News Article

Feature: The Super Mario Renaissance

Posted by Philip J Reed

We've never had it so good

When we think about Mario's glory years, it's easy to get lost in nostalgia. We might think back to the first time we played Super Mario Bros. and learned what a platform game was really capable of. We might think back to Super Mario World, which expanded upon the ideas of its predecessors in so many ways that felt natural and correct. We might even think back to Super Mario 64, which ushered in the third dimension of gaming with an outstanding and unforgettable fanfare. All of these — and others that Mario has starred in — are fantastic games, and will live on forever as crucial milestones in the world of gaming.

But wherever our minds go when we think of Mario's biggest triumphs, the odds are that we're looking backwards. That, we feel here at Nintendo Life, might be a mistake, as the most recent console generation has left gamers positively swimming in excellent Mario titles. Most importantly, for the first time ever, the franchise is delivering the goods to both fans of vintage 2D Mario, and the more exploratory three-dimensional incarnations.

Not since the original NES did more than one core 'Super' Mario game appear on the same system apart from, of course, the Super Nintendo's Yoshi's Island, which was a sequel to Super Mario World in name only. At least, not until Wii came along.

The Wii and DS titles have allowed Nintendo unprecedented freedom to explore and broaden the limits of what Mario games can do — and how we define them.

The Wii and DS titles have allowed Nintendo unprecedented freedom to explore and broaden the limits of what Mario games can do — and how we define them. While previous Mario titles can seem to have been made as responses to previous ones — largely by piling on the powerups or abilities, and refining the expected areas of gameplay — the Wii brought us Super Mario Galaxy, which turned our perception of Nintendo's flagship franchise upside down. And then right side up again. And then sent it soaring sideways along the gravitational arc of a small planetoid. Mario had experienced an evolution on a larger scale than we'd known for a long, long time.

Mario felt bigger, more expansive, and less limited than ever before. The experience of playing Super Mario Galaxy is one of endless discovery, where worlds unfold beneath your feet and surprises lurk around every corner. New galaxies are available for access long before any previous ones have lost their sense of wonder, and the game always seems to be pulling you ahead, calling out for more experimentation and more exploration; it rewards players with both striking innovation and an ongoing sense of satisfaction as challenges are accomplished one by one. On the Wii, therefore, Mario started off by shooting himself into space, and then only went further from there.

On the DS, however, Mario's big triumph was New Super Mario Bros., a decidedly retro throwback to a simpler time in gaming when your primary weapons were the shoes on your feet, and exploration took a back seat to devious platforming challenges over bottomless pits. While the graphics and sound were far advanced from Mario's humble beginnings, the gaming experience itself belonged unmistakably to the original NES. And thus did the Mario franchise simultaneously diverge into two separate directions, possibly for good.

Sure, we've had, and continue to have, plenty of spinoff games, sports titles, RPGs and so on, but now Nintendo is giving us two distinct evolutionary lines for Super Mario to follow; gamers seem only too happy to keep pace with both of them. On the one hand, the 3D games continue to become larger and more inventive as they go, and on the other the 2D games flit into view and challenge us to the two-button ruthlessness of a time long gone. Both Super Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros. received sequels that furthered their own separate mission statements, and both directions appear to be here to stay.

Here at Nintendo Life we couldn't be happier. More Mario is clearly a good thing for his fans, but before this generation, it was always one or the other. Once Mario dipped a toe into the third dimension, the thought of another flat, 2D sidescroller was only a fantasy. Now we have two distinct futures for the core Super Mario games that we can't wait to see him fulfill, and that wouldn't be the case if the games mentioned above were not of such unquestionable quality. Both New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Galaxy were critical and commercial smashes, and their sequels tended to rate, impressively, even better. The amount of love, care and attention Nintendo is pouring into this franchise shows us that it's not content to rest on its laurels: it wants to continue challenging gamers — and itself — to do better and better, and the 3DS masterpiece Super Mario 3D Land is just further proof of that.

We can look backwards, of course. We can pick out our favourite Mario title and hold it up and say that no matter what comes next, this one will always be our top choice. That's one of the great things about growing up and experiencing new things; it gives you such greater appreciation for the things that made you so happy long ago.

But it's important not to lose sight of what we have today, when fans of both styles of Super Mario games are being so well served with some of the best titles the franchise — and video gaming in general — has ever seen. After all, we just may all be in the middle of a Super Mario Renaissance.

