Monday, January 28, 2008

A slight change of priorities

This month has been my most productive ever in terms of blogging, with a total of 23 posts prior to this one split between this blog and my England, Thailand and Other Things blog. However, I need to spend much more time on other projects next month (not least of which is the ongoing development of my websites, including the actual site) and so I will have to cut back on my blogging a bit for a while. But I will still be posting news and views here as much as possible, including some more Mario and Sonic online game recommendations, so it will still be worth your stopping by once in a while! :-)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Super Mario Galaxy" for the Nintendo Wii

One of the best-selling games of 2007, despite only being released in November and at the same time as another Mario (& Sonic) game...

Super Mario Galaxy

I thought it was very strange that the worldwide release of "Super Mario Galaxy" was timed such that it significantly overlapped with the worldwide release of "Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games". To clarify: "Galaxy" was officially released in Japan on November 1st, 2007, in North America on November 12th, in Europe on November 16th and in Australasia on November 27th. Meanwhile, "Olympics" was officially released in North America on November 6th, in Japan and Australasia on November 22nd and in Europe on November 23rd. Still, it doesn't appear to have done either game any harm, going by the December U.S. sales figures.

Having recently played "Galaxy", I can honestly say that I think it is the best video game ever made, and it must surely be set to become one of the best selling games ever because of its all-round brilliance. It is worth buying a Wii just to play it. The fact that "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" will soon also be available for the Wii is just a perfect bonus... So, come on Sega, please get it together and make a Sonic game that's as good as the Mario game (you haven't really managed that since the glorious 16-bit days, let's be honest), then video gaming life will be just absolutely perfect as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mario & Sonic Online Game Recommendations - Part 6

Here is Part 6 in my ongoing series of Mario and Sonic online game recommendations (see also Part 5, which includes a summary of all my previous recommendations). This is a little bit different to the previous parts, as one of my game recommendations actually runs from within this blog post...

Until the first version of the Nintendo GameBoy was released in 1989, early handheld video games were expensive single-game machines with basic LCD displays and simple gameplay - pretty much like the ones that are sometimes given away as free gifts with fast-food meals nowadays. But they were (and still are) great fun to play, due in large part to that very simplicity - they're perfect for short bursts of "boredom relieving". Here are some Flash online recreations of a few of them for you to try:

1982 Nintendo Game & Watch: Donkey Kong Jr.
(Monochrome LCD "Wide Screen" type, Model No. DJ-101)

1983 Nintendo Game & Watch: Donkey Kong II
(Monochrome LCD "Multi Screen" type, Model No. JR-55)

1983 Nintendo Game & Watch: Mario Bros.
(Monochrome LCD "Multi Screen" type, Model No. MW-56)

1983 Nintendo Game & Watch: Mario's Bombs Away
(8-Colour LCD "Panorama Screen" type, Model No. TB-94)

2003 McDonald's Happy Meal Game: Sonic Speedway
(Monochrome LCD Single Screen - included here as a modern-day comparison)

If you haven't already tried it out (I recommended it in Part 5 of this series), here is a Flash recreation of a handheld game that provides a real modern-day comparison with those early handhelds:
2007 Nintendo DS Game: Sonic Rush Adventure

Enjoy! You can play loads more Mario and Sonic online games by visiting my website. I'll post some more recommendations in the near future...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Official U.S. sales figures for consoles and games, Dec '07

Released at the end of last week, these sets of sales figures for the U.S. gaming market, for December 2007 and also for the whole of that year, make for some very interesting reading indeed (source data from

All Hardware, December 2007
1) Nintendo DS - 2.47 Million
2) Wii - 1.35 Million
3) Xbox 360 - 1.26 Million
4) PlayStation 2 - 1.1 Million
5) PSP - 1.06 Million
6) PlayStation 3 - 797.0 K

Top 10 Software, December 2007
1) 360 Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - 1.47 Million*
2) Wii Super Mario Galaxy - 1.40 Million
3) PS2 Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock - 1.25 Million*
4) Wii Play with Remote - 1.08 Million
5) 360 Assassin's Creed - 893.7 K*
6) 360 Halo 3 - 742.7 K*
7) NDS Brain Age 2: More Training In Minutes A Day - 659.5 K
8) PS2 Madden NFL 08 - 655.2 K
9) 360 Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock - 624.6 K
10) Wii Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games - 613.0 K

*Includes Collector's, Limited, Legendary, Bundles (Guitars) Editions

All Hardware, Full Year 2007 (Life to Date)
1) Nintendo DS - 8.50 Million (17.65 Million)
2) Wii - 6.29 Million (7.38 Million)
3) Xbox 360 - 4.62 Million (9.15 Million)
4) PSP - 3.82 Million (10.47 Million)
5) PlayStation 2 - 3.97 Million (41.12 Million)
6) PlayStation 3 - 2.56 Million (3.25 Million)

