(1) Mario vs. (8) Yoshi
Andy: Mario and Yoshi are a hell of a team, but pit them against each other and you’ve got an even better matchup. Usually teammates going 1v1 make for some of the best matchups, and this would be no exception. Let’s break each of these video game legends down:
Mario: Fat, but agile, short, but with crazy ups, average at everything, but with the ability to power-up at any moment.
Yoshi: Prehistoric, but relevant, tiny arms, but a huge tongue, not the highest jumper, but can flutter to extend his ups.
This one is going to come down to the scenario: Does Mario get any power ups? Does Yoshi get to toss his eggs around? Let’s assume for the sake of this article that we’re on a level playing field, no powerups, just a court, two hoops, and one basketball. I think Mario gives it a hell of a performance, but the fact that Yoshi has been licking up, and shooting out ball shaped objects with accuracy since Mario enslaved him back in the day makes him the clear favorite. Mario 54, Yoshi 82.
My winner: Yoshi
Pat: Mr. Video Game himself vs. his loyal dino-steed. Any way you look at it, this match is going to be a close one.
For a chubby fellow, Mario sure is athletic. He’s an avid golf player, plays soccer, baseball, and has even been to the Olympics several times. He’s no stranger to basketball either. He’s even made his way to the streets for some showboating street ball. But Mario’s biggest blessing (and curse) is that he is the definition of well-rounded. While he obviously excels at jumping, he usually falls right in the middle of the overall talent scale. Nothing about him is particularly outstanding, but on the flip side, he has basically no weaknesses. He’s good at pretty much everything, but also not great at anything. He’s the ultimate fundamentals guy.
Yoshi, on the other hand, is highly specialized. This dinosaur relies more on technique than fundamentals. Yoshi’s talent is dependent on a number of unique skills at his disposal. His flutter jump helps him stay airborne for all those pop-shots and blocks. His tongue can zip in, steal the ball away, and then launch out of his mouth towards the basket from half court. He can ground-pound when on defense, and is speedy when on offense. Ultimately the game would come down to the final basket and this is when Yoshi would pull away with the win. A tongue-lash for the steal, swallows the ball turning it into an egg and then chucks the egg with pin-point accuracy from downtown with a SWISH to win the game. Ultimately, all those years he spent hauling Mario around as a baby as he practiced his egg-throwing finally paid off.
My winner: Yoshi
(4) Pac-Man vs. (5) Sonic
Andy: Two gaming icons, one basketball court, and one round pellet like object. One might initially thing that Pac-Man could be the choice here as he’s been dealing with round pellet like objects for nearly 30 years, but unfortunately he certainly hasn’t been dribbling them. Pac-Man does have various fruits and other items at his disposal, but I have to imagine we’d ban these right off the bat. He’s got short, stubby limbs, he’s as round as the ball itself, and he’s not the fastest guy on the court.
Sonic on the other hand? He’d run circles around Pac-Man, and even if he’s just as short as Pac-Man, Hollywood says he’s about to get a lot taller. Speed wins this matchup, and Sonic breezes through this round of the tournament about as quickly as I’ve disregarded most of the games he’s been in the last 20 years.
My winner: Sonic
Pat: Pac-Man vs. Sonic in the ultimate battle for basketball domination. Really, the only battle these two should be having is who has fallen further from grace and who has had the worse redesigns.
Sonic, a blue, human-kissing hedgehog, is a creature of many talents, most of which involve being in terrible games. However, nothing defines this relic of the 90’s more than his trademark speed. I mean let’s be honest, nobody is going to be able to touch him on the court. He’ll be able to zip around so fast that I can’t even come up with a scenario in which Pac-Mac could do anything to stop him. Sonic is the no-brainer for this match.
Even if you completely disregard Sonic’s speed, this match wouldn’t even last more than a few minutes. Pac-Man would choke and the game would be over. I mean that literally. The first time Pac-Man is on offense, he would quite literally choke. Have you ever seen this guy NOT start eating any and every circular object he sees? Something tells me that a basketball won’t go down nearly as smooth as a power pellet would.
