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Review: New Super Mario Bros. 2 Illustrates Nintendo's Greatest Problem 146

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Jon Brodkin writes "There’s a new Super Mario Bros. game out for the 3DS handheld console. It’s called New Super Mario Bros. 2 and features Mario, Princess Peach, Bowser, and the same fun gameplay you’ve come to expect from Nintendo’s most iconic game series. But this latest adventure stands out by not standing out at all." Read below for the rest of Jon's review.
To be fair, no one buys a new Mario game looking for a completely new experience. Lovers of “Super Mario Bros. 3” will smile when they stumble upon a very familiar raccoon tail, for example, and use it to take flight into the blue sky of the Mushroom Kingdom. It’s grin-inducing gameplay and familiarity. But nearly every Mario game offers at least one new attribute that distinguishes it from its predecessors—that is, except for this one.

Unlike last year’s “Super Mario 3D Land,” this latest Mario is a 2D side-scroller with gameplay almost identical to the “New Super Mario Bros.” released on Nintendo DS in 2006. The game’s main course is ridiculously easy even by Mario standards, although there’s some challenge presented by the final level and a few of the extra unlockable courses.

While I enjoyed the game (which I’ll now start referring to as “NSMB2”), I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had played it before. Entire courses seemed identical to ones from the “New Super Mario Bros. Wii” game released in 2009, particularly in the lava-filled final world and a middle world filled with purple water, spiderwebs, and giant caterpillars.

Most Mario games have a few levels that are positively exhilarating. “Super Mario Galaxy” was filled with them, including an epic final battle vs. Bowser spanning three planets. “New Super Mario Bros. Wii” has what might be my all-time favorite Mario level, a secret course involving a gigantic skeletal roller-coaster that you ride and cling to until the bitter end—all while hopping and avoiding a treacherous lava pit and the enemies emerging from it. By contrast, there really wasn’t a single level in “NSMB2” that felt exciting; again, the game stands out not for what it offers but for what it doesn’t.

Like previous games in the New Super Mario Bros. series, each course has three star coins tucked away in hidden, hard-to-access areas. It’s the primary trick Nintendo uses to make these games replayable—if you don’t find all the star coins, keep going back and exploring until you do. The star coins can be used to unlock special levels and mushroom houses containing items to help Mario on his way.

Separately from the hidden star coins, there are plain-old-regular Super Mario coins everywhere throughout each level. As you clear levels and build up coins, you unlock a bonus game, “Coin Rush,” in which you replay courses in order to collect more coins. Collect a million coins and the title screen will feature a gold Mario statue. I’m up to 17,000 coins, but I’ve already accomplished my goal of unlocking and completing each level, so I won’t be going much further.

It becomes clear while playing “NSMB2” that Nintendo needs to stop making new Mario games every year. Last year there was “Super Mario 3D Land,” today there’s “New Super Mario Bros. 2,” and coming soon is “New Super Mario Bros. U.” I love Mario, but there are only so many times you can trot out the same game and call it a sequel before the well of innovative gameplay is sucked dry.

After playing through the Italian plumber’s latest, I argue that the only way to save Super Mario Bros. is to give the series a time-out. If Nintendo needs cash in 2012 and 2013, issue a remake of every 8- and 16-bit Mario game for the iPhone, iPad, and Android. Or (since Nintendo hates releasing software for hardware it didn’t build) just release them again with better graphics for the 3DS and upcoming Wii U. No one will hold it against the company.

After doing that, Nintendo should wait. While Mario development will never completely cease, it should be put on the back burner in favor of developing new intellectual property. Keep the Mario wheels moving slowly behind the scenes until you hit upon the right idea, the one that takes the series to the next level like “Super Mario World” and “Super Mario 64” did in the 1990s, or “Super Mario Galaxy” in 2007.

Nintendo can take a page from its own Legend of Zelda series, which maintains its excellence with clever dungeon and over-world design, strong storytelling, and gameplay tweaked to fit the unique strengths of both handheld and traditional consoles. Crucially, years go by between major Zelda releases—that’s how long it takes to get everything right.

I will gladly wait until 2015 for the next Mario game if it’s anywhere near as satisfying as Zelda’s “Twilight Princess” or “Skyward Sword.” Fans waited five years between Zelda releases for the Wii and were rewarded. The same could be true of Mario.

The State of Mario Today: Haven’t I Already Played This Game?

