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Mario vs. Sonic: The Beginning of the 3D Era
In the mid-90s, video games took a completely new direction with 3D gaming. No longer were gamers confined to side-scrolling. No, you were now able to run around entire worlds and explore every inch of them. It was new, it was revolutionary, and it was something gamers had only dreamed of. Mario and Sonic each took on the 3D world in their own way, and they each got a different reaction from the fans.
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Super Mario 64 - Nintendo 64
Most gamers have fond memories of Super Mario 64. Jumping into paintings, exploring Princess Peach’s castle like never before, and taking on the evil Bowser in a fierce arena are all great memories spawned by the Nintendo 64 and Mario’s 3D debut. To this day, gamers still play Super Mario 64, both for the memories it brings back, and because it is easily one of the greatest 3D platformers of all time.
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Sonic 3D Blast - Sega Genesis/Sega Saturn
Unlike Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog’s 3D debut wasn’t so successful. Launched for both the Sega Genesis and Sega Saturn, Sonic 3D Blast fell short of many gamers’ expectations, and it left much to be desired in terms of level design, gameplay, and the one attribute Sonic was most known for: speed. Despite having a small following of Sonic loyalists, it’s hard to deny that Sonic 3D was in fact a poor game. And unlike Super Mario 64, this Sonic title doesn’t hold up too well today.
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Sonic Adventure - Sega Dreamcast
Despite being a part of the sixth generation of gaming along with the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, it really felt like the Sega Dreamcast was a part of the fifth generation of consoles. It was released in 1998, and it competed primarily with the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation. Sonic Adventure was one of the launch titles for the Dreamcast, and it did what Sonic 3D Blast couldn’t do: it made Sonic fun in a 3D game.
In Sonic Adventure, gamers had the ability to take Sonic through loops, bounce off of springs, and reach insane speeds all in 3D. It was fun, it was addictive, and for the first time in a long time, Sonic proved that he could compete with Mario. The foul taste of Sonic 3D was a thing of the past, and Sonic Adventure seemingly put the Blue Blur back on the map...or so it would seem.
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Sonic the Hedgehog vs. Mario in the 3D Era
The 3D era of gaming was the start of something special. New boundaries could be reached, new concepts and IPs were all possible, and existing franchises had the chance to evolve. Mario entered the 3D world much more smoothly than Sonic did, but the speedy hedgehog eventually struck gold with Sonic Adventure. What did the next generation of gaming hold for these two icons?