Topic: Why do you think Mario has got more successful over the years but Sonic hasn’t?

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This is my first post so I’m not sure I’ve put this in the right place!

But when Sonic first came out I heard him and Mario were neck and neck with a lot of people!

But ever since Mario switched to 3D in the late 90s he's become more and more popular while Sonic seems to have lost his way since going 3D. I don't get it

I've always been a big Mario fan and i've always preferred playing him to Sonic even though i do like Sonic and play his games too. Even though i have favourites from both Mario and Sonic, i definitely prefer the Mario characters. Like i say though I do like Sonic too, but really...

Even if you prefer the Sonic series, you can't pretend he is more successful than Mario now cos he's not. Not even close. So what makes Mario so much more successful and popular than Sonic? I'm genuinely curious. What do you think it is?

Is it cos the characters are better on Mario? (feel free to disagree though) his main game quality? Better spinoffs? (i think Mario Kart and Party are way better than Sonic R and Sonic Shuffle) animation? Voice acting? Charles Martinet has been Mario, Luigi, Wario and Waluigi for years now and the others like Yoshi, Toad, Princess Peach etc. seems really loyal too while the Sonic voice acting is always changing. The voice acting is not really important but i think it makes the characters more familiar when it's the same people

Maybe it's none of these, is it maybe cos Nintendo seem to care about Mario more than Sega does Sonic? Nintendo seems to make sure every Mario game is perfect in every single way while Sega seems to just chuck Sonic games together and rush them

The only thing I really think Sonic has over Mario is different stories in each game. Sonic is more creative in that way, like he's saved the world, his friends, etc. Mario only seems to save Peach. But maybe that's a good thing cos that means Mario games are more familiar

So why do you think Mario got better and has stayed successful but Sonic didn't?

Edited on by Yoshilover8



Honestly, Sonic always relied on being "cool" to be more popular than Mario. It was pretty much after the mega drive era that people didn't see him as cool anymore, so Sega tried various spin-offs and changes to the classic Sonic formula to get Sonic back in the highlight again. But those efforts have left Sonic unpopular.

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Biggest obvious issue with the Sonic series is that most of the games just aren't very good. That's gotta be partly on the devs for not making the most of the IP but also partly due to the whole running fast thing just isn't a very good idea for platformers.


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I don’t know but where is Mario and a sonic at the 2022 winter games!!!! Sad times.



Can we really compare? There are very few video game franchises period, that have sold as well as Mario. So it’s in its own league compared to anything else in video games.

Narrowing it down to genre, say character platfomers from 90’s, Sonic is by far one of the most successful franchises. In fact, Wikipedia says this:

“Sonic the Hedgehog is Sega's flagship franchise and one of the bestselling video game franchises, selling over 140 million units by 2016 and grossing over $6 billion as of 2020. Series sales and free-to-play mobile game downloads totaled 1.14 billion units as of 2020.”

You really can’t deny Sonic is a solid #2 character mascot in gaming that’s non-Nintendo. It’s been as successful as a non-Nintendo company could hope for, for the genre



You’ve mentioned Mario switching to 3D, well in the era of Mario and Sonic’s second 3D games, the game cube, Sonic Adventure 2 was the best selling third party game on the platform. So Sonic didn’t just fall off the map after 3D hit the franchise. It did pretty good all things considered. Things like all the other character platformers from the 16-bit era that didn’t even make it to 3D, let alone do what the sonic series has done.

As for pure quality… that’s a separate category of success with Sonic, I’d argue.

Edited on by NinChocolate



@Luigi05 Sonic is pretty popular with kids still. He’s got a second major movie coming out and loads of kids play sonic on mobile devices. He’s a successful character with enduring popularity spanning generations, there’s no doubt.



Early on, they were pretty on par, tho offering a different platform experience. The original Sonic trilogy on Genesis was fantastic.
Later though, the quality fell away. Mario jumped to 3D in such a brilliant and good way that it defined the genre and set the standard in 3D for platformers. Sonic was later getting to 3D and didn't do it nearly as well. Sonic Adventure had some good points, but it had an awful lot of bad ones. Sonic never consistently had the same level of quality that Mario has enjoyed.
Sonic still carries some weight and is popular still, but it might have been a different story if Sega had maintained that level of quality after the Genesis era.

