I had been wanting to write something about snowman characters in video games, with one that immediately came to mind being Rusty the Snowman in Earthworm Jim, who breathes fireballs.
Sounds like he’s as self-destructive as the They Might Be Giants snowman.
Actually, the back story is that he was created by Evil the Cat to kill Jim, so I suppose it makes sense that he’s unnatural. The music played while fighting him sounds similar to the Super Mario Bros. 2 overworld theme.
I also remembered that some game had an enemy called Frosty the Hit Man, and I thought it might be the snowball-throwing snowman in Battletoads. He’s actually called Mr. Frosty.
Frosty the Hit Man is in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II for the NES, showing up in the frozen Central Park. It takes the form of a snowman, but turns out to actually be a robot underneath the snow, looking like something Dr. Wily might build.
And a Google search shows that the same name is used for an evil snowman in The Simpsons: Tapped Out. I believe the first snowman to appear in the Mario series is Dr. Freezegood in Yoshi’s Island, who can be found on the ski slopes.
Super Mario 64 adds a few others, including the Mr. Blizzard enemy that would reappear in later games.
On Cool Cool Mountain, Mario encounters a snowman without a head and has to roll it down the slopes and find one to put on top.
And in Snowman’s Land, a gigantic snowman thinks Mario is some sort of ice ant or snow flea and tries to blow him away (in the literal sense), but he can use a very sturdy penguin as a shield to get by.
The Chilly is a recurring minor enemy in the Kirby series, having ice powers including creating a frozen barrier around itself. In Kirby Star Allies, there’s one you can recruit to help you out; and it’s generally the case that Kirby gets ice powers by swallowing one.
Some other lists of video game snowmen I came across showed some I wasn’t familiar with before. Bleak from Donkey Kong Country 3 is a boss you have to engage in a carnival-style snowball fight, but he has the advantage of a snowball-firing top hat cannon.
Sir Slush from Banjo-Kazooie and Bad Mr. Frosty from the ClayFighter games seem pretty popular as well.
As for video game snowmen that don’t try to murder anyone, Animal Crossing lets you build sentient snowmen who will eventually melt, perhaps making them the most tragic characters in the series. And if you don’t do a good job constructing them, they bemoan their flaws.
I’ve just started playing New Horizons, and I do see snowballs around the town, but I haven’t made a snowman yet.
I was curious about where the common snowman made of large snowballs came from in the first place, and apparently it dates back to at least the Middle Ages. Disturbingly, the first known illustration of a snowman, from a 1380 Book of Hours, was an antisemitic caricature.
Other snowman pictures are much more innocuous, and there’s a story about Michelangelo (not the turtle) making a snowman for the Prince of Florence in 1494. I suppose they’re a universal thing by this point.