Gravity defying fun and a Rare opportunity.
Here are some more missed opportunities to get the mind thinking. This time around I want to talk a little about Mario Galaxy and Rareware. So, what could I possibly have to say about Galaxy having some missed opportunity? Read on.
I was disappointed with Mario Galaxy. “What?” I hear you say, “How can that be?” you ask. Well, let me explain. I, of course, was not disappointed with either Galaxy game; they are and will always be fantastic. However, after I had played through the original game, I was a little perplexed at the absence of levels featuring more varying degrees of gravitational intensity.
I initially expected to see some levels in which the player would have to deal with Mario being constrained by heavier or lighter forces. I think this would have been interesting: forcing the player to adapt to different timing and jump height. Granted, depending on how the levels were constructed, making Mario heavier may not have been that fun or satisfying. But, I think the opposite could have been true with having hardly any force holding Mario down. Having a level where you must make enormous leaps through space would be fun, and especially tense if the player was prevented from correcting their trajectory.
During the Nintendo 64 era, Rareware was one of the most productive development studios on the system. Their games, for better or worse, defined the system just as much as Nintendo’s own. I feel Nintendo letting the studio fall out of their hands was a bad long-term decision.
Nintendo did gain a lot of money in the sale of Rare, but at what cost? Lets imagine for a moment that Rare’s output would have mostly stayed on par in terms of quality if they had stayed with Nintendo. The GameCube would have had a broader scope of exclusive titles and it would have most certainly helped a great deal in fending off Microsoft’s new console. I knew a lot of people at the time that went out and bought the Xbox within the first year or so of Rare becoming exclusive to Microsoft, just because of the promise of Rare’s titles.
With the Wii, Rare could have had a similar effect to what they likely would have had on the GameCube, although their presence probably would not have been as needed, and their effect would be slightly smaller. I think Nintendo was able to put out more quality first party titles for the Wii than the GameCube, and they also had some good partnerships with studios such as Next Level Games and Monster Games. But, imagine the Wii with everything we got and then some Rareware on top! Just the N64 Virtual Console would have been light years better.
That brings us to the Wii U. It’s much harder to project Rare’s presence this far removed from their heyday, but lets assume once again that they would have continued to make quality games under the guidance of Nintendo. Maybe they would have been able to put out a couple of titles within the first year. Would they have made the system more appealing? Possibly. Would they have filled out Nintendo’s portfolio a little more? Yes, almost definitely.
That’s the biggest missed opportunity. Rare didn’t just bring different types of games, they brought more games, and more games is what Nintendo always seems to struggle with in light of small third-party support. It was a mistake to let go a studio that could keep up game output to almost the same level as Nintendo themselves.