Edited on by Cotillion



@Shadowthrone ya, Sonic’s done very well for Sega and still does, but as an example of game quality it’s certainly not been the franchise at least some long time fans have wanted since the Genesis. I think the brand does so well that Sega management has not put the development resources into defining the best Sonic gameplay and maintaining it. I think that’s the problem and hopefully that changes one day, but I’m not hopeful lol



I remember seeing a video a long time ago (can't remember by who) that I thought explained it best: Mario was designed to be fun, while Sonic was designed to be cool.
Whilst something being fun is timeless and why Mario has stuck around when he really shouldn't at first (he's a fat Italian plumber, how did that kind of character design work?), something being cool is constantly changing and why a lot of the older Sonic games from the 2000's like Adventure, Heroes and others are far more heavily criticised nowadays than Mario's adventures of the time: they just aren't as timeless in the modern day.
However, I feel like the one sector of Sonic that has stood the test of time while still being cool is 2D Sonic. They convey coolness through body language and mannerisms rather than quips and snarkiness, making them far more likeable than any of the other, more recent versions of the character in my opinion (the voice actors are fantastic though, I can't imagine anyone but Roger Craig Smith as the character and does the absolute best with the stuff he's given at times).

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As someone who loves both Mario and Sonic games, I think it comes down to two things. Game consistency and review scores.

To me, Mario games stay pretty consistent. Not much changes from the core experience of a Super Mario game. There may be something new here or there, for most of the part, it's stomping Goombas, collecting coins, and hitting ? blocks for power-ups. Super Mario Bros. 2 is the only main game that comes to mind when I think different with Mario.

Sonic is usually consistent with being a fast platformer, however Sega likes to do something new. The were-hog in Sonic Unleashed, or Sonic Lost World's different levels. This may vary from person to person. Will admit, I like Sega tries new things, since most games other publishers release feel like rinse and repeat everytime a new one comes out.

Both of which can be subjective, some may prefer Sonic over Mario and vice versa, or enjoy them both equally.

The second thing is reviews. I remember the Dreamcast game Sonic Adventure 2 getting 8 and 9's (out of 10) on most gaming sites. Then when the GameCube version came out months later, it was in the 6's. Throw in that other Sonic games like Shadow, and the 2006 game didn't score well, and people may be turned away from it. There are people who based opinion on games from reviews like this.

Like a movie or a TV show, good and bad are subjective as someone could play a 6/10 game, and still consider it great. Even if the popular opinion says otherwise. Personally, I choose to play games and form opinions based off that experience.

This is what I think, personally I still love both series and I see both Mario and Sonic as iconic gaming characters, along with Pac-Man and Crash, as characters that come to mind when I think video games.

sixrings wrote:

I don’t know but where is Mario and a sonic at the 2022 winter games!!!! Sad times.

You and me both want this. I still play my Wii U, guess I have to play that for yet another Winter Olympic season.

NinChocolate wrote:

“Sonic the Hedgehog is Sega's flagship franchise and one of the bestselling video game franchises, selling over 140 million units by 2016 and grossing over $6 billion as of 2020. Series sales and free-to-play mobile game downloads totaled 1.14 billion units as of 2020.”

Indeed, one of the advantages Sonic has is that Sega is no longer making consoles. You can play Sonic games on just about any device. Plus, I have the original Sonic game on Dreamcast, GameCube, DS, GBA, PC (via Steam), Wii, Switch, and mobile. You can play Sonic 1 on almost anything officially, while Super Mario Bros is tied to Nintendo systems officially.

I still see Sonic as a top selling series, even if they're not up there with Mario. A lot of people still like Sonic, even outside the Internet. There are Mario and Sonic fans who probably don't talk on forums.

Edited on by Sunsy

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Two reasons, in my opnion:
Number one reason, Miyamoto. He's brilliant. And Nintendo's culture.....
Reason numer two, I'm with @BenAV on this, I think Sonic's running fast thing, while it looks cool, the running fast, making things a blur, it looks cool for a trailer, but it isn't good for exploration. While many developers have made Mario-like games, you'll notice there hasn't been the same drive by other parties trying to make Sonic-like games. That's just been my opinion/hypothesis.

