Amiga Format regularly played host to an illuminating Q&A segment between we, the end users, and Commodore’s distant upper echelons as an exercise in bridging the chasm.
Managing director of the UK branch, David Pleasance, lent his amiable face to the cause, and in issue 63 (September 1994) tackled a question most of us have pondered at some point or another over the years; why did the Amiga never have an official representative to counter Nintendo’s Mario and Sega’s Sonic?
Personally I think this would have pigeon-holed the system solely as a gaming platform; an approach clearly antithetical to Commodore’s long-term goal of pitching the Amiga as a versatile multimedia system with much to offer to business people, programmers, artists, musicians and so on.
Plus, how would you have sold your parents on the idea of investing in a homework facilitator if it had Superfrog’s gurning mug plastered all over it?
Nintendo and Sega from the outset intended to milk the teats off their respective cash cows, and to make that feasible they’d have to keep the franchises fresh with regular, revamped releases. They’d be in a prime position to let their imagination run riot because, as David says, they owned the hardware, the software, the intellectual property, the whole kit and caboodle.
Analogously, on the Amiga side, any chosen mascot would have to form the basis of an ongoing series, not a one-off game, and be exclusive to the platform. So what would that whittle our options down to? The longest running franchise at the time was probably Codemaster’s Dizzy, but then their anthropomorphic egg on legs also appeared on the Mega Drive, in addition to myriad 8-bit systems beforehand, so that counts him out.
An alternative route might have been to choose a non-gaming character who was already synonymous with the Amiga, and wouldn’t become stale as the technology advanced. A popular suggestion is Eric W. Schwartz’s Amy the Squirrel… a topless femme-fatale who starred in an array of risque animated shorts in which she would variously be chased or drooled over by her lascivious co-stars. Ah…