Nintendo (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK) has been on fire, Fools. While powerful next-generation consoles such as Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox 360 wow gamers with their incredible graphical images (while simultaneously cowing them with their high price points), Nintendo's Wii system has been leaping off retail shelves. With its unique controller system and its relatively economical price tag of $250, it seems to be turning a lot of us into "virtualetes."

Get ready for the excitement level to escalate. I'm sure you're familiar with that superstar plumber called Mario -- he's Nintendo's bread and butter. (I wonder where he finds the time to unclog drains, considering he's always off on some fantastical adventure.) You've most likely heard of Sonic the Hedgehog, too; that spiky little guy was the crowned-jewel asset of former hardware star Sega. Well, both of these characters are in massive training right now, because according to reports, they will be teaming up for a Wii title based on the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Many of you out there have been waiting a long time for this event. Nintendo and Sega are aware of the passion that a game with both Mario and Sonic in it will inspire in many console fans; the companies are also aware of the sales potential that such a combo represents. The Olympics angle is a smart thing for a few reasons. One, by tying in with the Beijing games, Nintendo can tap the usual Olympic hype. Two, the sports genre is perfectly suited for the Wii and its controller; everyone knows by now that interacting with the Wii is not a passive affair, since it promotes a bit more kinetic action on users' part when compared with competing consoles' controllers. Third, the Wii is suitable for group play thanks to its controller's quick, intuitive learning curve -- an Olympic backdrop will take full advantage of this element.

If the initial Mario/Sonic joint venture is a hit, we'll surely see other iterations featuring the duo -- an epic role-playing game would certainly be interesting, as would seeing Sonic in Mario's mushroom-laden world. Nintendo is doing gangbuster business with the Wii, and it's cheaper to develop products for this platform than for other next-generation technologies. That's why publishers like Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI), THQ (NASDAQ:THQI), and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) are looking to the Wii for profitable opportunities. If Sonic's new friendship with Mario is any indication of the leverage Nintendo has right now, the Wii should continue to be the console of choice for a lot of gamers out there.  

The Fool loves to play Nintendo:

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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Activision. As of this writing, he was ranked 9,822 out of 25,268 investors in the Motley Fool CAPS system. Don't know what CAPS is? Check it out. The Fool has a disclosure policy.