Nintendo Vs. Sega: Which Spawned the Best Pop Culture?

Pikachu and Sonic the HedgehogNintendo/Sega

If the success of The Social Network and Moneyball have proved anything, it’s that the only thing Hollywood loves more than an underdog story is one that’s based on a best-selling book and deals with an American pastime, like social media or baseball. Or video games, which is the new subject of the upcoming film Console Wars. The movie will tell the story of the battle for supremacy in the 1990s between Nintendo and Sega. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have been tapped to write and direct an adaptation of Blake J. Harris’ book, which will follow Tom Kalinske, the man who helped transform Sega from a failing arcade company into a video game juggernaut, and helped the company take on Nintendo when it was at the peak of its success. Although the pair is mostly known for their comedy work, Rogen and Goldberg have enough geek cred to give them an edge on this story. Since they’ve already written a foreword for the book, it seems as if they know their subject pretty well. Plus, the Nintendo/Sega wars seem like the kind of story that would benefit from some irreverent goofiness. After all, most of these video games are pretty weird when you think about them.

Of course, Rogen and Goldberg’s film won’t be the first time in which Nintendo and Sega have faced off on screen. Over the years, both companies have seen their most successful franchises be adapted into movies, television series and Saturday morning cartoons, and sometimes even become a pop culture phenomenon. In honor of Console Wars, we’ve taken a look at the good, the bad, and the unnecessary in order to determine which company reigns supreme when it comes to big and small screen adaptations. Although, any time Nintendo wants to stop making Pokèmon movies is fine by us.


Games Turned Into Movies: Worldwide — Super Mario Bros., Pokémon: The First Movie, Pokémon: The Movie 2000, Pokémon 3: The MoviePokémon 4EverPokémon Heroes, Pokémon: Jirachi Wish Maker, Pokémon: Destiny DeoxysPokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai, Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior, Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life, Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions, Pokémon the Movie: Black and White, Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice, Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened; Japan only — Super Mario Bros.: The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach!  and Animal Crossing 
Games Turned Into TV Shows: The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, Captain N: The Game Master, Donkey King Country, Kirby: Right Back At Ya!, The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, Super Mario World
Highest Grossing Movie: Pokémon: The First Movie, which made over $163 million worldwide
Franchise with the Most Incarnations: Pokémon, with 16 theatrically released movies, three television movies, and one ever-expanding anime series. 
Best Adaptation: Pokémon. Hey, they made 20 of them for a reason!
Worst Adaptation: Super Mario Bros., the 1993 live-action adaptation starring Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leguizamo as Luigi that nobody asked for. 
Adaptation That Was Better Than the Actual Game: Captain N: The Game Master, which combined all of the best characters from the Super Mario games with a wish-fulfillment plot that allowed the hero to get sucked into the video games he was playing.
Game Character Who Never Got a Chance to Shine: Fox McCloud, star of StarFox. He leads a group of anthropomorphic animals who fly planes and protect their planet from evil aliens. It’s practically tailor-made for Saturday morning cartoons!
Saturday Morning Staple: Pokémon. Don’t lie, you know you watched it every week. 
Movie Only Released in Japan That We Wished We Could See: Animal Crossing, if only to see how they managed to create a plot out of a game that has none. 
Something You Accepted as a Kid, But is Really Weird Looking Back: The live-action credits of The Super Mario Bros. Show, which featured a dancing WWE wrestler dressed as Mario.

Most Memeable Adaptation: “Well, excuuuuuuuuuuse me, Princess!”


Games Turned Into Movies: Worldwide — Like A Dragon, House of the Dead, Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Sakura Wars: The Movie, Like a Dragon: Prologue; Japan only — Bayonetta: Bloody Fate
Games Turned Into TV Shows: The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Earthworm Jim, Sakura Wars, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Underground, Sonic X, Virtua Fighter
Highest Grossing Movie: Unfortunately, it appears to be House of the Dead, which grossed just under $14 million. 
Franchise with the Most Incarnations: Sonic the Hedgehog, with one movie and four television series. 
Best Adaptation: Sonic the Hedgehog, the 1993 series that ran on ABC on Saturday mornings. Well, okay, maybe not the best, but definitely the most iconic. 
Worst Adaptation: House of the Dead. It was directed by Uwe Boll, which should tell you all you need to know. 
Adaptation That Was Better Than the Actual Game: Earthworm Jim, a weird, surreal, hilarious television show that took all of the absurdity of the video games to the next level. 
Game Character Who Never Got a Chance to Shine: Bug from Bug!, a Hollywood star whose girlfriend is kidnapped just before he stars in the biggest film of his life. It might not have been the most exciting game, but between the action, the suspense and the Hollywood glamour, it would have made a great television show. 
Saturday Morning Staple: Earthworm Jim. The perfect accompaniment to a bowl of sugary cereal. 
Movie Only Released in Japan That We Wished We Could See: Bayonetta: Bloody Fate. It’s the only Sega adaptation that hasn’t been released in North America, and is said to be one of the best ones. 
Something You Accepted as a Kid, But Is Really Weird Looking Back: 
Pretty much everything about Earthworm Jim, if we’re being honest. 

Clearly, Nintendo wins the real world battle, but we’ll see who takes the title in Rogen and Goldberg’s film.