Behind closed doors Sega had a demo station with Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. You might be wondering how can Mario ever outrun Sonic at a race? Part of it is attributed to skill and part of it is because each character has different stats. Out of the eight characters I saw Sonic had the highest top speed statistic. It was maxed out, but his acceleration was next to nothing. Tails had a higher acceleration than Sonic, but his top speed wasn’t nearly as high. Mario is an all around character with average stats and Bowser is a pokey runner.
In a short race players use simple controls to make Mario, Sonic, Peach and Eggman run. Everything comes down to shaking the nunchuck and remote as fast as possible. The controls are basic like Wii Sports and I imagine the 100 meter dash might be fun as a party game. The triple jump is a little more complicated. You start out by shaking the remote and nunchuck like in the 100 meter dash to build up speed. Once Tails if off running, you lift the remote up to make the first jump, the nunchuck for the second and the remote for the third, final jump. After the three jumps the screen shows the angles of each jump and the distance Tails cleared. The hammer throw was also in the demo and you play this by spinning the Wii remote in the air. Once you feel like you have enough momentum you can press the B button to throw the hammer. When it is flying you can press the A button to shout and the game zooms in on Luigi charging up in a brief Super Saiyan-like moment (minus his hair changing color) shouting “Here we go!”. Shouting can give your throw a boost, so you want to time your shout.
Sega is working closely with the Olympic committee to bring in official rules and games in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. I did extra probing and found out that Sega plans to add n swimming, gymnastics, skeet shooting, fencing and archery into the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. I was curious about the controls for gymnastics, but they have not been finalized. For archery Sega plans to mimic bow and arrow shooting with the remote/nunchuck combination where you simulate pulling a bowstring backwards. There are going to be 20+ authentic Olympic eventsand a few unlockable, less realistic events that include elements from Mario and Sonic’s games. I'm looking forward to the latter because there is a large pool of creativity Sega can draw upon. Mario grabbing rings, Sonic growing huge from a Super Mushroom, the possibilities are nearly limitless.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games is like Wii Sports 2 with mascot characters. I’m sure it will be a hit this holiday season with the casual audience and hardcore gamers finally get to settle the 80s Sega-Nintendo rivalry over the triple jump. The only thing I wanted to see, but wasn't around was the DS version. I have some screenshots of it, but no concrete details about how it plays.