A Look at Olympic Video Games – Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games

Throughout the last three decades, video games based on the Olympics have been published for players to allow players at home aim for the gold. With the 2016 Olympics in Rio this month, I’ll be looking at various video games–past and present–inspired by the world’s largest international sporting competition.

mario and sonic wii

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games brought the two iconic characters together for the first time, with the setting the 2008 Summer Olympics! Courtesy: Nintendo / SEGA

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, developed by Sega and published by Nintendo, was released exclusively on the Wii. It came out on November 6th, 2007 in the United States.

The game marked the first game to combine two of gaming’s most recognizable and popular characters: Nintendo’s Mario and Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog.

Players could pick these characters or many others from those franchises like Princess Peach, Amy Rose, Dr. Robotnik, Bowser, and a variety of additional representatives.

The events, many of which use motion controls popularized by the Wii, ranged from track and field to swimming to table tennis to archery and more. Aside for regular representations of these events, Mario & Sonic introduced Dream Events, bringing in more fantastic elements or even new events entirely.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games was a big hit, selling over 7 million copies around the world. A Nintendo DS game, which featured some different sports than those found in the Wii version, also sold over 4 million.

Since 2008, a Mario/Sonic Olympic crossover game has been released to tie in with each Summer and Winter Olympiad since, including the current Rio games.

The original Mario & Sonic Olympics was also notable for an advertising campaign involving a fictional interviewer trying (and often failing) to get an interview with Mario and Sonic. Here’s an example of one of those:

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