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Mario Isn't Missing

by Scott Thompson - August 3, 2012, 3:18 pm PDT
Total comments: 65

Are we approaching Mario fatigue? 

Earlier this week, I wrote a news story detailing the cooperative multiplayer mode in the upcoming (or already released, depending on where you live) New Super Mario Bros. 2. The story highlighted how the mode almost didn’t make the final cut, as the team working on the game didn’t think it would be possible to implement it in the time they had to complete the product. This story spawned a great deal of conversation, stretching from Nintendo’s “laziness” in almost abandoning the co-op mode because it seemed too difficult, to their overall stance on multiplayer gaming, especially online. However, a different topic stuck out to me: whether or not we have too much Mario right now. It's something I felt, too, after this year's E3, when Nintendo announced a pair of 2D Mario games for 2012.

So what’s the problem? There was a time when Nintendo could have announced a new Mario game for each of the 128 Marios in that old GameCube tech video and I would have started counting out the thousands of dollars necessary to buy them all. Are we really suffering from Mario overexposure, or is this apathy (if not worse) for the upcoming games a reaction to the quality of the games themselves?

By the end of this year, Nintendo will have released a total of seven traditional Mario games since 2006: New Super Mario Bros. (2006), Super Mario Galaxy (2007), New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009), Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010), Super Mario 3D Land (2011), New Super Mario Bros. 2 (2012) and New Super Mario Bros. U (2012). So that averages to exactly one standard Mario platformer per year over a span of seven years. Now let me stop you right there, guy who is beginning to argue that the 3D and 2D Mario games should be considered in a different light: the games are all platformers, differing only in dimension. Thematically they are the same, and as such, I am putting them together.

So, seven games in seven years. That trails Call of Duty by only one entry, a series that will see its eighth game in that same timespan released later this year. Indeed, Mario games have been coming out like clockwork. But using that figure alone to argue that Nintendo is annualizing Mario as a means to make a quick buck falls flat when you look at the number of Mario games released in the same amount of time during the ‘80s and ‘90s.

From 1985 to 1991, Nintendo released six Mario games (going by the Japanese release date unless otherwise noted): Super Mario Bros. (1985), Super Mario Bros. 2 (Japan 1986), Super Mario Bros. 2 (US 1988), Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988), Super Mario Land (1989), and Super Mario World (1990). That’s six games in seven years, and I don't think anyone would argue those games suffer from coming out too rapidly. The issue, then, wouldn't appear to be quantity.

With the exception of the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2, each of the other five games released from 1985 to 1990 felt drastically different from its predecessor. From level selection screens to the ability to fly, friendly dinosaurs to drivable submarines and airplanes, no two Mario games were the same. They didn’t look or sound the same, either. Each game featured new worlds and unique soundtracks that set them apart from the others. In other words, each Mario game stands on its own as a momentous and noteworthy addition to the series.

The same can’t be said for the recent Mario games, not entirely anyway. The Galaxy games are the shining example of what happens when Nintendo gets creative and defies what is expected of them. Up, down, left, and right are only a matter of perspective as Mario manipulates, and is manipulated by, the gravity of the different planetoids he finds himself on. Nintendo took the familiar and expanded upon it, not unlike during the ‘80s. Even Super Mario 3D Land, which is essentially a marriage between Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Bros., was inventive enough to stand on its own.

New Super Mario Bros., though, as a series, is sort of like a prolonged Metroid game, where Mario has been stripped of all his familiar and most beloved abilities, only to gain them back one by one across four different games. Yoshis; the ability to fly; expansive world maps—New Super Mario Bros. purposefully de-evolved Mario. One could argue that was the point; it wasn't "Super Mario Bros. 4," it was a rebirth of the franchise, a new beginning that could tread its own path. That argument doesn't hold weight, though, as each subsequent game after the original has included something from Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World as if to say, "Look! We are getting closer to making the game you wanted from the start." (That game being a continuation of 3 and World, of course.)

More egregious, though, are the recycled assets. Each New Super Mario Bros. game looks and sounds exactly the same. The series now spans four different systems, and apart from some anti-aliasing and improved geometry, there is no differentiating between them. Nintendo has picked one style and decided it's all Mario needs. Meanwhile, other 2D platforms, such as Kirby's Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Rayman Origins, play with lighting, perspective, and level design in a way that exudes creativity.

New Super Mario Bros., as a series, is stuck in neutral. The games function well enough and there is fun to be had, but if you've played one, you've played them all. That couldn't be said about the games in the ‘80s. That's the problem right there: Nintendo has become complacent, implementing only incremental upgrades from game to game. In the latest Iwata Asks, the team behind New Super Mario Bros. 2 talked about the Mario Cram School, where employees from several different departments come to learn how to create 2D Mario levels. It would appear to me the Mario Cram School needs to offer some extra courses, because the students have been turning in the same assignment for the past seven years. It wasn't that noticeable before, but in a year with two strikingly similar games coming out just a few months apart, it's impossible to ignore.

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Talkback

Pixelated PixiesAugust 03, 2012

Agreed.

C-OlimarAugust 03, 2012

Next we'll see New Super Mario World or Land, I think, and I hope they will actually put some effort in.

I never owned the first two NSMB games (borrowed 1 for a short time, only played Wii twice), so I'll be getting 2 and probably U, but if there's another near identical games, they can forget aboot it!

