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Thread: What ended the video game mascot wars?

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    Key (Level 9) treismac's Avatar
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    Default What ended the video game mascot wars?

    I'm fairly certain the post 16-bit video game era brought about the end of the mascot wars. What I was wondering is what was the cause. Your thoughts?

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    Key (Level 9) treismac's Avatar
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    There are a few guesses that come to my mind:

    1) The video game wars was primarily a Mario vs. Sonic marketing skirmish. Once Sega secured their place and image in the market through Sonic and Bonk and the Turbografx-16 quietly faded away, there was no reason to continue pushing the mascot angle any longer.

    2) With the transition from 2D to 3D games, a recognizable face wasn't as crucial to sell games, since the majority of the time you were looking at the backside of the character (enter Lara Croft).

    3) The Playstation was a huge success, and Crash Bandicoot didn't really contribute jack squat to this success, proving that the age of mascots was over.

    4) The video Game demographic was growing up. The kids who grew up playing the 2600 and Super Mario Bros. matured into adults who didn't need cartoony faces to persuade them to buy a video game system.

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    I would argue that they're technically not over even today If you look at the fact that Mario, Kratos, and Master Cheif sell systems to this day, or rather, their games (all of which are exclusive to one particular manufacturer) do.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Robocop2 View Post
    I would argue that they're technically not over even today If you look at the fact that Mario, Kratos, and Master Cheif sell systems to this day, or rather, their games (all of which are exclusive to one particular manufacturer) do.
    I complety agree to this, how can you say master cheif isn't a mascot. I bought my 360 just cuz halo 2 was coming out...
    Last edited by VertigoProcess; 02-12-2012 at 05:16 PM.
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    But is it Master Chief or Halo the game? I think franchises have replaced mascots for the most part, all except Nintendo games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by o.pwuaioc View Post
    But is it Master Chief or Halo the game? I think franchises have replaced mascots for the most part, all except Nintendo games.
    Mario is a franchise... and it branches out away from mario as well, just like halo branches out away from master chief...
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    Quote Originally Posted by VertigoProcess View Post
    Mario is a franchise... and it branches out away from mario as well, just like halo branches out away from master chief...
    But the orientation is different. Master Chief could be in every single one, but it's still not Master Chief who's the mascot, it's the Halo name. Likewise with Call of Duty/Modern Warfare. I almost think that Zelda is the same thing as well. Meanwhile, very, very few Mario games exclude Mario.

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    Quote Originally Posted by o.pwuaioc View Post
    But the orientation is different. Master Chief could be in every single one, but it's still not Master Chief who's the mascot, it's the Halo name. Likewise with Call of Duty/Modern Warfare. I almost think that Zelda is the same thing as well. Meanwhile, very, very few Mario games exclude Mario.
    Well look at it this way... the only real difference which is making what you said hold up, is simply the fact that the halo games are named after the universe which master chief resides in the "halo universe". Where as the mario games are named after the character instead of the character's universe. So if the mario games were originally called the mushroom kingdom instead of mario, then the halos and the marios would be the same... there are plenty of mario games that take place in the mario universe without mario and im sure if the original mario was called the mushroom kingdom then all of these spin offs would then also be called the mushroom kingdom: "whatever spin off character". Just like the halo spin offs are called halo: reach or halo: odst or whatever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by o.pwuaioc View Post
    Master Chief could be in every single one, but it's still not Master Chief who's the mascot, it's the Halo name.
    I agree. Master Chief is not a crucial element to what makes Halo Halo. He might well be the mascot for the XBox, but his helmeted face doesn't sell XBoxes- Halo does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VertigoProcess View Post
    Well look at it this way... the only real difference which is making what you said hold up, is simply the fact that the halo games are named after the universe which master chief resides in the "halo universe".
    I see your point, as I do think the name of a game affects the way we think about the game and its franchise, but I think the macot issue goes deeper than the name of the respective franchise. Even if Halo was named Master Chief's Super Adventure, most of the time that Halo players would play the game would still be in online multiple player mode, rendering the need for a mascot null and void. Master Chief as a character gives the Halo series no edge over similar FPS games that have no mascot like Modern Warfare or Medal of Honor. Mario, on the other hand, gives his respective Nintendo games a huge edge over some other mascoted video game like Bubsy the Bobcat or Awesome Possum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by treismac View Post
    I see your point, as I do think the name of a game affects the way we think about the game and its franchise, but I think the macot issue goes deeper than the name of the respective franchise. Even if Halo was named Master Chief's Super Adventure, most of the time that Halo players would play the game would still be in online multiple player mode, rendering the need for a mascot null and void. Master Chief as a character gives the Halo series no edge over similar FPS games that have no mascot like Modern Warfare or Medal of Honor. Mario, on the other hand, gives his respective Nintendo games a huge edge over some other mascoted video game like Bubsy the Bobcat or Awesome Possum.
    I don't know, you are making good points... I may not be the best person to make the argument for master chief cuz im one of the few people that has been following the story intently since halo 1 launch day... and would still buy a new halo game even if it didn't have online multiply player mode... master chief is the reason I got the original xbox and the 360... so I guess I view him as a mascot more then other people that box xboxs for other reasons...

