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Classic Games (Games) Nintendo Wii Games

New Super Mario Bros. Wii Attempts To Bridge Casual/Hardcore Divide 119

When Nintendo returns to its roots next month by releasing a new, 2-D, side-scrolling Super Mario Bros. game for the Wii, it's trying to do more than simply hop on the retro bandwagon many publishers have ridden in recent months. Speaking at a roundtable discussion in New York this week, Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto talked about how they're trying to satisfy fans of the series who want challenging gameplay in addition to attracting new or casual players just looking for an entertaining platformer. Quoting: "... you can play the story mode single-player all the way through from beginning to end, and at any point along the way, you can add players from the world map and have up to four players cooperate to complete the levels. And beyond that, there are two dedicated multiplayer modes, one of which is free-for-all, which lets you select the stages from story mode ... so you can easily find the stage you like. And then there’s also a coin battle mode which is a competitive multiplayer mode, in which you’re actually competing for points and you’re getting ranked based on how many points you’ve collected. The free-for-all mode has kind of a similar feel to something like Mario Kart where you just happen to have four people over and you want to sit down and play a quick match in your favorite level."
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New Super Mario Bros. Wii Attempts To Bridge Casual/Hardcore Divide

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  • I'll hold off my judgment until I try it, but so far such attempts to "bridge the gap" have all failed. Although most of those attempts start with the hardcore side and water it down (Empire Earth 3 anyone?). IMO, it seems best just to let hardcore gamers have their hardcore games, and casual gamers have their casual games, and those who want a mix, can get some of each. But I hope they pleasantly surprise me.
    • Or in nintendo and sega's case they usually start with the casual side and then throw in absurd cheap shots. If I go back and play the classic SMB games I feel like it's my fault when I die most of the time. NSMB on the DS was just universally a problem of bad controls (handling), shitty clipping, and even worse true cheap shots of things appearing inside you. The only modern game I've played that's bigger on memorization encouraging cheap shots is Sonic Rush.

      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

        Sonic Rush isn't remotely as bad as Sonic Advance 3 which will happily have those Sonic run sequences end in a deathtrap that you get 1 second to spot and dodge.

        • I think you need to play Rush again, it likes to take those run sequences and stick a booster right in front of an instant-kill trap primed so you die instantly if you don't dodge it (and usually the boost), they also like to keep throwing enemies in the middle of spring chains and other sequences where you're vulnerable.

          • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

            I really didn't have trouble with that, all the boost roads ended in regular walls for me unless I interfered with jumps at the wrong time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pecosdave ( 536896 ) *

        I have to disagree, NSMB was dead on awesome. The DS Version of Mario Kart on the other hand, well, I just can't get over the "socialist weapons" that punish you for doing well.

        • by Nossie ( 753694 )

          I agree with you on that one!

          regarding NSMBW however....

          one thing for sure - by most reports - it's bloody hard!

        • Re:hmmm... (Score:4, Funny)

          by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @04:35AM (#29776297) Homepage Journal

          >>I just can't get over the "socialist weapons" that punish you for doing well.

          Heh, in our group we call them the Socialism Bullet and Socialism Shell, too. =)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I dunno, those things are what makes Mario Kart Mario Kart. It can be irritating, yes, but it also lends an element of unpredictability and hilarity.

          On the other hand, playing that game gives me nasty hand cramps, because of the way I have to hold the DS.

          • Back in the day of the classic SNES version, and even the GBA version (I didn't play the 64 or GCN version enough to say much about those) there were weapons, but you had to use a little skill to utilize them. If you were in first there was always someone aiming a brown shell at you (and on the SNES version I was a damned good shot with a green shell), there was the star to contend with, mushroom burst, and the only unskilled weapon in the game, the lightning bolt. Unlike the modern lightning bolt ALL pla

            • The N64 version, though, was basically like the versions today are, although the communist shell was less deadly, and could pretty easily go off the track in its search for the first-place player.