On a side note, there needs to be a Wario Brothers game. We've had Land 1-4 and Shake Dimension, as well as World, so I want Bros. next! Waluigi needs more attention.

EyothrieAugust 03, 2012

I really enjoyed the DS and Wii versions, but to me the "new" series should have probably ended after the Wii version.  As big of a Mario fanboy as I am, I'm really having a hard time getting excited for NSMB2.  I've never had this feeling before in regards to a Mario game.

Pixelated PixiesAugust 03, 2012

Quote from: Eyothrie

I really enjoyed the DS and Wii versions, but to me the "new" series should have probably ended after the Wii version.  As big of a Mario fanboy as I am, I'm really having a hard time getting excited for NSMB2.  I've never had this feeling before in regards to a Mario game.


Same here. Not to be a downer, but this will probably be the first Mario game that I don't buy at launch. I might pick it up in a sale (although that's not very likely given that these games tend to retain their price point for years) but certainly not for full price.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterAugust 03, 2012

I love NSMBW to death! I found that finding and collecting some of the coins were legitimately challenging and playing with a competent friend or 3 is down right fun! Note I said competent.

NSMB for the DS really did nothing for me at all, aside from the koopa shell power up. I culdnt even breing myself to finish it.

Now NSMB2 and U are coming and as much as I am looking forward to them I do agree with the points about all of them looking and sounding too similar. I will give a little credit to U though, it does have at least some unique looking back grounds and enemies. But why do they all share the same main theme? I would think they would create something else to differentiate it from the past games. When I looked at Galaxy 2 screens shots, if Yoshi was not present, I could not tell the games apart. But when Galaxy 2 released it blew my butt away and I was pleasantly surprised.

When I look at NSMB2 if a massive amount of coins aren't present or the Tanooki suit, it really does look like the past 2 games. I really hope it surprises me with content, but I know it won't be as zany or fulfilling as DKCR. I don't expect expect super crazy complex level design from either of these games at least until the lone special world is unlocked.

All I hope for is that these 2 2D Mario games are the only ones for this generation, leaving more anticipation for the next title in 5 or 6 years on the Wii Z and 4DS. 3D Mario can show up next year with a sequel a couple years after, no worries there.

HeyItsMeAugust 03, 2012

The only problem I have with the Mario games. Is that they give you tons of lives, just a minor compliant. But come on now. For New Super Mario Bros. 2 I can't wait to have 999 lives in World 3. (-_-)

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterAugust 03, 2012

I'm only assuming you mentioned too many lives as in it makes the game easier. Lives really mean nothing in Mario anymore aside from starting form a check point. Yoshi's island is tough and by the 2nd world you can easily get 99 lives. It hardly makes the game easier. The fact that we can save up to the current level makes lives absolutely worthless. They are basically around since it's tradition.

Luigi DudeAugust 03, 2012

Once again, Nintendo only releases one 2D Mario per system now.  Since both NSMB are coming out this year for the 3DS and Wii U, there won't be another one til at least 2017.  So no we aren't getting to many 2D Mario games since after NSMB U this Fall, they'll be at least a 5 year gap before we get a new one.

Oh and once again the 2D and 3D Mario are completely different gameplay wise so it's beyond idiotic to count the 3D with the 2D games just so you can compare Mario platformer's to Call of Duty.  Just because they're both platformers doesn't mean sh!t when they're both played completely different vs Call of Duty were all the games play the exact same.

Pixelated PixiesAugust 03, 2012

Quote from: Luigi

Oh and once again the 2D and 3D Mario are completely different gameplay wise so it's beyond idiotic to count the 3D with the 2D games just so you can compare Mario platformer's to Call of Duty.  Just because they're both platformers doesn't mean sh!t when they're both played completely different vs Call of Duty were all the games play the exact same.


I don't know. For me, the Galaxy games and 3D Land gave me the same kick that I get from 2D Mario games. They were expanded in scope, sure, but they're still linear platformers which involved bopping stuff and jumping. Are 2D and 3D Mario platformers exactly the same? No, but they're certainly similar enough that people might feel fatigued from playing them.

I have done nothing but praise the Galaxy games and 3D Land, but even I am feeling a little...I don't know...wearisome of the Mario series right now. It's not even just the platformers. It's everything. The Karts, the Partys, the Olympic Games, the Tennis, the New, the Old. They're all different from each other, yes. But, they're all exactly the same as what has went before. Mario 3D Kart is a Mario Kart game. Mario Tennis Open is a Mario Tennis game. NSMB 2 is a NSMB game. For me, this is a larger problem. I used to get excited for the release of a new Mario game. Now? I'm kind of over it.

HeyItsMeAugust 03, 2012

Quote from: Caterkiller

I'm only assuming you mentioned too many lives as in it makes the game easier. Lives really mean nothing in Mario anymore aside from starting form a check point. Yoshi's island is tough and by the 2nd world you can easily get 99 lives. It hardly makes the game easier. The fact that we can save up to the current level makes lives absolutely worthless. They are basically around since it's tradition.

It's just weird to me collecting a lot of lives. It really doesn't make the game any easier. I don't remember how much times I died to get the (very) final star in Super Mario Galaxy 2 but it seriously took over 6 hrs. ARGHH RAGE..

