News Article

Talking Point: Is Nintendo Over-Reliant on Super Mario?

Posted by Gaz Plant

Lots of plumbing to do

Back in 1985, no-one could have imagined that a plumber saving a princess from the clutches of an evil turtle king could become one of gaming’s defining moments. Since the release of the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES, Mario has become not only the face of Nintendo, but arguably the face of gaming as a whole. Shigeru Miyamoto’s creation allowed Nintendo to become the industry leader that it is today, and over the past few generations the Mario series has been ever present on Nintendo consoles.

The strength of the Mario IP cannot be underestimated: before the GameCube every Nintendo home console was led out by Mario, and as a result Super Mario games remained the best-selling title for the lifespan of the system. The success of the brand has led to numerous spin-off titles, with forays into everything from karting to football/soccer, ultimately meaning you are never far from a new Mario title being released.

But despite the continued exposure of the Mario franchise to the masses, the core “Super Mario” series has always remained the shining beacon in Nintendo’s arsenal. No matter what, every platform is guaranteed one Super Mario title, and with it comes a huge wave of anticipation and excitement. More recently, however, new titles have been announced with an unheard of frequency: we recently argued that this was actually a Super Mario renaissance, but it’s also potentially reaching a point of damaging this iconic franchise.

The release of Super Mario 64 in 1996 was a watershed moment as Shigeru Miyamoto and his team successfully transitioned Mario into 3D, an almost surreal feat at the time. This remained the flagship title of the N64 throughout its tenure as Nintendo’s lead platform, and was only superseded six years later by 2002’s Super Mario Sunshine. Much like Nintendo’s other core franchises, the Super Mario series has always had an extended timeframe between releases (outwith remakes such as those on the Game Boy Advance) which makes the arrival of new games big news, something that was proven by the rapturous applause that greeted Super Mario Galaxy at E3 2006.

That level of excitement is due in part to the previous success of the franchise, but it also arguably comes from the knowledge that Nintendo will provide a plentiful supply of unique and fresh ideas in the new game. This is a result of the franchise’s exclusivity, and up to the release of Super Mario Galaxy in 2007 Nintendo had stuck to a one-per-platform logic on each of its home consoles since the NES – arguably discounting Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island on Super NES, a Yoshi title given the Super Mario brand. This not only helped to keep the series fresh, but it also stopped the series suffering burn-out, because when it comes down to the mechanics, Mario games stick to a tried and tested philosophy of run and jump.

But more recently this has begun to change, and the change has perhaps coincided with a new generation of gamers arriving on Nintendo systems – the so-called ‘casual’ market. While long-time Nintendo fans may be familiar with mascots from Kirby to Resetti, families and parents who were taken in by the DS era perhaps only have a lasting affiliation with Mario, something which is due in part to his large exposure as Nintendo’s leading mascot over the years. With this in mind, Nintendo released New Super Mario Bros. on DS in 2006, harkening back to the NES and SNES days and appealing to anyone and everyone who's ever played a Mario game.

Since then we have entered an era of Mario dominance, and in the past six years we have seen five new Super Mario games released across all platforms – compare this to 1996-2002 when we saw just two. It seems that Nintendo has been quick to capitalise on a new influx of gamers, and with Mario a key selling point it was quick to act; the huge success of New Super Mario Bros is testament to this. Super Mario Galaxy was perhaps developed by Nintendo before the realisation of the mass appeal of its new platforms, but since then we have seen the company begin to rely on Mario to sell big over the holidays.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2 were fantastic, but both came off the back of two almost identical adventures – for the first time in its series history, Super Mario seemed to become derivative.

The release of New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2 in 2009 and 2010 respectively both pushed Wii sales higher over Christmas periods, and both were arguably skewed slightly towards a more family friendly audience, albeit retaining their trademark difficulty curve. There’s no denying that both games were fantastic, but both came off the back of two almost identical adventures – for the first time its series history, Super Mario seemed to become derivative.

