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Mario Vs. Link


In the red corner we have the short and pudgy plucky plumber form the Mushroom Kingdom Mario. His opponent in the green corner is a young Hylian man of few words but packing an arsenal of legendary weapons, Link!

Without doubt some of the most beloved game to be released not only on the Nintendo but also in history are The Legend of Zelda series and the numerous Mario titles. Both have been around for years and years but still continue to reinvent themselves and still sell. They revamp the graphics, improve the story lines and provide us with great games that we not only grew up with but also continue to grow old with. Most avid gamers have been so since they could holy a pad, some even since they were a twinkle in their fathers eye so for most of us Mario and Link have always been there.

Although both games are very different in play style they both have a very similar RPG like principle. Basically you are the hero and you need to save the day when no one else possibly can.  It’s obvious to see why so many heated debates spring up on the Internet as both characters have their own legion of fanatical followers. Most journalists seem to take a step back and take the moral high ground saying both are equal. But that’s no fun is it. I want to know who’s the top dog.

The men and their missions

Mario finds himself again and again having to rescue Princess Peach, the royal with the worst home security system in the world. Each game even as far back as the Original back on the NES all the way up to date has followed the same story. You’d think she’s have some sort off royal bodyguards to come save her but no the best she has is a plumber with a Brooklyn/Italian vibe coming off him. That’s pretty rough right? Well the moustached maestro has never given up and always keeps up his can do attitude time after time.

Link on the other hand is a little better traveled, and is out to save the world form the mischievous Ganondorf. Aye there is a princess involved who he does rescue but it’s not all about the girl. Link is out to save the world and gets the girl at the same time.

I feel link has the higher calling, the hopes of the entire world are on his shoulders and he still goes out his way to save the princess Zelda.

First point goes to the green corner!

Equipped and ready to rock

Next I want to consider the weapons each of these Nintendo heroes use. Link is more skilled and flexible than Mario and has used a large arsenal through his various incarnations. He could transform into animals, on the odd occasion use magic. There is no doubt he is the better fighter in terms of skill and finesse.

Mario on the other hand uses his bare hands to take on a bunch of what are essentially dinosaurs! The closest he comes to transforming into an animal is by using his frog suit to swim in and his weapons come in the form of flower power and his reaction to eating a mushroom. Mario also has a weird reaction to touching stars it seems; it even turns him invincible for a few seconds! Plus he punches through bricks....c'mon!

I feel Mario should win this one for taking on the bad guys with nothing but a positive attitude and some psychedelic snacks.

Point to the red corner!

I get by with a little help form my friends

Every superhero needs a sidekick. Mario does have one of the best-recognized sidekicks in Luigi. Luigi is dragged along even though he doesn't necessarily have any personal stake in saving the princess and does his best to help out Mario when needed. He’s even had some ghost busting experience that he can bring to the table if and when it’s needed.  Ultimately he didn’t really do much other than some dialog and stand there in his dungarees being all taller than Mario.

Mario also had Peach, the forever damsel in distress she did even less than Luigi. All she would do is flirt with Mario and get captured.

On the plus side Mario does have Yoshi! This freshly hatched dinosaur not only provides comfortable transportation but also gets involved in combat.

Link on the other hand has Navi. Having a fairy friend as helpful as her but she did have to contest with Midna for links attention as the number one sidekick who was at Links side through some of the GameCube days. Both could be a little annoying even if they were sometimes useful. Link also has some great support form his Princess Zelda, she bestows upon his gifts, weapons and even mucks in from time to time and lets face it she’s cooler than peach. Link lastly has his trusts steed who carriers him everywhere swiftly.

Now Yoshi did some great work helping Mario here but I feel that Link has the overall stronger team so the point goes to the green corner!

Bringing home the bacon

In terms of which hero brings in the most money for Nintendo it is painfully one sided in Mario’s favor there is no doubting that. Mario has sold millions and millions for copies of his games more than Link and Zelda have. New Super Mario Brothers is one of the Highest Grossing games of all time, never mind the other Mario titles.

There is something about Mario games, which are so easily accessible to such a large group of people.

Mario makes more money = fact = red point!


Community Spirit and game music

I have to say the fans of both Mario and Link are absolute nutters, even by my standards. I have seen tattoos, cosplay, gameplay videos, record attempts…. if you can think of anything anywhere no doubt someone has thought about mixing in Mario or Zelda there.