Top 10 Software, Full Year 2007
1) 360 Halo 3 (September Release) - 4.82 Million*
2) Wii Play with Remote (February Release) - 4.12 Million
3) 360 Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (November Release) - 3.04 Million*
4) PS2 Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock (October Release) - 2.72 Million*
5) Wii Super Mario Galaxy (November Release) - 2.52 Million
6) NDS Pokemon Diamond (April Release) - 2.48 Million
7) PS2 Madden NFL 08 (August Release) - 1.90 Million
8) PS2 Guitar Hero 2 (November 2006 Release) - 1.89 Million*
9) 360 Assassin's Creed (November Release) - 1.87 Million*
10) Wii Mario Party 8 (May Release) - 1.82 Million

*Includes Collector's, Limited, Legendary, Bundles (Guitars) Editions

What's clear from all of the above is that the Nintendo DS and Wii console systems are doing fantastically well - clearly Nintendo's best hardware year for ages, possibly ever. I wonder how much of that success, if any, is due to former die-hard Sega fans now firmly switching their loyalty to Nintendo, in the light of recent and future Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Team and related releases on the two Nintendo systems.

Meanwhile, Sony's Playstation 3 continues to trail in last place against all of its rivals, including its own predecessor. (And all of Sony's systems are selling less than those of Nintendo and Microsoft.) Oh dear. For me, it's not such sad news, as Sony's earlier consoles helped kill off Sega's superior (to me anyway) Saturn and Dreamcast systems in turn - clearly, what goes around does indeed come around.

What's also clear is that, with combined December sales of the Wii's "Super Mario Galaxy" and "Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games" titles being in excess of 2 million units, Mario and Sonic have a very bright future ahead even after all these years (which so far will be 27 years for Mario and 17 years for Sonic as of this year). Marvellous!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I really, really want one of these...

Since I love the original Super Mario Bros. games and the original Sonic the Hedgehog games above all others, for me this new product seems like it might just be the best games console ever made, far better than any of the newer machines (from an article by John Biggs in the New York Times, January 17, 2008):

A Console Plays the Classics, Like Old-School Sonic and Mario

The holidays are long gone and the bloom is already fading on that hot new game console. What is a gamer to do? The Gen-X Game Console System, which looks like a cross between a sandwich maker and an old-fashioned answering machine, is here to give new life to the games of decades past.

The Gen-X emulates the eight-bit Nintendo Entertainment System and 16-bit Sega Genesis consoles. It plays all of the original cartridges — from Super Mario Brothers to the original Sonic the Hedgehog — and can connect to any TV with standard RCA cables.

The Gen-X, which is available from Game Asylum ( and other online stores for about $50, includes two controllers and also works with old Sega Genesis / Mega Drive controllers.

Nintendo released the NES in 1985 and stopped producing cartridges about 10 years later.

Clearly the Gen-X is aimed at a certain generation of gamers - those who know that eight bits is enough to make a great game, and that if you’re having trouble getting a cartridge to work it always helps to blow into it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

"Super Smash Bros. Brawl" for the Nintendo Wii

If this isn't one of the best-selling games come the end of this year, I'll be very surprised...

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Scheduled for a Japanese launch on January 31st and a North American launch on March 9th (European and Australian dates are still to be announced as I write this), this third game in the hugely popular "Super Smash Bros." series will be the first to feature third-party games characters in addition to the usual Nintendo roster. Solid Snake from Konami's ever-popular "Metal Gear" games series will feature, but by far the most eagerly anticipated addition to the list of playable characters in the game is Sega's mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog...

So, at long long last, video game fans will be able to have their very own "Mario vs. Sonic" fights in an official game! Amen to that!

This is only the second official game ever to feature Mario and Sonic together - Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games of course being the first one - and I think that this game will be much more well-received by critics than was the first joint outing of the two characters. You can visit the official site for the game here.

While you're waiting for this epic game to be released, don't forget that you can have some unofficial Mario vs. Sonic battles in these two brilliant fan-produced Flash online games:

Super Smash Brothers: Super Smash Flash

Sonic the Hedgehog: Ultimate Robotnik Duels

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Flash online Super Sonic jigsaw puzzle...

...that you can have a go at solving right here (i.e. the Flash program for the jigsaw will actually open in this blog post) - click on the button with the Japanese for "Start" on it to break up the jigsaw pieces:

You can play some more Flash online Sonic the Hedgehog jigsaw puzzles here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games

This is the first in a new series of posts in which I'll highlight what's going on in the official Mario and Sonic gaming world...

