These video game characters deserve Thanksgiving parade balloons

Thanksgiving is a holiday tradition. It’s an excuse to eat some good food, watch soccer with your old man, and fall asleep on the couch as all that tryptophan sinks in. As a kid, my favorite part of the holiday was always the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was a scene where I got to see all of my favorite anime characters explode larger than life. You can’t imagine my excitement the first time I saw the gigantic Pikachu floating through the streets of New York City.

Although video games have been represented on the show over the years, their appearances have been minimal. Outside of Pokémon and Sonic, only a few game franchises have actually gotten the balloon treatment. That leaves a slew of well-deserved mascots sitting on the sidelines, watching the floats go by with the rest of us.

Consider this my proposal to the presentation committee. There are a lot of great video game characters that deserve to be flying into next year’s show. Here are some of my most practical picks.

Kirby

Honestly, it’s a little surprising that Kirby isn’t already a staple of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The pink puffball is indeed a living balloon, which makes it an ideal choice from a design point of view. It’s especially worth it at this point in history, though Kirby and the Forgotten Land It is one of the best Nintendo games Nintendo has released in years. Personally, though, I’d like to see a balloon made after its orb-like appearance in Kirby Dream Buffet.

Rapids

An enraged Wigler ambushes the heroes from behind in Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope.

Let’s call a spade a spade: Rapids are the minions of video games. They are mischievous but lovable little creatures full of comic energy. Although they have been popular for over a decade now, they are not yet treated as the kings of games like Pikachu. Excellent this year Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope Prove that these little freaks are more than just a gimmick, so it’s time to bring them into the fold. If we had to pick just one, I might vote Rabbid Peach gets the spot so you can take the world’s greatest selfie.

Mario Chris Pratt

Mario stands on a mushroom in the Super Mario Bros. movie.

Mario is no stranger to the Thanksgiving Day parade. He’s got to fly across his city in his yellow Albanian outfit Super Mario Maker. However, a new version of Mario is on the horizon that will make gaming’s biggest star even more popular. The Super Mario Bros. The movie is set for release next year and introduces the world to Chris Pratt’s role on the famous plumber. Of course, the movie’s version of Mario deserves to be memorialized to celebrate the release, complete with some matching vocal lines delivered in Pratt’s fuzzy Brooklyn accent. The best part about this is that it would be a relatively cheap balloon to create since the designers wouldn’t have to use a lot of materials when copying Mario’s movie butt.

Master Chief

Mr. Chief weapon encounter in Halo Infinite.

While Big Show usually focuses on kid-friendly characters, there’s plenty of room for more mature gaming icons. Case in point: MasterChef. The big green Xbox mascot is a gaming legend at this point, and his recent foray into live TV has made him a multimedia star. The team making this balloon may take some cues from it infinite auraIt’s been developed to make sure the project is ready for 2023. It can only speed up the first draft of it next year and launch the full balloon in 2024.

Kratos

Kratos looks at Leviathan's axe.

Kratos has always been one of the most recognizable faces in gaming, and that has only become true in recent years thanks to the successful reboot of the series. With critical acclaim this year God of War Ragnarok (which garnered a whopping 10 Game Awards nominations), it’s becoming clear that Kratos deserves to be one of gaming’s household names, like Pikachu. I suggest inflating Big Bald Daddy and moving him on Sixth Avenue with a small Atreus balloon next to him. Just imagine the comment: “And here comes the god of war himself, Kratos, flying with his boy in the clouds!”

Joel

Joel and Ellie in HBO's The Last of Us.

Speaking of Sony’s most important franchises, The Last of Us is slowly becoming a balloon-worthy cultural institution. Thanks in part to its highly anticipated HBO adaptation, which is sure to bring the survival horror story some mainstream attention. To make sure the show is ahead of the curve, it’s only right that The Last of Us hero Joel will fly alongside Kratos. People who pull this balloon just have to be careful; I’d hate to see Joel’s head hit a light pole.

Balan

Balan holds a girl in Balan Wonderworld

ok look, Balan Wonderworld Notorious, and you could say it “doesn’t deserve” a place here. But think of its inclusion as a tribute to its creator, gaming legend Yuji Naka… who was recently arrested for insider trading. It’s a complicated story, but allegations indicate that Yuji Naka and two other Square Enix employees used their inside knowledge of what was not made public at the time. Dragon Quest Treasures To buy tons of shares in developer Aiming. But should this information stop Macy’s from proudly flying a giant replica of the game’s top hat hero? Most likely, yes.

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