Crash Bandicoot, My Love, Come Back To Me 

Crash Bandicoot, My Love, Come Back to Me

"14-Year Anniversary of Crash Bandicoot Passes By Largely Unnoticed" is an Onion headline from 2010, and it's true: Naughty Dog's version of Sonic and Mario was an unofficial PlayStation mascot, but Crash Bandicoot didn't achieve the iconic status of his forebears. Still, when rumours of a Bandicoot reboot circulated in February, I was pumped. My siblings and I asked for consoles every year, even though our parents forbade video games. But on Christmas Eve 1999, my dad went rogue. Maybe he couldn't bear another year lying about how Mario Teaches Typing for PC is fun. Maybe he figured it was almost Y2k anyway, why not give us a taste of gaming before all our electronics frizzled in a millennium-induced power surge? Whatever his reasoning, when we finished opening the mum-sanctioned gifts, my dad told us to check what Santa had left behind our armchair. We found a new PlayStation with two games: Madden NFL 2000 and the first Crash Bandicoot.

I had just turned 13 and developed bacne. My best friend had just started dating a football player, so she was always at Taco Bell with him and the other girls with boyfriends. Not only did I have no one to hang out with, I couldn't even get a Taco Supreme because then I'd have to run into them. The only place to turn was the PlayStation. I wasn't about to play Madden while my friends were out with real life football players, it was too pathetic. So I turned to my new friend, a 'coot with a 'tude.

Assessing Crash Bandicoot as an adult, the character is so clearly an attempt to do 'edgy Sonic'. Co-creator Andy Gavin even admits the original concept was literally nicknamed "Sonic's Arse". Crash burps, he shouts, he does a double-thumbs up gesture. He wears denim capris. He's Poochy from The Simpsons with a dash of Bonkers from Bonkers.

The list of offences goes on: The original game's damsel-in-distress is a placid, shapely lady-bandicoot named Tawna. The villain is a balloon-headed mad scientist caricature. There's an inexplicable Tiki-themed witch doctor named Aku Aku, trapped inside a gibberish-spewing mask. But from my first whirl into a box of TNT, I was into it.

For me, Crash wasn't a knockoff. He lived in a dangerous tropical world, and he wasn't afraid to show his butt. He just wanted scientists to stop messing with nature, man. Instead of silently zooming around like Sonic, Crash yelled "Woah!" when he messed up. He wasn't pudgy like Mario. Crash was jacked.

The game wasn't particularly original, but it had plenty of merits. It looked like a Pixar movie. It was fun. I had zero social victories that December but felt a personal sense of achievement when I figured out how to move beyond N.Sanity Island. Inhabiting the colourful world of a fictional bandicoot was a psychic salve, no matter how try-hard his mohawk looked.

Those rumours of a Crash comeback this February were based off of a Crash image Tweeted by a PlayStation account and a misinterpreted comment from an executive at the toy company NECA.

Crash is probably not coming back. But if my favourite pixellated marsupial does make a return, I hope it's the crazy-eyed dope from the original game in a classic platformer. I'm confident there will be plenty of other innovative gaming franchises in the future. There's room to bring back one corny game that helps tweens forget their standing dermatologist appointment.


Comments

    If he comes back, it better be like the original trilogy and not that Mutant-brawling madness.
    Sonic's had a lot of second chances after his terrible games, why doesn't Crash get just one?

      It might have something to do with the question "Who owns the Crash Bandicoot IP?".
      From my understanding, the rights are currently owned by Activision, previously from Vivendi Universal and Universal Interactive Studios (after a series of takeovers and mergers).
      My feeling is that perhaps Activision don't want to make another game at this time (or good ideas to revitalise the franchise), considering the poor/mixed reception to the last few titles.

      Now that I think about it, I kinda want to play Crash Twinsanity again, and I really should get around to finishing the first three games as well.
      I have fond memories of Crash Team Racing in particular.

      Last edited 15/04/16 6:37 pm

        I thought Twinsanisty was alright

        Yeah, all that ownership stuff is depressing. The response to the last two was bad because it was such a departure. Surely there's enough of a public desire for a new Crash that whoever owns the IP now would know to return to its roots.

        I didn't like Twinsanity the first time I played it, but I feel like I'd appreciate it more now. I went back and played (to 100%) the first three last year, and they're still amazing.

    I'm going for 100% on my PSP at the moment, i never had a memory card as a kid and mever got to finish it.
    I know the first worlds off the back of my hand from repeating them so much though haha.
    It's a brilliantly designed game still impresses me to this day, some of the best graphics on the PS1.

    Same could be said for the original Spyro series. God I loved those games.

    There are no Crash Bandicoot games after Crash Team Racing. I deny the existence of those subsequent abominations.

    I stopped playing half way through crash 3. It stopped being fun and the difficulty balance became too random.
    Crash 2 was the pinnacle of the series and naughty dog. Now we have to endure The Last of Us with it's barely there gameplay and po-faced melodrama. Fucking hated that game. It's like they had a one night stand with David fucking Cage. Erghhh.

    Andy Gavin (original Naughty Dog member) has a series of pretty cool blogs about the making of Crash Bandicoot: http://all-things-andy-gavin.com/2011/02/02/making-crash-bandicoot-part-1/

    I find the tech behind the games pretty fascinating. The camera followed a fixed path through the level, so they could calculate visibility offline and stream the level from the CD as you ran through. That's why they could pack a lot more detail into their games than other more free-form PS1 games.

    It also apparently meant that a single play-through of Crash Bandicoot exceeded the PS1's rated number of lifetime CD-drive reads by several orders of magnitude. Just playing this one game was theoretically enough to burn out your console.

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