CericAugust 03, 2012

Just going to pop in and say the Super Mario Land stole tons of assets from Galaxy games.

Luigi DudeAugust 03, 2012

Quote from: Ceric

Just going to pop in and say the Super Mario Land stole tons of assets from Galaxy games.

Wow, Nintendo really does have a time machine.

I'm pretty sure any art asset from either Galaxy game would be larger than the cartridge Super Mario Land came on.

ThomasOAugust 03, 2012

Quote from: HeyItsMe

I don't remember how much times I died to get the (very) final star in Super Mario Galaxy 2 but it seriously took over 6 hrs. ARGHH RAGE..

6 hours? Took me around 12 minutes. :P

DonnyKDAugust 03, 2012

Quote from: Luigi

Once again, Nintendo only releases one 2D Mario per system now.  Since both NSMB are coming out this year for the 3DS and Wii U, there won't be another one til at least 2017.  So no we aren't getting to many 2D Mario games since after NSMB U this Fall, they'll be at least a 5 year gap before we get a new one.

Oh and once again the 2D and 3D Mario are completely different gameplay wise so it's beyond idiotic to count the 3D with the 2D games just so you can compare Mario platformer's to Call of Duty.  Just because they're both platformers doesn't mean sh!t when they're both played completely different vs Call of Duty were all the games play the exact same.

This. I can't believe people can cry so much just because a bunch of platformers with Mario in the names are released.

I'm also going to post this:

Oh, and by the way, I didn't see anyone bitch that we got SMB (1985), SMB:LL (1986), SMB2 USA (1988), SMB3 (the same year), SML (1989) and SMW (1990), so why bitch now?

What's even worse is that, all of the games I listed? They're all 2D platformers.

I get the impression that if Nintendo had chosen four different visual styles for the NSMB games (and maybe a different naming scheme) we wouldn't be hearing anywhere near as much complaining about this, which just doesn't make sense to me. What happened to the old "gameplay over graphics" argument that used to be a staple of Nintendo fans?

The original NSMB wasn't great in terms of gameplay, but the Wii version blew it out of the water and brought greatness back to 2D Mario. Do we ignore the great game design because they used the same art style? I'm really excited for NSMB2 after playing it, because it has great level design and the coin mechanic is something very new to the series that excites me a lot as a high-score junkie. I'll admit, I'm not crazy about NSMBU, and it was easily the weakest game in Nintendo's booth in my opinion, but I'll still probably end up buying it.

I'm not saying Nintendo shouldn't be more creative with the visuals and the music, but they're creative where it counts, in the gameplay and level design, so I let it slide.

NinSageAugust 03, 2012

Are we suffering from Mario fatigue? No.

Why? All the reasons people have already listed in this thread.

Good luck with your molehill, other people.

broodwarsAugust 04, 2012

I don't see insisting on separating 2D and 3D Mario so you avoid facing undesirable comparisons with other milked franchises being any less disingenuous than combining 2D and 3D Mario so you can make them.  To me, they are all Mario platformers that follow the same formula and pull from the same bank of old enemies.  I don't see one being "faster" than the other as a significant enough departure to distinguish between games based on what dimension you view them in.

As for the common go-to excuse by some that "well, the NES had THREE Mario games" and so on, the Mario platforming franchise was brand-new on the NES.  Much as it really doesn't bother me that new-to-this generation franchises like Uncharted; Gears of War; or Resistance have had 3 games on one console, it really didn't bother me that there were 3 Mario platformers on the NES.  It was a new franchise with new worlds to explore and characters to see, and it felt like a fresh experience (especially in comparison to the usual crap that flooded the NES' software library).  Then Super Mario World pushed the boundaries of that world further and showed us things we hadn't really seen before, and Yoshi's Island made a radical departure to do the same.

However, the Mario platforming franchise is over 25 years old now, and it feels every day of it now with its reliance on outdated mechanics; the same old music; the same visual design; and formulaic structure.  The New Super Mario Bros. series in particular feels like a soul-less, derivative, nostalgia-reliant, designed-by-investors, creatively bankrupt product.  "'New' Super Mario Bros., indeed.  While there have been admirable attempts to push the series in potentially new directions (some purely cosmetic), they just haven't been enough to make the series feel "new" and "fresh" to me.  I recently finished Super Mario 3D Land, and while it is a very well-made game there isn't a single aspect of it that excites me.  Playing the game still feels like I'm going through the motions, and that's the feeling I've been getting from Mario for quite some time.  And because Nintendo whores out the Mario characters to so many spin-off franchises (Mario Kart, etc.), I never get the chance to miss them and in the end I just end up wishing they'd all go away.  I don't get the same feeling from franchises like Zelda or Metroid because their characters generally don't appear outside their respective games, with the exception of Smash Bros. and Soul Calibur 2.  Perhaps so many wouldn't feel franchise fatigued over Mario if it wasn't Nintendo's go-to franchise whenever they're in a financial jam.

Are the Mario games consistently good?  Yeah, for the most part.  For as much criticism as New Super Mario Bros. 2 is receiving for being just another New Super Mario Bros. game, it's still garnering fairly decent scores from reviewers.  But I can't help but think that 10-15 years ago the announcement of a new Mario game would have made me ecstatic, whereas nowadays I just shrug and think "yep, it's another one of those. I'm pretty sure I know exactly how it will play out.  That will make the investors happy.  Now where are the more interesting games?"  :-\

However much it would anger the investors, I think the Mario franchises need to take a break for a while.  Let us start to miss them again, and give Nintendo's designers a chance to rejuvenate their creative juices working on other projects.  Hey, maybe we'd even get a new IP or two out of it, and in the end would that be a bad thing?

