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Did You Know The Origin Stories of These Famous Video Game Mascots?

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Being a video game mascot is hard work — they have the pressure of an entire company resting on your shoulders, and on top of that, they still have to go rescue people from bad guys. Do you think great video game mascots grow on trees? They don’t. They’re created through a lot of hard work and luck. This is how some of the most famous video game mascots came to exist.


Pac-Man (NAMCO)

original pacman logo


Pac-Man was designed by combining a pizza with a slice missing and the Japanese character for mouth. Its creator wanted to make a game that would attract girl’s to the arcade. It sort of worked. Pac-Man became hugely popular with both men and women. Many children of the 80’s were conceived after a long night of Pac-Man.

Pac-Man was the first video game superstar. Pac-Man was so popular that the song Pac-Man Fever reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. He was originally going to be called Puck-Man. It was changed to Pac-Man because it would have been very easy to change a “P” in to an “F”. If they had left it Puck-Man, there would have been a lot more porn parodies.


Mario (Nintendo)

mario popeye mashup


Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto really wanted to make a Popeye game where Bluto would kidnap Olive Oil and Popeye would chase after them. However, When Miyamoto wasn’t able to get the license, so he changed Bluto to a King Kong rip-off, and Popeye in to “Jumpman”, aka Mario.

mario carpenter sticker


Mario is the most famous plumber in video games, but that wasn’t his first job. He started his video game career as a carpenter named Mr. Video. Does that mean his real named is Mario “Jumpman” Video? That’s what I’m calling him from now on even though that name makes him sound like the bad guy in an after school special.


Mega Man (Capcom)

astroboy megaman


Mega Man was heavily influenced by the manga Astro Boy. Both of them are little robot kids who run around and blow stuff up. The big difference between the two is Mega Man is wearing blue armor, since the NES had a limited color palette. There were more shades of blue than any color.

rainbow megaman


Mega Man had an identity crisis. He was originally called Rainbow Battle Kid. The developers eventually named him Rockman and his sister Roll. Because Rock and Roll. Get it? The name was changed to Mega Man when the game was brought to America. It’s a much cooler name, even though Rainbow Battle Kid would be a great band name.


Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega)

sherlock sonic


When Sega began working on a mascot, they had ideas ranging from an armadillo to a rabbit to a dude who looked a lot like Dr. Robotnic. They finally settled on a hedgehog named Mr. Needlemouse, which sounds like the name of a murderer on Sherlock. “The murderer was Mr. Needlemouse in Green Hill Zone with a gold ring.”

sonic and madonna


The original concept for Sonic was a lot more hardcore. Sonic played in a rock band, had fangs, and dated a human girl. Eventually, the fangs and beastiality were removed.


Crash Bandicoot (Sony)

Crash Bandicoot was designed to be Sony’s answer to Mario and Sonic. They decided to make him an animal that people weren’t familiar with to mimic Sonic’s success. That’s why the team originally called him Willy the Wombat. I wish they had gone with a duck-billed platypus. He could have been named Chuck Chillfatimus the Duck-billed Platypus.

The character’s name was changed to Crash because he was always destroying boxes in the game, but one of the execs was deeply attached to the name “Wuzzy”. The battle over the name got so heated that the development team almost quit. Normally, I would side with the development team on something like this, but the name ultimately didn’t matter in the slightest — Crash always sucked. I never liked him. I don’t care how much good advice he had on the proper way to eat a stuffed crust pizza.


Which game company has your favorite mascot? Let me know on twitter @zachlunch or in the comments below!


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