Beginning with 2008's Beijing Summer Olympics, the Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games series features a huge mix of characters from both the Mario and Sonic universes, competing in a bunch of olympics themed events, from swimming to fencing to gymnastics and many more, all in the form of simple mini-games, along the lines of those found on the Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort games. Spicing things up with a number of special 'Dream Events', where normal olympic events go rather crazy, you could also sprint through a power-up littered course avoiding Boos and Robotnik's robots to the finish, or leap off one of Bowser's airships, performing tricks through a series of hoops to the ground. The sequels, based around the Vancouver winter games and now the 2012 London Olympics remained more or less the same, packing in a selection of sporting mini-games and Dream Events, all playable with up to three friends.
To help promote their game, and perhaps rekindle the interest of a rather apathetic country, Sega are releasing a free download on the 3DS eShop, in the form of the *deep breath* Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Virtual Card Album (wow that's a mouthful). Much like those card/sticker collections you used to have as a kid, you'll start with a starter pack of five cards, and can obtain the remaining 65 or so cards can through a mixture of StreetPass, downloads through specific Nintendo Zone hotspots (found in, amongst others, certain shopping centres, airports, and Wetherspoons bars), by exchanging them with other players via local wireless, or simply by buying new packs of cards with those Play Coins you've been saving up. From the sounds of it, certain cards will only be available through certain methods, which could prove a problem if you struggle to find a Nintendo Zone round by you.
If you manage to complete the set of cards, you'll unlock a special bonus card – but as you only have till September to get 'em all, you might want to keep your 3DS on you for maximum StreetPass opportunities. Although no release date's been set for the free app yet, seeing as the promotion finishes in a couple of months, we should be expecting the Virtual Card Album to pop up on the eShop any day now – so keep your eyes peeled, and keep checking back to find out when it's up for download.