Now that EAD Tokyo's taken over the series the 3D Mario platformers are a lot more like the 2D ones than 64 or Sunshine were, but they're still significantly different from the 2D games. I wouldn't separate the two categories entirely, but I wouldn't lump them all together completely either.

Speaking of EAD Tokyo, I think the odds are pretty good that they're going to be showing off a new 3D Mario for Wii U at next year's E3, so I don't think we're going to see Mario take a break too soon.

broodwarsAugust 04, 2012

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Speaking of EAD Tokyo, I think the odds are pretty good that they're going to be showing off a new 3D Mario for Wii U at next year's E3, so I don't think we're going to see Mario take a break too soon.

I don't think we're going to ever see Nintendo take a break from Mario either because he does make Nintendo such ridiculous amounts of money in his various franchise incarnations, but I really wish they would from a purely creative standpoint.  It's pure fantasy, of course, so long as our generation is so driven by nostalgia, but it's a nice fantasy.  It's nice to imagine a world where Nintendo doesn't churn out a new Mario game because the Investors started whining for one.

Well if they do stick to the "one per system" model for the NSMB games things should slow down at least. One every couple years, from the team that does the best job with the series, doesn't sound so bad.

motdelbourtAugust 04, 2012

Yes, I'm done with 2D Mario. Rayman Origins set a bar for art style and gameplay that I just don't see these NSMB games meeting.

Rayman Origins certainly looks better, but I'm not sure it's better from a gameplay perspective. I definitely liked what I played of Rayman Legends better than NSMBU, but that may just be because I really didn't like NSMBU. I'm definitely more excited for NSMB2 than Rayman Legends, though.

Pixelated PixiesAugust 04, 2012

Quote from: DonnyKD

I'm also going to post this:

Oh, and by the way, I didn't see anyone bitch that we got SMB (1985), SMB:LL (1986), SMB2 USA (1988), SMB3 (the same year), SML (1989) and SMW (1990), so why bitch now?

What's even worse is that, all of the games I listed? They're all 2D platformers.

Know what's funnier? Unlike the NSMB series, which only appears once a console, the 6 games listed? Yeah, 4 of them are on the SAME CONSOLE.

Nobody f***ing cried then!

MagicCow64August 04, 2012

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Rayman Origins certainly looks better, but I'm not sure it's better from a gameplay perspective. I definitely liked what I played of Rayman Legends better than NSMBU, but that may just be because I really didn't like NSMBU. I'm definitely more excited for NSMB2 than Rayman Legends, though.

Yeah, I'm with you there. Origins looked great, but there was a cog missing somewhere that kept it from reaching NSMBW's level, despite the latter game's conservative visuals.

oksodaScott Thompson, Associate EditorAugust 04, 2012

Really enjoying the conversation so far. I want to talk about this topic on next week's Connectivity, and I'd love to have some thoughts from you guys on the show. If anyone is interested, please email Connectivity@nintendoworldreport.com and answer the following:

Are you experiencing Mario fatigue right now? Why or why not?

I centered my post around the shortcomings of New Super Mario Bros. as a series, but feel free to address any aspect of Mario in your answer.

Mop it upAugust 04, 2012

I'm probably the only one in the world who thinks we need more Mario. But even I agree with this article about the New Super Mario Brothers line. It isn't just about style, but those Mario games back in the day also had their own feel to them which required relearning the game. Since the NSMB series all play the same way, I already know how all the mechanics work, and there will be no surprises. Even Super Mario Galaxy 2 had a bit of this, and is the main reason why I consider Galaxy 1 the better game.

Maybe that's why Nintendo are keeping the games the same, so that the more casual players don't have to relearn the game every time.

LudicrousDa3veAugust 04, 2012

If you spread them by differing consoles and styles (2D&3D), it doesn't seem so extreme. Let's see how the next couple of years pan out. A few more samey NSMB titles on the same platforms will definitely throw us into Mario fatigue.
    I do really hope we get a new 3D one on WiiU by '14, though. :)

DonnyKDAugust 04, 2012

The problem lies with the fact that whereas Super Mario Bros 1 - 3 were relatively different from each other, each NSMB game is pretty much identical.

Pixelated PixiesAugust 04, 2012

Quote from: DonnyKD

The problem lies with the fact that whereas Super Mario Bros 1 - 3 were relatively different from each other, each NSMB game is pretty much identical.

You keep telling yourself that Lost Levels is different from SMB. And you keep telling yourself that SMB2 USA is a Mario game. Hey, at least the NSMB series never reskinned another game.

All these different branches of the Mario tree are separate from one another, but for me they're all suffering from the same problem, which is that they're not evolving fast enough and in some cases not evolving at all.

I'm not really concerned so much about the proliferation of Mario games as I am Nintendo's over-reliance on the franchise to carry its systems.

