Continuing our ridiculous super-serious year-long quest to find the Greatest Animal in the History of Video Games, we had our panel of judges decide the best of this month's species -- reptile and amphibians.
This time, our regular round of virtual animal lovers -- Kotaku news editor Leigh Alexander, Capcom Senior Producer Morgan Gray and I Can Has Cheezburger co-founder Tofuburger -- were joined by Joystiq writer Justin McElroy.
With bated breath, we give you the best reptile/amphibian in video games, according to our panel of judges... Yoshi! Followed closely by Gex for the number two spot, and then Bowser in third place. As for Multiplayer readers, there was a lot of love for Bowser and Yoshi, too, who were tied for second place with Slippy from "Star Fox" having a slight edge over both to take the top spot. Read on for the judges' picks and to see whether or not you agree with them...
Leigh Alexander, Kotaku:
You had to do it to me, didn't you? You had to put Solid Snake on a toplist where I couldn't possibly select him. You know, since he's not a real snake. Must... fight compulsion... to select him... and to write him in on my 2008 ballot...
3. Squirtle. He's a squirrel! No, he's a squirting turtle. Fanboy rage, go!
2. Gex. My little sis and I were such fans of the singing, dated pop culture-quoting gecko back in the day. It's one of those things that isn't even rational anymore. Damn, I love Gex.
1. Yoshi. He tirelessly carries Mario, endlessly smiling -- even during those abrupt emergency dismounts that plummet Yoshi to his death so that you can survive. Punch his head and he won't get mad - he just sticks his tongue out. It's all good with Yoshi.
Morgan Gray, Capcom:
Following my tradition I have to give out an honorable mention starting off. Since I gave a trophy to one Pokemon already, it ain't right to do it again (hell, there pretty much is a Pokemon for every video game animal category when you get right to it). So the Honorable Mention (ha!) goes to Squirtle! Now mind you, his evolved forms are stronger, and bigger....but do any of them roll with a crew?!? So hats off to Squirtle and his sunglasses-wearing buddies in the Squirtle Squad!
And now for the real awards... all mascoty in their own way, oddly:
Bronze: Bowser - I have kicked this dude's ass for over 20 years, but he keeps coming back for more! Why Peach doesn't learn to lock her doors, I don't know why, but I fully expect that Bowser and I will be scrapping yet again in the not-so-distant future. What I want to know is, if Bowser has a kid, and I believe he does, who the hell is the mom? Maybe there is something more to Bowser's and Peach's little escapades... I'd be pissed off too, Mario!
Silver: The greatest gecko of all time (even without a British accent) claims this prize. Gex! In the long, long ago times, Gex showed you didn't need to be on Nintendo hardware to be an awesome platformer lead character. Hell, you didn't even need to be on hardware anyone owned to be great (can you name the system?). Gex provided solid gameplay, and was one of the early "wise-ass" platformer characters that helped spark a ton of imitators. Good for you Gex. Don't be a stranger!
Gold: Sadly, I'm going with two characters from the same universe this month. Yoshi! He was fun to play in his first outing. He's the only guy (next to Luigi) that I play whether its kart racing, tennis, golf, soccer, or kicking Sonic's ass in Beijing (I'm a sucker for track & field games). Yoshi is even graceful when he wins (at least I think he is -- have his talking lines ever been translated out of "Yoshi-ese"?). So thanks, Yoshi, can't wait to play you again when Nintendo launches "Wii Curling"!
Justin McElroy, Joystiq:
3. The Lizard from "Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro" - Lizards? Terrifying, but a necessary evil to keep the insect menace at bay. Man-sized lizards? Horrific, but rarely threatening when within 100 meters of Spider-Man, which they always are. Now, The Lizard in "Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro," who refuses to leap more than two ft. at a time? Well, that's bafflingly frightening, because what is he up to anyway?
2. The Crocodiles from "Pitfall" - Sometimes, stepping on a crocodile is a necessary step towards victory, and sometimes you'll end up dead, with nothing but speedily digested gold bars to show for it. Honestly, if cars were 100 feet across it would be the world's best-selling bumper sticker. If there's ever been a more elegant representation of the balance of friend and foe man has had to strike with animal, I don't know what it is.
1. Gex - One day back in 2002, Aero the Acrobat was given papercuts all over his body and dipped into a vat of hydrochloric acid because of several outstanding mob debts. On the same day, his wife left him for Busby. Just before his snout disintegrated, he shouted to the heavens "Oh well, at least I'm not Gex." That awful lizard makes every other aborted attempt at a character mascot feel great about themselves by comparison, and there's something noble about that.
Tofuburger, I Can Has Cheezburger:
3. Frog - A time traveling prince, Frog is fierce with a broadsword and will douse you in water magic if you look at him sideways. He's just one of the reasons we're digging out the SNES and our copy of "Chrono Trigger" tonight.
2. Yoshi - Yoshi is awesome at all sports, racing, and saving the world. Sometimes, though, we find it hard to forgive him for that high-pitched squeal he makes every time he jumps too high. If you or one of yours has a similar Yoshi problem, we suggest dismounting as soon as he makes the noise, preferably over a large, bottomless pit, while using your cape, raccoon tail, or other flotation device to hover to safety. The first time you teach your Yoshi this lesson, he will never talk back to you again.
1. Bowser - King of all the Koopas, some would say he's a not-so-good guy who kidnaps princesses and spits fireballs at plumbers. At Cheezburger, we disagree. Bowser and Princess Peach? Simply a modern, pixelized retelling of forbidden love: to be Bowser is to be a Koopa Capulet while to be Peach is to be a Toadstool Montague. We hope that at some point these two kids can just work it out.