              The 'Cube version made the communist shell absolutely deadly (although you could dodge it by dropping back to second place once you heard the shell launch), and is almost exactly like MK DS in terms of weapons. I think the only new one they added on the DS was the ink blot, which was pretty easy to cope with, so I

              • I've never actually played it online, only way I've played the DS version is solo. I've actually played the GBA version linked, I made it a point to get my daughter, my nephew, and an ex girlfriends kids Gameboy Micros, I got the link cables, and the SP to Micro adapter. The ex girlfriend especially liked it since she has two boys, they link up all the time (nothing bitter, we still get along).

              • It occurred to me I had Double Dash on standby and I never actually played it. I just played it for a few hours.

                That was awesome, I love it. The DS tried to emulate it in so many ways, and fell so short of the mark.

            • That's why the SNES version is still my favourite. Non-race battle mode and no BS item wrangling.
              I wouldn't mind the new games so much if they just weighted best items to players in low positions but they give people in the back the entire god damned world and if you're in front you get bananas.

    • Have you ever played "The New Super Mario Brothers" for the DS? As far as I'm concerned that was gap bridging done right. It had all the good things that made classic Super Mario Brothers right, simplistic game play, 2D side scroller, didn't over use the touch screen, but it had a lot of newer system touches with the graphics and some of the power ups. It was very win-win. Even my friends who stopped playing video games a decade ago, or will ONLY play classic games (yes, I have these types of friends) w

  • The good old days (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cprossu ( 736997 )

    I remember once leaving my NES on for a week straight trying to get to the end of the original super mario bros when I was a kid without using any warps, good times.
    I'm glad however that the wii one is getting a multiplayer, and I look forward to the level designs, I may actually have to buy a wii now instead of just fixing them for friends!

    • To this day I haven't beaten the original Super Mario Brothers. See, my parents were actually involved back then also, only the TV was in the living room and leaving the NES on for a week was unacceptable. My parents would actually play the game, but they called warp zones cheating, so I never actually beat it. I would occasionally get to work 7 and call it quits, even if I had lives left.

      I should make that one of my goals. I set goals to play and beat the original Zelda as a kid (I didn't have that one

      • I never beat the original Metroid. Right now I am playing through Metroid Prime 1 & 2 before starting 3 and I wonder if I should get the 2D versions into that mix. I'm a lot better with the controller now than I was back then. (Although my reflexes at age 35 may be a bit slower, I realize now there's more to it than that.)
        Having a physical AV switch on your TV instead of using the automatic one that came with the NES was a godsend. Leaving the thing on for days at a time without interfering with Mom and

        • No so much that, if they saw the red light on, it was getting turned off. Also, to this day my dad has it in his head the A/V inputs from my Nintendo were what caused our LXI TV to need service all the time. (hint, that started well before I ever plugged anything in with those cables)

          • by Cprossu ( 736997 )

            haha that reminds me of a media PC I had hooked to my 55" samsung crt bigscreen... the convergence boards in the TV blew every single year to the day in october, and the 2nd time around the tv repair guy blamed it on the media pc.... Still covered under our extended warranty though (One of the only extended warranties I will buy, as for a bigscreen tv they make sense) but as a result of that idiot I had to take my media PC off of it, and sure enough, one year later the convergence board still blew out sans

        • I would highly recommend Metroid: Zero Mission for the DS if you have one. It's an expanded remake of the original Metroid that plays like a dream. It's very much on par with Super Metriod in my opinion, and the gameplay is a little faster.

          If you're a purist and want to beat the original original, that's on the cartridge too, though you may have to unlock it.

          • I would highly recommend Metroid: Zero Mission for the DS if you have one

            Its on the GBA not the DS.

          • As someone who played the crap out of the original Metroid, I have to say that Zero Mission, while quite good, is nothing like the classic version. It borrows certain screen layouts and the overall progression (weapons, bosses), but I feel they completely ruined the exploration aspect and made it too linear.

            Part of the fun of the first Metroid was to get stuck and look around for shortcuts and secret passageways, or clever ways to get around tough spots. People would spend hours trying to freeze bugs in j

      • I'm jealous--I never managed to beat Dragon Warrior no matter how many times I tried. I think I always started getting impatient at about the time I could handle Stone Golems, so I'd venture further and get killed by Wyverns all the time.

