Sonic The Hedgehog and Super Mario are arguably the two most iconic games characters of the early ’90s, maybe of all-time. (sit down Master Chief). But who is the best? If we are going to base it on the success of their respective brands then surely you have to give that title to Mario? After all, where is Sega’s latest console? Am I right? But what if we take sales out of the equation for just a second…who is the king of 8-bit gaming?
These days there is more pressure than ever to make sure that you have a good job. After all, how are you going to support a family? Mario is always chasing down Princess Peach, you have to think that at one point she looked at him and asked if he had a J O B. Fortunately for the moustachioed maestro he did indeed have a vocation. We all know he runs a plumbing business with his better-looking brother. Sonic, on the other hand, is seemingly a jobless bum, which fits perfectly with his eco-warrior persona.
Let’s be honest here, Sonic kicks some serious backside. Sure, Mario can whack things with his plunger (That is not an innuendo). But Sonic speeds through levels effectively killing his enemies by stomping on their head. As if he was a spikey-haired, blue-skinned Seth Rollins. I mean you could argue that Mario can throw fireballs and stuff, but the fact remains that Sonic just doesn’t have to.
Once again the blue dude comes in first place in a category. If you have never played sonic with the goal of completing levels as fast as possible then you have never really played Sonic. Watching a power player zoom through levels at a breakneck pace is a thing of beauty, meanwhile poor Mario plods through levels at a leisurely pace more associated with shopping trips with your gran.
Yes, I know the environment is important. And it is important to protect animals. I don’t want to offend anyone here, but love is more important and I’ll be damned if Mario doesn’t love the crap out of Princess Peach. I mean you could question the realism of a Princess being interested in a plumber in red dungarees but is that any less convincing than a hedgehog trying to defeat a human egg?
Many who study modern media will comment that a hero is only as good as his counterpart. There is a reason that The Dark Knight was the best of the Christoper Nolan’s Batman trilogy. That reason was obviously Heath Ledger’s Joker. So let’s compare Bowser to Dr Robotnik. Both are big brutes. However, the reptilian nature of Bowser makes him mildly more menacing than the mechanically aided Robotnik. Tough call, but you have to hand it to Mario here.
Each hero had his sidekicks. Mario and Luigi are the main two and are also occasionally joined by Toad, Yoshi and of course the aforementioned peach. Sonic was occasionally joined on his adventures by the cutesy Tails and the far more badass Knuckles. Both sidekicks were legitimately cool and spawned an awesome cartoon. Mario’s crew weren’t exactly chopped liver. However, Luigi was basically a thin, green-clothed clone of his brother so I am going to give Sonic the lead here.
So it would appear in all the important areas the two characters are virtually tied for kudos. This is perhaps no surprise given that they are so iconic. Can we really end this on a draw though? No, ultimately with all the pros and cons weighed up we probably have to give the nod to Mario based purely on longevity. There are still Mario games released today. While Sonic has just become a cheap tack on to character-based games, not a befitting end for an iconic character but that’s life!