Sega released a Wii game on November 6 that received much more exposure. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games marked the first pairing of the iconic characters from Nintendo and Sega in a game together. The two companies had worked together previously in 2001, when they had jointly produced F-Zero GX, and plans had been negotiated then to eventually put Mario and Sonic in a game together. After Sega was awarded the license to produce a videogame for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, an event that promoted sportsmanship and trust, it was determined that this was the perfect background against in which to bring the two characters together.

The game was developed by Sega, which also published it in all regions of the world except Japan, where it was released by Nintendo of Japan. The game consisted of 24 Olympic events that pitted a host of Nintendo and Sega characters against one another.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games was a success and was named the game of the year at the Leipzig Games Convention. It was Great Britain’s top-selling game in December and ranked #10 in the United States. But while there obviously couldn’t be any content in the game that decisively asserted say which character was better, other sales seemed to point towards Mario. Within days of the release of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Nintendo released Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii. In the same time period that Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games sold 612,000 units in the United States, Super Mario Galaxy sold 1.4 million, making it the #2 game in December,26 and the #5 game of the year. Another Mario title, Mario Party 8, which had been released in North America on May 29, was the #10 game of the year.

Check out more of the rich history of the industry in Leonard Herman’s book Phoenix IV available at Rolenta Press and make sure to sign up to get Old School Gamer Magazine for free by clicking here!

Leonard Herman Leonard Herman (26 Posts)

Leonard Herman, The Game Scholar, is regarded as one of the earliest and most respected videogame historians. The first edition of his book Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Home Videogames, which was published in 1994, is considered to be the first serious and comprehensive book about the history of videogames. He has written articles for Videogaming & Computer Illustrated, Games Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, Pocket Games, Classic Gamer Magazine, Edge, Game Informer, Classic Gamer Magazine, Manci Games, and Video Game Trader, which he also edited. He has also contributed articles to several videogame-related books, including Supercade, The Video Game Explosion and The Encyclopedia of Video Games. Mr. Herman has also written the book ABC To the VCS (A Directory of Software for the Atari 2600), a compendium of game summaries. He has also written and designed user's manuals for the following Atari VCS games: Cracked, Save the Whales, Pick-Up, Rush Hour, Looping, The Entity and Lasercade, as well as the user's guide to Ralph Baer's Pinball! for the Odyssey2. In 1994, he founded Rolenta Press, a publisher of videogame books, whose catalogue included Videogames: In the Beginning, by Ralph H. Baer, the inventor of the videogame console, and Confessions of the Game Doctor by Bill Kunkel, the world's first videogame journalist. Two Rolenta Press books were included in a list of the top ten videogame books of all time by Game Informer magazine in 2008. Mr. Herman has served as an advisor for Videotopia, Classic Gaming Expo and the National Videogame Museum. He has appeared in several episodes of G4's Icons and in the documentary, The King of Arcades. In 2003, Mr. Herman received a Classic Gaming Expo Achievement Award in recognition for his accomplishments in documenting game history