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Some of the most classic video game mascots will always have a dear place in our hearts. Silly and cartoonish though they may be, Sonic the Hedgehog, who debuted with the Sega Genesis system, and the Mario Bros. appeal to the child in all of us—and the child that was all of us when we were first introduced to the great mascots of video game history. Unfortunately, not all characters are created equal, and the success of Sonic and Mario gave way to a series of truly horrible, excessively cartoonish, cringe-worthy characters. So much so, they all compete for the title of the worst video game mascots to have ever hit our consoles.
Bubsy the Bobcat is the worst video game mascot of all time. There's an argument to be made for Crash Bandicoot, who we'll see next up in this list, and Gex certainly isn't going down in history as a favorite, but something about the combination of Bubsy's terribleness and his endurance just makes him unbearable to look at. First introduced in 1993, Bubsy saw a peak in popularity credited exclusively to the Atari Jaguar with Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tales and the absolutely horrendous Bubsy 3D playable through Playstation in 1996. Somehow, he's still around, appearing in the 2017 Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back. Talk about the pest you just can't get rid of.
If you disagree that Bubsy the Bobcat is the worst video game mascot of all time, it's probably because you've got your investment in Crash Bandicoot for the title; the mascot for his own Crash Bandicoot franchise, and more broadly a mascot for the Sony PlayStation. If he wasn't just a terrible character to have to play as, it would still be hard to get past his bizarre animation and generally weird-looking face. Crash was pretty popular for a long time, and there's an argument to be made in his favor; but no one ever became a "worst of all time" at anything without at least reaching enough fame to be seen and judged in the public eye.
Speaking of ill-conceived, short-lived Sony characters, next up...Blasto! Blasto is certainly one of the worst video game mascots out there, although he never reached the kind of fame (and therefore controversy) as some of our other nominees (lookin' at you, Crash). Blasto is painful to watch in action, and even more painful when you realize that his creators weren't really trying for any kind of ironic comedy. He's like a parody of an 80s space action hero, except that no one quite understood the 'parody' part of his painful, exaggerated characterization.
Titus the Fox
Oh Titus...I'll be honest, I kind of like Titus the Fox. He only ever had the one game of his own, though his image was used for the company for a long while. The game itself is, well, pretty much entirely uninteresting, but appealing in a nostalgic, 90s arcade-style video game way. He's also really kind of cute in a boring, cookie-cutter-video-game-critter way. He runs about in the forest, doing nothing of particular interest, generally being your standard cartoon fox in your standard cartoon life. To be honest, there's a real appeal to that simplicity. Nevertheless, this is one of the most appallingly boring video game mascots ever invented.
Awesome Possum Kicks Dr. Machino's Butt is not only one of the worst titles of any game ever released, but also one of the worst Sega games in history, with the worst mascots. "Awesome possum" was a great phrase to use in middle school in the early 2000s, what with all the rhyming, but that didn't mean it needed to made into a character. Frankly, the name is just too easy. Granted, maybe it was more original in 1993 when the character debuted, but somehow I doubt that would save this particular mascot from landing himself among the worst video game mascots in history.
Picture this: There's a bug. He lives in Hollywood. Like everyone else in Hollywood, he wants to be an actor. They call him Bug.
It's just as bad as it sounds. It's kind of a cool premise, because you get to play through different movie sets as various background scenes, but then again, you play as a bug called Bug who is trying to make it as a Hollywood actor. As far as video game mascots go, that's pretty hard to beat. In a bad way. At the same time, there's some charm in having the guts to make a character that sounds that unappealing, and still have some moderately successful games under his image.
Okay, okay, okay, so Mario is the greatest video game character of all time, the iconic face of retro gaming and modern gaming alike. I don't exactly disagree. As far as Super Mario Bros. characters go though, he's kinda...meh. And a little bit annoying. He's far from the worst, but in comparison to the great work his creators have done since his debut, I'm not sure he deserves the fame he's gotten as the face of an entire era of gaming. That said, I'd probably give a few fingers on my non-dominant hand to have the chance to play Super Mario World as a 10 year old again, despite the fact that it is among the most expensive game equipment simply because of its appeal to nostalgia.
I've gotta be honest: Conker pre-frat-bro-alcoholism and post-frat-bro-alcoholism are pretty much equally unbearable. I'm always up for a good anti-hero, which the amoral later Conker definitely delivered on, but it was still a tired cliché of the genre. That said, I'll take Bad Fur Day Conker over early, bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed Conker any day. At least the, um, mature version of the pesky squirrel had a little bit of personality to help him stand out from the crowd of animated video game critters running about in the forest.
Gex is easily one of the worst video game mascots of all time. Just looking at him makes you want to take a shower. How can a gecko, a naturally dry-skinned animal, manage to look so slimy? Maybe it's the sunglasses and sometimes-wardrobe. Gex loves TV, and makes pop culture references like nobody's business. The more smug the delivery though, the less genuine the wise-guy. He seems like he's supposed to be clever, but you never really buy it. He's just kind of annoying, and smug, and slimy, and overall a caricature of the kind of smooth-talking, wise-cracking cool guy he's meant to be.
Aero the Acro Bat
"Aero the Acro Bat." The most original name, the most original character.
Aero was a cheap knock-off of Sonic the Hedgehog from the get-go, cementing his title as one of the worst video game mascots to ever be created. His games weren't all that terrible, as far as your cookie-cutter 90s arcade-style games go, but they weren't anything all that interesting either. Aero himself, well, as I said...take Sonic, but make him both unoriginal and a little more boring. Aero was just an unnecessary addition to the stock of the worst video game heroes in history that wanted to be something they couldn't be.