The Mario & Sonic series is a collection of cross-over video games starring characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros. franchises. These games are developed by Sega in co-operation with Nintendo and are exclusive to the Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U and Switch systems. As of today, all Mario & Sonic games involve the Olympics.
Sega received the rights to make video games based on the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The International Olympic Committee desired that Sega make the Olympics appealing to a younger audience, so naturally they knew to use their Sonic the Hedgehog characters. Due to the atmosphere of competitive sportsmanship the Olympics had to offer, combined with the continued desire to interest younger audiences, Sega received approval from Nintendo to include Mario in the game with Sonic.
This cross-over was big news to the international gaming community because of the long business rivalry between the two mascots throughout a majority of the 1990's. After the first game, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games was very successful and received much praise, Sega made a sequel, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games. The third installment titled Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games was announced on 21 April 2011. Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U are Nintendo games that has both Mario and Sonic as playable characters, however it is not officially part of the Mario & Sonic series. The fourth title called Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games has been announced during a Nintendo Direct presentation on 17 May 2013. The fifth game in the series titled Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was announced on the Japanese Nintendo Direct in 31 May 2015. The sixth game, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, was announced on 29 March 2019 and was released November 2019.
So far all the games in this series have been based on the Olympics and are officially licensed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through exclusive licensee International Sports Multimedia. Most installments also contain "Dream Events" which are loosely based on real Olympic events, but take aspects and environments from past Mario and Sonic games. The gameplay primarily revolves around the Wii's motion controls or the DS touch pad control system, as many mini-game compilations do. Though the Wii and DS versions share the same titles, the graphics and gameplay are completely different in each version. Some installments take advantage of other Nintendo accessories such as the Wii Balance board and Wii Motion Plus to further enhance the gameplay.
List of games
- Sumo Digital considered making Mario a guest star in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing exclusively on the Wii version, but Sega rejected the idea, not wanting to "cross contaminate with the Mario & Sonic series."
- Up until Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, all of the female characters in each of the games had a unique outfit whereas the male characters kept the same attire that they have in regular games.
- Mario and Sonic have similar color schemes.
- In the sequels to the series, the Sonic series seem to have more artworks than the Mario ones. This is possibly due to Sega developing the games.
- Up until Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, none of the home console versions in the series had a Story Mode.
- Sonic is given a blue life jacket in the Aquatics events in the London 2012 Games, but in the previous Summer Olympic Games he wore an orange life jacket.
- So far, the 3DS version of Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games is the only handheld version in the series not to have any Dream Events.
- Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games is the only installment in the series to not have a handheld version.
- There are three games based on the Olympics for mobile devices that feature only Sonic characters, Sonic at the Olympic Games, Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and Sonic at the Olympic Games (2020).
- The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics is the first and currently only time not to have a Mario & Sonic title coincide with the event since the series' inception, due to Ubisoft acquiring the license to develop Pyeongchang Olympic Games video games before Sega.
- Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games unveiled for Wii U and 3DS. The Sonic Stadium (31 May 2015). Retrieved on 31 May 2015.