The rivalry between Nintendo’s Mario and Sega’s Sonic “mascot” characters is the stuff of legends. As the protagonists of their own platforming games, they drove sales for their respective game consoles and were the center of many schoolyard arguments throughout the 1990’s. While Mario games have an emphasis on precise, slower jumps, Sonic games were always about memorizing stages so that the player could maintain speed and finish them in record times. Regardless of your preference, each game had something different to offer everyone, which is why gamers were so torn between the two.
In my experience, me and my friends always leaned towards Mario and Nintendo, mostly because Sega wasn’t very prominent back where I grew up. However, there were a few people I knew that owned Sega consoles along with a few Sonic games. Even though we were never truly acquainted, we immediately loathed each other based on our decisions in gaming. Guess it was a sign of the times. Sonic and Mario fans were like dogs and cats; you couldn’t put them together!
An Unexpected Collaboration
This is why the release of a Mario and Sonic collab game back in 2007 caught us by surprise. The very first “Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games” was released on the Nintendo Wii first, and then on the Nintendo DS a year later. What would be a mash of rival characters quickly became a beloved classic as the game offered a combination of minigames with entertaining mechanics, performed by some of the most iconic characters of each franchise.
On Nintendo’s side, we had characters like Princess Peach, Luigi, Daisy and, of course, Mario. Meanwhile Sega had Shadow, Knuckles, and Sonic, to name a few. Meanwhile, each game had guest characters that interacted in several different ways with the playable roster, mainly in the form of referees or judges for the events. While the game was definitely an unexpected undertaking from Nintendo and Sega, the game itself was a financial success, spawning an entire franchise of games based around the Olympic Games.
Now, the Olympic Games are huge and we’re sure they require no introduction. Nevertheless, it’s an event that takes place every 4 years, in different worldly venues, in which athletes from each participating country test their mettle in one or more different disciplines. Events involved include feats of strength like lifting weights or tests of speed like 100m sprints, among many, many, MANY others.
Similarly, the Mario & Sonic Olympic games plays the “what if” game by placing the characters from both franchises into the ancient sporting contests so see how they would do. This has also included the Olympic Winter Games. While these console titles don’t feature as many disciplines as the event in real life, they offer a nice repertoire of sports with ample mechanical variety. In other words, the disciplines play mostly like minigames where the players need to do their best in order to rack up points, and outshine the competition.
Speaking of points. You know what’s synonymous with scoring points, setting high scores, and beating others at simplistic minigames? If you’ve been reading our “Getting Good” series, then you know the answer is none other than arcade games.
Mario & Sonic Hit the Arcades
This style of gameplay, while debuting in home consoles before making its way to handheld platforms and mobile phones, also lent itself wonderfully for an adaptation in the arcades. This took place in 2016 with Sega Amusements’ release: Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Arcade Edition. Based upon the console edition of the same name (minus the “Arcade Edition” subtitle), it marked the first time in a while that the Olympics would grace the arcade scene.
With more characters and events than ever, the newest version of the popular sports and party game allowed players to choose from 34 beloved Nintendo and Sega characters, including newcomers like Diddy Kong, Larry Koopa, Toad, Rouge the Bat, Sticks the Badger, and so on. Like with many other installments in the series, every character has their own set of stats, which makes them proficient in different disciplines.
Alongside the new characters, there were also many debuting events such as rugby, boxing, and football, which appeared alongside regular disciplines such as volleyball, swimming, and archery, to name a few. In short, the most recent iteration was a banger, which is par for the course for games in this franchise at this point.
This very success is the reason why we weren’t very surprised when Sega announced the second Mario & Sonic game to be released in the arcade, based on the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo. This version comes with a few new events, obviously new venues, and several characters, as well as, reportedly, a vastly improved control scheme. And the best part about this release is that it’ll be available as an upgrade kit for all existing Mario & Sonic 2016 units.
Operators who own this previous installment in their FEC might want to keep two eyes open for the upcoming Mario & Sonic game, which is scheduled for reveal at IAAPA 2019 later this year. Hopefully, we’ll get more details then. Regardless, we’d still want to consider getting it ASAP, if only just for the improved controls.
Thanks for reading! Here at PrimeTime Amusements, we like to keep ahead of the curve in arcade game rental and sales and pride ourselves in providing the best service in the country. If you’re looking for a game in particular, or have a few questions about the industry, feel free to give us a call at 1.800.550.0090 or to swing by at 5300 Powerline Rd. Suite 210, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 33309.