Edited on by WoomyNNYes

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@WoomyNNYes I think that kind of gameplay could be amazing in Frontiers. There have been many fan concepts/demos on a fluid 3D Sonic that look SO GOOD, and if they can replicate that kind of schmovement on a larger scale, it could be incredible. I don't even care for 3D Sonic yet it makes me so damn excited.

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3D Sonic games have always sucked. Sonic Adventure was great for it's time, but even that feels outdated now in my opinion. They should just make a sequel to Sonic Mania. I had a blast with that game.

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I don’t know how to quote yet cos I’m new but there’s some really interesting answers here which makes for a good discussion. So many people will have so many different reasons why they think Mario is more successful no matter whether they prefer Mario or Sonic, and I will add this:

Obviously some will disagree here but I definitely think Mario switching to 3D better than Sonic is actually really important cos to me that was the start of Sonic’s downfall. When people think back they remember Mario's switch to 3D as being when he got more popular and successful. The original Super Mario 64 came out before I was born, and it has aged really ***** animation wise (I definitely prefer the DS remake- there’s more playable characters and mini games too!) but the original was the first of its kind. It knocked it out the park by introducing the world to open world gameplay, it’s one of the best selling 3D platformers of all time, and basically created 3D platforming. How could Sonic compete with that really? I read someone say once that Sonic doesn’t work as a 3D series. Maybe they’re right
Not all 3D Sonic games are really bad though, I really love Sonic Heroes. That’s actually my favourite Sonic game ever. Sonic seems hit and miss mainly though, and i think another reason like someone else said is cos of the gameplay. Having to get through each level as fast as possible just to get a good ranking is nowhere near as fun as replaying levels to find hidden star medals etc. or exploring worlds looking for stars, shine sprites or power moons on Mario games, usually at your own pace. So Sonic games also puts more pressure on you. And the side characters on Mario some of them are actually bigger than Mario himself popularity wise, and have had their own game series (Luigi’s Mansion games, Yoshi, Toad, Wario, Donkey Kong) whereas no Sonic character has ever had their own franchise. I think this makes Mario more recognisable

Really though, i think the biggest reason why is cos Mario is basically the mascot of all games not just Nintendo. Him and Donkey Kong made the platforming genre a thing, he's easily the most famous videogame character ever, and let's be honest i know this has already been said but I agree Mario games are in a league of their own. Sega have tried, but no other franchise i don't think will ever reach Mario's level of familiarity, popularity and game quality. Mario is just unbeatable!

Sorry this was so long haha, and sorry if it doesn’t really make sense I’m not very good at debating, I just really really love talking about anything and everything Mario!

Edited on by Yoshilover8



One of two reasons for me
1. The recent games are very hit and miss. Sega just doesn’t seem to know what to do with sonic and how to make him work.
2. Mario is Nintendo’s flagship ip. He is what everyone thinks of when they hear Nintendo. It is the same with sega but I think sega being third party has hurt Sonics brand slightly
3. Just going off my experience with this one but I was born after sega went third party. So growing up I played sonic on nintendo. Just think for 20 years the majority of people have played sonic games on a Microsoft,Sony or Nintendo console. At least for me, I thought sonic was a Nintendo ip for about ten to twelve years.

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@Yoshilover8 To help, clicking reply (what I just did) usually will @ someone's username, and clicking quote, quotes the post. It should be possible to put multiple replies and quotes into one post if desired. Hope this helps you.

I agree with not all 3D Sonic games being bad. Mostly because I enjoyed the 3D Sonic games I've played, even ones others didn't like. If I enjoyed playing a game, it probably won't be a bad game in my opinion. Some of the "bad" Sonic games I didn't find to be bad at all, and had fun with them, whether they're mainline or spin-offs.

Not saying this to put down Mario at all, I just don't agree with the popular opinion that 3D Sonic is bad. Just really a fan of both series in general. I love playing both Mario and Sonic games.

Don't worry, not everything has to be a debate. Sometimes we just want to talk about the games we like and give our thoughts without arguing. You'll find lots here who love talking about Mario.

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The real question is: why is Sonic still popular at all, especially with so many mediocre to outright crap games in its catalogue?

Mario games are among the most beloved ever made, thanks to their inventiveness and superb quality.