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games

A truly landmark title, this is the first ever official video game to feature both Mario and Sonic, the one-time rival mascot characters of Nintendo and Sega respectively, together in one game. It is an officially-licenced game for this year's (2008) Summer Olympics being held in Beijing, China, and includes twenty different Olympic events, divided into eight different categories - athletics, gymnastics, shooting, rowing, archery, aquatics, fencing, and table tennis.

In addition to Mario and Sonic, 14 other characters from the two game franchises (7 from each) are available for play: Luigi, Yoshi, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Wario, Waluigi and Bowser on Mario's side, and Tails, Knuckles, Shadow, Amy Rose, Blaze, Vector and Dr. Robotnik/Eggman on Sonic's side. Miis can also be used if so desired.

"Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games" was developed jointly by Sega and Nintendo, and was released worldwide by Sega on the Nintendo Wii gaming console in November 2007 (which overlapped with the worldwide release of Nintendo's "Super Mario Galaxy" game for the Wii, also released that month - more on that in a future post).

Despite some reviews only giving it slightly above-average scores, not surprisingly the game has proven to be very popular, reportedly selling almost 1 million copies worldwide as at the end of 2007. A Nintendo DS handheld console version is scheduled for release on February 8th of this year. You can visit the official game site here, and you can watch an official trailer for the game here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mario & Sonic Online Game Recommendations - Part 5 (With a Summary of Parts 1 to 4)

This is the continuation of my series of Mario and Sonic online game recommendations that I began over in my personal blog. To start off with, and to save you having to flip back and forth between the two blogs, here is a summary of the previous 4 parts, consisting of 17 different game recommendations for you to try:

Part 1:
Super Mario Brothers: New Super Mario Flash
Play as either Mario or Luigi in this brilliant fan-produced Flash remake of the classic 8-bit and 16-bit Super Mario Bros. platform games. As well as including its own excellent ready-made series of levels for you to play, the game also features a programmable level editor for you to create and play your very own levels (and some example level codes are included for you to try too). This is rapidly becoming one of the most popular Flash games on the web - play it for yourself to see why.

Super Mario Brothers: Super Mario X
An entertaining Super Mario platform game with lovely original Flash graphics and a unique twist in gameplay.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic Xtreme
A fast-paced and challenging Sonic platformer with Super Mario "Wigglers" to defeat in addition to classic Sonic Badniks.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Amy's Whack-A-Nik
Go on, you know you want to - Use your mouse to control Amy Rose's "Piko Piko Hammer" and whack as many SWATBot Badniks as you can in the time limit!

Part 2:
Super Mario Brothers: Super Mario Sunshine 64
A superb fan-produced 2D version of the 2002 Nintendo GameCube game "Super Mario Sunshine", complete with a fully-functioning FLUDD.

Super Mario Brothers: Mario Bros. in Pipe Panic
Play as either Mario or Luigi in this lovely Super Mario Bros. themed homage to the all-time classic "Pac-Man" arcade game.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Ultimate Flash Sonic
One of the most popular Flash games on the web, and it's easy to see why - this incredible fan-produced effort is as close to a perfect game as you will find anywhere. With fast-paced, flawless Sonic platforming fun all the way, this game incorporates the best elements of all the classic 8-bit and 16-bit Sonic games, and includes unlockable extra characters, levels and other fun bonuses too.

And just in case you want it, here is a lovely little cheat password for the Ultimate Flash Sonic game that allows you to level-select the Ice Paradise zone when you play the main game as Tails, and also allows you to have Tails follow you if you want when you play the game as any other character (just like in the 16-bit Sega Mega Drive/Genesis "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" game if you have Tails follow Sonic): 115013101010101

(Additional note: If you use the above cheat password and have Tails follow Cream, he replaces Cheese the Chao who normally follows Cream.)

Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic Rivals Dash
An official Flash mini-version of Sega's excellent 2006 "Sonic Rivals" game for the Sony PlayStation Portable, this has a 2-player option in addition to the single-player game for some real "Rivals" fun.

Part 3:
Super Mario Brothers: Luigi Gunman
Also known as "Mario World Overrun", this truly unique Mario game offers an exciting and challenging combination of first-person-shooter action and tower-defence strategy, all based in a Super Mario World setting.

Super Mario Brothers: Super Mafia Bros.
The classic original Super Mario Bros. game gets "The Godfather" treatment in this brilliant single-level homage.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Shadow the Hedgehog Flash
An excellent official Flash mini-version of Sega's 2005 "Shadow the Hedgehog" game for the Nintendo GameCube, Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox, complete with the gunplay that is now synonymous with Shadow.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Scene Creator
One of a series of three slightly differing Sonic Scene Creators (click here and here for the other two), this is great fun for Sonic fans who have an artistic side in addition to their gaming side.