Certainly one of the main complaints levelled at NSMB Wii was that it was simply an upgrade of the DS game for the Wii, and with Super Mario Galaxy 2 we saw many of the ideas from the original’s cutting room floor, often featuring the same power-ups and themes that Galaxy offered. We should be clear that these were in no way entirely derivative games, but both borrowed heavily from their predecessors, and with the exception of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, this is something that has never been exhibited by the Super Mario series before.

Which brings us to the most recent release: Super Mario 3D Land. It was always curious that the 3DS didn't get a Mario announcement in the initial wave at E3 2010, with it instead being almost spontaneously announced at the relatively low key keynote speech at the Game Developer’s Conference 2011, shortly before the 3DS was released in the West.

Given that nothing was mentioned at E3 2010, we can perhaps assume that Super Mario 3D Land had a swift development process, especially seeing as it followed so quickly after Super Mario Galaxy 2; its proximity to the previous two titles does show, though it was handled by a different team at Nintendo EAD. NSMB Wii's propeller makes a slightly-adjusted appearance, and ideas from Super Mario Galaxy 2 such as Flipswitch Galaxy return in similar ways. The game even takes an old item in the form of the Tanooki tail and makes it the key item, something Super Mario Bros. 3 had already accomplished.

While references and nostalgia are fine, Super Mario 3D Land arguably used some ideas a bit too fully, giving some levels an impression of being copied from previous titles. That’s one perspective, and many will argue against that, but the series is now beginning to see some repetition, and Nintendo needs to be wary of this. While it’s certainly impressive that the series has not suffered this issue before, the more recent trend of Nintendo banking on big sales from Mario games has resulted in an unheard of level of exposure for the core Super Mario series; is there simply not enough time to craft entirely new ideas and revolutionary styles of level design under such pressure?

More worrying, perhaps, is that Nintendo appears to be becoming reliant on Super Mario titles to sell systems. Whereas in previous generations every franchise seemed to get a fair chance to shine, Nintendo now seems to announce Super Mario titles more frequently, leaving the other franchises to scrap it out amongst themselves. At E3 last year, Wii U was demoed with New Super Mario Bros Mii leading the charge, and for the 3DS Satoru Iwata has already announced that another 2D Super Mario title will be out this fiscal year. That means that if NSMB Mii is a Wii U launch title — a real possibility — that in the next 12 months we'll see another two core Super Mario games, making it five years in a row for the series. While Shigeru Miyamoto and his teams have a wealth of ideas, we would be surprised if even they can keep such consistently high standards of innovation we expect from Mario.

So what’s the answer? Clearly the Mario series sells, and it sells well. One of the charms of The Legend of Zelda series is that we only see it every two or three years, making the release of each new game an occasion. New Super Mario games aren’t an occasion any more: they’re becoming standard practice.

Nintendo’s other franchises have the potential to sell well, with Kid Icarus: Uprising being given a chance with significant marketing: if marketed effectively titles such as these could help their systems weather quiet sales periods. Another option is for Nintendo to take the route it did on the GameCube and Nintendo 64, and begin to focus more on selling Mario as a franchise away from the core Super Mario titles. Mario Kart is a hugely popular series in its own right and is performing this role in the current generation, and with Mario Tennis Open arriving shortly, it’s clear that the plumber has more appeal than just platforming games.

It seems strange to say it, but perhaps Mario needs a break from platforming. The Super Mario series is the key to getting the attention of the gaming world for any new Nintendo system, but it is a key that perhaps needs to be used more sparingly. We’re already seeing ideas being repeated, and with Wii U on the way, there's a real chance for the series to do something spectacular once again.

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User Comments (126)



Bass_X0 said:

Would anyone like a Zelda sports game? Imagine playing tennis with Ganondorf, hitting a ball back and forth until you miss.

Oh you already done that.



19Robb92 said:

I don't think so. I think they would do swell without him, but I think it's important for Nintendo to keep Mario as a very very well known character. I mean, he's like the Mickey Mouse of gaming. They need to pump those games out to keep his image going. He's the main face of Nintendo.