I have picked two popular YouTube clips to show you have the games industry has bled into the music industry to some degree and popular culture event more so. Nintendo does this incredibly well, their characters capture your heart, and imagination and people want to get involved with it all.

First up for Mario we had a multitrack version of “Platforms a Plenty” which has 2,186,213 views at the time of writing this. This clip shows you how people identify Mario with fun better than any other clip I looked at.  A great YouTube clip by a young man with plenty of time on his hands.

The beautiful and incredibly talented violinist Lindsey Stirling performs in the clip I chose to represent the Legend of Zelda Series. This is a medley of the some of the best-known Music from Zelda titles. This currently has 6,308,806 views, yes it’s a lot more but she is a well-known musician as apposed to a random YouTube'er. This shows passion and a love for the story of Zelda really well. Every minor detail of a game production is incredibly important to the end product the game itself.

I loved the Mario clip as it was great fun and I could watch it over and over as the music is very catchy and I was digging the video. However the epic music from Zelda in the excellent clip from Lindsey is not only a pleasure to listen to but I am also finding the more I watch it that I am strangely becoming more attracted to the elf ears…. is that weird?

Green corner point for me.

To Inspire and Influence

Mario was single handedly responsible for re-energizing the gaming industry back in 1983 when people bought the NES specifically to play Super Mario Bros. The game was receipted very well and became the “must play” game of that generation of consoles people also flooded the arcades to play the game it was a global frenzy. This game held the title of best selling game for 24 years will well over 40million copies sold, this reign was ended when Wii Sports was released and sold close to 61million copies.

Mario has also appeared in around 200 other games and titles, some of them his own others as cameos, there have also been movies and cartoon series based on the success of the franchise. Mario has ben a great influence on all platform games since and most likely for some time to come.

Empire Magazine at one time voted Link as one of their top 6 characters of all time saying that the Zelda series had created the RPG as an international gaming standard. In 2011’s Guinness world record book Link was voted the second best video game character of all time. This makes Link sound awesome, rightfully so…only thing is Mario was voted number one. Sorry about that Link.

Link has some other spin off games such as the Wii Link’s Crossbow Training to name just one but he has also made appearance sin other games not unlike Mario, but again not on the same scale and count as Mario.

It seems in these areas at least both Characters have been in a lot of games, have had a big impact in the industry and have been internationally recognized for it. However Link falls into second place at almost every hurdle with only Mario as his better.

I could go into a great more detail on the history of both these characters but that would spin into two more articles, as there is so much to tell this is just a brief overview.

Point red corner!

Wii U new console and new challenge

With the Wii U launch coming November 30th we prepare ourselves for yet another Mario and Link adventure.

New Super Mario Bros. U

New Super Mario Bros. U on the Wii U, which will be the first Mario day one launch title in 5 years. Nintendo are so hell bend on ensuring a Mario game is 100% awesome that it never makes it in time for day one well this time that al changes and fans everywhere myself included can’t wait for the Wii U to drop.

In New Super Mario Bros. U, Mario, Luigi and Toad are joined by a new character – you! Play as your Mii character to run, leap and stomp through a 2D side-scrolling Mario adventure. Explore a giant world map full of brand new courses, and experience ways to play that are only possible on Wii U.

Transform into Flying Squirrel Mario to swoop through stages and cling to walls, or hold onto Balloon Baby Yoshi to float gracefully through the air. Different coloured Yoshis and new power-ups offer fresh ways to play and experience the Mushroom Kingdom, while some old favorites are sure to return!

With the Wii U GamePad, multiplayer becomes even more enjoyable than ever. Up to four players with Wii Remote controllers can run and leap through all-new stages as an additional player joins in with Boost Mode on the GamePad. Using Boost Mode, the player in charge of the GamePad can tap the touch screen to place platforms on the TV screen, which adds an exciting new facet to classic Mario gameplay. Players can all work together to clear a course, or engage in some good-natured competition in a race to grab coins and power-ups – while avoiding bothersome blocks being placed by their GamePad-toting friend! If co-operation is your aim, Boost Mode lets you place platforms strategically to access hidden areas or find faster paths through levels. Race along routes you can only reach by working together, and set new score or time records with friends and family.