Super Smash Flash
The name (almost) says it all - this is an awesome fan-produced version of Nintendo's 2001 GameCube game "Super Smash Bros. Melee", but with the added bonus of being able to play as (or against if you prefer) Sega characters such as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Shadow in addition to the standard Nintendo characters. The game features a host of unlockable extra levels and characters in single-player mode, plus there is a 2-player mode for some serious "VS." brawling action.

Part 4:
Super Mario Brothers: Mario Remix
This clever fan-produced game is actually three different games in one great package - grab hold of Mario and go and play some "Super Mario World" with him, and when you're done with that, go and play some "Megaman" and then some "Gradius" with him too!

Super Mario Brothers: Bullet Bill (and its sequel
Super Mario Brothers: Bullet Bill 2)
Play a version of the classic original "Super Mario Bros." game, but with a quite literally smashing twist - you get to play as a Bullet Bill! Smash blocks, bash Mario, avoid scenery!

Sonic the Hedgehog: Ultimate Robotnik Duels
Take over the controls of one of Dr. Robotnik's (a.k.a. Eggman's) amazingly destructive flying machines for a head-to-head "death match" battle. You can play as any of the main characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog games, or even as Super Mario - so you can have your very own "Mario vs. Sonic" fight if you wish! Features brilliantly entertaining single-player and 2-player modes, and also a neat spectator mode where you can watch your computer play against itself.

(Just in case you want some more "Mario vs. Sonic" action, and just in case you haven't played it yet and haven't found out, you can also have a Mario vs. Sonic fight in the Super Smash Flash game I recommended in Part 3 above... plus you might also want to check this out: Mario vs. Sonic Interactive Flash Movie)

Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic Boom
Shoot Sonic from a giant cannon and try to get him as far as you can. Hit the bonus items to increase Sonic's flight distance, but avoid the traps and bombs that will slow him down and stop him. Features unlockable extra characters and bunuses.

And now... here is Part 5, with my next four game recommendations for you to try:

Super Mario Brothers: Classic Mario Bros.
In case you didn't know, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the first appearance of the original "Mario Bros." arcade game. When that game was launched way back in 1983, it was actually the first time that a Mario game had the name "Mario" in the title - 1981's "Donkey Kong" being the first ever Mario game. It was also the game that first introduced Mario's brother, Luigi, to the world, and was the game that established the brothers as being plumbers by trade (Mario was a carpenter in Donkey Kong) with pipes being a key feature of gameplay. This was the game that set the scene for all that was to follow...

To celebrate this milestone in video gaming history, why not have a play of this superb fan-produced version of the original game - as well as the great single-player game, there is also a 2-player "VS." mode for added retro-enjoyment.

Super Mario Brothers: New Super Mario Bros.
If you enjoyed the retro-trip provided by the game above, why not play this rather twisted version of the first ever "Super Mario Bros." game from 1985 next? It features some very interesting and amusing variations on the classic original.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic Rush Adventure Flash
This official Flash mini-version of Sega's excellent 2007 "Sonic Rush Adventure" game for the Nintendo DS handheld console actually features a simulation of the DS, complete with a mouse-driven "stylus"! Using the stylus to control the Wave Cyclone waterbike, you must perform stunts, collect rings and avoid obstacles in this race against the clock.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Character Designer
Another great game for all you Sonic fans with an artistic flair (see also the three different Sonic the Hedgehog: Scene Creators I recommended in Part 3 above).

Enjoy! You can play all of the above games, plus loads more, at my website. More recommendations soon...

Monday, January 14, 2008

First Post

Welcome to the blog.

Rather obviously I hope, this blog is going to be about the Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchises, my number one video gaming favourites. However, to a lesser degree it is also going to be about other Nintendo and Sega related games series of which I am a fan, such as Super Smash Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Megaman, Super Monkey Ball, Puyo Pop Fever and so on. There is one thing that it isn't going to be though, and that's any kind of "personal" blog - if you would like to read my personal blog, which is about my life and everything in it (including Mario, Sonic et al, of course), please see here: England, Thailand and Other Things

This blog is intended to be a helpful and informative companion to my website, which contains a huge collection of completely free Mario and Sonic online fun and games. If you are a fan of Mario and Sonic games, you might like all the Flash games, Java games, puzzle games, pictures, animated GIFs and sprites, music, desktop wallpapers and much more that are included in the site. Why not check it out to see for yourself... :-)