A legendary rivalry winds to an end this month. Throughout the 90's, the
definition of "console war" could be conveyed by displaying
just two characters...
to a 1990 survey, Mario was more recognizable among
American youths than Mickey Mouse. Ten years prior, a young Nintendo
designer by the name of Shigeru Miyamoto was given the task of creating a
coin-op arcade game that would bring success to Nintendo's efforts in the
industry. The result of his efforts, Donkey Kong. Designed to accommodate arcade hardware
resolution restrictions, the lead character of Miyamoto's creation was
Mario - as renamed by Nintendo of America from his original 'Jumpman'
title. By the 1985 release of Super Mario Bros., Mario's legacy as an icon
for the whole of the video game industry was sealed. In following years,
Mario would prove to be the most valuable name in video game history.
the same time that Mario's astonishing popularity was being polled, Sega
executives were seeking new avenues to improve the prospects of Genesis.
Sega entrusted Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima with the creation of a Mario
rival that would propel Sega's image and console sales to the next level.
From this collaboration came Sega's swift blue hedgehog mascot, Sonic.
Boasting impressive graphical design, innovative gameplay, and simplistic
controls, Sonic drew millions and was Sega's key to success.
In just a few days, Sonic will for the first time grace a Nintendo home
console. Arriving in advance of Mario as a standalone platformer, Sonic
Adventure 2 Battle on the Nintendo GameCube will mark the end of an era.
Alongside Sonic's console appearance will be Sonic Advance for the
Nintendo's Game Boy Advance.
|In a symbolic
Nintendo of America acknowledged Sonic as a friend to Nintendo at NOA
headquarters in Redmond. Nintendo of America's new president, Tatsumi
Kimishima, awarded Sonic a NOA employee badge. Nintendo describes,
was made today as Sonic the Hedgehog reported for his very first day of
work at Nintendo of America. Putting a decade of rivalry behind them,
Mario and Sonic shook hands and began what will certainly be a very long
155,000,000 Mario video games and 20,000,000 Sonic games have been sold worldwide
over the last two decades. As Sega and Nintendo shake hands, who
knows what the future may offer.
Nintendo's take on the video game milestone...
Sonic The Hedgehog Reports for his First Day at Work
February 6, 2002 - History was made today as Sonic the Hedgehog
reported for his very first day of work at Nintendo of America.
Putting a decade of rivalry behind them, Mario and Sonic shook hands
and began what will certainly be a very long partnership.
This is an exciting time for both Mario and Sonic, because they are
each celebrating upcoming game launches. Mario's Super Mario World:
Super Mario Advance 2 launches February 11, and Sonic will make his
first appearance on Nintendo's best selling platforms with Sonic
Adventure 2: Battle for Nintendo GameCube and Sonic Advance for Game
Boy Advance on February 11 and 12.
The Sonic games are the first in the U.S. to take advantage of the
new Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance Cable, allowing players to
transfer data between the two systems. As Sonic strolled to the
front door of Nintendo headquarters, it was clear that he was quite
proud to be trusted with such a big responsibility.
Sonic was personally greeted by Mario when he arrived at Nintendo
headquarters, but the famous hedgehog made it clear that he didn't
expect any special treatment. He wanted to wear a badge just like
the other employees, and he refused a corner office so that he could
sit in the cubicles alongside his fellow workers.
While most new employees spend their first days hoarding office
supplies and fruitlessly searching for hidden mushrooms, Sonic went
straight to work. Mario took Sonic on a tour of Nintendo, and
introduced him to key Nintendo executives. The hedgehog got along
marvelously with NOA big-wigs, which is an important skill for
upwardly mobile video game characters.
Sonic's next order of business was to visit Nintendo Power Magazine.
The staff had just completed work on the cover for Volume 154, which
prominently features Sonic. They just needed Sonic's approval to
send the issue to press, and after careful deliberation Sonic
finally gave the sought-after thumbs-up.
We asked Scott Pelland, Managing Editor of Nintendo Power, if he was
nervous about getting Sonic's approval. "You bet I was. With
Mario, we pretty much know what will fly and what will get shot
down. As it turned out, Sonic was a real pleasure to work with. And
I've never seen such fast turnaround for art approval. He's one
Dan Owsen, Nintendo's Online Manager, was equally pleased.
"What impressed me about Sonic was his speed. He approved the
website we're making for him in no time flat. I knew he could run
fast, but you should see him work a keyboard. Amazing stuff."
The day wasn't completely filled with work, though. Sonic and Mario
took a break to scarf down some grub at the world-famous Mario Café,
and afterward the pair competed in the two-player mode of Sonic
Adventure 2: Battle.
By the end of the day, it was clear that Mario and Sonic were meant
to work together. More than 155 million Mario video games and more
than 20 million Sonic games have been sold worldwide since the first
Mario game launch in 1983. Now that they're working together as a
team, there's no stopping them.
Welcome to Nintendo, Sonic!
Rick - Editor in