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User Comments (73)



Torchwood said:

I always see people say that retro Mario games are the best, but I have to see Super Mario Galaxy 2 is my favorite. And maybe Super Mario 3, even though that contradicts my point...



thedanman64 said:

This is why I love Mario games. It simply appeals to everyone. We hardcore players may enjoy the 3D mario games, but with the 2D games EVERYONE can play them. It's one of the few games that you would play with your family and actually enjoy it.

As for looking back on Mario games, Super Mario 64 will always be my favourite. I had played a couple games before Mario 64, but it was that game that really got me into gaming.



HanuKwanzMasBif said:

Mario 64 (DS) forever! That was one of the games that I grew up on, and definitely one of the best!
Great article, Chicken



NintyMan said:

I wonder what kids these days think about Mario when playing Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Super Mario 3D Land. To them, those games would be like our Super Mario World and Super Mario 64. It's true that we shouldn't lose appreciation for today's games, because Mario has expanded his boundaries in ways that might leave nostalgic fans reeling.

It's hard to believe that there was such a gap between Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. as far as 2D games. Back then, there was only one Mario platformer for each console excluding the NES, 2D or 3D. That lasted until the Wii, which now has three Mario series games!

With the new 2D game for the 3DS coming, Nintendo is going to make sure that there will be plenty of Mario games in the future. They're proven best-sellers, and so the plumber will be jumping around more than ever before.



TKOWL said:

I wouldn't really call 3D Land a masterpiece, if so then it must be a veeeeeeeeery short one.



JakobG said:

I actually think Yoshi's Island is the best Mario 2D Platformer.
Super Mario Bros 3 is pretty great, but the controls aren't as enjoyable and tight as Yoshi's Island.



Myx said:

No the little triangle ship from asteroids is the lord of videogames!



Tomatoboxer said:

Actually, I'm really concerned that they're beginning to release main-series entries on a yearly basis. I can't think of a single franchise that has pulled that off without the games becoming repetitive and mediocre.



Doma said:

There may have been fewer Mario games in the past, but honestly they were better and more unique games from one another, unlike what we're seeing lately. 1, 2, 3, W, W2 etc. all have a differentiated art-style and distinct gameplay/features.

-Galaxy was kinda unique, sure. G2 was an expansion/second-half (albeit improved).
-NSMB uniqueness came from its (now boring) visuals and a couple of non-essential power-ups. NSMBW, like G2 is just an expansion.
-SM3DL is a dull mix between these, nothing new or interesting to see here.

I definitely prefer the old ones.. and that's not due to nostalgia. I'm losing interest in Mario games now tbh.



Skotski said:

I truly do think we let nostalgia get in the way of things...
We compare the newer ones to the old ones and say things like "unique"... when in reality, the old ones weren't too different from one another either. Stone me if you want, but it's true. They were all platforming titles, with slightly different setups. Some new power-ups, some new enemies, a slightly changed story, and different visuals.

New ones did (and do) offer something unique in the same way the old ones did. We're just too used to the Mario formula now to even consider them unique.
Back then? We couldn't have enough of the Mario formula to think that each iteration wasn't too different from the last.
But hey, grow up on the stuff and suddenly you become a cranky old man that doesn't want something too different from the first, but not too same than the last. The kids, however, find the new ones as fascinating and as different as we did when we were younger.



Knuckles said:

When James writes a Sonic the Hedgehog Renaissance let me know. I grew up on Sonic 3 and Knuckles, and when I play Mario games, sure they are fun, BUT i never get the same excitement out of them as a do sonic

And let me state right now I've only played the Genesis games, Sonic Advance 1 Sonic Colors and Generations, so sonic never really went down hill for me



Ren said:

Agree with @Skotski . They defined the medium as we know it (video games/platforming). So there is only so unique they can get now without actually diverging from the basic mechanics that make it the fun that it is; and even that they have toyed with and found unique takes on. If you must have some thing completely unique you'd have to look to a different form all together, but who can claim that they aren't good enough to buy anymore for lack of new innovation? Not me.
If there is any one tangible thing that I'd say made me the Nintendo nerd I am now it's Super Mario Brothers and the thing that made me stay that way was Mario 64. I'm old enough now that I couldn't turn away any new ones even though the formula has been pretty well defined already; it works.



Ren said:

Sonic is the generic stepchild of platforming to me, but to be fair I just never got into the early ones which seem to be the better ones. I tried the more recent 3d stuff and it's so horrible that it's near unplayable. If it ever had a renaissance it was short and not recent. I would almost like to see an article on Sonic: what went wrong?
The concept is so cool, so how did they manage to screw up all the new ones so bad?



