Before Super Mario Universal Studios Had Crash Bandicoot

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It is usually tradition for most modern theme parks to have at least a few costumed characters walking around to greet guests and take vacation photos with. Disney is king of this practice with Mickey Mouse and company usually being seen everywhere along with other classic characters like Winnie the Pooh and the Disney Princesses.


(Image Source via The Sun)

Well in case you haven’t noticed Universal Studios does that as well. The most notable character seen there is their Mickey Mouse equivalent Woody Woodpecker. In recent years more characters like from the libraries of Illumination and Dreamworks have been seen walking the parks.


(Image Source via YouTube)

The recent and big addition includes the cast of Nintendo’s Super Mario franchise due to their partnership to develop Super Nintendo World areas at their theme parks across the globe. Their Japanese park already has the Nintendo themed area and Mario has already been seen walking around. In the upcoming Epic Universe expansion at their Orlando park including the Nintendo area you can bet you’ll see him there. 


(Image Source via TDR Explorer)

However, before the Italian plumber warped to Universal, another and almost equally popular video game character used to make appearances at the parks. That being the box breaking Crash Bandicoot.


(Image Source via Reddit)

Crash Bandicoot began appearing at the parks in the mid-1990s around the time his original trilogy of video games were out for the SONY PlayStation. The series was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Universal Studios Interactive with a marketing deal by SONY. The games were massive successes, being some of the best selling PlayStation titles of all time.


(Image Source via Flickr)

He would often walk around the park and take pictures with guests. Sometimes he would carry around a megaphone in his hand referencing the old video game commercials and during the holiday season would sometimes be wearing a scarf.

Aside from solo appearances would also appear alongside other Universal characters.


(Image source via Javan Bare on YouTube)

At one point they had also developed a costume for the Japanese version of Crash. An alternative design of Crash was made for Japanese audiences since SONY of Japan thought the original design was “too American”.


(Old stock publicity photo)

Later Naughty Dog would split from Universal to partner with SONY of the Jak & Daxter series (Similarly with Insomniac leaving behind Spyro for Ratchet & Clank), but Crash stayed at Universal since they owned the publishing rights. 


(Image Source via Flickr)

Also once in a blue moon you also had the opportunity to meet who is often considered his counterpart Spyro the Dragon.


(Image Source via Deviantart)

However as the years went on Universal got less and less involved with video games and eventually merged their games division Vivendi Interactive. In 2008 Vivendi merged with Activision only for Activision to break off in 2013 taking multiple IPs, including Crash Bandicoot, with them. Since then, in 2022, Microsoft has made their attempts to buy Activision, making the once popular PlayStation hero an Xbox property. 

There had apparently been discussions for a Crash Bandicoot themed attraction at the parks but they never came to fruition. 

While it is a shame that we no longer see him at the Universal parks, we can still be happy with the time we did have with him.


(Image source via Deviantart)

Do you remember meeting Crash Bandicoot at Universal Studios? Did you ever get a photo with him? Let us know.


Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.