Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is a Nostalgic Look Into the Past - PreviewEvan Norris , posted on 27 October 2019 / 4,009 Views
It's been a nostalgic two months for publisher SEGA. Last month the company released its SEGA Genesis Mini, a micro console that emulates the 16-bit hardware of the original Genesis system, and this week it debuts Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD, a remaster of the Wii launch game. Perhaps the upcoming SEGA game most awash in nostalgic sentimentality is Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, due out November 5th in North America, which looks back fondly not only on the 8- and 16-bit video game generations but also at Japan's Olympic history.
Mario & Sonic builds up nostalgic momentum via its all-new story mode, in which villains Dr. Eggman and Bowser collaborate to defeat their respective enemies, Sonic and Mario. They conspire to trap the heroic twosome in a "Tokyo '64" game system—a play on both the '64 Olympics and Nintendo's fifth-gen console Nintendo 64—but the plan backfires and several Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog characters are pulled into the system and its 2D virtual game world modeled after the 1964 Tokyo Games.
Story mode bounces back and forth between 2020 and 1964, but it's the pixelated world of 1964 that provides the biggest smiles and conjures up the happiest memories. Anyone who grew up playing NES in the 1980s and Genesis in the 1990s will find a lot to like here. Seeing 8-bit Mario and 16-bit Sonic work together as their past incarnations is special, even if Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 marks the sixth crossover event between these two former corporate rivals.
Not only will Mario and Sonic compete in 2D-style events that pay homage to the last time Tokyo hosted the Olympic Games via story mode. All events, which include the 100m dash, volleyball, marathon, long jump, and several more, are available in single player or multiplayer from the main menu. So, you and your friend can go head-to-head as 16-bit Tails or 8-bit Bowser in diving, or see if NES-era Peach or Genesis-era Knuckles will reign supreme in judo. The old-school versions of these contests are simpler than their 2020 counterparts, but, obviously, a lot more sentimental.
Mario & Sonic doesn't mine nostalgia by way of its third- and fourth-gen graphics and character models alone. It demonstrates a lot of pride in Japan's Olympic past as well. Scattered throughout Tokyo, circa 1964 and 2020, are placards that contain trivia about the Olympics and Japan's contributions to them. You'll learn that Tokyo 1964 was the very first Olympic Games held in Asia, the year the National Stadium was built, and the fact that Tokyo is one of only five cities in the world to host the Olympics more than once.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is a celebration of Japan's contributions to the Olympics and to video games, past, present, and future. It pays tribute to the 1964 Games and to Nintendo and SEGA's seminal years on the market. It's also a good excuse to send some of the industry's most iconic video game mascots on a time-traveling adventure, and give older fans a chance to relive their own glory days.