Shirma_Akayaku said:

What a great article I just read. FANTASTIC!!! sort of makes me think of Space Channel 5 and other great games I've played.



pastasauce said:

Its hard to say which Mario is best. Super Mario World holds the most nostalgia for me. But Super Mario 64 revolutionized 3D gaming. Even still, Galaxy 2 is probably objectively the best in the series.



Shirma_Akayaku said:

I think (or from what I've seen is) that developers who make sonic games want to put him in a different setting, environment or experience. For example:
Sonic Riders - Not your typical side-scrolling super fast hedgehog game. Although it can be a fast paced game. Has good controls, etc.

Sonic Heroes - Good/Great concept, but not well planned. If it were at least similar to 2D sonic games it would have been better. Sort of like Sonic Generations. It was on different systems which either produced better or worse graphics, controls, etc.

But the point I want to put is that certain settings for Sonic (or even for other characters) can be a bad idea. Imagine If sonic where in a game called "Where's Sonic the Hedgehog?" It probably wouldn't sell much at all. Thus screwing up his "career"/ role in games.

Anyways I'm a bit tired of typing so I'll leave it off from here.



TheKingOfTown said:

My favorite would either be SMW or SMG. SMB3 at a close second.
My least favorite would have to be SMG2.



Punny said:

Good old Mario... I feel like this is the Super Mario Renaissance, too, mostly because the famed plumber is going on more real adventures these days than drifting off into spin-off territory (and even then, most of those spin-offs were well-crafted).



Odnetnin said:

Nostalgia is a force to be reckoned with. For this reason the Sunshine era will always be the best for me even though Super Mario Sunshine was the only Mario game that came out in the Sunshine era.



Pete_Stooge said:

My number one would be SM64. On every replay i go like: oh yeah, this game is soooooooo good whoaaa.

Next would be SUNSHINE. Although not too much credit from the reviewers when it came out it's a highlight in my gaming life. I remember looking into the sun while spraying water into the air, and thinking: whoaaaa



gojiguy said:

I found that the recent mario games have been bland and tasteless, barring the Galaxy games.

New Super Mario Bros was very basic in its design- harkening back to classic mario bros and taking no chances. New Super Mario Bros Wii did the same thing. And now Super Mario 3D Land did the same thing. It's getting boring.



DivineDope said:

Great Article! I always appreciate someone that reminds me to appreciate things.

To add to this... isn't there another Mario 2D SideScrolling game announced for the 3DS? It almost seems like a Dream... it's the Best News Ever.



LuigiTheGreenFire said:

To me these are the eras
Super Mario Bros. Era (1985-1990) : Super Mario Bros 1, 2, 3, and Lost Levels

Super Mario Land/World Era (1989-1992): Super Mario Land 1 and 2, Super Mario World

Early 3D Era (1996-2002); Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine

2D and 3D Era (2006-2010): New Super Mario Bros. DS and Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2

2D and 3D Era Part 2 (2011-): Super Mario 3D Land, Untitled 2D 3DS Mario Game



Aerona said:

I definitely agree that the Super Mario Galaxy series are the best 3D Marios, and I think that due to its successful blend of 2D and 3D Mario conventions 3D Land just might be the best game in the series so far. I don't think the NSMB series trumps Super Mario Bros. 1 & 3 though. The level design is great, but they won't have as fond a place in my memories due to awkward 3D graphics and bad music.



DreamOn said:

Super Mario 3D Land is a masterpiece of game design and art. The 3D makes me feel like I'm almost inside the game not just interacting with a display. Brought back the wow in playing Mario like when I was young playing SMB3 on a corner store rented NES with a bag of 1¢ candies.



lex0plex said:

I agree. Super Mario 3D is definitely not a masterpiece. I really felt like that game is a whole bunch of copypasta. Nothing really new and way too easy. Though, I thought it was a decent length and the 3D effects were cool. Did you play through the second 8 levels?

My favourite Mario game has to be Super Mario Sunshine. That game never gets enough credit. It was the perfect balance between platforming and exploration. Also fludd was way too much fun! I hope the next big Mario game for Wii U is a platforming, adventure RPG with level ups and unique abilities. That would be amazing!



Alienfish said:

They're all really good games. One thing to think about when comparing the newer ones to the old ones is that we didn't get the actual SMB2 in America (not sure about Europe) until it was released for Wiiware. SMB2 uses the same game mechanics as the first one with some very minor tweaks. So saying the old ones are actually more varied and original doesn't really work since SMB and SMB2 have even more in common with each other than SMG and SMG2. I'm just saying that the old sequels take the same incremental leap as the new ones do.