Most gamers assume that each new Mario game will just offer more of the same. But that’s not entirely true. I’ve been playing Mario my whole life, and to my mind nearly every one stands out from the rest for one reason or another.

“Super Mario Bros. 3” and “Super Mario World” built upon the classic original with more intricate level designs, power-up items, and the ride-able dinosaur, Yoshi. “Super Mario 64” brought Nintendo into the 3D age and influenced an entire generation of games. “Super Mario Galaxy” introduced gravity as both villain and friend. And last year’s “Super Mario 3D Land” condensed the best bits of side-scrolling and 3D Mario action into one rollicking, lengthy video game.

With this latest Mario, only one thing distinguishes it from previous editions: coins. Lots and lots of coins. Yes, every Mario game has coins, but this one has lots of them, and you get the aforementioned special rewards for collecting them. If you played “New Super Mario Bros.” for the Nintendo DS, just about everything in this sequel will be familiar: it’s all nearly identical, just not quite as memorable.

Nintendo has fallen behind Sony and Microsoft in courting serious gamers. The fact that its biggest hits are new versions of classic games wouldn’t be concerning if Nintendo could also produce some great new series and attract third-party developers before the latter’s newest games hit the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC (or iOS and Android).

And while Nintendo still leads the handheld gaming market, it had to drastically cut the price of the 3DS. This holiday season, Nintendo will release a home console that finally puts it on graphical parity with the half-decade-old PS3 and Xbox 360. The list of launch games for the Wii U is notable for including third-party titles that hit rival consoles a year ago, such as “Batman: Arkham City.”

The thing Nintendo is really trying to build excitement around is “Nintendo Land,” a game that will supposedly explain the appeal of the Wii U in the same way Wii Sports sold players on the motion control capabilities of the original Wii. It’s hard to see how this strategy will succeed on a massive scale. “Nintendo Land” is basically just a series of mini-games based on Nintendo’s most successful franchises, as the company desperately clings to its past to remain relevant. It’s like saying, “hey, remember when these games really mattered?”

The Future of Mario

Ultimately, “NSMB2” is an enjoyable experience that leaves me discouraged about the future of the Mario series. While the Legend of Zelda has remained fresh, Nintendo is relying on gimmicks to make each new Mario game seem slightly different than the last. But with level design virtually identical from one game to the next, releasing three Mario games in just over a year will only make matters worse.

I don’t think Mario has run its course for all time. As I mentioned before, I just think the course has been run for 2012 and probably 2013. (Instead of playing the essentially same game with a “2” or a “U” appended to the title, I may as well replay the games that made me love Mario in the first place.) That’s why, instead of releasing one new Mario game every year (or worse, several), Nintendo should dramatically slow down and focus on one or two new Marios for each console generation.

*

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Review: New Super Mario Bros. 2 Illustrates Nintendo's Greatest Problem

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  • Meh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2012 @02:47PM (#41057823)

    I can't believe I read that entire review.

    TL/DR: It's mario brothers. It is almost exactly like every other mario bros you've played. If you like this, then get it.

    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Funny)

      by Zerth (26112) on Monday August 20, 2012 @02:50PM (#41057867)

      No wonder, they pasted the review in twice.

    • Re:Meh (Score:4, Interesting)

      by geminidomino (614729) on Monday August 20, 2012 @03:35PM (#41058507) Journal

      I didn't need to read it even once, since Jim Sterling [escapistmagazine.com] beat him to the exact same review by a week.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Jim Sterling is one of the single worst reviewers in video game journalism to date. His reviews have a history of being high for any game The Escapist happens to be advertising for. His comments to people who call for more accountability in games journalism and gamers who demand fairness from games publishers are embarrassing. Simply put, he's a corporate whore, willing to sell his opinion to whoever's going to sustain his habit another week.
        • by geminidomino (614729) on Monday August 20, 2012 @08:53PM (#41062655) Journal

          His reviews have a history of being high for any game The Escapist happens to be advertising for

          Considering that he doesn't do Game Reviews for The Escapist (his show there is more 'topical rant'), I have to question both this history you speak of.

          Now, it's possible that you meant Destructoid, where I understand that he does reviews (I wouldn't know, I don't read them) but if you couldn't even be bothered to get the site right, I have to wonder about your reliability along with those who modded up your bogus statement.