In New Super Mario Bros. U, a variety of gameplay modes offer plenty of opportunities to stretch your Super Mario skills. In Boost Rush mode courses scroll automatically, scrolling faster as you collect more coins. Two to five players must work together to clear the course as quickly as possible, and after finishing you can watch a replay of other players’ runs to get some ideas for your next attempt.

For a real test of your abilities, try Challenge Mode. Play Time Attack, 1-Up Rally and much more, on your own or in multiplayer, and try to set new best scores and unlock further challenges. Learn how to make your Boost Mode gameplay more effective with Boost Mode Challenges, and watch a replay after completing each Challenge to think up strategies for future runs.

Ramp up the competitive spirit with Coin Battle mode. While two to four players go head-to-head as individuals or teams and try to grab as many coins as possible, an additional player can use Boost Mode to place platforms and favour – or foil – a particular player. Coin Edit allows the GamePad user to place coins wherever they like, resulting in a new experience every time.

Use Miiverse to share your accomplishments with other players connected to the Nintendo Network, or leave advice, warnings and challenges for them to see as they play. This title also offers the opportunity to play on the big or small screen by switching gameplay from the TV to the Wii U GamePad’s integrated second screen at any time.

Limber up those fingers and get ready to jump right into a brand new Mario adventure, in New Super Mario Bros. U!

Classic Mario action: race through a 2D side-scrolling Mario adventure filled with all-new courses as Mario, Luigi, Toad and your Mii character

Varied modes: on top of the main game, take in Boost Rush, Challenge Mode and Coin Battle

TV-free play: enjoy the game on your TV or on the Wii U GamePad’s integrated second screen

Expand and share: ask for advice on a tough level or share an achievement with other online players through Miiverse

New Zelda game

The New Zelda game is still some way off sadly,  we could wait until 2014. However this will be undoubtedly be the most ambitious and best Zelda game ever made due to the specs of the Wii U, I for one can’t wait for more information to come along for this.

Shigeru Miyamoto has already said that his team are experimenting with Zelda Wii U and it seems one of the discussions Nintendo are having centres on making Zelda games more enjoyable from the start.

With new moves to learn in games such as Skyward Sword, Nintendo is concerned that not enough modern games start with a bang and his team is discussing how to balance tutorials with gameplay.

Asked by Kotaku if Nintendo want to go back to the days when there were no tutorials, Miyamoto said: "This is actually a topic that has been a big discussion internally for us lately. I think there a couple of things going on. One is that, often we're creating games where you're doing a lot of different actions. Zelda is an example of one of those. And, particularly with these types of games, you have to first learn the action and then you have to master the action and then you have to have more actions added in and master those.

"So one of the things we're talking about internally is how can we get people to that point of fun more quickly, and 'How do we balance the need to teach them how to do something with the need for them to be able to master it and feel they can do it well?'- and also tell the story - and 'What is that overall balance and how we approach it?' That's one of the key things we're talking about with Zelda right now."

Aonuma has previously warned that Zelda Wii U might not look like the E3 demo but this is his strongest hint yet that the first Legend Of Zelda Wii U game could be completely different to what we've seen so far.

"We're definitely excited about the Wii U and its capabilities as a platform," said Aonuma. "Of course I can't really tell you any details about that at this point. However, I should say the demo you saw at E3 is more of a starting point at this time, especially from a graphical standpoint. You should expect many changes... our starting point is the gameplay and how we can make it work. It's possible the game will look very different by the time it comes out."

Both games are looking fantastic but Mario is leading the way on the Wii U so the point has to go to him. I will be picking this game up and playing it to death no doubt so for now at least Mario wins another point for the red corner.

Final Score

Mario 4

Link 3

I was secretly hoping Link would win this one as he is my favorite character of the two but no matter the number of accomplishments the Zelda series or Link's victories over evil may be able to have him claw his way out of Mario's shadow. But we can easily say no other characters across the whole industry are as iconic as this duo, especially Mario.  If you don’t believe me take a picture of the master chief, Drake anyone else you can think of and Mario and see who they can name. I think you already know the answer to this one.

Fan art by Chris Newman USA

Link although the cooler and better-equipped character lost out to Mario in staying power and popularity. What will the Wii U bring? In a few years time can we see Link being the one wearing the crown or will Mario muscle out his chances again?

Only time will tell. But for now enjoy those Nintendo titles and tell us who you'd think would win. 

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