Is Mario the most diverse gaming character/IP?
May 19, 2020 10:54 AM   Subscribe

What are some other video game examples of characters/IP that have as much variety as Mario. Examples: Mario in outer space (Super Mario Galaxy), Mario as a sticker or piece of paper (Super Mario Paper series), Mario as an athlete (Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, Baseball), Mario as a driver (Mario Kart), Mario as a fighter (Super Smash Bros.), Mario as a puzzle (Dr. Mario, Picross), Mario as education (Paint, Mario Teaches Typing) etc. The Zelda franchise is another character/IP that fits this mold. But I am wanting others, thinking in terms of genre, gameplay, occupation, location, etc.
posted by Fizz to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
Pokémon have shown up in a pretty wide variety of video game genres: the main series; Smash Bros.; Detective Pikachu; the Mystery Dungeon series; Pokémon Quest; Let's Go, ___; Pokémon Go; Pokémon Quest; Colosseum; Ranger; Snap; Art Academy; Duel; Channel; Trozei!; Dream Radar; Dash; Hey You, Pikachu; and doubtless more.
posted by Wobbuffet at 11:20 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

Mario is the mascot for Nintendo so if they're coming up with a game of any genre and want to spice it up adding Mario is a good way to do it. You'd need to look at other characters that were mascots for systems and the only one I could think of is Sonic. Looking at the list of Sonic games on Wikipedia it looks like he kind of fits the bill too. Pokemon is kind of getting there too.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:22 AM on May 19

Kirby is up there. Unlike Mario (usually), Kirby can be a few dozen different things and occupations in just one game, and he’s had... many. He’s also in all the smash games, has his own golf game, racing game, plus a tv show and a manga.

The points above are good re mascot/branding. I don’t think pikachu or sonic can be e.g. a rock or a rubber ball, so my vote is on the shapeshifter for diversity. Kirby can wield a sword or a spear or turn into a ball of yarn or be a submarine or a race car too.Tough to beat that.
posted by SaltySalticid at 11:39 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]

It would be hard to find another character as long-lived as Mario, which might be part of why he is everywhere. I mean we are at a point in history where you could have 3 generations in a family who all have Mario as part of their childhood memories. The only other characters that come close are Mickey Mouse and maybe the Star Trek characters.
posted by selfmedicating at 12:14 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I think mascots are the key. Sonic has been in speed-based platformers, raced both in and out of karts (Drift, Sonic R, whatever the new series is called), starred in an extremely slow isometric game under the conceit that he lost his shoes and wasn't fast anymore (Labyrinth), been in a Bioware RPG (Chronicles), thrown a party (Shuffle), gone to the Olympics and played Smash Bros. with Mario (along with his own fighting game in arcades in the 90s), turned into a pinball (Spinball), and appeared in a bunch of educational games.

You'll see a bunch of similar genres even with characters who serve as mascots for much smaller companies—i.e. there was a Bomberman racing game back when he was the de facto standard-bearer for Hudson Soft
posted by Polycarp at 1:47 PM on May 19

Pac-Man deserves an honorable mention, even though his agent books him mostly for eating-related roles.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:13 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

The Simpsons have appeared in a bizarre mix of video games over the years.
posted by saladin at 4:46 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

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