    And on a side note master chief's super adventure does sound like a amazing game...
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    Quote Originally Posted by VertigoProcess View Post
    ... master chief is the reason I got the original xbox and the 360... so I guess I view him as a mascot more then other people that box xboxs for other reasons...
    I know for a fact that you're not the only person who is into Master Chief as a character/mascot, VertigoProcess. I have a friend who loves Halo, collects Master Chief figurines, and even mentions him from time to time if something reminds his Halo-obsessed mind of the series. Would you or my friend still buy Halo if Master Chief was dropped from the series, though? I think my friend Kraig would initially resist out of protest, but eventually he'd give in.

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    The thing I think ended it was Sega being stupid and having a console without a brand new Sonic game. Seriously, how was it not one of the first things they were going to release for it? Sonic Xtreme was in development hell for years, this would be like if Nintendo never released a Mario/Zelda/Metroid/Kirby/Pokemon game on a new system...

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    Quote Originally Posted by treismac View Post
    I know for a fact that you're not the only person who is into Master Chief as a character/mascot, VertigoProcess. I have a friend who loves Halo, collects Master Chief figurines, and even mentions him from time to time if something reminds his Halo-obsessed mind of the series. Would you or my friend still buy Halo if Master Chief was dropped from the series, though? I think my friend Kraig would initially resist out of protest, but eventually he'd give in.
    Oh I know there's others, just fewer and fewer. I myself dont even know any other big time master chief fans anymore. Its hard to say if he was dropped completely, I did wait awhile before buying odst. But when I was playing odst I was thinking the whole time "what is master chief doing right now?" Haha. And with reach it ties into the story of master chief, kind of "master chief is here because" kind of thing.

    Im kind of mentally drifting from the point here though, which I no longer have my eye on due to all this master chief talk...

    And feel free to call me vertigo or vp. When people call me vertigoprocess it feels the same to me as someone calling me by my first and last name in real life, haha.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tupin View Post
    The thing I think ended it was Sega being stupid and having a console without a brand new Sonic game. Seriously, how was it not one of the first things they were going to release for it? Sonic Xtreme was in development hell for years, this would be like if Nintendo never released a Mario/Zelda/Metroid/Kirby/Pokemon game on a new system...
    Sorry to sort of double post but tapatalk doesn't like multi quote very much...

    I don't know about this, I assume you're referring to the saturn first off. Which I completely agree with by the way, not having a launch sonic game for it was just a foolish move. But to continue with that train of thought that, that ended it I would have to bring up the point that sonic adventure on the dreamcast was a great game worthy of pitting sonic vs. Mario once again... so I wouldn't say that the saturn mistake killed it, so much as left a gap for a few years...
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    Quote Originally Posted by VertigoProcess View Post
    And feel free to call me vertigo or vp. When people call me vertigoprocess it feels the same to me as someone calling me by my first and last name in real life, haha.
    Hehehe... Gotcha, Vertigo.