I can't even remember the last time Nintendo themselves launched a truly new console IP in a genre other than party game or fitness.  I honestly can't think of the last time that happened.  You could maybe say Endless Ocean and Excite Truck/Bots on Wii, but those weren't even developed by Nintendo.  Probably Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, which is cheating a bit as it's using an existing IP.  Ugh.

Really, you'd have to go back almost to the dawn of GameCube, with Luigi's Mansion, Pikmin, and Wave Race.  That feels like the last time Nintendo was really putting out consistently new games that we'd never seen before. They've been recycling franchises for over a decade now.

TJ SpykeAugust 04, 2012

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

I can't even remember the last time Nintendo themselves launched a truly new console IP in a genre other than party game or fitness.  I honestly can't think of the last time that happened.  You could maybe say Endless Ocean and Excite Truck/Bots on Wii, but those weren't even developed by Nintendo.  Probably Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, which is cheating a bit as it's using an existing IP.  Ugh.

Xenoblade says "Hi".

I thought I had Mario Fatigue. And then I played Mario 3D Land MONTHS after it came out on a whim. Dear god that game... SO GOOD! It re-readied my boyd for any and all Mario that Nintendo can dish out!

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

Really, you'd have to go back almost to the dawn of GameCube, with Luigi's Mansion, Pikmin, and Wave Race.

Huh?

NinSageAugust 04, 2012

Let's also remember one important piece of information ...

In the earlier days, the definition of a Mario game had not been fully formed.  They could fearlessly experiment.

These days, especially with the nature of "fans" on the internet, changes have to be made in drips and drabs.  If there were ANY sweeping changes made to the franchise?

http://www.marrettcounseling.com/siteimages/Anger%202.jpg


So, we'll get high quality games that gradually evolve over time.  Drastic changes will take place every so often in the form of new sub-series ("New," "Galaxy," etc.).

I, and millions of other gamers, will gladly take it.

famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Associate Editor (Japan)August 04, 2012

Before purchasing NSMB2 I was pondering this "Mario overkill" a lot, something I've never done before, because as Scott pointed out, there has always been enough time between releases before now.
Heck, if Mario 3D Land didn't exist, anticipation for the latest couple of games would be exponentially more methinks.

After playing the first couple of worlds and a bit of the **spoiler removed** I can confirm that my fears were unfortunately realised, at least at first.
I definitely got that "deja-vu" feeling I've not felt before, which is not to say I'm not enjoying it, it's just....I wish i was playing this a year later, maybe with more features *cough* online multiplayer *cough*.

DonnyKDAugust 05, 2012

I can't even remember the last time Nintendo themselves launched a truly new console IP in a genre other than party game or fitness.

HeyItsMeAugust 05, 2012

Quote from: ThomasO

Quote from: HeyItsMe

I don't remember how much times I died to get the (very) final star in Super Mario Galaxy 2 but it seriously took over 6 hrs. ARGHH RAGE..

6 hours? Took me around 12 minutes. :P: :

Really the very last star. The 242 star. I played it for 6 hrs. straight trying to beat that damn level..

HeyItsMeAugust 05, 2012

While I don't mind Nintendo releasing Mario games all the time. I kinda wish they would bring back more of their own franchises. Don't get me wrong they have been doing a great job recently with Kid Icarus, Pikimin and many more.  Or maybe create a new IP all together. I would love to see another Wave Race, or another F-Zero. NintendoLand looks like a great new game something different. Which I'd admit it was dumb shown at the press conference but I really can't wait to play it now. These ideas are what Nintendo needs to put out there.

broodwarsAugust 05, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

Let's also remember one important piece of information ...

In the earlier days, the definition of a Mario game had not been fully formed.  They could fearlessly experiment.

These days, especially with the nature of "fans" on the internet, changes have to be made in drips and drabs.  If there were ANY sweeping changes made to the franchise? *rage photo*

From my experience, that's only been the reaction when the changes have been blatantly bad.  Even Other M, a game that is fairly widely derided now for the things that it did, did not receive such a reaction until people had played the game and saw that the new elements were badly implemented.  But as I've constantly said, I'm glad they tried to change things up, and I'd be quite open to them making another, better attempt in the future.  I'd rather companies tried new ideas with their franchises and failed than keep a series stagnant because they fear the risks.

Not changing things because you're petrified that people will revolt at the slightest provocation is why we have still regurgitated **** like the Dynasty Warriors games, which (apparently) have not substantially changed in over a decade.  To me, throwing new ideas into spin-off series instead of revamping the core experience is cowardly and shows a distinct lack of faith in your game designers.

Pixelated PixiesAugust 05, 2012

s

Quote from: HeyItsMe

Quote from: ThomasO

Quote from: HeyItsMe

I don't remember how much times I died to get the (very) final star in Super Mario Galaxy 2 but it seriously took over 6 hrs. ARGHH RAGE..

6 hours? Took me around 12 minutes. :P: : :

Really the very last star. The 242 star. I played it for 6 hrs. straight trying to beat that damn level..


I got every star but that one. It was just too frustrating for me.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusAugust 05, 2012

It's definitely franchise fatigue setting in exacerbated by the short timing between this and the last game also the dual release timing and the laziness of it. It's a real rookie mistake I would would expect some idiot fresh out of Uni with a MBA would make. It's all part of the increasingly short term outlook Nintendo is having and it's a serious problem that will hurt them more than their competitors ever could. Instead of having a road map and making small course adjustment along the way, they are driving like they are looking through the floor boards and swerving wildly.