While I liked Sonic growing up and even bought a few Sonic games on DS back in the day, I can't say that I have ever particularly enjoyed playing a Sonic game as I have never seen one to completion, and as a result, have no desire to ever revisit the franchise.

The design choices inherent to the franchise are just simply bad. As @WoomyNNYes pointed out, Sonic running looks good on screen, but actually playing the game is an exercise in frustration, as you can't see what is ahead of you, and you're constantly brought to a grinding halt by an unforeseen obstacle. Some may defend this by suggesting that the levels were designed to be memorised, but trial-and-error based game design is a poor cop-out as far as I am concerned.

Now, Jazz Jackrabbit (from Epic Games, of Fortnite fame) took the Sonic formula and actually made it good. Jazz was a "cool" protagonist that combined the fast-moving novelty of the Sonic series with the refined platforming design of Apogee's games (perhaps for wanting of a more apt comparison), and what we got was a fun, fast-paced action platformer with colourful graphics, a variety of enemies/weapons, and it still holds up to this day, with respect to its playability, polish, and appealing art direction. It is absolutely baffling that Epic have never thought to re-release the game on consoles and give it the revival that it solely deserves. As arguably derivative as it was, it did so much right, and really should have been the Sonic "killer", if quality and FUN were to prevail.

A 3D sequel, Jazz Jackrabbit 3, was in the works, but it was ultimately canceled. This was followed a few years later by a GBA "revival" with a bland new design, and played like a generic 2D action game without the fast-paced design of prior games, and unsurprisingly, the franchise has been dormant since.

I think one of Epic's main reluctances to revive the series may also be in the fact that Jazz's brother (introduced in Jazz Jackrabbit 2) was named Spaz, and appeared to be inspired by those suffering from spastic cerebral palsy (reflected in his comic idle animations and exaggerated features). As the brother to a sister with spastic cerebral palsy, I thought it was so cool to have a form of representation at the time, as the condition was virtually non-existent in popular media (and still is today), but sadly, the so-called arbiters of "acceptability" would crucify Epic for daring to have such a protagonist in their games today, let alone one with such a name, even though the games attracted no controversary whatsoever in the late 90s and early 2000s.

But that warrants a whole other conversation that I doubt could be had here.

Edited on by antdickens

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@Sunsy I agree, 3d sonic isn't as bad as people say, and its funny because people have been growing closer to them in the last two years.

I think its because mario had that good jump into 3d, it gave them that popularity boost it need, so if there were a few bad ones, people wouldn't give up on it, Sonic on the other hand, had a bit of a rocky start, and tripped a little bit, and since then, they have been having a hard time getting back up, and sega just keeps kicking them down all the wile, like there stupid one year deadlines, or rushing a game out of development.

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As others have already said, Mario games are generally more consistent with their quality, at least the platformers. Even after Mario went to 3D with Super Mario 64, Nintendo still got it in them, and they never really let me down in terms of the mainline Super Mario series. And that series is still going strong today - I loved Super Mario Odyssey, as well. The mainline Mario games, both 2D and 3D, generally prioritize fun and varied gameplay, with creative power-ups and levels/settings to boot. It also really helps that Mario is pretty much the face of video games in general, with all these games bringing folks together to have fun times, and that hasn't changed since the 80s - it's no wonder he's starred in countless spin-off series, such as Mario Kart and Mario Party.

As for Sonic, there are quite a few Sonic games I definitely like, such as the Genesis Sonic games and Sonic Mania. I do like some of the 3D Sonic games as well, but they tend to be hit-or-miss, and they don't really have the same fun factor as the Mario games do. The later Sonic games are...rather short for my liking, too. I liked Sonic Generations, for example, but I really wish it had more levels.

Another thing I'd like to mention is my experience with Mario and Sonic games. I had an easy time getting into Super Mario World, All-Stars, and 64 as a kid, since the good first batch of levels aren't tough. That allowed me to get accustomed to their controls and gameplay mechanics. Sonic 1 and 2, however, were a different story. While I loved blasting through Green Hill and Emerald Hill with Sonic's incredible speed, I could not get past their second zones at first, Marble and Chemical Plant respectively. I think a lot of others had that kind of experience as well - it was necessary to have repeat playthroughs of the first two zones to make it further. I can beat Sonic 1, 2, 3&K, and Mania today, no problem, but I think Mario games can leave a better first impression.

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