Sonic. Conker. Aero. Gex. Jim. Banjo. Crash. Bubsy. Sparkster. Rocky. Awesome. Going into a game store in the 90s was like going into a zoo where the staff forced animals to go on wild and amazing adventures. Coming of age in the decade was perfect for a platformer fan like myself as there was never a shortage of new 2D and 3D adventures starring whatever animal developers thought would appeal to us Sunkist-drinking, Fruit by the Foot-eating miscreants. For a good chunk of the decade, the mascot platformer ruled.
And then we grew up. When gaming exploded with the launch of the PlayStation, it brought with it a slew of new genres and series that would quickly knock the mighty mascot platformer off the top of the gaming pedestal. As rated T for Teen titles started their domination of the landscape near the turn of the millennium, many of those old animal heroes faded from existence. And while recent years have brought renewed interest into some of these characters, the genre is now niche unless you’re published by Nintendo or Sega.
I still get all warm and fuzzy inside when I think of these games and I wonder today, if the mascot platformer were to see a sudden resurgence, what new animals would be there to fill these featured roles. Many of the most recognizable animals have already had their time in the spotlight, from the mighty elephant Tembo to the tiny stinkbug Yoku, so I asked the Destructoid staff which animal they would most want to see star in their own mascot platformer game. That is, what animal besides the quokka, as that is my answer and the correct one.
I was introduced to mangy marsupial in a Twitter post sandwiched between People Magazine letting me know who Chrissy Teigen obliterated with just one Tweet and GameSpot linking to a post it wrote two years ago as if it were new. If you’ve seen one of these things online, it’s probably been one of those super adorable pictures because goddamn is this animal photogenic. I mean look at this thing. I want one as a pet, even though they’re incredibly diseased. I’m sure it would get along with the capybara I also want to own one day.
Now, the quokka’s adventure would be really easy: get out of Australia before you starve to death because that’s what happens to quokkas. Maybe that’s the whole basis of the game: collect water and food so all the quokkas on Rottnest Island so they don't die the Karen Carpenter way. That’s the appropriate amount of grim for a medium where people are turned into bricks that we then break with our fists. Or maybe the quokka just hops and bops his way through every level by being cute. Like Dropsy with his hugs, but instead of hugging he does this and all the enemies fall in love with him.
Really, this post is just a reason for me to write about quokkas.