        Man, I forgot how much that pissed me off.

        • See, that was my first RPG, I got up to the end, but I didn't beat it. I wanted to keep leveling my character and I didn't know if I could or not if I beat it, so I was holding off on beating it. I even "saw" the guy at the end, but I wouldn't actually fight him. Then I accidentally erased my game and didn't beat it until 14 years later or so.

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      The first time my brother and I beat SMB (we usually played together) was actually, more or less, an accident. We inadvertently discovered the "unlimited lives" cheat/bug in the game (which is much, much easier to trigger in SMB3) in (IIRC) the level 8 castle on my last life, and were able to beat Koopa as a result.

      We didn't learn about the 2nd warp until years later, actually, so we had to beat the harder levels every time. Man, what hours spent...

      These days, I'm still playing SMB and SMB3 with my eldest s

      • The warps were what made me really prefer World over the previous ones. With 1 and 3 it was just too tempting to warp to the end, and then you skip most of the game. With World, you could do that, then later revisit the levels you'd skipped. Having lives seemed a bit pointless in World though, given that you could get two in the first 20 seconds on level 2 then hit start-select and do it again until you had 100. It just meant that when you used them all up you had to go back to the start and get some mo
  • Being semi-"hardcore" all my gaming career never actually gave too much thought about casual gamers point of view. Wonder where people draw that line.
    • by Trepidity ( 597 )

      Not sure there is a solid one. There are multiple factors at work, which interact with each other and all have gray areas. Time commitment often comes up, but some people play Bejeweled for absurdly compulsive amounts of time per week. Time commitment per session might be one, though perhaps perceived time commitment per session is a better one. Some might just be cultural factors--- "hardcore games" tend to have all sorts of non-gameplay related markers like fantasy or shooter themes that mark them as targ

      • Rule #1 of the office: You do not talk about Bejeweled Blitz.
        Rule #2 of the office: You DO NOT talk about Bejeweled Blitz.
        Rule #3 of the office: If you beat my score, all work will stop until I beat yours again.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @02:42AM (#29776019)

    The free-for-all mode has kind of a similar feel to something like Mario Kart where you just happen to have four people over and you want to sit down and play a quick match in your favorite level.

    Honest question: how often does this happen for other people that you have three other people over and you say "Hey, let's play mario kart" and they say "sure?" One of the 3 people for me is invariably my wife who has made it clear she doesn't enjoy playing videogames even "casual" games in a group. (Before anyone starts suggesting "a game she's sure to like," realize I've probably made attempts to get her interested in games already). Even when she's not, I don't see that happening, most people who I have over don't come over to play videogames. Same with my friends who have wiis, when I'm at their house with other people, I don't find myself playing mario kart or smash bros or guitar hero.

    Who are these groups of people that nintendo is still making games for? And next console generation, can we establish before hand which consoles are going to have libraries that are mostly group games and which consoles have more games that you can play online or by yourself? I got a wii early. I think Muramasa, demon blade is the only game I've played on it this year.

    • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @02:50AM (#29776049)
      umm, so you've only got 2 friends?!
    • You need better friends. :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Two words: College dorms.
    • I bought a Wii early. I bought 4 controllers. I have never experienced what you're talking about, either. Atleast, never any game other than the wii sports range. Even when I've managed to "scrounge" up three players, they've been non gamers and thus, no challenge - which for most of us would mean, no fun, either.

      For me, what you're describing is a group of people akin to the dynamic potrayed in The Big Bang Theory. I'm sure it exists, but it surely is not in the mainstream and owing to the existenc
    • by oGMo ( 379 )

      Who are these groups of people that nintendo is still making games for?

      Nintendo is still making games? I haven't heard of anything since .. uh, SSBB, which I'm not interested in. The last game I cared to play was Super Mario Galaxy .. and that was out at the end of 2007! It's been nearly two years . I lent my Wii console out to a friend a few months after Mario, and haven't had any reason to get it back since.

