The concept of the video game mascot is not as prevalent as it once was, but in the 90’s you couldn’t throw a rock at an Electronics Boutique without hitting some sassy cartoon animal with attitude. While several of these beloved characters have managed to survive the decades since (Mario, Sonic, Crash Bandicoot), many more have been long forgotten and lost to gaming history. But what ever happen to them? We thought we’d take a look back at some of the greatest, weirdest, and most memorable video game mascots of the 90’s. Where are they now? What have they been doing all of this time? Will we ever see them again? Buckle up buttercup, this one’s a doozy.
Bonk’s Adventure (1990)
Bonk was one of the early attempts to become the next big mascot, debuting on the beloved (but not very popular) TurboGrafx-16 console. A prehistoric caveboy with a gigantic, bald head, Bonk headbutted his way through armies of dino enemies on a quest to rescue Princess Za from the dreaded King Drool. The series was actually fairly popular, spawning four sequels over the course of several years.
Where is Bonk now?: When the Ice Age struck, Bonk ended up frozen in ice for millions of years. A group of research scientists discovered him in 2007 and were amazing that he appeared to be completely preserved and healthy when they thawed him out. It was a rude awakening for Bonk though. Horrified by what mankind has done do the planet since his time he moved to Washington DC where he now works as a lobbyist for the environmental group World Wildlife Fund.
Croc: Legend of the Gobbos (1997)
Croc was found in a basket as a young child and raised by King Rufus and the race of fuzzy creatures known as the Gobbos. When the dastardly Baron Dante and his army invade Gobbo Valley and capture all of the Gobbos, it’s up to Croc to rescue them all. The game received decent reviews and was successful enough to get a sequel, Croc 2, but that was the last entry in the series.
Where is Croc now?: Devastated by the passing of his lifelong friend and mentor Steve Irwin back in 2006, Croc decided to pack up his things and move to Beerwah, Australia where he now works as a consultant at the Australia Zoo alongside Irwin’s wife and children.
After a wizard’s spell goes terribly wrong, his gloves are imbued with magic. The right one turning into the heroic Glover, while the left transforms into the dastardly “Cross-Stitch”. Glover goes on a journey across the kingdom to retrieve seven crystals and restore order to the land. The game was fairly well received critically but a sequel was never made.
Where is Glover now?: In 1999 a sequel to his game was in development, but after the National Enquirer published several scandalous photographs of Glover and Lefty (the Hamburger Helper mascot) in a series of compromising positions, he was blacklisted from the gaming industry. Recent reports have him flipping burgers at the West Hollywood In-N-Out Burger.
Aero the Acro-Bat (1993)
After being banned from the circus as a child for a prank gone wrong, Edgar Ektor seeks revenge by sabotaging the World of Amusement Circus and Funpark and kidnapping the performers. It’s up to Aero the Acro-Bat to rescue his friends and defeat Edgar, as well as his henchman, Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel.
Where is Aero now?: After mounting pressure and accusations of animal cruelty, the World of Amusement Circus had to shut down all operations in 2012. With his particular set of skills no longer in demand, he started his own company Aero’s Amusements where he travels the country working the county fair circuit and operating attractions such as inflatable bounce houses and carnival games.
This smart mouthed gecko battled the evil Emperor Rez (and his television addiction) in a trilogy of successful games in the mid to late 90’s. Getting sucked through his TV into the Media Dimension, While he was never able to reach to success of fellow mascots Sonic and Mario, the games were well received.
Where is Gex now?: Gex decided to get out of the video game business after his third game, Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko was released in 1999. In 2000 he got into commercial acting and has appeared in a popular series of advertisements for insurance company GEICO.
Conceived as an attempt to take advantage of the success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the adventures of Rash, Pimple, and Zitz were a huge hit in the 90’s, battling the Dark Queen across multiple games including a special crossover with the legendary Double Dragon brothers. While it was known for it’s brutal difficulty, it has developed a passionate fan base over the years .
Where are the Battletoads now?: The Battletoads have been planning an ambitious (amphibious?) comeback for several years now. Appearing as guests in games such as Killer Instinct and Shovel Knight to test the waters for their full fledged return. In 2018 they announced that they would reunite for an all new adventure on the Xbox One.
When an evil space pirate, Kaiser Greedy, uses mind control to capture all of the planetary leaders of the Valdi system, it’s up to Ristar to restore order and rescue his father. The game was favorably received, but Ristar was never able to stand out from his fellow SEGA mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, and a sequel was never made.
Where is Ristar now?: Despite receiving generally good reviews, the game was not a huge commercial success and Ristar retired from gaming afterwards. He moved to New Jersey and settled down with a family , starting his own real estate company where he flips houses for resale. He’s recently begun an attempt to get back into show business and filmed a pilot for a new series on HGTV.
Wild Woody (1995)
A magical totem pole is broken apart and the many pieces imbue nearby objects with special powers, creating portals to other worlds. The remaining head of the totem decides for some reason to use his power to bring… a pencil… to life in order to find all of the pieces and return them to their proper place. Due to it’s poor quality and weirdly sexualized main character, Wild Woody was a complete failure.
Where is Wild Woody now?: After the critical and commercial failure of his debut title, Wild Woody gave up on his games career and became involved in the adult film industry. This led to years of substance abuse and despite repeated attempts to get clean and rehabilitate his image, he was never able to pull his life together. Woody passed away in 2002.