    • Re:Meh (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@ g m a i l.com> on Monday August 20, 2012 @04:01PM (#41058845) Journal

      Yes and no, because as Jim Sterling wrote about this last week on the escapist [escapistmagazine.com] they USED to add new gameplay twists with each release like Zelda does. Now you have games like Meatboy and Rayman doing new things and giving us new twists while Mario...just treads water.

      I guess its time for the big N to either bring some new talent in or let Mario rest for a few years because they are just rehashing now. Nobody wants to see Mario become another generic where they just slap a new coat of paint and trot it out, Mario is to Nintendo as Sonic was to Sega, you're supposed to bring your A game when you use the mascot.

      • by Smauler (915644)

        I used to love 2d scrollers - now I'm 34, not so much,

        Seriously, I think this is the problem with Mario etc - game companies are trying to concentrate on their IP when it's just irrelevant. I don't care if the characters in the game are well known - often I will shy away from franchises, just because they are franchises. Perhaps this is just me being subconsciously anti-establishment, but I buy what I want, and Mario is not it.

        I have the Assassin's Creed series to go through that I got in a deal on steam

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Ugh you bought the AC series on the Steam sale? I was tempted...until I saw the always on Ubisuck DRM and gave it a pass. I went with SR 3 and the Deus Ex series and am quite happy, in fact by the time I was finished shopping I had enough games I should be covered until the next Steam sale...yay Steam!

          But Deus Ex gives us a perfect example of "just because the franchise is old doesn't mean you can't do something great with it" as I think Deus Ex HR is truly great, good weapons, the choice to do any objectiv

          • I've just about got my family completely weaned off consoles for PCs

            How'd you do that, seeing as PC multiplayer is more likely to need several copies of the game [cracked.com] than console multiplayer is?

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              Simple friend, a combo of Tiger kits and Steam selling multiple copies dirt cheap. Hell during the last sale I got me AND both boys Saints row 3, all three copies were less than $50 together, and that's probably the most expensive MP game we've ever bought. Frankly it would have been cheaper but the boys wanted all the silly DLC, I only got the Genki Bowl and a couple of the weapon packs.

              As you can see you can get a monster PC [tigerdirect.com] for $340, they also got a quad with 8Gb for $315 but since my oldest has been doi

              • by tepples (727027)

                Simple friend, a combo of Tiger kits and Steam selling multiple copies dirt cheap.

                Then you must disagree with several other Slashdot users. They think building a LAN of gaming machines in a home, be they consoles or PCs, "is a luxury option, at best" [slashdot.org]. But I've added your opinion to the pro-PC side of my essay.

      • Re:Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by The Snowman (116231) on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:42PM (#41060181) Homepage

        Yes and no, because as Jim Sterling wrote about this last week on the escapist they USED to add new gameplay twists with each release like Zelda does. Now you have games like Meatboy and Rayman doing new things and giving us new twists while Mario...just treads water.

        I guess its time for the big N to either bring some new talent in or let Mario rest for a few years because they are just rehashing now. Nobody wants to see Mario become another generic where they just slap a new coat of paint and trot it out, Mario is to Nintendo as Sonic was to Sega, you're supposed to bring your A game when you use the mascot.

        This is one more example of how copyright is hurting innovation. If properties such as Mario or Mickey Mouse were in the public domain, the companies that created them would be encouraged to create new mascot characters and innovate with their entertainment. Instead, we get tired old rehashes again and again. This is why I haven't purchased a Nintendo system in 20 years. I'll play games on the Wii or whatever at a friend's house and feel thoroughly underwhelmed, like I've played the game or one almost like it before.

        • Other people are perfectly free to dream up their own innovative characters. Nintendo does not have a monopoly on this process.

          • Other people are perfectly free to dream up their own innovative characters. Nintendo does not have a monopoly on this process.

            What incentive do Nintendo have to come up with new material when they can simply rehash the same old crap over and over? How many Lion King movies do we need? Letting this stuff go into the public domain means they can keep rehashing it, but will be encouraged to develop new stuff. Since the entertainment market has a high barrier to entry to have the kind of exposure that these bi

            • So let Nintendo stagnate, and people with fresh ideas take over. Why let new people stagnate with the same characters as Nintendo? Even if, under your idea, you could make a Sonic game, so could everybody else. The barrier to entry would be replaced with a swamp of crappy titles that obscured anything good.