My winner: Sonic
(3) Donkey Kong vs. (6) Banjo-Kazooie
Andy: I love this matchup for so many reasons! Donkey Kong has been my go-to Smash main for about 20 years, so I know his athleticism inside and out. Banjo is hopefully nearing a true comeback with the Microsoft and Nintendo flirting, so having him join the 1v1 fold is something we could see in Smash someday. Theoretically? It’s a pretty good matchup of brawn vs. technicality.
DK is the muscle of the court, and it’s a good thing Banjo has some heft to him already, or he’d get absolutely plowed on every drive, and during every layup. Banjo can use his stupid bird to fly around the court and could probably cheat his way to running up the score, but I’m not sure Kazooie is enough to overtake the pure strength of the King of the Jungle. DK plows through this round of the tournament in a B-A-N-A-N-A-S game, outscoring Banjo by 20.
My winner: Donkey Kong
Pat: Donkey Kong, the gorilla of few words and beast of many talents. This king of the jungle has been a part of multiple Olympics, golf tournaments, soccer matches, boxing rounds, bongo parties, and basketball competitions. This guy is going to be a BRUISER on the court. Imagine the arm strength it would take to swing from vine to vine in a jungle all day. This Kong is RIPPED. You see this monkey coming at you from center court, you don’t just get out of the way, you dive out of the way and hope you did it fast enough. Just imagine trying to box this guy out for the rebound. It’s not happening. While he may lack finesse and speed, DK’s brute strength is enough to carry him all the way to win.
Banjo might seem like a good competitor, after all, bears are not to be trifled with, but ultimately, this bear has gone soft. He’s gotten used to the comfort of living a more anthropomorphic life than DK and his yellow shorts and backpack prove it. He’s lost that pure animal instinct that drives DK to be the powerhouse that he is. However, it’s the bird in his backpack that could prove to be the ace up his sleeve. With Banjo and Kazooie together, they gain the power of flight, the ability to shoot eggs, increased speed with Kazooie’s bird trotting, and the ability to do all sorts of backflips and dive bombs in the air, giving them the ability to edge out Donkey Kong. Or, well, it would have, if you know, they had a chance to practice those moves in the last 19 years. Instead, they’ve been stuck in the land of forgotten mascots and started to REALLY put on the pounds instead of keeping their game strong. When it comes to DK vs. B-K, its B-K takes the L.
My winner: Donkey Kong
(2) Master Chief vs. (7) A Car From Rocket League
Andy: When we created this tournament we really did get weird with it, in the best ways. Listen, I’m obsessed with Rocket League, I’ve got 500+ hours in the game, I made it to Champ, and it has taken over my life. If there is any other game I’ve pumped more hours into, it’s probably Smash Bros, but it also might be Halo. Master Chief is skilled, but CFRL (Car From Rocket League) literally has a hoops mode that he has been refining his skills in for years.
We’ve set the standard for all of these matches that they’d be human sized courts, and assuming we’re not going to make Master Chief go into the Rocket League world, this is a pretty one-sided match. CFRL is fast, but it can’t do anything to a human sized ball! Master Chief on the other hand can clamber, double jump, boost, and ground pound his way to an easy victory. As much as I wanted to go with CFRL here, Master Chief said it best: “What if you miss?” … “I won’t”.
My winner: Master Chief
Chandler: “I need a weapon.” This may be one of Master Chief’s most famous lines, but in reality he doesn’t. Master Chief himself is the ultimate weapon. Basically a futuristic James Bond from that can do anything and everything with all of the latest weapons and gadgets at his disposal. In a 1vs1 matchup, I think you would be hard pressed to find an opponent that could match his tenacity and creativity on the court. Try to trap him under the net, and he’ll just jump higher. Muscle him on the perimeter, and he’ll just barrel through you. But then again… he’s going against a car. Not just any car, a Rocket League Car that is well experienced in both soccer and basketball. A Rocket League Car was made for this matchup. In an open court, Master Chief is simply out-gunned and out-manned against a fully fueled and boosted Rocket League Car.
However, therein lies the problem. Unless the car is catching enough boosts, it’s essentially useless against Master Chief. With no height advantage to get up in the air for a shot or rebound, Master Chief will be dominating the aerial game. Defense wins championships. As long as Master Chief keeps the Rocket League Car away from the boosts throughout the game, our favorite Spartan has this game in the bag.
My winner: Master Chief