The History of Alex Kidd

2012-08-27

Alex Kidd was the star of the Master System, with 5 games released on the platform bearing his name. The popularity of the character within Sega's fairly characterless portfolio caused him to be adopted as Sega's mascot for the late 80's. In Japan, the character was also a star in manga and novels.

The Master System launched 7 months after the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America, and because Nintendo was building such strong franchises and characters, Sega had a hard time competing. Two main characters were developed in order to compete with the Super Mario Bros: Alex Kidd and Wonder Boy. While Wonder Boy went on to release several action/RPG platformers, and even saw a release/spin off on the NES entitled Adventure Island, Alex Kidd emerged as the prominent character for Sega and he was known as the unofficial Sega mascot. In the late 80's, Sega promoted him to official mascot, replacing the Opa-Opa ship from Fantasy Zone.

Alex Kidd was created by Kotaro Hayashida (aka Ossale Kohta), who was also known for his work on Zillon and Phantasy Star for the Master System, as well as several other Sega games.

Alex Kidd is a 14 year old boy from the planet Aries, (though the game states he has lived for hundreds of years). His appearance is that of a boy, with large ears and hands. He is usually depicted wearing a red and yellow jumpsuit, or a traditional Mandarin tunic. It's been said that the character was inspired chiefly by Bruce Lee (which is evident in the jump suit) and Sun Wukong, the Monkey King.

Players’ first introduction to Alex Kidd depicts him as an orphan who lives alone on Mt. Eternal, on the planet Aries (aka Miracle World). Alex Kidd has spent his life training in the Shellcore technique, which allows him to alter the size of his fists to destroy rocks.

Alex meets a dying man who has come to tell him that he is in fact a lost member of the Radaxian Royal Family, son of King Thunder and brother of Prince Egle. He also learns that King Sander Thunder Radaxian has disappeared. Upon learning that the evil Janken the Great has seized the throne and kidnapped the prince and his fiancée, Princess Lora, Alex sets out to save the family he never knew.

Released in 1986, the same year as the Master System, Alex Kidd in Miracle World introduced players to the character. From 1990 on, the game was built into the Master System and Master System 2 consoles. It was an instantly popular title for the console and 4 more Master System games staring Alex Kidd were released, as well as a Genesis sequel.

The Alex Kidd franchise includes the titles:

The games are fairly different from each other for various reasons. The two that are most similar are the original game and Enchanted Castle, as it is a direct sequel to Miracle World.

As Alex Kidd's popularity waned and Mario's grew, Sega focused on finding a new mascot capable of going toe to toe with Mario. In 1991, Sega replaced Alex Kidd with Sonic the Hedgehog as their official mascot. Aside from the following list of appearances, Alex Kidd hasn't been very active sine 1990.

Alex Kidd also has cameos in other Sega games including:

  • Kenseiden (Master System) - Hidden sprite
  • Shenmue (Dreamcast) - Collectable Item
  • Segagaga (Dreamcast, Japan Only) - NPC in a video game store who talks about his past and being forgotten.
  • Shenmue 2 (Xbox) - Collectable Item

He is also available as a playable character in:

  • Sega Superstars Tennis (PS2,PS3,Wii,Xbox 360)
  • Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (PS3,Wii,Xbox 360)