    • That's why the best time-to-effort ratio is to wait for someone like you to summarise and then to skip to the comments rather than wade through an article, linked or otherwise.

      There's an inherent risk that summaries might be inaccurate, but generally they're not, or they're called out pretty quick and corrections contain the pertinent information.

      (If you're a data sparrow looking for the greatest effort-to-reward ratio. Works with many news sites with comments enabled.)

    • You're forgetting that there's a lot more to this than meets the eye. You know the age-old saying that every other version of Microsoft software of any type sucks? Yeah, game companies do that too. Here's the cycle, as studied at my college. The company does well on a product. They work on another and try experimental, ballsy features because "it can't fail" because of notoriety of version 1. It fails horribly so they pull back and for version 3, they actually listen to what people want and then do it
  • by Lord Lode (1290856) on Monday August 20, 2012 @02:49PM (#41057845)

    Newer New Novel Super Mega Mario Bros. Remastered Extended Uncut 3, Classic Edition.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      (in 2017)

      Newer New Novel Super Mega Mario Bros. Remastered Extended Uncut 3, Classic Edition, now available for the New new new new new new iPad!

    • by eulernet (1132389)

      The next one will be:
      Super Advanced Mario Bros Adventures
      aka SAMBA
      It will rock !

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Monday August 20, 2012 @02:51PM (#41057877) Homepage

    This sure doesn't look like Super Mario Bros 2 [wikipedia.org]!

    • by afidel (530433)

      That was my first thought! I'm still not sure if I like SMB2 or SMB3 better, but a graphical update of either would likely be better than NSMB2.

      • by noh8rz7 (2706405)
        Smb2 was wierdddd... Probably the worst sequel ever. They got inks back on track with smb3.
        • by kamapuaa (555446)

          That's incorrect. SMB 2 was weird and maybe not really a Super Mario game, but was still really fucking fun and a great sequel.

          • Agreed. Can we start a petition to get a sequel to that? Hmmm... I wonder if I have enough Wii points to download SMB2. If I do, it's whiskey and Birdo tonite!
        • by idontgno (624372)

          The game that brought Birdo, Bob-ombs, Snifits, and Shy Guys to the Marioverse cannot be all wrong.

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        Super Mario Allstars on SNES was just that - a graphical update to all three original SMB games. It was better, graphically.

        The game play in this looks like it's a weird mix between the SMB2 and SMB3 Allstars variants. Why does this require a new platform to play? I'd bet that if you were to remove the color elements, the game engine would play fine on an original Gameboy...

    • by Desler (1608317)

      Why would it? It's a new game not a remake.

    • that was my thought too. i guess game play isn't the only thing they come up with anything new for.

    • by nstlgc (945418)
      This isn't New "Super Mario Bros 2", this is "New Super Mario Bros" 2. A sequel to "New Super Mario Bros" released on the NDS a few years back.
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      That's because this [wikipedia.org] is Super Mario Bros. 2. The one you linked to is Doki Doki Panic with new sprites slapped onto it.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Identify the historical vice presidential debate:

      "I knew super mario bros 2, and you're no super mario bros 2"

    • No kidding! And here I was thinking I got another shot at Wart. THAT would have made my monday!
    • Of course I remember the "Mario Gets The Turnip" game.

      It was when Nintendo discovered that Brassicae doesn't increase your marketshare as Fungi does.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The whole article was repasted after it ended the first time. You can see it easily in the duplicate headers, and if you read the end of the story you can find the same paragraph already there, except bigger, as it has the beginning paragraph tacked on. Is this some sort of joke about how it's more of the same, or a genuine Slashdot Mistake?

    • I vaguely remember I've seen such "double" articles before on /., so I think it's just some kind of bug or easy to make mistake in the /. interface.

  • Was the review *intentionally* pasted twice, or is this more of a Monty Python "It's The Mind / Milkman Psychiatrist Deja Vu" type thing?

  • Concise, much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2012 @02:55PM (#41057935)

    Why use 10 words when 10,000 will do.

  • The State of Slashdot Today: Haven’t I Already Read This Article? TFTFY
  • by cornface (900179) on Monday August 20, 2012 @02:59PM (#41057993)

    90% of it is just some random dork from the internet armchair quarterbacking Nintendo's release strategy. I'm sure they are furiously taking notes at Nintendo HQ.

    • So what specific parts did you disagree with? I'm a Nintendo fan, but I'd have to agree he's pretty much dead-on correct.