Nintendo really needs to look out the window as these corrections are going to get worse and worse each time they make them. The 3DS price issue hit had them hard and the correction they had to make was costly, but necessary. It's embarrassing how obvious these mistakes are.

NinSageAugust 05, 2012

@broodwars

You ALMOST have a point there but you're neglecting a key element that makes the Other M situation entirely unique.  The issues some people have with that game deal with characterization and consistency with some mythical prior experience.  In other words, in that case, it is something that couldn't be experienced before playing most of the game.

The gameplay itself reflects my point about substantial yet gradual evolutions.  Yes, there are new and exciting tweaks, but it is built on the Super Metroid model and even manages to control largely with NES-style inputs.  Which, again, accomplishes something "new" without reinventing itself.

Ultimately, you make part of my point for me.  Of course people don't mind change when it's "good," the problem is that a lot of gamers fear change just as much as Nintendo fears alienating them.  Gamers want game changes to reflect the ideal IN THEIR HEAD.  When the result is different (as is the overwhelming statistical likelihood)? "rawr." "this change was BAD."

That's why I mentioned new sub-series, or whatever you want to call them.  THAT's where companies like Nintendo who have looooong standing franchises can take risks because people don't have the same expectations.  They can't "rawr" if there were no expectations to be cognitively dissonant about.  Think of the PKMN Ranger series.  People liked the games but not as much as the flagship titles.  Imagine if one of them was called PKMN Black/White instead.

@oohhboy

It couldn't have anything to do with how some gamers/journalists have tried to crucify Nintendo in recent years for not having enough Mario games towards the beginning of a platforms cycle, could it?

oksodaScott Thompson, Associate EditorAugust 05, 2012

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

I can't even remember the last time Nintendo themselves launched a truly new console IP in a genre other than party game or fitness.

I know that, to us, it isn't on par with more traditional games, but Wii Sports was a new IP and sold a whole lot of Wiis. It shouldn't be overlooked.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusAugust 05, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

It couldn't have anything to do with how some gamers/journalists have tried to crucify Nintendo in recent years for not having enough Mario games towards the beginning of a platforms cycle, could it?

Yes and no. Having a Mario game is good for a launch. They are just far too similar to each other. If the WiiU game was a 3D Mario they would have gotten away with it since Golden Showers is alternating from a 3D Mario. They could have launched with a 2D Mario, but they would have had to hidden GS's existence and launching that later. Any backlash would have been relatively isolated to GS instead of both. A 3D WiiU Mario would have had enough of a wow factor to overcome the issues facing these two games.

Quote from: oksoda

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

I can't even remember the last time Nintendo themselves launched a truly new console IP in a genre other than party game or fitness.

I know that, to us, it isn't on par with more traditional games, but Wii Sports was a new IP and sold a whole lot of Wiis. It shouldn't be overlooked.

I think he's taking that into account, though I have to ask which of "party" or "fitness" Wii Sports would fall under.

AnGerAugust 05, 2012

I'll never suffer from "Mario fatigue" since I am not especially a big Mario fan. I pick up some of the games (I bought SM3DL for example, but mainly because I was lacking a good non-RPG single player experience at the time), but Mario or the lack thereof will never be a deciding factor whether I'll pick up a Nintendo console or not.


Despite that, I fail to understand how people are annoyed by the large number of Mario games coming out. Yes, it is a cash cow and yes, it appears to be the same game all over again (at least the "New" series), but then again, Nintendo can (and will) most likely pour the money into other projects which will maybe not sell like hotcakes.

I think something people aren't talking about is Nintendo front-loading their new systems with ever-green titles. Games like New Super Mario Bros. 2 or Mario Kart 7 will have the rest of the 3DS' (or Wii U's) lifetime to do their evergreen/long-tail selling, something a financial safety net of sorts for Nintendo to strike out from.

Luigi DudeAugust 05, 2012

Quote from: oohhboy

Yes and no. Having a Mario game is good for a launch. They are just far too similar to each other. If the WiiU game was a 3D Mario they would have gotten away with it since Golden Showers is alternating from a 3D Mario. They could have launched with a 2D Mario, but they would have had to hidden GS's existence and launching that later. Any backlash would have been relatively isolated to GS instead of both. A 3D WiiU Mario would have had enough of a wow factor to overcome the issues facing these two games.

But once again, it's only one 2D Mario per system and they have huge legs.  Most of the audience for the 2D Mario games will be buying them over the next several years since Mario platformers are the prime definition of ever green titles.

People have to remember after NSMB U comes out this fall, it'll be at least 5 years until a new 2D Mario is released.  So even if NSMB 2 and NSMB U are too much for some people because of how close they are, any sales one game takes away from the other this year, will be made up in the next several years since the other game is the only other new 2D Mario for a long time.

Note that I said:

"Nintendo themselves"
"console IP"
"party game or fitness"

I was specifically talking about console games that aren't Wii Sports, Rhythm Heaven, or games of that ilk.  New IPs on handhelds have never been an issue for some reason.

Xenoblade is developed by Monolithsoft, and they're owned by Nintendo, but eh...not really Nintendo themselves creating that game.  And hell, they really didn't even want to release it in NA.

