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Best of the Wii: Super Mario Galaxy

by Patrick Barnett, Zachary Miller, Tyler Ohlew, and Neal Ronaghan - October 4, 2012, 11:23 am PDT
Total comments: 22

Once again, Mario defines a console.

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If you've followed our list so far, then this should come as no surprise. The gravity-defying and genre-defining platformer is one of Mario's finest, and it is our No. 1 best Wii game. Neal, Patrick, Zach, and Tyler tell you why the game outshines the rest of the competition and easily landed at the top of our list.

Stay tuned for one more special podcast tomorrow...

This episode edited by Scott Thompson.

Talkback

FjurbanskiOctober 04, 2012

My personal #1 is Skyward Sword.


I love Galaxy. It's a near flawless game, and revamped Mario in great ways.


But I feel like this game doesn't define the Wii in the same way that SS does. Skyward Sword legitimized the very purpose for the Wii's existence, whereas you could have told me that Galaxy was a Gamecube game and I'd never know the difference (Except for collecting the the starbits, which is nice, but ultimately unnecessary).


But like I said, the game is nearly flawless. It's amazing. Solid #2 on my list. And even a solid #1 if you aren't nit-picking like I am.

broodwarsOctober 04, 2012

The first Galaxy bored me, and I found the hub world navigation on the space station especially tedious.  But I suppose it wasn't a bad game per say.  But best 1st Party game on the Wii?  No, that belongs to Xenoblade, and it probably would have if more of the NWR staff played it.  :P: :

Too bad JRPG's give me a rash.


Also, it's hard to argue that Xenoblade is the defining game of the Wii. I think you could effectively argue that Wii Sports/Play/Resort or even Wii Fit Plus is the defining game, but...it's always going to be Mario for me.

ejamerOctober 05, 2012

Quote from: Halbred

Too bad JRPG's give me a rash.


Also, it's hard to argue that Xenoblade is the defining game of the Wii. I think you could effectively argue that Wii Sports/Play/Resort or even Wii Fit Plus is the defining game, but...it's always going to be Mario for me.

I agree. Just because Xenoblade is clearly the best game on Wii, that doesn't mean it's the defining game.
;)


Mario Galaxy is quite awesome, and well-deserving of first place.  One thing that I found interesting but nobody mentioned (I think) on the podcast reflection was the two-player mode.  What an interesting experiment in finding ways that gamers and non-gamers can share an experience...

I don't care how great Xenoblade is, in my book a great platformer is always going to beat a great RPG. Although I voted for the superior sequel to this game to be number one.

broodwarsOctober 06, 2012

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

I don't care how great Xenoblade is, in my book a great platformer is always going to beat a great RPG. Although I voted for the superior sequel to this game to be number one.

"Ah! Now you see the bias inherent in the system! Help! Help! We're being Repressed!"  ;)

It's all about personal preference. There is a reason why Xenoblade is a niche title. There is a reason why Super Mario Galaxy isn't (for the most part).

RPGs don't appeal to everyone, despite how excellent they are (and Xenoblade is an excellent RPG). Platformers, specifically Mario platformers, appeal to pretty much everyone.

Pixelated PixiesOctober 06, 2012

Quote from: broodwars

"Ah! Now you see the bias inherent in the system! Help! Help! We're being Repressed!"  ;)


"Bloody peasant!"

SarailOctober 06, 2012

Neal, I'd argue against that in today's age of gamers. Platformers DO NOT appeal to everyone - mainly Nintendo fans only these days. They're just as much of a niche now as RPGs are, too. If anything, the western RPG is more popular than platformers are.

How many copies did NSMB sell? Is there an RPG at that level in recent times?

That's why I offered the Super Mario Galaxy caveat of "for the most part." 3D Platformers generally are a little more niche than 2D platformers.

I think the big thing about platformers vs. RPGs is that platformers are a very understandable and straight-forward genre. It's why we see many licensed games as platformers and not RPGs. RPGs are generally filled with a lot of complicated systems and such that offer a severe impediment to average people.

And I guess by RPGs, I refer to JRPGs mostly, but that's mainly because this conversation is Xenoblade compared to Galaxy.

SarailOctober 06, 2012

I figured you would make that retort. Mario is also Mario. That crap's gonna sell no matter what. And a game like Skylanders broke the trend because of its collectible toy aspect - to which Activision marketed the hell out of it properly.

But yeah, JRPG is what you probably meant. Because western RPGs like Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Elder Scrolls sell by the buttloads. (Buttloads looks like Battletoads - which makes me quite giddy) So...

I still stand by the notion that platformers are just as much niche as the JRPG is to today's gamers. Not all of them sell like Mario does - nowhere near, actually. Don't get me wrong, however, I do love a traditional platformer. One of my favourite genres.

Mop it upOctober 06, 2012

Super Mario Galaxy sold over ten million copies, there's no way that's niché. And I'd be willing to bet that the types of people who played it are much more diverse than those who play all types of RPGs. All different types of gamers play Mario, whereas it's pretty much only avid gamers who spend lots of time playing games who play RPGs. So, I would say that platformers have far more appeal than RPGs of any type.

Quote from: Racht

I still stand by the notion that platformers are just as much niche as the JRPG is to today's gamers.