    • by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:32AM (#29776157)
      Fairly often. As often as I get a group of people together to watch a particular movie, for instance.
    • To be honest its your own damn fault if you figured the Wii was going to be anything else. It was very clearly marketed towards non individual non traditional games. Which is exactly why i never considered getting one.
      • To be honest its your own damn fault if you figured the Wii was going to be anything else. It was very clearly marketed towards non individual non traditional games.

        The message I got was that they were going to try something more community oriented, on some level. They were still billing it as a "game console." I assumed it would mean that the console was more friendly to online play than the gamecube, which had no online capabilities worth mentioning. There was -nothing- obvious to let one know that the console would turn out how it did.

        And who the hell takes marketing to mean anything anyway? The PS3 was "marketed" as the next ubiquitous media player, to claim al

    • Girl gamers?
      From my experience, they are pretty spontaneous when it comes to getting together and playing party games. While my sister's friends are staying over for a week, they literally played Mario Party non-stop for hours at a time.

      Perhaps the wii is not as attractive to us teenage guys, but they do have a market in party games and casual gamers.
    • > Who are these groups of people that Nintendo is still making games for?

      The Chinese and Japanese are two obvious groups, at the very least.

      I recently spent three months traveling through East Asia, mostly in China (Beijing & southwards) and Japan (Tokyo & southwards). There is a huge amount of casual gaming compared to Europe and the US. People commute a lot using advanced public transit (even Beijing's subway looks like Sci-fi compared to NYC MTA, and of course Japan is a different planet
      • 2 - Incredibly packed places with Vegas-style machines, but with small silver balls that rush though mazes.

        They are Pachinko [] parlors. Think of the earliest pinball machines, before bumpers and flippers, tilted vertical. No skill involved (like our slots).
      • The answer: East Asia

        Who have we always been at war with?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by surferx0 ( 1206364 )

      Honest question: how often does this happen for other people that you have three other people over and you say "Hey, let's play mario kart" and they say "sure?" One of the 3 people for me is invariably my wife who has made it clear she doesn't enjoy playing videogames even "casual" games in a group

      It happens pretty often for those in which one of those 3 people is not a wife. You've either become really disconnected from your younger years or video games just wasn't part of what you and your friends used to do in your childhood if you seriously think this very common situation is so odd.

      And next console generation, can we establish before hand which consoles are going to have libraries that are mostly group games and which consoles have more games that you can play online or by yourself? I got a wii early. I think Muramasa, demon blade is the only game I've played on it this year.

      If there was any console in which it was blatantly obvious about what type of games were going to be on the system, it was the Wii. It was dubbed the party/casual game system from the get-go and if you even looked i

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Honest question: how often does this happen for other people that you have three other people over and you say "Hey, let's play mario kart" and they say "sure?"

      For me, it's every time I go visit my family. Mario Kart's actually more second-tier though - Ravin Rabbids, Wii Play, and Wii Sports are the faves for group play. Super Monkey Ball and Chicken Shoot also see moderate use. Oddly enough, the one game I picked up specifically for group/family play - Mario Party 8 - was a total flop. Too long b

    • If your wife is a party pooper, tell her to fuck off eh ? Replace her with a game-positive friend. You have the rest of your life to be annoyed by her, a few hours apart won't kill you.

      And if your Wii isn't getting enough love, I'll say this: booze. 4-5 geeks half-tanked can have a riot with any party game, good or bad. Did you think all those pubs hosting Guitar Hero nights were completely insane ? There's a method to the madness.

    • by Chuk ( 89731 )

      Rock Band, anyone? I've had non-gamers (some of them musicians) pick that up.

  • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @02:43AM (#29776027)

    If you've ever seen a so-called "casual" gamer get into a game you'll notice they really devote a LOT of attention to it and tend to deal even with the harshest challenges. What you need to make one of them play your game isn't low difficulty, it's a beginning that convinces them the game is worth their time and many "hardcore" games botch that badly with overly long intro cinematics followed by boring as hell tutorials which are necessitated by overly complex game design. Complex here doesn't mean deep, many games that use the whole controller are just "shoot anything that moves", it's that they have a crapload of minor functions thrown in there that you'll rarely need but still have to memorize and camera views geared for "immersion" rather than understanding WTF is going on.

