A once bitter rivalry has become a one-sided farce.
Playing video games in the 90s meant choosing a side in the vicious war between Sega and Nintendo; that is, unless you were a Neo Geo snob. Not only did this extend to consoles, but also both publishers' mascots, Sega with its speedy Sonic the Hedgehog, and Nintendo with its portly plumber, Mario. Thing is, the winner wasn't so clear cut in those days, especially with each character starring in critically acclaimed adventures. There was no denying the quality of Sonic 1-3, along with the mind-blowing Sonic & Knuckles. Meanwhile, Mario held his own with Super Mario World, Super Mario 64 and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. You could literally make a case to why one character was better than the other and come out the victor.
Fast forward to 2012, and there's little debate as to which hero has remained on top. No need to guess. It's Mario by a wide margin. Sonic's still around, especially with today's release of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, but the blue blur simply can't hold a proverbial candle to the Mushroom Kingdom's resident handyman. Here's why.
5. Sonic's Supporting Cast Stumbles, While Mario's Soars
Bottom line, Nintendo takes better care of its stable of coveted franchise characters. There are bumps along the way, but we can easily refer to the superb WarioWare series, Luigi's Mansion, Super Princess Peach, Yoshi's Island DS and Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. Mario's buddies can hold their own. Sonic's? Not so much. Shadow the Hedgehog was a critical disaster, while Tails, Amy Rose and Knuckles have yet to prove they can handle the spotlight without Sonic right beside them. Plus, they lack the charm and personality of Mario's crew.
4. Sonic Was Voiced By Steve Urkel
It's a well-known fact that former Dancing With The Stars contestant Jaleel White lent his vocal talents to Sonic in various animated series. Yup, the same Jaleel White that played Steve Urkel on the hit sitcom Family Matters. He did a wonderful job, no question, but we'd much rather have famous voice actor Charles Martinet (of Mario fame) in our corner. More "Woo-hoo", and less "Did I do that?"
3. Sonic Is A Mascot Without A Ship, AKA Console
Back in the day, debating Sonic versus Mario was directly tied to hardware. Genesis versus Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 versus Sega Saturn, Game Boy versus Game Gear. You never said, "well I really dig Sonic, but the N64 is so sweet." That was flip-flopping of a political magnitude. That's like saying you love Kobe Bryant, but root for the Celtics. That said, the fact that Sega no longer creates hardware means Sonic appears just about everywhere, including Nintendo's own systems. The mere thought of this happening would have seemed utterly moronic and impossible in 1992. Just another reason why Mario owns Sonic.
2. Sonic's Father Basically Abandoned Him
On a more serious note, Sonic creator Yuji Naka left Sega in 2006 to form his own studio, Prope, basically leaving his greatest creation in the company's hands. Meanwhile, Mario's papa, Shigeru Miyamoto, still oversees the character's games and has no timetable on his retirement and/or the moment when he'll cease working on titles involving everyone's favorite pasta-eating hero. No disrespect to Naka, but he basically left Sonic in the care of relatives while he messed around with Ivy the Kiwi. Sad.
1. Mario Stars In Better Games
Put simply, Mario rocks. Nintendo consistently casts the plumber in video games that receiver better scores than Sonic's, and sell in higher volumes. Just look at Super Mario 3D Land, which holds a 90 percent review average on Metacritic, compared to Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2's 64 percent mark for the Xbox 360 version. Even Sonic Generations, 2011's big-time Sonic outing, earned 77 percent and 67 percent averages for Xbox 360 and 3DS, respectively. Mario Kart 7? Eighty-five percent. Granted, Mario Tennis Open has a 71 percent score thus far, but by and large, Mario earns superior marks. Good luck arguing for Sonic.