      • by cornface (900179)

        The specific parts I disagreed with are the parts where the title says the article is going to be a review of a video game, and the content of the article is actually meandering pseudo-intellectual musings on Nintendo's game release strategy by some random guy on the internet.

        I thought that was pretty clear from my original post.

    • by asylumx (881307) on Monday August 20, 2012 @03:47PM (#41058679)
      Where can I get one of these Internet Armchairs? I'd be willing to pay at least 93 coins and maybe a couple of fire flowers.
      • by kat_skan (5219)

        I have one. It isn't as good as it sounds. It's just a regular armchair with a caption glued to it.

    • Given their tanking financials, it's time they listen to SOMEBODY in the marketplace.

  • “Nintendo Land” is basically just a series of mini-games based on Nintendo’s most successful franchises, as the company desperately clings to its past to remain relevant.

    You've basically just described 95% of the Nintendo games that have come out since the Wii released. Seeing a game that ISN'T just a bunch of mini-games has become unusual. Looks like they're looking to follow suite with minigames on the Wii U too, which sucks, as it's their first console with the hardware muscle to really run the latest gen games.

    • The sad thing is, the most innovative gameplay I've seen was a rehash on Mario Bros' the original with Super Mario War [wikipedia.org] an indie game.. here's hoping for netplay release of that on Ouya. Though the website itself seems to be broken.
  • The major complaint in this review is that the game (and most recent Mario games) are derivative of previous ones. And then the reviewer goes on to praise the Legend of Zelda series. I've thought that the Zelda games have been more derivative of previous iterations moreso than Mario ones.

    • by Golddess (1361003)
      I too had a bit of a double-take upon reading the submitter's comparison to Zelda. Specifically...

      Fans waited five years between Zelda releases for the Wii and were rewarded. The same could be true of Mario.

      I mean, isn't the same kind of already true of Mario?

      Super Mario Galaxy (2007)
      New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009)
      Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010)

      That's just three games. While there have been several dozen more that featured Mario, they aren't Mario games in the sense I feel the submitter intended. Plus, why are we only looking at Wii releases when talking about the new 3DS Mario? Wouldn't a more apt comparis

    • by Swarley (1795754)

      Exactly my thoughts as well. I was one of those Wii owners who was NOT rewarded for a 5 year wait between Zelda games because I was so bored by the end of Twilight Princess from all the rehashed crap that I never even bothered to play Skyward Sword. Twilight Princess looked like a shameless rehash from the start, but glowing reviews assured me that it only seemed that way and was really quite excellent. It wasn't. When glowing reviews for Skyward Sword appeared to be (quite ironically) rehashing the exa

      • by Applekid (993327)

        Exactly my thoughts as well. I was one of those Wii owners who was NOT rewarded for a 5 year wait between Zelda games because I was so bored by the end of Twilight Princess from all the rehashed crap that I never even bothered to play Skyward Sword. Twilight Princess looked like a shameless rehash from the start, but glowing reviews assured me that it only seemed that way and was really quite excellent. It wasn't. When glowing reviews for Skyward Sword appeared to be (quite ironically) rehashing the exact same language from the LoZ:TP reviews, I chose to pass.

        The problem with Zelda is that Nintendo is catering to the fanbois, the ones that dress up in costumes and buy cheap reproduction weapons from convention booths. It's almost like it's cult mentality over the characters of the franchise instead of the game experience proper. These are the folks that are more concerned with Link not looking like a cartoon than the game actually being fun. That crowd goes crazy for lots of hidden things and secrets but none of those things actually add to game play, they only

  • Kind of unfair (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Monday August 20, 2012 @03:07PM (#41058115)
    The reviewer says "Nintendo should dramatically slow down and focus on one or two new Marios for each console generation," but that's what they are doing. DS: one game. Wii: three games (one 2D, two 3D). 3DS: two games (one 2D, one 3D). Wii U: one game (that we know of, undoubtedly there will be a 3D iteration). With the exception of Galaxy 2, they seem to be releasing one of each game per console. It's only a question of platform release timing that has so many coming out this close together.
  • To be fair, no one buys a new Mario game looking for a completely new experience.
     
      holy fucking shit, really?

  • You would never dream of colorizing a classic like Casablanca (unless you're Ted Turner and want to re-copyright the movie for another 100 years). Or adding extra scenes to the Wizard of Oz. Or decide to "improve" Mark Twain by rewriting the final chapter of the book. (Huck's slave is free and adopts Huck to start the South's first biracial family.)