    You could probably implement a modern FPS with Contra's gameplay without really sacrificing the fun. Contra was something recently made gamers enjoyed on the NES. It didn't waste your time, it was about action and offered the joy of playing cooperatively. And if it's too hard, up up down down left right left right B A.

    • The problem here is that you're assuming the term "casual gamer" refers to people who play games casually when it actually refers to people who play casual games. The difference between the two is how interested someone is in learning how to operate two analog sticks, four shoulder buttons, and 4 or more face buttons just to be barely functional in a game.

      A few years ago my dad told me that the NES he bought for my brother when we were kids was actually purchased for himself, and that he used to be reall
      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

        But Super Mario Bros doesn't bridge the gap between lapsed gamers (who are actually a part of the Wii's target audience) and dualshock controllers, SMB uses two buttons (one of which is optional for most of the game) and a dpad. Maybe that's a bit more difficult than an Atari joystick but it's not even remotely close to a dualshock.

      • Yes! Someone else who understands that you can be a hardcore casual gamer (24/7 Wii) and a casual hardcore gamer (the occasional level on the 360)!

        I'm a bit weird in this regard. I love the Wii for the 'pick up and go' simplicity and fun with friends, and I also love PC gaming because there are hundreds of buttons to do exactly what I want, but I can't stand most 'hardcore' console games - especially wrestling ones - because I don't see why the combination for "kick this guy in the head" has to be up, down,

        • by Omestes ( 471991 )

          That's what always got me about Street Fighter games, and their ilk. This type of game is the only type of game a large subset of my friends will ever play, and despite 26 years of trying, I still have no idea why I need 7000000 button presses to shoot a damn fireball. In a match of Bushido Blade I will kill them every time, since it makes so much sense. 3 stances, 2 attack buttons, one block button, instant kills, most of which makes sense since it is more a Bushido simulator than an actual fighting gam

          • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

            That may just be me but wouldn't Bushido Blade work better on the Wii? Yes it wouldn't be exactly the same game as before but I think a game where individual strikes are important fits direct Wiimote control much better than the regular "50 stabs to kill a guy" fighting and brawler games the system gets where you have to waggle so fast because each individual attack is unimportant, in a game where one attack matters you can do much more with manual attacks where things like accuracy matter as well (if you h

      • Casual gamers will generally see hardcore games as needlessly complicated. Hardcore gamers will generally see casual games as overly simple and thus boring. And thus, a divide was born.

        Let me give a possible alternative explanation for these terms and the divide from a I-have-no-idea-what-type-of-gamer-I-am sort of a guy.

        I think marketing types are to blame for all the overuse of stereotypes and general innovation killing in gaming-land of today.

        It's possible that some time ago the people for whose job it is to increase profits probably decided that they were only selling their company's games to boys. Hence they could more than double their profits if they sold equally to girls, and then

        • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

          I think you're more of a retro gamer.

          IMO the hardcore/casual divide was created because the game industry's marketing people are fucking retards. You know how in software engineering it's important to talk to the customer (but figure out what he needs instead of what he says he needs)? These guys apparently never heard of that, either they ignore the customer completely and treat him as a black box with the only input being games and the only output money or they listen to what he says he wants (focus group

    • What you said reminds me of Contra Hard Corps for the Sega Genesis with it's unskippable mini-cinemas. I might consider it better than the SNES Contra 3 if it didn't have them (or at least they were skippable.)
    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      Eh, I don't know about that.

      I'm a casual gamer. I haven't owned a platform since the NES. My favorite games were Zelda, SMB3, Marble Madness, and Jackal (a top-down scroller, but with jeeps instead of planes and "mission objectives"). I didn't really get into most games.

