Robin Williams: Nintendo’s Ideal Mascot

It’s very easy to mourn the passing of someone like Robin Williams, even if he wasn’t hailed as a mainstream drama virtuoso a la Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Deniro, or a Tom Cruise.  It’s easy because he was a comedian, and not an overly vulgar one (not that he doesn’t do that well either).  He was essentially your family friendly actor who you either had fond memories of as a kid or felt comfortable with, now as a grownup, showing to your kids.  His roles in “Aladdin” and “Mrs. Doubtfire” are perfect examples of the kind of approachable warmth he brings to the screen that draws loved ones together.

That’s why it’s no surprise that he really was the perfect Nintendo enthusiast.  Robin Williams illustrates what a fun and light-hearted balance is supposed to be, between hardcore video game enthusiasm and a “just have fun” mentality.  That’s who he was in real life, not just as a gamer.

He wasn’t just another Adam Sandler or Chris Farley. No, he always played light-hearted characters with serious undertones.  Mrs. Doubtfire wasn’t just a comical mess of a cross-dressing nanny; she was someone who would go to insane lengths just to spend a handful of hours a week seeing her kids grow up.  Likewise, Patch Adams was someone who used humor as a means for healing the seriously sick and emotionally wounded.  The parallel may seem forced or even egregious to some, but this is what Nintendo has been about to many, but more objectively, this is when Nintendo has generally been at it’s best; bringing loved ones together through the medium of fun.  Seriously.  Nintendo hasn’t just been goofy and comic characters for the sake of it.  Some of our fondest memories revolve around childhood quarrels over who gets to play the next level of SMB3, or sleepovers with now-old friends that went too late into the morning playing smash.  They may have even brought about the rare-occasion where grandma or your uncle joins in on a session of Mario Kart or Wii Sports!

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It wasn’t often the family came together around a videogame. But those rare light-hearted moments have a more solemn undertone now that they’re memories.

It’s fitting that Robin Williams got the chance to play a symbolic cameo, albeit a temporary one, in Nintendo’s marketing efforts.  I hope Nintendo finds other people like him as he fills that rare gap somewhere between cool and fun, adult and kid, serious and light-hearted.  In any case, we will miss him.  Farewell!


Did you know?

  • Most of us know about his daughter’s name, Zelda, but did you know his son’s name, Cody, was inspired by the the Capcom Beat-em-up “Final Fight“?  He explains at the end of this interview for Happy Feet
  • If not for scheduling conflicts he may have actually been able to make a more direct appearance in Portal as a voice actor!
  • He likes mature videogames like a Call of Duty, Half-Life, Portal, and is still a Nintendo fan! Unheard of!  Joking aside, I know there are some of us out there, but in reality how many?
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About The Author

News Reporter

I'm an EarthBound kinda guy but I love everything Mario and certainly anything Nintendo related. I was born in North America and live there presently.