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Mario and Sonic Do Vancouver

robin-at-the-olympics.pngMario and Sonic are Olympians with a pretty impressive track record. Separately, Mario plays for the Nintendo team and Sonic plays for Sega. But when they join forces, whoa, stand back. They teamed up in Beijing to star in Mario and Sonic at the Summer Olympics and managed to sell over 10 million games as part of their effort.

They’re back and about to repeat history in Vancouver in 2010. A joint venture by Nintendo, Sega, and ISM (creator of Olympic interactive games for the past 17 years), Mario and Sonic at the Olympics is the only interactive game licensed by the Olympic Committee.

I got to tour the Olympic site with my plumber and hedgehog mascots. (That’s me, the non-Olympian in the middle.) The game, created for the Wii (used with or without a Wii Fit) is really a conglomeration of mini-games based on Olympic winter sports. While the game won’t start shipping until late fall, I got to try out a few of the competitions.
The most cooperative play medal goes to the bobsled, where you all shake your nunchuks in unison to get your speed up, and then shift your weight left and right as the bobsled does its thing. There’s a ski race that’s best played with a Wii Fit addition. And the speed skating game is best for shapely calves.

The inventors are convinced the game provides a great family experience, easy enough for every aged person (including those over 30) to master. And truly, the play is easy. If you can lean and wave your arms, you’re good for the GOLD.

Still, something doesn’t feel quite natural about Mario and Sonic as Olympians. Goofy, bouncy, jumpy, and fun, they’re lots of things, just not athletic. I’m thankful that at least they’ll be bundled up for the winter Olympics. A butt-crack-showing plumber and a hedgehog in a swimsuit would be the only thing that’s more bizarre.

There’s an expected crowd of 1.6 million heading to Vancouver this January. If you’re not there, you can turn down the heat (brrrr…) and fire up the Wii. The game will be available for the DS as well.