      The last game I bought was Fallout 3, but before that I think it was Max Payne II (which I regret spending money on), Max Payne, and Deus Ex before that. I split the cost of Warcraft 3 with my brother, as well as Half-Life 2. The list of gam

  • Define casual (Score:3, Interesting)

    by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @04:21AM (#29776267)

    I'm not sure what casual means. I think the different types of player are:
    - Social, the ones who come not for the game per se, but for the community and companionship
    - Recreational, the ones who come for a quick, easy, romp in fantasy-land
    - Hard-core, the ones who want to beat the game or their fellow players, and who will invest time in understanding and mastering its mechanics.

    I think the problem with casual, is that it tries to cover social and recreational, and ends up meaning... idiot... which alienates the hard-cores.

    WoW is kinda covering all bases, with guilds, lots of solo and easy ("normal") content, and heroic raids + pvp rankings for the hardcores. I think their issue at the moment is that
    - lowering the "maintenance" effort (grinding, farming) for the players to make the game more accessible to casuals is making the game boring for hard cores: there is not much to do outside of raiding, and raids are very easy and short these days. Achievements farming only does so much, especially since not much skill is required, just time.
    - having hard-core content that is not very different from the casual one (you're no longer killing a very exclusive boss, only the same as everyone, but in hard mode) is kinda a let-down

    On the other hand, I've tried EVE, and found the game not very accessible (I had trouble understanding how to complete a few very early quest), and quite overwhelming for the new player.

    • I think "casual gamer" means someone who can take it or leave it. I put myself in this category -- when I play it is because I happen to have a few hours up to a few tens of hours spread across a few days. Then three months go by before I again casually game.

      Hardcore gamer = borderline addict. No need to explain this category to slashdotters.

      Social gamer = not really a gamer, but finds that through games they can interact with people. Would be easily pleased by a wide variety of games, I imagine.
  • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @05:38AM (#29776393)
    If Marge Simpson can be on the cover of Playboy, why can't Mario do hardcore?

    Some people seem to have lost their sense of reality!

  • I certainly applaud the effort to reconcile hardcore and casual gaming, but Super Mario Brothers Wii will not accomplish that because of one glaring problem: it is on the Wii. The Wii is not a hardcore gaming platform. It is the platform you use when you want to give your casual gaming friend a snowball's chance against you in a game that relies more the Wii interpreting in a fortuitous way your frustrated spastic Wiimote flailing than it does skill. Speaking for myself, I prefer an input system that is a b
    • You don't know what you are talking about.
    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      I prefer an input system that is a bit more precise and accurate than the Wii

      What input system might that be, while still allowing two to four players to share one living room monitor?

  • "The free-for-all mode has kind of a similar feel to something like Mario Kart where you just happen to have four people over and you want to sit down and play a quick match in your favorite level"

    Four people over plus I also want to play...that means five controllers, right? Thought Nintendo only supported four...

    Perhaps they meant "have three people over".

    • The Wii supports 4 Wiimotes, as well as 4 Gamecube controllers. You can connect the GC controllers simultaneously with the Wiimotes, and there are a handful of games out there that can take input from both at the same time and theoretically support up to 8 player multiplay. The DDR games jump to mind immediately, though in their case, the DDR mat connects to the GC port, and one player does input through both the DDR mat *and* the Wiimote simultaneously, so it's only a 4-player game.

    • by Ant P. ( 974313 )

      It's all bluetooth, so technically you could have more than 4 wiimotes at once. They don't do that because most people wouldn't be able to figure out what controller they were using if you used the 4 LEDs on it to count in binary...

  • by doug141 ( 863552 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @09:49AM (#29777169)

    I think I found video of the coin battle mode []

  • I'm a kind of cross Dedicated + Casual gamer in that i'm happy to play a longish game through but might spend years doing so. currently about 3 years into Tomb Raider II and Suikoden on the PS1, for example and only just recently acquired a Dreamcast. On the other hand i recently played HL2 almost straight through in one sitting - which for me means taking less than 3 months to do it

    I have a full time job and a family and do not have more than a handful of hours a week to spend in front of the goggle box

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"