That was the tagline SEGA served up in their console war with Nintendo during the 90s. Nintendo had found itself top of the pile during the 1980s with games such as Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros., as well as releasing their worldwide hit console, the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES as it is more commonly known.
But during the 1990s, SEGA decided it wanted to try and rival the biggest gaming company in the world. To do that, though, they would need a mascot.
Nintendo had Mario. Mario had originated from the hugely popular arcade game Donkey Kong as the character appropriately named “Jumpman”. That’s all Mario did in this game. He jumped over obstacles that DK would throw his way, to try and save his lady friend Pauline. From there, Mario evolved. He became the face of Nintendo way back in 1981, and before Sonic had even featured in his first outing on the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis, Mario had appeared in roughly 50 games and had been around for ten years.
Sonic The Hedgehog was released in June 1991. It was released to critical acclaim and love from fans the world over. It was colourful and a fairly simple game premise, which gamers welcomed. By February 2009, Sonic The Hedgehog had sold over 15 million copies. Unfortunately for SEGA, this title turned out to be the height of the series and the only way was down.
Sonic The Hedgehog was directly in competition with Mario’s barnstorming hit Super Mario World. Even though it was released a whole year before Sonic’s outing, it was still wildly popular among the masses and was one of the reasons that the SNES became as popular as it did. Mario outshone Sonic in their first war, selling 20 million copies compared to Sonic’s 15m.
They would go back and forth over the next ten years, feuding throughout the Genesis/Mega Drive vs. SNES generation, as well as the Dreamcast vs. N64/GameCube. By the time the Dreamcast had come around, it eventually sold less copies of the console than the original Sonic game sold. The Dreamcast petered out at just over ten million sales, and that was the last console SEGA released. They had no competition for the likes of the PS2, which at the time was revolutionary.
Since then, Sonic has had to pucker up and kiss Mario’s ass while featuring on multi-platform games, as well as featuring as a big part in the Mario and Sonic At The Olympics series for the Wii.
Sonic just isn’t the same as he once was, and you can see how far he has fallen in the 2006 calamity version of Sonic The Hedgehog, released on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Unfortunately for him, Mario keeps going from strength to strength and makes Sonic kiss his feet more than he makes his brother Luigi do it.