Harley from Harley’s Humungous Adventure (SNES and Genesis, 1993), developed by Visual Concepts of San Anselmo, California.
This guy was the last big American guy I wanted to draw.
Pitfall Harry Jr. from Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (SNES and Genesis, 1994) made by Activision of Los Angeles, California.
The original Pitfall was a blocky-looking game popular on crude, 80s-era home consoles. The 16-bit sequel featured much nicer graphics. I remember reading in Nintendo Power that there was a secret room or something where you could go and fight the horrible blocky scorpions from the first game.
Krusty the Klown from Krusty’s Super Fun House (SNES and Genesis, 1992) released by Acclaim of Glen Cove, New York.
I think I owned this game. I know it sounds phoney when people say this, but I honestly can’t remember. I feel it was a game that was swapping hands in my gradeschool social circle. Anyway, as a Simpsons fan I played it a lot, but only recently learned it wasn’t supposed to be a Simpsons game at all. Fun House began life as Rat Trap, a game created by the British studio Fox Williams, who in turn sold it to Acclaim, who stuck in some Simpsons characters and called it a day. It makes a lot of sense, as it’s easily the least Simpsons “feeling” of all the 90s-era Simpsons games, many of which were hardly thematically on-point masterpieces in their own right.
Ecco from Ecco the Dolphin (Genesis; July, 1993) developed by Sega of America of San Francisco, California.
As a fierce preteen Nintendo partisan, I could only ever admire Ecco from afar. I always regarded it as very much the personification of all things Genesis: mysterious, mature, and kind of lame.
Suggested by @stoicromance
ToeJam and Earl from ToeJam & Earl (Genesis; October 1992) released by ToeJam & Earl Productions of San Anselmo, California.
I’ve often found it revealing that the Sega Genesis has not left more of a legacy. Beyond Sonic, and maybe I dunno, Vector Man or something, what were some of the great franchises of Sega’s 16-bit era? These guys might be a strong contender.
President William Jefferson Clinton from NBA Jam (SNES and Genesis; October 1994) made by Acclaim Entertainment of Glen Cove, New York.
A while ago on my other site I had a discussion going about the way we members of the millennial generation have witnessed cultural norms change in our short lifetimes. One reader mentioned how the office of the president has steadily cheapened in the public imagination, and cited Clinton’s “secret character” inclusion in this game as a good example. The gesture seemed fairly subversive and disrespectful in its time, but now comes off as extraordinarily innocuous. Even charming.
Zeke and Julie from Zombies Ate My Neighbours! (Genesis and SNES; September, 1993) produced by LucasArts of San Francisco, California.
A charming game with all that classic Lucas Arts charming charm. But did you know there was also a lesser-known sequel entitled Ghoul Patrol that charmed absolutely no one?
Aero from Aero the Acro-Bat (SNES and Genesis; 1993) developed by Iguana Entertainment of Sunnyvale, California.
I feel like there were two distinct strains of animal mascot platformers in the mid-1990s: those that wanted to have their own Disney TV series, and those that simply wanted to rip-off Sonic. Aero was solidly in the latter camp.
James Pond from James Pond II: Codename: RoboCod, aka Super James Pond (SNES and Genesis, 1991).
Argh, I messed up again. I had been under the impression the James Pond franchise was developed by US-based Electronic Arts, when in actuality, as I now learn, EA merely published the series, which were actually created by Millennium Interactive, based out of Cambridge, England. British screw up Sunday! On Friday!
Earthworm Jim and Snot from Earthworm Jim 2 (SNES and Genesis; 1995-1996) developed by Shiny Entertainment of Laguna Beach, California.
I was Earthworm Jim crazy as a kid! I had all the games and toys and watched the TV show and everything. Which is exactly what the Playmates corporation wanted. It’s not well-known, but the EWJ franchise was originally intended to be an action figure line with a game, rather than a game with some action figures.
Suggested by @mhingston
Will and Rick from Dashin’ Desperadoes (Genesis; 1993) produced by Data East, USA of San Jose California.
Never actually played this game myself, but I’ve been checking out some YouTube clips and it looks pretty fun. It was a simultaneous two-players-on-the-screen-at-the-same-time side-scroller, a genre which has been more or less entirely phased out of our modern existence.
Suggested by @earlvontapia
Bubsy from Bubsy in: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind (SNES and Genesis; 1993) produced by Accolade of San Jose, California.
Bubsy seems to be an almost universally-reviled figure today, synonymous with the horrible mascot platformer craze of the mid-1990s. I agree that the games were nothing special, but I’ve always thought Bubsy himself was a decently-designed character — especially contrast to some of the true Poochie-like abominations who would come later.
Suggested by @OneTrickToby
Johnny Cage from Mortal Kombat (Arcade, October 1992), produced by Midway Manufacturing Company of Chicago, Illinois.
I never liked fighting games much as a kid; I was very conservative even as a child, and was very swept up in the anti-Mortal Kombat, anti-violence hysteria of the early 1990s. That same hysteria was later mocked in Mortal Kombat II when characters were given cornball “friendship moves,” like the one Johnny is doing here.
Thanks to @RicardoB for the idea.
Blue Suede Goo fromClayfighter (SNES and Genesis; December, 1993) released by Interplay of Irvine, California.
I had a ton of fun with this game when I was young, having been quite swept up in the claymation craze of the late 1980s. The Clayfighter trilogy had a ton of really awesome, creative characters, though each one was progressively worse in terms of actual gameplay.