Rivals Mario, Sonic to compete in Olympics video game

LOS ANGELES Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:07am EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mario and Sonic The Hedgehog are teaming up for a video game featuring the Beijing Olympics which is due to hit the shelves by year-end, Nintendo Co Ltd. and Sega Corp. said on Wednesday.

In the game, players will compete in events based on official venues of the 2008 Olympic Games. Other characters in "Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games" include Nintendo's Luigi and Yoshi -- veterans of the Mario Bros. games -- and Sega's Knuckles and Miles "Tails" Prower.

"Mario and Sonic have been respectful rivals since the early days of video games," said Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo's famed game maker. "Now that they have been given the perfect opportunity to meet at the Olympic Games, we may finally learn who is actually faster."

The game is exclusive to Nintendo's DS hand-held gaming device and Wii console.

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter said the game is taking two mass-market characters with global appeal and putting them in a title focused on a global event.

"It's just a great formula," said Pachter, who added that similar partnerships have resulted in popular games such as "Kingdom Hearts" from Square Enix and Disney Interactive and "Lego Star Wars."

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