Nintendo's internal console teams have either been on the party game/fitness wagon or churning out sequels/spin-offs to existing console IPs for a looooong time...welcome to 2012.

EDIT

Quote from: HeyItsMe

Don't get me wrong they have been doing a great job recently with Kid Icarus, Pikimin and many more.  Or maybe create a new IP all together.

My point exactly.  Nintendo, CREATE A NEW IP FOR YOUR CONSOLES THAT ISN'T A PARTY GAME, FITNESS GAME, FRANCHISE SPINOFF, OR SOME OTHER BLUE OCEAN WHATEVER-YOU-WANT-TO-CALL-IT.

Just a new, traditional console IP.  kthnxbai

NinSageAugust 05, 2012

@Lindy

I love ya like a brother, but those are some pretty stringent qualifiers.

Xenoblade, mothatrucka.  Xenoblade.

Luigi DudeAugust 05, 2012

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

Xenoblade is developed by Monolithsoft, and they're owned by Nintendo, but eh...not really Nintendo themselves creating that game.

Monolith Soft is owned by Nintendo which makes it a first party internal studio.  So yeah, Xenoblade was Nintendo themselves making it since it was made by a studio they own.

Ian SaneAugust 07, 2012

Xenoblade is the one blonde in an army of brunettes and NOA didn't even want to release it here!  It's a new IP and it's not some dumb casual game and it's exactly what everyone who felt let down by the Wii wanted and NOA had to have it's arm twisted to release it.  It didn't fit the safe, predictable, insta-hit model that Nintendo, and specifically NOA, has moved to.

I used to see Nintendo as a company that defined themselves with new ideas.  Redundant or unessential Nintendo titles seemed rare and now I feel like I can skip practically ANY Nintendo title and I'll never truly miss out on something special.  But I was naive.  I'm old enough to remember when the NES was new and Nintendo didn't have many IPs to milk.  They were creative out of a necessity and now they don't have to be, so they aren't.  Now they have enough established IP to just stick to the same old thing, so they do.  Would they have done that back then if they could have?  It's hard to say for sure though I do find that Nintendo became more IP dependent when Iwata took over.  Is it the change of leadership or is that timing just a fluke and Nintendo was inevitably going to go this way?  Whenever I point out that Sony ironically is better at creating new IP these days the response is often that they have to because they lack the established IP Nintendo has.  Though what bugs me about that response is that it suggests that that is okay, like the only appropriate time to be creative is when it is necessary.  Anyway I don't know if my view of Nintendo and what the stood for was ever accurate or that they were only the way I thought they were out of necessity.  Though if THIS Nintendo is what they always were then I guess I never really liked them, but rather what they coincidently resembled.

I got sick of Mario in non-platform games a long time ago.  Now I don't care about him at all.  One problem is that Mario has always been so lazy with storyline and setting.  Every game you jump on Goombas and Koopas and defeat Bowser.  Yawn.  It's one of the WORST series to become formulaic because at least with other series you can tell a new story with existing game mechanics.  No one plays a Mario game to find out what happens next in the Mario epic saga.  Though I think NSMB is the true source of the problem.  Take those games out and Mario is not nearly so overexposed.  And NSMB is the series with more casual appeal.  The curse of the non-gamers continues.  Nintendo can't be a truly exciting or creative videogame company while appealing to that audience.

Different people like different things though.  I like it if each game in a series does enough new with the concept that every title is essential.  My brother likes to find a good gameplay model that works and just wants new levels for it.  I think my brother would prefer the NSMB model.  Though in the past I felt that enough companies did the cookie cutter thing that those that want that can find that with Capcom or EA and those that don't always had Nintendo.

I wonder if some of this is a result of Mario Sunshine and Wind Waker backlash.  In both cases Nintendo tried to do something new and it did not go over well.  But I would argue that it was just the specific ideas that didn't go over well, not the concept of trying new things (there was no backlash when Super Mario 64 or Ocarina of Time tried new ideas).  To have these so close to each other is bad timing and it might has spooked Nintendo into being less daring.  Twilight Princess in particular comes across as a the work of a company afraid to offend with change.  You try something new and sometimes it goes over well and sometimes it doesn't but that shouldn't discourage you from trying something new.  Other M doesn't suck because it did new things but because those specific new things SUCKED.  Metroid Prime did new things but those specific new things didn't suck and that game kicks ass as a result.  So pick up the pieces and try again.

broodwarsAugust 07, 2012

I won't defend Mario Sunshine (I never liked that game, due to lack of environmental variety and the decreased emphasis on exploration & player freedom), but I think the backlash from Wind Waker was both very temporary (the game seemed pretty widely beloved post-release) and mainly due to Nintendo not properly preparing us for the new look.  They put out the Spaceworld tech demo trailer at launch that showed a realistic Ocarina-style Link, and then they just went radio silent before suddenly showing actual Wind Waker gameplay with the new art style.  Had they not allowed the idea of that realistic Link in the tech demo to become the de facto art style in many players' minds, the change probably would have gone over just fine.

I also don't think their initial reveal trailer was terribly well-done, especially the very Looney Toons-esque bit at the end with Link swinging on a chandelier with the Moblins doing a Wile E Coyote routine in the air.  It set a tone that was goofier than the actual game, and Link's eyes just looked weird until they later tweaked them for the final version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ7riCXrDxY

Ian SaneAugust 07, 2012

Link looking at the camera and winking still makes me want to gag.  Everyone accuses you of being kiddy so you respond to that by taking the most anticipated game for your new system and turn it into a cartoon?  Could you self-sabotage yourself any more perfectly?