    Neither should you be adding extra scenes or "new gameplay" to a classic like SMB2. Don't muck with the game. If my old Nintendo is broke I want to be able

    • by P-niiice (1703362)
      They should release one compilation game of their classics per console and get to making new classics, with new characters and gameplay. It's nintendo, they can do it, they just need to sert the law into stone and do it.
      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>They should release one compilation game of their classics per console

        I like that. Similar to the Sega Genesis Collection I regularly play on my PS2. Nintendo could release "the NES collection" and "the Super Nintendo Collection" and the "N64 Collection" for the Wii or Wii U. I would buy all three of them.

        Problem: These companies know if I and others bought the classics, we'd be playing them instead of the new games. Which is why they don't do it (except the overpriced versions online). The

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          (except the overpriced versions online)

          Do you mean the $5-ish Wii store ones? That seems reasonable to me. Sure, cheaper is better, but I've not played most of the Mario games (fully), so they're essentially new games to me.

          Though I finally bought another version of a game I already have -- the PS3 Sly Collection. (The cost will end up being refunded due to credit card rewards.) Price matched to $19.99, but I still would rather have paid the extra amount to have the PS3 itself (the one that was new when

          • by cpu6502 (1960974)

            $5 for a 20-30 year old game seem overpriced to me. They haven't changed the game code..... just run it inside an NES or Super Nintendo or N64 emulator. So they created just 3 new programs. I would say $1/game would be enough...... or else give the games for free and charge $50 for each emulator.

            Either option would be better than having to buy ~500 classic games at $5 a pop == $2500. Insanely overpriced.

            • by mattack2 (1165421)

              OK, even as a collector/hoarder, I don't think I'd buy 500 games. Even with the couple of collections I have (PS2 collections of older games), I think I'm only in the several-tens of games. But even with those, I am usually interested in a couple of them, and the rest are essentially shovelware. (Though I do try most of them out at some point, whereas I wouldn't pay $5 for each of them.)

    • by noh8rz7 (2706405)
      As said above, this isn't a re-release of smb2, but an entirely new game. So please un-bunch your panties. Btw smb2 was the weirdest game I evar played.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    For a serious gamer, you know exactly what's different in this title... The level designs are very tight, with lots of new environmental challenges. There's some ingenious remixes of tried-and-true elements like moving blocks, there's new swinging ropes you grapple on to, there's variations on old enemies (like skeleton goombas which are very freaky)... The bar has been lowered for kids, so if they keep dying you get an invincible suit to get through the level with. There's also the "coingasm" aspect adde

  • And to think: you could reskin this game with new characters, change nothing else, and would have gotten a much more positive review.

    This is everything wrong with the game review industry in a nutshell.

  • So What. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pubwvj (1045960) on Monday August 20, 2012 @03:31PM (#41058439)

    When I play a game I'm often simply looking to relax. To let my brain have some down time from more complex thinking. I don't expect solitaire, Risk, checkers, chess, othello, etc to be new and different. I want the same game with the same rules this century as last century as it was long before.

    • by vlm (69642)

      When I play a game I'm often simply looking to relax. To let my brain have some down time from more complex thinking. I don't expect solitaire, Risk, checkers, chess, othello, etc to be new and different. I want the same game with the same rules this century as last century as it was long before.

      Sounds like you'd enjoy the FPS genre

      • by kamapuaa (555446)

        FPS are so intense - never really played one until I got Modern Warfare 2, it's a constant adrenaline rush (and stupid as fuck). Like a more intense take on watching a Hollywood action movie.

  • Pussies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) on Monday August 20, 2012 @03:32PM (#41058451)

    The game’s main course is ridiculously easy even by Mario standards, although there’s some challenge presented by the final level and a few of the extra unlockable courses.

    Well, yeah.

    I'm old enough to have played video games when the only thing you had was pong... and you were grateful for it. Kill screens were the "epic shit" of the day, and you had one, it was as revered as an Olympic Gold medal.

    Video games used to be hard . They were a test of manliness and skill, not to mention perseverance.

    Now it is all about psychology. Why make a video game when you can make an experience. You don't want to make it too hard, no no no. It has to be exquisitely designed to string you along till the next endorphin rush checkpoint where you have collected an achievement or unlocked something.