Donkey Kong Country Returns: 4.98 million
Epic Mickey: 2 million
Kirby's Epic Yarn: 1.59
Kirby's Return to Dream Land: 1.31 million
Rayman Origins: 1.68 million across all platforms*

Anything that sells over one million copies isn't what I would consider niché. Nothing sells like Mario does, so if that's the bar for success, every game is a failure.

*not verified

SarailOctober 06, 2012

*dies*

Mop it upOctober 06, 2012

I'm sorry if that came off the wrong way, I just don't agree with your assessment.

SarailOctober 06, 2012

No, my feelings and ability to live into the future are completely shattered. :P

Maybe I just tire of the typical platformer. I say this having pre-ordered NSMBU, too, and it's also my most anticipated Wii U launch game. I'm quite the conundrum. But hey, not agreeing with me is fine. That's what makes us human and awesome and stuff!

And stuff!

Mop it upOctober 06, 2012

I can understand your position. I mean, I'm not totally different, I'd also like it if RPGs from Japan sold better here, because I find them far more enjoyable than RPGs made in the west, which have become popular recently (and to be clear, I don't think western-made RPGs are niché). So it would be nice if XenoBlade received more recognition, although I wasn't sure it would make this list at all.

TrueNerdOctober 06, 2012

Quote from: broodwars

The first Galaxy bored me, and I found the hub world navigation on the space station especially tedious.  But I suppose it wasn't a bad game per say.  But best 1st Party game on the Wii?  No, that belongs to Xenoblade, and it probably would have if more of the NWR staff played it.  :P: :



The space station is a far poorer hub world than the castle in Super Mario 64, but it's also less emphasized than the castle. Of course, this was almost completely removed from Galaxy 2, a change for the better. However, if this is your big complaint about Galaxy, you're doing it wrong. This game has the most insane and brilliant level design ever in a platformer. And it BORED you? I'm confused by the existence of this opinion. There are deeper, more important games out there to be sure, but Super Mario Galaxy is the most fun you can have playing a game released this generation.

broodwarsOctober 06, 2012

Quote from: TrueNerd

The space station is a far poorer hub world than the castle in Super Mario 64, but it's also less emphasized than the castle. Of course, this was almost completely removed from Galaxy 2, a change for the better. However, if this is your big complaint about Galaxy, you're doing it wrong. This game has the most insane and brilliant level design ever in a platformer. And it BORED you? I'm confused by the existence of this opinion. There are deeper, more important games out there to be sure, but Super Mario Galaxy is the most fun you can have playing a game released this generation.

Yes, the first Mario Galaxy bored me, as did Galaxy 2 to a much less extent.  The opening worlds of the first Galaxy are profoundly slow; tedious; and boring (especially the worlds that use the Bee suit).  The game's boss fights are also some of the lamest I've ever seen in a 3D game.  I also felt that the new, extremely-linear level design was far less appealing to me than the exploration-based design of Super Mario 64, where you could go almost anywhere in a world and just stumble into objectives to accomplish.  I also felt like neither Galaxy game really did anything interesting with their gravity mechanic.  Sure, you could run around the planetoids and there was a bit of a gravity effect, but it wasn't like either game really did anything with that other than having you walk upside-down every once in a while.  It was basically Mario 64 in an extremely linear fashion, and that's not terribly interesting to me.

And don't get me started on the tacked-on motion controls that frustrated me to no end, or the completely pointless Starbits that made unlocking things such a chore.

I just don't like the first Mario Galaxy game, and I only somewhat like the second Galaxy game due to how it uses Yoshi and its quicker pace.

And I think considering I stated that Xenoblade should have been the #1 Wii 1st Party game, I did not find Mario Galaxy to be "the most fun you can have playing a game released this generation."  And if we're including the other platforms, Mario Galaxy 1 is at best somewhere around the mid 40s on my list of top games this generation, and it's probably not even that high.

Pixelated PixiesOctober 07, 2012

@broodwars

It all depends on what you want from your platformers. Personally, I prefer the linear Super Mario Bros 3 to any other Mario game. For me platformers should be about overcoming the hurdle, not finding the hurdle. I enjoyed Super Mario 64 for it's innovativeness and it's open levels, but the platforming never really worked for me in an open world type setting. It was of course a formative and ground breaking game, but it's not really what I want from my 3D Mario games.

The Galaxy series and Super Mario 3D Land on the other hand are far more to my tastes. You could argue that they're simpler (in terms of their design) and more straight forward, but I feel they're also more streamlined and focused than Mario 64 was.

In the Galaxy titles I also think that the platforming is just better. I found that in Mario 64 our plumber protagonist was hard to control, a little unwieldy and a bit slow. By contrast, in the Galaxy titles Mario whizzes and jumps about with the sort of pop that had been missing since the 2D days.

The Galaxy titles for me were damn near perfect.

I'm right there with you. I like Super Mario 64, and to a lesser extent Sunshine, but I much prefer the style of the Galaxy games or 3D Land. For me, platforming isn't about exploring or collecting, it's about getting from point A to point B, traversing the environment and getting past hazards. EAD Tokyo does that better than anyone else in the business right now.

Mop it upOctober 09, 2012

I also agree, Super Mario Galaxy felt like a better progression from the 2D games than previous 3D Mario titles. And I say that with Super Mario 64 being my favourite 3D Mario, however I can't help but wonder if that'd still be the case with nostalgia factors removed.

SlavonJune 08, 2013

Not so bad...

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