The only real problem I have with the new Mario games is that none of them have utilized an overworld map like SMW did. That map was so cool! I want to see another one in the near future with the same level of secrets and connectivity that that one had. Sure they have so called 'special worlds' in SMG2 and 3D Land, but I want to have a big playground to explore aside from all the levels. And bring back flying for F*** sake! We haven't been able to fly in a Mario game since the freaking N64!!! NOT EVEN IN THE 2D ONES!!!!!!! I'm sorry, but cloud powerups and lame, nonfunctional Tanooki suits just don't cut it. I want actual flight that I can control that will lead me to cool little secrets in the sky.

Aside from all that, I like myself some Mario. It really is the best platforming experience out there.



CanisWolfred said:

Yes, because repeating old ideas is how you start a renessainse. Ugh, I'd rather play play through Super Mario 64 again than have to play another Bros. wannabe.



theblackdragon said:

@Mickeymac: 'renaissance' is defined as 'a revival or rebirth', older ideas being revamped and/or put to new use. sorry you don't like how things are turning out, but putting new life into what already came before is exactly what's happening, lol. bring it on, i say :3



sinalefa said:


Galaxy 1 allowed you to fly when you unlocked the red stars, so there you go. Besides you get to see Mario with black overalls when you do!

I do believe all games are pretty good (some better than others of course) and that most people tend to lean towards 2D or 3D, and thus appreciate or love more those kind of games.

It really helps having played the games when they were released and were the top of the industry. After beating Galaxy 2 I borrowed Sunshine and I was amazed to see such a bad and annoying camera, so maybe if I had played the game when it was released (like I did with Mario 64) I would have appreciated more.

SM3DL is a great game but I still like Galaxy 2 more. Yet I am still aware that it would be different from the galaxy games. Overall the difficulty was only frustrating in a few stages, which has been a staple of Mario, with the exception of the Lost Levels. I recently played SMB3 again and was surprised to find out that stages I held as impossible to beat when I was a kid, were no big deal now. The difficulty is the same, we are just getting better at it.

Finally, excellent article, Chicken. You really should write some of these more often.



WaxxyOne said:

So who else is ready for a sequel / remake in the style of Super Mario Bros. 2?



Alienfish said:

[staring at screen, mouth gaping]
Huh!? I played the crap out of that game. Maybe I'll have to give it another look now. Thanks for the tip.

Wow, I can't believe I missed that. I eventually started ignoring those stupid Lumas that were scattered everywhere; should've paid more attention to them. Still, the flying hurt my brain. It was probably the worst flying experience I've had in a Mario game, at least on the planet where it is unlocked and the view sucks and the controls don't change with the view so brain assault occurs.



JohnPhilipSousa said:

There's three of me! Way past cool! Except I've played all of the Sonic games, aside from Japan only ones and Knuckle's Chaotix. And I'm only 13, yet I have my own Sega Genesis with boxed copies of Sonic 3 & Knuckles.



Knuckles said:

@3DSonicPizza , @MagicLink95 I forgot I have briefly played Sonic Riders, the multiplayer mode in Heroes and the Game Gear games, but accept them to be before their time because they are all ports from the master system except Triple Trouble, which i currently own on my 3DS. I say it isn't very good, but most handheld sonics aren't in my opinion, minus the Advance and Rush games



WarioPower said:

I grew up on the Genesis, so I'm always kind of partial to Sonic. That being said, my favorite mario game has always been Sunshine. Delfino Plaza was a blast to screw around in it and the tropical theme was eye candy to me! Also, it was great that Nintendo tried something different with Fludd.



SamuraiShyGuy said:

I think the Wii is the best system for Mario games. NSMB Wii and Galaxy 2 are my favorite 2d and 3d mario games. Galaxy 1 is right there with them. And don't forget about Super Mario All Stars Anniversary Edition and all the VC games.



DraculaX said:

Mario may be the king of platforming, but Rayman 1 will always be the greatest platformer to me.

Getting on topic, I completely agree with Alienfish. They definitely need to make another Mario game inspired by Super Mario World. That game had a crazy amount of secrets and it would be amazing if they made another game like that.

Also, I'm glad to see Nintendo has found a good balance of 2D and 3D Mario games. Even though I prefer 2D platforming, it is nice to play the genre in different perspectives.