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    Actually, I think it was Sony throwing so many mascot games out there hoping one would stick and not really having a sure mascot. They had Crash and Spyro, along with some lesser also-rans, but I don't think anyone ended up associating the mascots with the Playstation system. And b/c the age demographic for the Playstation skewed older, the idea of needing a mascot to sell a system was largely abandoned.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VertigoProcess View Post
    Sorry to sort of double post but tapatalk doesn't like multi quote very much...

    I don't know about this, I assume you're referring to the saturn first off. Which I completely agree with by the way, not having a launch sonic game for it was just a foolish move. But to continue with that train of thought that, that ended it I would have to bring up the point that sonic adventure on the dreamcast was a great game worthy of pitting sonic vs. Mario once again... so I wouldn't say that the saturn mistake killed it, so much as left a gap for a few years...
    But in that gap of a few years, Sega lost a huge amount of market share and was unable to recover, even when the Dreamcast was released. Even with all of the mistakes they made with the Saturn, a new Sonic game would have helped at least a little bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robocop2 View Post
    I would argue that they're technically not over even today If you look at the fact that Mario, Kratos, and Master Cheif sell systems to this day, or rather, their games (all of which are exclusive to one particular manufacturer) do.
    I'm going to go with this. It's not so much that it ended, it just expanded to the point where it's not really about just one mascot anymore. The consoles no longer have a "face" because of the implicit limitations of that. While Nintendo sticks with Mario for his Mickey Mouse-esque quality, Microsoft and Sony would be loath to pin down their machines (often promoted as living room media centers) to a single image. As much as Kratos sells, it'd be a pretty terrible idea to make him your mascot. You'd scare away more people than you'd attract. Same story if they go with Sackboy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyTheTiger View Post
    The consoles no longer have a "face" because of the implicit limitations of that.
    I never considered it a matter of straight jacketing your brand, but you're absolutely right. How many "hardcore" gamers scoff at the Wii at least in part because of their Nintendo's Disney-esque/family friendly franchises? I've read more than a few comments of Kotaku that have, if not overtly said something to this extent, at least carried overtones of this sentiment. There are, of course, many other valid reasons why the so-called "hardcore" gaming crowd balks at the Wii, but I wonder how much the syrupy sweet image of Mario turns them off, either consciously or subconsciously.

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    First of all, some awesome points that I did not consider. Particularly the 3D case scenario, where you're really looking either in first person or behind another. That's interesting.

    I think it's also worth noting that, beyond Sega, Nintendo was the only to really "own" its IPs. Once Sony entered the race as the main contender, it was hard to really attach a name to it. Sure, Spyro and Crash were exclusives, but they weren't really "owned" by Sony itself, so they wouldn't appear on the console name.

    But then again, have you seen that one commercial with all the video game characters in it? Seems to denote some kind of mascot-ry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bazoo View Post
    But then again, have you seen that one commercial with all the video game characters in it? Seems to denote some kind of mascot-ry.
    What commercial? Can you give some more details, or, better yet, embed a youtube video of the commercial?

    Oh, by the way, welcome to Digital Press, Bazoo!
    Last edited by treismac; 02-12-2012 at 10:20 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by treismac View Post
    What commercial? Can you give some more details, or, better yet, embed a youtube video of the commercial?

    Oh, by the way, welcome to Digital Press, Bazoo!
    I think he might be talking about the PlayStation Michael commercial

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdWkKKSckNk


    also my two cents about the mascot devotion dying. it was over saturated everyone wanted an animal, some games came out ok: sparkster/rocket knight, aero the acrobat

    and some just horrible: awesome possum or bubsy.

    hmm new thread idea

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    Crash Bandicoot Commercial with Nintendo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTi5EaocGaY

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    Quote Originally Posted by VertigoProcess View Post
    I complety agree to this, how can you say master cheif isn't a mascot. I bought my 360 just cuz halo 2 was coming out...

    I know what you mean, but Master Cheif does not equal to the 360 what Sonic did to the Genesis in the early 90's.

    Sonic WAS Sega, the Xbox is benefited majorly by the Halo series but its night and day compared to how huge Sonic was for Sega back then.

    The series I would say that are still helped by having a "legendary" mascot is Zelda. Mario is still super popular, but that series doesn't seem to get people wet in the pants anymore like a new main console Zelda game does.

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