    Clickety-clickety-clickety.

    It reminds of that episode of Star Trek [memory-alpha.org] where the whole point of the game was to become progressively zombified. I had that same reaction with Farmville, and could swear it was some mind control experiment by the government being conducted on a massive scale. Clicking to feed chickens. Yes, that was ultimately how the government was going to control our minds.

    Anyhoo, all you young games are pussies.

    Ohh, and get off my lawn.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, because that's SO much worse than games exquisitely designed to string you along till the next time you have to pop a quarter into the machine. Like the "good old days".

      Nice nostalgia filter you've got there. Now go to bed, old man!

    • Re:Pussies (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Monday August 20, 2012 @04:17PM (#41059039) Homepage Journal

      FarmVille is a mind control experiment (a massively successful one). Zynga employs psychologists to maximize user engagement.

    • They were a test of manliness [...]

      That's some epic historical revisionism right there...

    • Ugh, if you want a hard game go find a hard game. You want a platformer? I Wanna Be the Guy (or it's many fanmade and official sequels). You want puzzle? SpaceChem. You want a sim? Dwarf Fortress is terrifyingly complex when you first start it up. If you really insist on having modern AAA style graphics, I've heard Dark Souls is a quality Nintendo Hard but I haven't played it.

      It's a big world out there. Get away from the biggest 5 publishers and I think you'll find lots of variety, including a varie

    • by MtHuurne (602934)

      Video games used to be hard . They were a test of manliness and skill, not to mention perseverance.

      The early video games were either arcade ports or highly influenced by arcade games. An easy game would keep the machine occupied for a long time and not receive many quarters.

      I am glad that games nowadays put the most difficult parts in optional challenges. For example Veni Vidi Vici in VVVVVV: I'm simply not good enough at the game to succeed in that challenge, but I could still finish the game without it. For about 80% of the old school games I had to cheat to make it to the end demo. I got pretty skille

  • Yeah, such a hack this game is. Now Halo of Duty: Vice City Brotherhood 17 -- that's where the REAL innovation is. I think Nintendo just gets the most crap for this because they've been the most successful for the longest period of time. Their major franchises actually see less frequent iterations than those for many other developers. And yes, some of those iterations even come with the occasional revolution in gameplay.
  • I would totally buy this game. Except I can't.

    I happen to prefer playing games sitting down on my couch with a console controller. I played every level in New Super Mario Brothers Wii thoroughly, until I got every star. This is just simple fun. I would happily pay a few bucks a month for new levels, even if the new levels aren't radically different.

    But they won't sell them to me. Because they follow the release strategy suggested in this article - trying to make each headline game fundamentally differe

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      I thought the same way. I finally cracked when I saw Super Mario 3D Land. Just buy it as your toilet gaming system of choice and be happy.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    seems to be overly critical users

    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      Yes, how dare people who have paid money for a product - or whose job is to advise people whether to spend money on a product - express anything other than abject admiration for it.

      Utterly shocking.

      Sarcasm aside, I think the opposite is true; Nintendo (and Japanese developers in general) suffer from an overly-loyal core fanbase that will gobble up whatever gets shovelled at them and scream for more, no matter how tired it is.

      Nintendo's bad in this respect, but it's not the worst. The fact that, judging by t

  • The game does stand out. Its coin concept is great. Coins are used to lure you towards rewards, traps, secrets, many things trigger them and it just adds another goal on top of everything (gather 1,000,000 coins) that gives you an excuse to do a little more hunting in each level and have fun collecting something that was starting to get less and less important in the series. The coin block head never stops being fun, and Golden Mario lets you blow up tons of bricks and turn them into coins, very satisfyi
  • Nintendo can take a page from its own Legend of Zelda series, which maintains its excellence with clever dungeon and over-world design, strong storytelling, and gameplay tweaked to fit the unique strengths of both handheld and traditional consoles. Crucially, years go by between major Zelda releasesâ"thatâ(TM)s how long it takes to get everything right.

    This is a joke, right? The Legend of Zelda series is a shining example of a series that has devolved into formulaic, unoriginal sequels with a gim

    • by Ironhandx (1762146) on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:42PM (#41060183)

      Honestly, this is mostly what gamers want. We don't WANT super new and fantastic all the god damn time. We don't WANT insane new gfx. We want FUN.

