As we take the time to celebrate iconic characters, strong female leads, indies, and more, we tend to forget those we didn’t expect and thrown to the side. The games we find them in, tend to have a lesser quality that some of us ignore or truly trash without seeing the potential it could’ve had. Most of the platform genres had that “got to be Mario” in level and universe design. No matter in 2D or 3D, there was a title that tried to surpass Mario and coming up short in multiple ways. Though it rarely happens, some B-tier titles still deliver odd, janky, annoying, cliche, yet intriguing characters. Heck, some first party and triple-A titles do it too!
One of the most well known to receive this treatment is none other than Bubsy. This cat who had this 90’s “cool” attitude not only shot him into a bizarre world of misunderstanding but his Sonic the Hedgehog inspired level and gameplay design couldn’t hold up any interest and once his Playstation One game arrived, his star power felled into a cat-traption of forgetfulness. His design was simple (separate from his games). An orange tabby cat with a white shirt with a B on it. Simple and to the point. Even his name, in a sense, has a familiarity to it. Not many modern gamers may know about him but us retro gamers know him very well.
For a lot of the PC community, Duke Nukem is a shiny example too. As sarcastic and, if you think about it, a sexist egotistical prick, his Arnold look, and attitude bought some decent and one of the most insane development history of games to every learn about to the first person shooting genre. His red tank top, blonde high top hair, sunglasses and cigar, and muscles galore, just screamed as comedic as can be. Yes, his catchphrases and quips bring players joy but he’s so overblown as a character, you just laugh at the stupidity he is and what he brings.
Capcom gave us Dan as a joke character. He wasn’t supposed to be on the level of Ryu and Ken. His short range fireball and hurricane kick weren’t supposed to be fully realized but Capcom didn’t understand the fighting community. Some players took this joke seriously and showcase how deadly he can be when used correctly. The Steven Seagull long ponytail, pink Gi outfit, and basic fight moves weren’t meant to be at the level of acceptance but he’s been in many games and Capcom actually make him more useful. Guess the joke was on them.
Ryu Hayabusa might not be B-rated material but Ninja Gaiden on the NES is full on 80’s B-rated material. Especially the butt hair design, Irene Lew, when she appeared in the first cutscene cinematic. Though she didn’t play a major role, she was an important figure but was completely forgettable after her role was done throughout the game. Of course, she is the damsel in distress but how many people remember her or cosplay as her? Even today, her significance is only stuck in the games she been in.
For most of you modern players, Big The Cat is a prime example of the Sonic series. His gameplay is atrocious in Sonic Adventure but nothing compares of how laughable he is in design and with his voice. He has this slow and mentally challenges appeal to him. Some may like or love him and for the life of me, I cannot understand why yet I celebrate him because he actually became memorable among the Sonic community.
Of course you have games like Whiplash, The Suffering, Cold Fear, Jekle and Hyde, No Man’s Sky, Too Human, and more games of the B-rated material, those characters (well, No Man’s Sky is debatable) from games like this feel like placeholders and although some of them aren’t memorable, recognizable, or even playable, they just have something that defines them and speaks out originality. How beautiful can that be?