Savino said:

Those new Marios almost play by itself.
My 4 years old daughter is ready to beat Mario 3Dland with the P-wing and Golden Racoon... With SMB 1 she still fighting with the world 1-2.



TromboneGamer said:

This article describes a lot about how I feel. I will cherish the Super Mario series as long as I live.



RR529 said:

There hasn't been a Mario I've disliked, but I group them into games I love, and games that are alright, but not great.

Love: SMB3, SMW, SML2, SMG, SMG2, SM3DL.
Alright: SMB (althogh it's still a must play for any gamer, on it's pedigree alone), SML, NSMB, NSMBW.

I should also note that I've never played 64 all the way through (I had to rent it as a kid, and whoever had it last always had it at a different point, so I was unable to complete a playthrough), and I never even played Sunshine (due to lack of Gamecube), so I'll refrain from trying to place those.



Emaan said:

I love Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, but Super Mario Galaxy might just be the best Mario yet. We could really be in a Super Mario renaissance.



StuffyStuff said:

It's hard to argue with this article. I've been blown away by each of the home console Mario titles when they came out. Even Sunshine was impressive, although it didn't really have the wow factor that the other games had, but it was still there. The Galaxy games are the best Mario titles I've played, and I'm a die-hard retro gamer, almost to a fault.



TheGreenSpiny said:

@sinalefa: That bad camera was always there in Sunshine, which is the biggest reason I've never gotten into the game. The design is suburb, if a little convoluted, and the graphics hold up really well, but that damn camera makes the game virtually unplayable. It was an improvement over the Mario 64 camera, but with the games added difficulty level it makes all the more apparent.

@CapedGodot: Actually Samus is the goddess of gaming.



Radixxs said:

And through it all, I have discovered that I don't like Mario games. What!? How could any Nintendo fan dislike Mario games? Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. I don't dislike Mario games, it's just that they aren't much fun anymore. I bought Super Mario Galaxy. I bought both New Super Mario Bros. games. I bought Super Mario Galaxy 2. I bought Super Mario 3D Land. I bought 5 new Mario games. I only played 2.

I enjoyed the first few games, but by the time I gt SM3DL, I was done. The level design was nothing short of brilliant, but the challenge was non-existent. Yes, I played using the Tanooki Suit, and I didn't finish the second set of worlds. But after playing the same game so many times, I have no desire to play this one or any of the other games anymore.

The next time a Mario game comes out, unless it is significantly different, I will simply play one of my 5 games if I want a Mario fix. I can't keep buying the same game just because of the name.



Ichiban said:

I played through most Mario games, with World & 64 being the best (although Galaxy is pretty damn good too)
I want more Mario games as great as these, no more embarrassments like NSMBW. The most forgettable Mario game ever



JimLad said:

Everyone seems to have differing opinions on which games were the best.
Testament to the broad appeal of the series. That's the main reason Mario games are the best, anyone can play them.
The new games are getting easier, but the fun is still there. That's all that matters to me at the end of the day.



LittleFuryThing said:

I'm guessing that the RPG related Mario games are exempt from discussion?
As for the platforming versions, SMB3 still remains my favourite of them all, with Yoshi's Island a worthy mention too.



scrubbyscum999 said:

Super Mario World & Super Mario Galaxy hands down. Super Mario World had an awesome overworld map, great level design, lots of levels, a few really simple but cool power ups, etc. Super Mario Galaxy was innovative and really a game that was truly magical, have all 241 stars in that game. To me, Galaxy is a lot better than 64, I mean a lot, and speaking 64 was a historical game and a masterpiece, that says a lot. I have not played SMG2 or Sunshine so I am leaving those out.



Slapshot said:

I've not really enjoyed the 2D Mario titles since the NES/SNES era, but I've absolutely loved Mario 64, Galaxy series, as well as Super Mario 3D Land. I don't know what it is about NSMB games, but the controls just feel off to me for some reason.

Nintendo has a great thing going with the Mario franchise and I hope they keep the games coming.



Simon_Deku said:

I'm real tired of Mario. The quality of the newer ones has dropped (in my opinion) and I just don't find enjoyment in them anymore. If you ask me, nintendo should focus on their other series, especially Zelda and Kirby. They have a loth of potential left in them, and they've proved that to me with Return to Dream Land and Skyward Sword.



Burning_Spear said:

I didn't see anything overplayed about having three Mario platformers on the Wii. However, I'm a little concerned that the 3DS will have two Mario platformers before its second birthday. Please be careful, Nintendo.



OdnetninAges said:

Mario has never had a bad game, huh?...
Hotel Mario, Mario Is Missing, and Mario's Time Machine...