TeaHeeAugust 09, 2012

Isn't this as much a problem for the whole industry and not just Nintendo.  Pretty much everything produced is either a sequel or a game that is highly derivative of a popular genre.  There are very few new and innovative IPs across the various platforms.  The one place this doesn't hold true is small independent download titles, but for retail games everyone, not just Nintendo and Mario, is banking on established franchises to insure a profit.

broodwarsAugust 09, 2012

Quote from: TeaHee

Isn't this as much a problem for the whole industry and not just Nintendo.  Pretty much everything produced is either a sequel or a game that is highly derivative of a popular genre.  There are very few new and innovative IPs across the various platforms.  The one place this doesn't hold true is small independent download titles, but for retail games everyone, not just Nintendo and Mario, is banking on established franchises to insure a profit.

To give Sony some credit, though, most of the franchises they've "banked on" this generation have been IPs new to this generation (Uncharted, Resistance, LittleBigPlanet, Heavy Rain, The Last of Us, Beyond: Two Souls, PSAS Battle Royale), and they've done quite a bit of backing independent studios on new IPs for PSN exclusives.

Ian SaneAugust 09, 2012

This generation has been longer than the typical one.  So some of the more milked IPs might not have been as milked if there was a new generation of consoles to move to.  Sony seems to milk each IP for a generation.  As broodwars pointed out they've introduced a lot of new IP this gen.  Last gen they milked Ratchet & Clank (one of the few still getting sequels), Sly Cooper and Jak & Daxter, all of which were new for that gen.  In the PS1 era they milked Crash Bandicoot and Spyro who, again, were brand new for that gen.

Activision is the worst offender this gen and they just outright killed the golden goose in Guitar Hero and they treat Call of Duty like a sports game.  Last gen Rockstar would have been accused of milking GTA but this gen we've only gotten one console GTA out of them.  MS clearly milks the crap out of Halo, but Gears of War was a new IP this gen.  I love Capcom but they are the masters of milking something until it's dead.  SIX Mega Man games on the NES?  Come on!  Anything more than a trilogy is complete overkill.

oksodaScott Thompson, Associate EditorAugust 11, 2012

This week's episode of Connectivity is live, and we talk about this topic quite a bit. Take a listen if you want more!

UrkelAugust 11, 2012

I see Lindemann is still being Lindemann.

"Xenoblade doesn't count. It's not by EAD."

He could have phrased it better, but it's a fair point. Nintendo's core development teams have played it very safe. Newer studios like Retro and EAD Tokyo have been a bit more creative, but still stayed within established franchises. You have to go to a studio that Nintendo brought aboard just a few years ago to find a truly original title, which says something about how much of a priority that is for Nintendo.

EDIT: To get back on topic, though, and to be a bit more upbeat, yes, there have been a lot of Mario games recently, but they have been, for the most part, great. All four of the Mario platformers released in the last five years (Galaxy 1&2, NSMBWii and 3D Land) would be in my top five games in the series, alongside Mario 3. If they keep up that kind of quality I don't care how often they release them.

UrkelAugust 11, 2012

As a first party, it's unfortunately Nintendo's burden alone to ensure the health of their platforms. That means releasing software that not only sells, but sells hardware as well. And Mario does just that.

As much as people like to talk up Sony's willingness to create new IPs, at the end of the day it doesn't do much to sell systems. Sony may be making new IPs like Gravity Rush for Vita, but it's not selling Vitas. And that will ultimately lead to less third party support, and possibly even the death of the platform.

Nintendo turned 3DS sales around with Mario, creating a healthy platform that (Japanese) developers are willing to support. So because Nintendo is "milking" Mario, you're getting a more diverse software library because the system will actually, you know, EXIST. The only reason Nintendo is releasing two Mario games so close together is to make sure it stays that way.

And this whole obssession with new IPs is stupid since it means that games like Kid Icarus Uprising "don't count" because it uses a few characters from a 25 year old game. The fact that it's a big budget "core" production with new content and fresh gameplay unlike anything Nintendo has ever made gets dismissed because of this.

Actually, I'd count Kid Icarus Uprising as a new IP, because for all intents and purposes it is one. I'm kind of upset Sakurai's doing Smash for the next couple years, because I'd love to see another big, original game from him. He's one guy within Nintendo that really seems to want to go nuts and do something new, but now he's stuck doing the same old thing again.

You people are only missing out on the full breadth of Nintendo goodness by not embracing innovation in genres outside of your comfort zones. <3 Wii Music.

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Actually, I'd count Kid Icarus Uprising as a new IP, because for all intents and purposes it is one. I'm kind of upset Sakurai's doing Smash for the next couple years, because I'd love to see another big, original game from him. He's one guy within Nintendo that really seems to want to go nuts and do something new, but now he's stuck doing the same old thing again.

Follow what Sakurai's been saying about Smash. It'll be big and ridiculous. I have a feeling this new one might be a bigger change than most people think. Remember, he was thrust upon Brawl. Him and Iwata seemed to be on the same page at the outset of this upcoming one.

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