit since the last game, especially the rise of Reality TV, so thered be plenty of new material for Gex to skewer. I know Id find it funny if Gex found himself surrounded by those awful real housewives or Honey Boo Boo, wouldnt you?
Sir Daniel Fortesque
I'm going to go out on a limb here for a second: the fact that there are only two Medievil games in existence (the PSP version was a reimagining of the first game) is downright criminal. Those games were cheeky, challenging, and a lot of fun, and their lead character, Sir Daniel Fortesque, made for a perfect hero in this spooky world.
His recent appearance in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale gave us hope that perhaps he was raising from the dead for a return to the spotlight; alas, his name has not been uttered since. Perhaps one of the many indie developers currently partnering with Sony could take a crack at Sir Dan and the Medievil world; hes more than deserving of it.
Every big developer needs to start his or her career somewhere. Cliff Bleszinski, the man who gave us the testosterone-laced shooter series Gears of War, began his career in development working on an arcade game centered around a futuristic re-telling of The Tortoise and the Hare. The tortoise, called Devan Shell, was the main villain, and our hero was a green bandana-wearing hare named Jazz Jackrabbit.
The game was a lot of fun for its time, but we have literally heard nothing from Jazz or his world since the second Jazz game launched In 1998 (the third game, Jazz3D, never saw the light of day). With Bleszinski now doing his own thing and Kickstarter being as popular as it is, isnt it time for a Jazz Jackrabbit resurgence? I think a lot of folks would back that cause.
The first time we saw this bright-eyed, bushy-tailed little squirrel, he was racing alongside Diddy Kong and his pals in Diddy Kong Racing. The next time we saw him, wellthings were a little different. Conkers Bad Fur Day was the HBO of the Nintendo 64 library, mixing the normal 3D platforming set-up with raunchy jokes and poop monsters. I approved then, and Id approve again now.
While I take my gaming seriously most of the time, every once in a while theres nothing wrong with sitting down and enjoying some dumb and tasteless humor, and a new Conker game in the vein of Bad Fur Day would fit the bill. I dont know if some of the jokes would fly in 2014 like they did in 2001, but I think Conker could find his niche in this new generation.
Weve seen Earthworm Jim more recently than some of the other names on this list, as his original game was re-released on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network in HD back in 2010, but unfortunately the game didnt age as well as everyone hoped it would. I still had fun, dont get me wrong, but it wasnt the return to form for my favorite earthworm in a space suit that I thought it would be. I want more.
Id love to see Earthworm Jim in a 2.5D side-scrolling adventure game a la the Retro Studios Donkey Kong Country games. The 2D platforming would stay the same, but it could incorporate some 3D elements as well. There was supposed to be a fourth Earthworm Jim game, but nothings been said about it for almost three yearscould Earthworm Jim be making a comeback?
Where has poor old Crash Bandicoot gone? It seems like only yesterday I was traveling through time with Crash and Coco in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, but since then Crash has just gone south. He did star in a few games, sure, but none of them lived up to the quality of the original trilogy. I miss those days and I want them back.
There was a time when Crash Bandicoot looked to rival Mario and Sonic in the pantheon of video game mascots. How could he have fallen so quickly? He hasnt seen his name on the cover of a console release since 2008s Crash: Mind over Mutanthas he been hibernating, or has Activision (current owner of the rights) just given up? I say Activision should sell Crash back to Naughty Dog so they can make The Crash of Us. I'd play that forever.
Like Sir Dan earlier, Arthur from Ghosts n Goblins scored himself a roster spot in a heavily anticipated fighting game (Marvel vs Capcom 3, for those unaware), yet after the game launched we heard not a peep about him. Theres no news of this knight in shiny strawberry boxers coming back to battle the denizens of the underworld, and frankly that makes me a little sad.
Arthurs been referenced many times other than appearing in MvC3; his armor and beard were a hidden costume for Chuck Green in Dead Rising 2, for example. However, I think its time Arthur got himself a brand new game. It can be a completely new game a la the new Strider, or a modern remake of a classic, I dont care. All I want is Arthur jumping around and chucking lances. Is that too much to ask?
Parappa the Rapper
Another lost PlayStation soul, I'm shocked that outside of a PSP remake, this little rapper guy couldnt find a way back into the limelight, especially during the major music game scene last generation. You mean to tell me that a new Parappa wouldnt fit among the Guitar Heros and Rock Bands of the world? I dont believe that for a second.
Now more than ever, a fun little rhythm game starring this canine MC would be right up our alley. We think a new Parappa game would be perfectly suited for the PS Vita, as its dual touch action could add a new type of challenge to the button presses from before. Kick, punch, its all in my mindand I want to do more of it.
Sony once instilled a lot of faith into its Ape Escape franchise. Why else would they allow Konami and Metal Gear Solid to reference it if they didnt think it would be of the same high quality? Somewhere after Ape Escape 3, Spike and his simian nemeses lost their way and we havent seen them since (outside of guest appearances in other games, of course).
Wouldnt a new-generation Ape Escape be awesome? I'd want it to be just as cartoony and fun as the old games, but in a giant open world with hundreds of those stupid little monkeys to capture. I would LOVE to play something like this; if Konami is listening, another Ape Escape game would be awesome for the Vita. Give us the chance to go on the hunt again.
Look, I know hes coming to the new Smash Bros and thats a great start, but ask any Mega Man fan if theyre satisfied with his recent contributions to the gaming world and the response will be what contributions?! Fans are still waiting for Capcom to pay their penance after the cancelled Mega Man Legends 3 and, to a lesser extent, Mega Man Universe, but theres still nothing to talk about.
I'd hate to see an icon like the Blue Bomber left in the dust forever because no one was sure how to make a new game work. There has to be a way to get Mega Man back into the spotlight he deserves; as we said, his Smash Bros roster spot will help, but he needs a game to call his own again. Mega Man 11? Mega Man X9? Mega Man Legends 3? I dont care at this point, just show me that youre trying.
Who else should rise from the grave?
These are but a few of the forgotten names that have given us fun over the long years of video game history. If I forgot your favorite mascot, let me know in the comments below. However, no Bubsy please. I didn't forget him, I just don't like him.
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