WingedSnagret said:

@3DSonicPizza True, but think of all the the YTP memes that came from them!
But seriously, I do agree that Nintendo needs to focus on other franchises more. But at least they have shown that they still do so. The most notable example being Pit's revival in the form of Uprising. But the question is, should they revive more old series like Ice Climber and Balloon Fight? Or should they make more new IPs like Pikmin and Dillion's Rolling Western being examples?




Pretty much the greatest games series of all time bar none. I think it was starting to go stale when Super Mario Sunshine was released (though that was decentish) but was magically and spectacularly resurrected with the greatest game of all time (for me) in the Super Mario Galaxy series. There isn't a single game in this series I don't like except probably Super Mario Bros. 2.



Whopper744 said:

Picking up my old favorite would be Super Mario World. I was born in 1989, so that game was what I call the first real game I got into...even though I was just a couple years old... I grew into it anyway.



SuperMinusWorld said:

My favorite in the series would have to be Super Mario Bros. It's Mario in his most basic form, and the grandfather of all future Mario games. My modern favorite would have to be Super Mario Galaxy. In my opinion, New Super is what kicked off the Renaissance, but Galaxy made it official and came out with guns blazing. Galaxy was what every other 3D Mario so far wasn't: Mario being Mario. It was the closest any 3D game had gotten to being a Mario game, and was thoroughly fun at it, too. Plus, its narrative and optional deeper story brought me to tears at one point (that story book is no joke, man). 3D Land seems to be going strong and carrying the Renaissance along. If they make Super Mario Bros 4, then it's official. But the one thing I'm truly waiting on is Super Mario Wii U: it seriously, seriously needs to have Mario & Luigi co-op, just like how 64 and Sunshine and Galaxy were going to have but didn't. Please let it be true, Nintendo. This is what I, and millions of others, have been waiting for.



NintendoMike said:

"Not since the original NES did more than one core 'Super' Mario game appear on the same system apart from, of course, the Super Nintendo's Yoshi's Island, which was a sequel to Super Mario World in name only. At least, not until Wii came along."

The Game Boy says hello.

Super Mario Land.
Super Mario Land 2.



StarDust4Ever said:

People say Sunshine was the black sheep of the Super Mario 3D series, much as Super Mario Brothers 2 was the black sheep of the 2D series, being originally ported from Doki-Doki Panic, which wasn't even a Mario game at all. As a result, Super Mario Brothers 2 stands out as being more unique and unusual than the others, but a lot of game mechanics and enemies from Mario 2 were incorporated into later games, such as Bob-ombs, Shy-Guys, Sniffits, Pokeys, and even the mechanic of picking up and throwing enemies/shells.

Mario Sunshine is a product of the collect-a-thon movement, which was vastly popular in the 64/Gamecube generation, with 240 blue coins sprinkled throughout the game. They also had a completely different gameplay mechanic/powerup, the Fludd Pak, which may be passed off as gimmicky to some. Once you get used to it, it works almost flawlessly. In this instance, Sunshine was more a product of gaming trends, rather than a pioneer.

SMB and M64 in particular single-handedly shaped the 2D and 3D platforming genres. SMB2 and Sunshine were unique diversions to the formula, and then games such as SMB3 and Mario World perfected 2D, while Galaxy 1 & 2 really perfected 3D.

Now we have modern "2D style" games such as New Super Mario Brothers DS/Wii, which are more throwbacks than truly unique or inventive, and new "3D style" games, the first of which is Mario 3D Land, basically also a throwback game.

In summation all Mario games, 2D or 3D, are great, but serve vastly different roles in Mario history:

SMB - revolutionary
SMB2- unique
SMB3 - perfection
SMW - more perfection
NSMB DS - throwback
NSMB Wii - throwback

N64 - revolutionary
Sunshine - unique
SMG1 - perfection
SMG2 - more perfection
SM3DL - throwback

Not included in the list are ports and remakes:

Super Mario All Stars SNES
Super Mario Deluxe GBC
Super Mario Advance series GBA
Super Mario 64x4 DS



SuperMinusWorld said:

@StarDust Yes, oh my God. I have been saying this exact thing since 3D Land was announced because it looked, to me at least, as the New Super Mario of the 3D series. Thank you. Wow. I completely agree with you. Thank you for that, you have no idea.



astrotriforce said:

Great article here! I really enjoyed reading it. I must say that I absolutely love the two-pronged approach that Nintendo has brought and I think it's a good thing.

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