Throughout history, children have built spherical snow totems in an attempt to appeal to Höðr, the god of winter, because school-destroying, softball-sized hail rarely falls from the sky without the help of dark rituals. Over time, though, the original intent of this practice faded with the introduction of Frosty, a magical, mirthful snowman who came to life just to teach children harsh lessons about mortality and the dangers of sun exposure. So, with the continued popularity of these lumpy elementals, it isn't surprising to see videogames borrow liberally from the time-honored tradition of personifying mounds of precipitation using pieces of apparel unfit for the Goodwill dumpster. Odds are, if you find yourself in an ice level, you'll likely see one of these guys hanging around, being all whimsical and stuff.
The meteoric rise of Street Fighter II caused a lot of resulting weirdness, as kids of the era couldn't get enough of whaling on each other with all manner of colorful characters. 1993's ClayFighter decided to parody the one-on-one fighting genre with a cast soaked in irreverent '90s 'tude, and included characters like a doughy Elvis impersonator and an oversized opera lady. Bad Mr. Frosty stood as the series' official mascot, appearing prominently on the box art for each game, and even traded in the traditional top hat for a backwards baseball cap for ClayFighter 2: Judgment Clay--a sequel that proved it's never too late to make that Terminator reference you've been holding onto for years.
Given their short time on this earth, snowmen have the preservation instincts of fruit flies. That's never been truer than the Cool, Cool Mountain stage of Super Mario 64, which features a snowman whose irresponsible lifestyle caused his body to melt from under his head--which may answer some questions about where they keep their souls. Those familiar with the game know that Mario rolls him a new body segment: Only a temporary solution to a problem plaguing the snowman community. If anything, these guys need a government program to give them a fleet of shiny, new Hoverounds.
Kirby's enemies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but among the Blippers, Boppers, Boolers and Boomers, only Chilly's name really lets you know what he's about. (Though Mr. P. Umpkin comes in at a close second.) And, interestingly enough, Chilly's design points out the major difference between Japanese and Western snowmen; while the latter wear hats, the former have buckets smashed into their head-spheres--which seems a lot more practical if you think about it. While it might have been easy to find Rich Uncle Pennybags' favorite headwear sitting around unused when Frosty first hit the airwaves, buckets have hung in there and retained their usefulness long after men realized there's no shame in hatlessness.
He's not exactly made of the stuff, but Final Fantasy VI's second-most-hidden character could be the only playable abominable snowman in an RPG--which in itself is pretty remarkable. Umaro makes his home in the Caves of Narshe, and will only join your party after the antagonist Kefka turns the World of Balance into the World of Angst, and there's only one Moogle left to hang with. And in battle, Umaro repays his new band of friends by refusing to listen to orders and literally hurling his fellow party members at the enemy. Yeti have over fifty words for "snow," but not a single one for "gratitude."
It's common to see snowmen, and sometimes snow-single-dads, but entire snow families? In practical terms, once you finishing stacking the second chunk of your new snow-friend, you're usually contemplating abandoning your attempt to play god for the sake of grabbing some Irished-up hot cocoa. But the world of Animal Crossing is gleefully free of frostbite, so, between December 11th and February 24th, it's possible to build a two-snowparent household: Snowman, Snowmam, Snowboy, and Snowtyke. And for giving them the gift of life, you're rewarded with appropriately themed objects that'll just end up being shoved haphazardly into the corner of one of your abandoned house extensions.
Snowy Super Mario Kart tracks aren't all that popular, and for a good reason: they possess the actual fun of actually driving on deadly ice with added risks usually missing from our modern roads and highways. Mario Kart 64's Frappe Snowland features a gauntlet comprised entirely of snowmen, which will probably be the first and last time that term is ever used. These bucketheaded guys can cause some serious problems on this stretch of the track, and they also reflect poorly on the laziness of Mario Kart 64's track designers: "Hmm--a turn here, a jump there... Let's just make a field full of garbage to steer around and call it a day."
These snowmen must have signed a non-aggression pact with Yoshi, since they're one of the few normal-sized enemies Mario's dino pal can't swallow and turn into deadly eggs. In fact, Yoshi doesn't even register as a blip on their radar, as they're too busy riding the ski lifts somehow erected by their armless civilization. Despite being named after a Mötley Crüe song, Dr. Freezegoods clearly lack the rock-and-roll attitude and associated drug problems of their namesake.
In the misguided tradition of videogame enemies, Sir Slush and his kin openly display hints about their weaknesses--in this case, top hats emblazoned with a massive, red "X." While this could be reading too much into things, Sir Slush's obvious death would could be an indication of the abject suffering that is snowman existence. Affixed to a single spot with months to live, and the only escape being found in the combined efforts of a bird and a bear? You'd better believe Sir Slush's death is more of a euthanization than cold-blooded murder.
Though the platforming action of Earthworm Jim hasn't exactly held up over the last few decades, you have to hand it to Shiny Entertainment with their attempts to have an entire generation of kids tittering about multiple references to a kinda-sorta swear word (simpler times, people) with the "Heck" level. In fact, they created an enemy solely to reference the semi-popular phrase "a snowball's chance in Hell" with Rusty the Snowman, who may exist solely to prove this adage wrong. Now that modern children can instantly Google decapitation videos and hardcore pronography, the charms of coming a hair's breadth close to an actual curse word have been lost, but Rusty will forever remind us of the time childhood innocence was still a thing.
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