Pixellated Playoff: ‘Mario’ vs. ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’
Photo: Nintendo and Sega
When talking about gaming wars, there’s only one that ever mattered: Sega versus Nintendo. It was a vicious battle that raged for years: we all remember the consoles, and we all remember the commercials. Turned out that Sega was wrong in assuming what their rival Nintendo didn’t — but for ’90s kids, one debate still rages. Who was the cooler company mascot? Sega’s spiky blue speedster Sonic the Hedgehog, or Nintendo’s everyman plumber hero, Mario?
We’re going to decide once and for all in this Pixellated Playoff, and we won’t need some daft Olympic cash-in to figure it out either.
Terrible ideas: ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Speeds Onto the Screen
When rating the '90s street cred of this duo, only one could come out on top -- and it ain’t some pudgy plumber.
Mario has practically carried Nintendo’s fortunes because pretty much all of his games have been magical, groundbreaking adventures.
But Sonic was both a game character and a '90s pop culture icon. He was on everything -- TV shows, coffee mugs, and even Formula 1 cars. He was down with the kids and he epitomized the "extreme" attitude that the '90s hinged upon.
There’s no questioning that he takes this round.
Photo: Rui Vieira - EMPICS / Contributor (Getty Images)
In any battle, you need a few good buddies to have your back. In the case of Mario, his pals have even become gaming stars in their own right. Nintendo celebrated the Year of Luigi in 2013, and both Yoshi and Princess Peach have had numerous, successful solo games. Crazily, so has that mushroom midget Toad.
Sonic has his bros in Tails and Knuckles. But the modern games have also summoned a bunch of additional, forgettable animals you’d only recognize if you kept up with the series.
Nintendo’s all-stars take this round.
A battle of two genuine shit heaps. The Super Mario Bros. movie of 1993 is still considered one of the most disastrous film productions of all time. Meanwhile, the Sonic movie isn’t even out yet, but…eh. We’ve all seen the trailer.
The round is a dead heat, but only because the real winner here is awful movie-making.
Photo: Paramount Pictures
Every great hero needs an equally great nemesis, and Mario games just wouldn’t be the same without the gloating, tyrannical Bowser. And we do mean tyrannical. Does anyone forget how much of an asshole he could be in Mario Party?
But the deranged Dr. Robotnik needs no introduction. For years, he’s boasted the scientific prowess to build his own armies of destruction. No Koopas necessary.
He even built his own version of the Death Star (and how Lucasfilm didn’t sue for that, we’ll never know).
Photo: Sega and Nintendo
This is where it all matters. You can’t be the best if all you’ve got is your past.
Since the '90s, Mario has gone from strength to strength. The number of classics he’s had under his name are countless. Better yet, his most recent outing, Super Mario Odyssey, could lay a claim to being the best of the bunch.
As for Sonic, the incredible Sonic Mania certainly sparked a revival. But most of his modern outings have been bad. Least of all, the tragic hilarity that was Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, in which the writers thought it’d be a great idea for him to fall in love and kiss a human princess.
To quote Peter Griffin: “That happened, and we all let it happen.”
The jury is out -- and Mario wins! There was no doubt in the end, but maybe Sonic can return to greatness by going back to his roots. And put that movie on hold for at least another 700 years.