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Sneaking Stories Past Miyamoto 83

Chris Kohler, editor over at Game|Life, has up a great interview with Super Mario Galaxy director Yoshiaki Koizumi. They discuss the development of the Mario and Zelda games, clarifying Shigeru Miyamoto's tense relationship with stories (and sentences), and discussing the lineage of the Mario titles: "In terms of spiritual successors, I've never found that to be the case. Whereas with the Zelda series, each game seems to follow pretty closely from the last with a few stylistic deviations. But Galaxy really feels like it went back to earlier roots with Super Mario Bros., in terms of trying to find that same tempo, that same feel. But for me, it's a matter of thinking what to do with each next step. There's nothing you really throw away. You think about these ideas and refine them constantly with every iteration of a game series. So for all the camera problems that you may have found in Mario 64 and Sunshine, even though we didn't realize how to fix those problems then, those solutions presented themselves over time and found their way into this game. I feel like you really can't have Galaxy without all of the things we learned from Sunshine."
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Sneaking Stories Past Miyamoto

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  • by SlashdotOgre ( 739181 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @05:45PM (#21578003) Journal
    I'm about a quarter of the stars through MG (probably be done if I didn't get swallowed up by Mass Effect), and I have to say I've already ran across several levels that totally remind me of Super Mario Brothers 3 (my favorite Mario game by far, and one of my favorite games ever). The one that stands out the most in my mind so far is the Sweet Sweet Galaxy which totally reminds me of the directional scrolling levels in SMB3. I played through M64, and while I admit it's a solid title, I didn't care for it as much as either SMB3 or SMW. I'm not sure how, but they did a fantastic of capturing the heart of older Mario titles.
  • by ArchAngelQ ( 35053 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @05:51PM (#21578101) Homepage Journal
    I've got to agree with this, and another of the posts above: the linear levels are a real treat in mario games. New Super Mario was the last one that I played, and like Super Mario World, it's got exploration of the overworld map, and very linear pace once you are in a level proper. That's the great mario formula, and one of the reasons I'm not as big a fan of Mario 64. The reason being, if I am going to run around that much, I want to have some big cool thing to unlock to come back and do nifty stuff with the old environment. If I want non-linear, give me Zelda or Metroid. Mario should be all about platform jumping and twitch fingers :)
  • Camera in galaxy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ad0gg ( 594412 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @06:37PM (#21578699)

    So for all the camera problems that you may have found in Mario 64 and Sunshine, even though we didn't realize how to fix those problems then, those solutions presented themselves over time and found their way into this game. I feel like you really can't have Galaxy without all of the things we learned from Sunshine."

    Disabling changing the camera angle in most parts of game isn't fixing the problem.

  • by Dorceon ( 928997 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @10:03PM (#21580529)
    although that may be what it's used for. Hako = box, niwa = garden.
  • by greedyturtle ( 968401 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @12:19AM (#21581483)
    If computer games were real, I'd be running around in the dark, listening to repetitive electronic music, and munching as many little yellow pills as possible.
  • by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @01:24AM (#21581885) Homepage Journal
    Twilight Princess was the first Zelda that made me cry (possibly the first GAME that made me tear up). Super Paper Mario had a similar effect (even though the game, as a whole, wasn't quite as good), and Mario Galaxy's story book totally got to me. The storybook probably solidified Galaxy as my favorite Mario game... it just brought everything together, from an emotional standpoint, even if the rest of the game wasn't so dramatic, the storybook supplied that side of it, and that was enough. Not to mention, it was an amazing storybook. It seems like a story written for adults to feel like a children's story, but with all the depth of emotion required for adult enjoyment. I got a similar feeling from the game ICO, or from the story in Super Paper Mario.

    On other things, one thing that Mario 64 really back-treaded with was the number of levels. More levels = more different types of gaming styles. Here's Mario 3 and Super Mario World with 70+ and 120+ levels, all with their own unique style and gameplay gimmicks. Then there's Mario 64, with maybe 12 levels. You find yourself repeating yourself a lot, and for little reason. Obviously, the reason was because 3D levels are infinitely more complex, require more space on a cartridge, and more time in the design process. Now, with DVDs, it's possible to have many levels, and the design teams have learned how to make 3D levels as efficiently as they had with 2D levels. That's one of the main reasons why Mario Galaxy starts to feel more like Mario 3 or Mario World. I really missed having lots of little levels, each with it's own style, and not spending hours playing one level over and over again, on different "missions". With about 40 levels, Mario Galaxy just feels more like Mario 3 than almost any other game.
  • by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @01:55AM (#21582027) Homepage Journal
    Mario Galaxy draws on Mario 3 so much, and possibly because it tries so hard to be new and creative. With Mario 64, it was everything the team could do to make a game in 3D that still had some semblence of being a Mario (and whether they succeeded is still up for grabs), but there wasn't a whole lot of room for just laid-back, comfortable, experimentation. Something went wrong with Mario Sunshine, and I don't know exactly what, so I won't dwell on it. But Mario Galaxy... the guys just seem, comfortable, in their elements. They've already figured out the technical side of the equation, so now it's just sitting back and saying, "hey, wouldn't it be neat if we did ____!" That's really what made Mario 3 so great, every level was a fresh, new, inspired little world where you just couldn't help but saying, "that's really neat!" I mean, you had one level where you bounced around on flying beatles, and they would rise every time you jumped on them... that's it... one level, onto the next neat idea. You had another with platforms that would move in different directions every time you jumped on them.

    I got the exact same vibe from Galaxy. You have one level (later one), where they entire level sort of melts in and out, as if there are some kind of cosmic spotlings, and any place they don't shine on, DOESN'T EXIST! How crazy and neat is that?! Or a conveyerbelt filled with holes, that you have to jump around.

    Not only did it feel like the process was similar to Mario 3, I think it was obvious to the creators that there was a connection. The game practically begins with a re-arrangement of the Mario 3 airship music, in full 40-piece symphonic glory! And there were a few other Mario 3 musical references too, as well as some design similarities.

    My only gripe with the game was the "suits". Mario 3 had, hands down, the greatest powerups in the series: Racoon, Tanuki, Eureka Shoe, Frog, and Hammer Bros, and so many of them were "secret". Mario Galaxy fell on it's ass with powerups. Not only were two of the suits a nightmare to control (Bee and Spring), but the times you could use them were completely regimented, and required. What was great about Mario 3 was that the suits could be used anywhere, so holding onto one suit through a few levels allowed you to do things, in other levels, that you wouldn't normally expect. In a castle, where there were nothing but fire flowers, if you had held onto a racoon suit, you could fly up to a secret area. In a lake with nothing but feathers, you could swim into a hidden cave with the frog suit. In Mario Galaxy, the suits are simply there to complete a certain given task for that level, and it feels really forced. It was even worse with Mario 64, but they were so incredibly minor, it didn't even really matter anyway.

    All-in-all, hands down, best 3D Mario game. Mario 3 may still remain my favorite Mario, but Galaxy sits right up there with it and Mario World. Twilight Princess was able to knock out it's 2D and 3D counterparts for FAVORITE GAME OF ALL TIME, but I was suprised that Mario Galaxy could also do so well for me.

Loose bits sink chips.