Welcome to yet another addition of “Case for,” a series where we exam why characters may or may not fit into Smash. Today we will be looking at everyone’s favorite wise cracking reptilian platforming superstar of yesteryear, Gex the Gecko. Yup, Gex. I’m as surprised as most of you are, but he ranked very high on our poll to determine who is an All Star, so we figured we would give the snarky little lizard a closer look.
Character Background: It’s a timeless tale, one that I’m sure you’ve heard time and time again. Gex was born an average, run of the mill Gecko, living in Maui, Hawaii with his mother and siblings while his father was hard at work at NASA. He was a pretty normal Gecko, climbing walls, eating bugs, and doing all sorts of normal Gecko things. That changed when his father died in a rocket explosion. He became withdrawn and obsessed with TV, a condition that was not helped by his twenty-billion dollar inheritance from his late Uncle Charlie. His TV knowledge proved to be invaluable, however, when he was sucked into the media dimension to do battle with the evil Rez.
Okay, so maybe the Gex franchise wasn’t heavy on story… but that wasn’t the point. Voiced by comedian Dana Gould, the Gex games were more about playing as a walking pop-culture pastiche then enjoying any type of narrative. Ever since his debut in the 3DO game Gex (which was ported shortly thereafter to the PS1, Saturn, and PC) our irreverent green hero existed to poke fun at different genre tropes while quoting everything from Pink Floyd to Duke Nukem.
Reasons for inclusion:
As mentioned above, Gex’s original title, Gex, was not available on a Nintendo console. The next two (and final two) games in his series, however, had versions on both the Nintendo 64 and Gameboy Color. Gex, as a series, was fairly short lived. The series began with Gex in 1994 and concluded with Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko just five years later. During those years Gex managed to sell 15 million units. Gex 3 alone moved 6 million copies. To give you perspective on these numbers, the Banjo Kazooie franchise has sold a little over 7 million games. Bomberman has sold around 10 million. Gex sold more than both of these franchises in the span of one console generation.
Gex, like many current Smash characters, spent time as a mascot for a large game developer. He was the face of Crystal Dynamics, and as Crystal Dynamics was the first licensed developer for Panasonic’s 3DO, he became the de facto face of that system as well. Interestingly enough, Crystal Dynamics was bought by Eidos, who was inturn bought by Square-Enix. This means that the rights to Gex is in the same hands as Cloud, a character whose rights Nintendo has already successfully negotiated in regards to Smash. As for what Gex himself can bring to Smash, Dana Goulds’ unique sense of humor and comic timing is unlike anything else currently in the series, and Gex has plenty of platforming maneuvers to draw inspiration for a moveset from.
Reasons for exclusion:
The Gex games may have sold well, but they were created at a time when animal platformers with attitude were all the rage, and they do not have much of an outstanding legacy. On top of this, the games did not review particularly well upon release and have not benefitted from many rereleases, so they are not particularly well known to modern gamers.
While Square-Enix has recently mentioned Gex by name when considering franchises to revive, the series has not had a new entry in 17 years. It is, for all intents and purposes dead. So what we have here is a series that has no historical legacy, modern relevance, or importance to Nintendo. It is very difficult to argue for a character from a game that has none of the three aforementioned factors in his favor.
What is Smash Bros. without music? Here are a few tracks you can look forward to if Gex makes it in.