Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, known in Japan as Mario & Sonic at the Beijing Olympics (マ リオ&ソニック AT 北京オリンピック?), is a sports game developed by Sega. It was published by Nintendo for Japan and by Sega for North America, Europe and all other regions. The game is officially licensed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through exclusive licensee International Sports Multimedia. The game is the first official crossover title to feature characters from both Mario and Sonic The Hedgehog’s respective series. It was released on the Wii in November 2007 and the Nintendo DS handheld in early 2008, and is the first official video game of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
Mario & Sonic on the Wii and DS is a collection of twenty-four events based on the Olympic Games. Players can assume the role of a Nintendo or Sega character while competing against the others in these events. Players use the Wii Remote to mimic actions performed in real life sports, such as swinging a paddle. The DS version utilize the stylus and button controls. Both games closely follow rules and regulations of the specific sports. Sega adopted the IOC’s mission of promoting a sporting spirit and its desire to interest young people in the Olympics by using its characters. Due to the aforementioned and the atmosphere of competitive sportsmanship the Olympics had to offer, Sega received approval by Nintendo to include Mario in the game with Sonic.Sonic the Hedgehog is the protagonist of the video game series released by Sega in order to provide the company with a mascot to rival Nintendo’s flagship character Mario in the early 1990s.
Overall, critics praised the multiplayer interaction of the Wii game and variety of events of both versions. However, reviewers criticized the Wii version for its lack of simplicity and its DS counterpart for not offering the same interaction between players. The Wii title was awarded the “Best Wii game of 2007″ at the Games Convention in Leipzig. A sequel titled Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games was released in October 2009 for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, following the commercial success of its predecessor which has sold over ten million units.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games is a collection of twenty-four events based on the Olympic Games. On the Wii, the events consist of using the motion sensor capabilities of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk attachment to control the actions of the on-screen character. The player moves the remote in a manner similar to the method the separate games are played in real life; for example, swinging the Wii Remote to replicate hammer throw or pulling back the remote and tilting the Nunchuk like a bow and arrow. While the Nunchuck is required for archery, it is optional for most of the events. There are also events that are more physically demanding, such as the five running events which require rapid drumming of the controller. Some aspects of the gameplay are computer controlled. For example, in table tennis the player movement is controlled by the Wii, while the swinging of the racket is controlled by the player. The DS game is the same in design, but its events are much less physically demanding than those on the Wii. For example, instead of drumming the controller, players have to quickly stroke the touchscreen.
Mario & Sonic brings together the two titular characters and fourteen more from both franchises to participate in environments based on the official venues of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. These environments are stylized to fit the futuristic and cartoon-like art styles of the Sonic and Mario franchises respectively. Each playable character has his or her own statistics which can serve as an advantage or disadvantage depending on the event. The characters are divided into four categories: all-around, speed, power, and skill. The Wii version has additional in-game characters taken from the console’s Mii Channel, which allows the user to create a Mii, a customized avatar, that can be imported into games that support the feature. Both games have non-playable characters who serve as referees for particular events.
The player strokes the touchscreen to row in Dream Canoe. Players try to collect the most coins and can use items from the Mario Kart games.
Both versions of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games have three similar modes of gameplay: Circuit mode, Single Match, and Mission mode. Circuit mode is where players compete for the highest overall score in a pre-determined series of events or design their own circuit. In the Single Match, players can choose to compete in each event individually. Mission mode is a single-player option where each of the competitors has six character-specific missions to complete, although the characters’ statistics are not as balanced as in the main game, making missions more difficult. The Wii version’s Circuit and Single Match can have an additional one to three players competing simultaneously while its DS counterpart has an extra option dedicated to multiplayer called Versus Play. Versus supports up to four people to use the wireless capabilities of the Nintendo DS to play events. DS Download Play is possible for those without an individual copy of the game, however the number of sports available is limited to six events and circuit mode is not available.
Both versions feature a gallery mode where brief facts about the Olympics can be found. There are five categories of Olympics-related trivia organized by history and athletes, with corresponding minigames that will unlock the answer to trivia questions once completed. Classic music from both series is available in the gallery once all levels in a category are cleared. The two versions also have leaderboards that uses the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to display the best times and scores in each event.
|Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games|
|North American Wii box art|
|Developer(s)||Sega Japan, Sega Sports|
|Designer(s)||Shigeru Miyamoto (supervisor)|
|Platform(s)||Wii, Nintendo DS|
|Genre(s)||Sports party game|
|Media||Nintendo DS Game Card|
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