Like every year, fans and gamers are delighted to see the new innovations from the gaming world at the E3 conference. This year we've seen a lot of big announcements from both Sony and Nintendo that got us all excited to get the games in our hands as quickly as possible! One of Nintendo's best announcements was a sequel to their first series now titled Super Mario Galaxy 2 Wii! After the huge s...
In the 60s and 70s it was The Beatles vs. Rolling Stones. In the 80s it was Lakers vs Celtics. In the 90s, the topic that saw so many discussions in the schoolyard was Mario vs Sonic. Who would win in a fight? Who would win in a race? Who cooks the best omelette? Whatever, it was argued. There were no characters as recognized by children of the 90s as Sonic and Mario, with Sonic’s “Q Score” (a rating that rates something based on his popularity) even surpassing that of Mickey Mouse. With such results, it seemed obvious that this rivalry would not disappear quickly.
Contrary to popular belief, Mario made his debut in the 1981 game Donkey Kong for the arcade. Although it was called “Jumpman”, it looked exactly like the Mario that appeared in the first game with its name in the title “Mario Bros.” This was a non-scrolling basic game, requiring killing all enemies in one “Phase” and then advancing to the next phase. In this age, it’s hard to see the appeal of this game, but it was quite entertaining at the time.
The Mario game that propelled it to the status of a household name was the first “Super Mario Bros” for the NES, which is now the best-selling video game of all time. This was the first side scrolling Mario game and it set a standard for all 16-bit Mario games to come. While it wasn’t the first side-scrolling platformer, it was the first to get right and allowed other developers to copy the formula. For this reason, this game is hailed by many as the flavor of the video game industry, as the industry was in big trouble before its release.
Possibly most notable was Mario’s transition to the 3D world. Super Mario 64 for Nintendo 64 received perfect scores from countless professional review companies. It still looks like the best 3D platformer today, and many have tried but failed to replicate the success of Super Mario 64.
The creators of Sonic knew from the beginning that Sega needed a mascot for their Genesis / Mega Drive system that could help market their console to compete with Mario and Super Nintendo. They looked at Mario and perceived him as stuffy and uninteresting and decided to take advantage of the younger generation looking for something “cooler” with more attitude. After many considerations, including “Mighty the Armadillo”, he settled on Sonic the Hedgehog and a team of 15 began work on what would be the first Sonic game, “Sonic the Hedgehog” for the Genesis / Mega Drive.
Popular opinion said that Sonic didn’t really hit his straps until the second game for the 16-bit console. In this, his little partner Tails was introduced and collecting all the chaos emeralds he saw Sonic transform into “Super Sonic”, which was a super fast, super strong yellow version of the character.
However, Sonic’s 3D games have not seen the success of his rival Mario. Sonic 3d Blast for Genesis / Mega Drive was an average attempt, and it wasn’t until the Dreamcast that we saw a 3D Sonic game that was really worth playing called “Sonic Adventure.” However, since creating that formula that worked perfectly, Sega has made strange decisions with games that force you to play as Sonic’s less entertaining sidekicks to access the fun levels of Sonic. Sonic the Hedgehog on 360 / PS3 received horrible reviews. Sonic and the Secret Rings for Wii seems to be the only game since Sonic Adventure that really got it right and Sega finally realized that what made the originals so much fun was Sonic’s breakneck speed.
Sega’s decision not to create more consoles has not seen the creation of the first game in which Mario and Sonic can go head-to-head called “Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games.” After selling around 1 million copies of this game, it is clear that this rivalry is still alive and well. No doubt many have thought about those schoolyard arguments and thought “Finally! I can prove that x is better than y!”
Whatever your opinion, there is no doubt that you have not seen his latest debate on the subject. Just remember when you’re ready to rip someone’s throat out, it’s just a game.