Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Mario sports mashup you may have forgotten about

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In what may be one of the weirdest crossovers in video games, Mario and his Mushroom Kingdom mates joined Final Fantasy characters on the basketball court in a Square Enix-developed project.

Mario Hoops 3-on-3 was a basketball game for the Nintendo DS that came out in 2006, and if you're scratching your head at the concept, perhaps it will make a little more sense to know that it actually did not begin life as a Mario title. While working on the game, Square Enix envisioned it as a part of the long tradition of Mario sports titles. As such, the developer sought permission to have Mushroom Kingdom's finest star in the project, and thus Mario Hoops 3-on-3 was born.

Like many other sports games featuring the mustachioed hero, Mario Hoops 3-on-3 provides the standard basketball structure mixed with coins, items, and special moves. Because it was on the DS, the game made ample use of the touchscreen.

It's strange enough to imagine Mario and friends socializing with a crew from Final Fantasy. Well … Cloud did join the battle in Super Smash Bros. and Sephiroth followed, but just try picturing someone from Final Fantasy dunking a ball. That's just plain weird.

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