      If what you had before was fun, just polish the fucking thing, change up the storyline and PUBLISH IT AGAIN. New worlds, new IP, all that stuff is great, but honestly the game systems don't need to change that much.

      I'd be playing Baldurs Gate 15 on the old fucking Infinity engine right now if they had made it.

  • I would gladly pay money to Nintendo if they released their past titles on XBLA, IOS, Android, etc. I'd love to carry around Super Mario Bros. on my iPad. (Yes, I know I could probably jailbreak and emulate. I'd rather be legit.)

  • I haven't played a Mario or Nintendo game in a few years, but I found the opening statement kind of surprising:

    "To be fair, no one buys a new Mario game looking for a completely new experience."

    Is this really the case? Is Nintendo considered more a re-hasher these days? I think part of my surprise is that the first thing that popped into my head when I read that was Super Mario 64. [wikipedia.org]

  • Classic dilemma (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday August 20, 2012 @04:34PM (#41059269) Homepage

    This is a classic dilemma of anyone who has enjoyed success: Do I try to replicate my past successes and risk becoming stale, or do I try to break my mold and risk losing what made me successful in the first place?

    What I mean is, yes, to some extent, the formula is stale. Nintendo has a few different series that, to some extent, are each remaking the same game over and over again with a few new gimmicks and tweaks, and otherwise it's just new levels. But then, lots of people *love* those games. They've played through each of those games multiple times, and they're essentially willing to keep buying remakes, new levels, etc. If the graphics are improved and their are a few new features/gimmicks sprinkled in, that's just a bonus.

    And you could argue that, in all of this, Nintendo is just lazily milking their fans for more money, but I don't think that theory holds up very well. These games are very well designed and well balanced. They don't feel like the product of lazy developers, they feel like the product of very competent developers who love these games themselves.

  • by pkinetics (549289) on Monday August 20, 2012 @04:38PM (#41059307)

    As a franchise that has grown and evolved over the last 30 years, has all the creative storylines and innovations come full tilt?

    We expect certain control mechanics, and behaviors.

    Its not like they could reboot the franchise or alter the behaviors. How could they make the game different and yet still keep it familiar without alienating their fan base?

    Its not like they can take Mario and make a FPS, although that could be hilarious. Super Mario Bros meets GoldenEye.

    • At any given point, the "new" Mario is for the new audience that has entered the game playing demographic since the last "new" Mario. I suspect that the intended audience is happy enough with the classic concept, mechanics and story lines that the rest of us have grown out of over the last 30 years. I hope so, anyway, for their sake.

      Anyone wondering if Nintendo has what it takes to keep them playing Mario games after 30 years has lost the plot.

    • Its not like they can take Mario and make a FPS, although that could be hilarious. Super Mario Bros meets GoldenEye.

      Dunno about that, but I thought the Paper Mario games were terrific!

    • As a franchise that has grown and evolved over the last 30 years, has all the creative storylines and innovations come full tilt?

      Not really, no. The storylines in Mario games have never been particularly creative* and honestly I know of few people who *want* a particularly creative storyline. After all, people don't play Mario games for the story but for the inventive, innovative platformesque game mechanics. To that end, it's hard to believe that all the ideas have been used up.

      We expect certain control

      • by Phroggy (441)

        When you compare the original SMB to SMB3, there are tons of new things that affect gameplay:

        • Improved physics for better control while jumping
        • The ability to scroll left, letting you go back over areas of the map you've already passed
        • The raccoon leaf, allowing Mario to fly (and to break bricks he can't punch from below)
        • P-blocks, temporarily transforming coins into bricks and vice-versa
        • Tons of new enemies that behave in very different ways, like ghosts and chain chomps and thwomps and the jumpy brick things a
    • "Its not like they can take Mario and make a FPS"

      They did it with Metroid. Also there was the big transition to 3D mario starting with the 64. It's most likely do-able if you can figure how to design it correct.

  • The problem with New Super Mario Bros is that nothing has fundamentally changed since the original series. The creative leap from the original to Super Mario Bros 3 was far greater than from SMB3 to NSMB. New Super Mario Bros essentially took concepts present in previous games and added some relatively minor twists. With the Wii game and now NSMB2 all Nintendo has done is take concepts already popular in countless other games. It shows that Nintendo have stopped leading; they're busy playing catchup.

    Familia

  • It's scary, the knockoff IP Giana Sisters [kickstarter.com] is innovating more between versions than Mario is.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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