Einherjar said:

Yes, but also: Why not ?
Look at other companies, big and small. Look at capcom....they are killing each and every mascot they had at the moment.
Thought that crash bandicoot and / or spyro were sony mascots ? Both are dead (dont get me started on skylanders...)
Nintendo is really the only gaming company with "real" mascots and im very glad that they keep good care of them.



Whopper744 said:

For the most part, you just can't beat a good Mario game.
But I sort of noticed these same issues when Super Mario 3D Land was released. It is a great game...but I feel like I have played it, many many times before. It's like they were purely going off of past successes to make this game work. In trying to make it simple, like the old games, I honestly felt even the levels felt just a little...empty maybe.
I have to admit, I still buy almost every Mario game that comes out, but it's not quite was it used to be, and some of that I think is just because a new one comes out every few months.
Along with that, I really wish they would give a little more attention to some of the other great first part IP's, such as Star Fox, Metroid, F-Zero, and now, continuing to work on bringing back Kid Icarus, so that it is a series everyone comes to know and love (great start on that with Uprising by the way).
One thing I really want them to slow down on, is relying on past successes to sell new games, instead of coming up with new ideas.



chewytapeworm said:

The fact they're bringing out a new "2d Mario platformer" out on the 3ds, along with Mario Tennis and Paper Mario speaks volumes. Love him to bits though, Mario was my gateway into gaming with the original Super Mario Bros and I enjoy almost every release that has his name on it since without fail.



Samholy said:

paper mario mario rpg on snes was a great innovative way to use mario franchise. make it come back ! it was great !

but just like zelda, i wouldnt see much more than 1 or 2 mario titles in a console lifespan. one at launch to show the console's power, and one near the end, to show the full console potential and experience during the years it was out.

anyway, when you see a new mario game, you know it will be solid.
glad they tried a freshier franchise with kid icarus, its a blast and i am sure to buy the next installment.



DrDaisy said:

Nintendo is way too reliant on Mario games, many of which I feel are grossly overrated. It's almost gotten to the point where I can't stand Mario anymore. I'd rather have more Metroid (at least partially developed by Nintendo), F-Zero, and Star Fox games. I don't like the stories in the F-Zero and Star Fox games very much, but I loved the gameplay in F-Zero X and Star Fox 64. I'm also willing to give Metroid another chance.
I wonder whatever happened to Star Tropics.

I may be I'm alone in this, but if they keep making Mario games, I think they should at least have a voice option in them. I'm not exactly suggesting giving Mario a gruff Brooklyn accent instead of his cheesy Italian one (although that's exactly what I'd want), but I'd find the Mario games much more playable if I could just turn his voice off without sacrificing the music and other sound effects.



FJOJR said:

Nintendo needs to use as Mario as the draw to their systems. Then from there they have to let the other franchises shine until around the middle of the console's lifespan before trotting out another main series title. Also toss in a couple of spinoffs during the dry season instead of the holiday months.



Geonjaha said:

In short, yes. Nintendo puts a lot of effort into making its Mario games, and that's why I end up buying them. If Nintendo shifted this attention to other games then people would have a chance at new experiences. Mario is fine, but you never get a real kick from the games anymore.



PaperLucario said:

As much as I love Mario Games, I must say yes. Nintendo really needs to look at some of their franchises OTHER THAN Mario and Zelda. I mean, when was the last f-zero, star fox (that isn't a remake), pikmin, fire emblem, ice climber, etc.? Now gladly a couple of them are getting a new game after all this time of Mario and Zelda, and I'm really upbeat about Kirby finally getting love and attention by Nintendo again (as evident by the last 3 games released over the general course of one year). But I do say, Nintendo really does need to give Mario a break from platforming, not a long one, but enough to give other series the spotlight.



ThomasBW84 said:

I think an important distinction to make as well, and it's really the main point of Gaz's article, is that we're seeing an increase in Super Mario titles, which are more specific. There's always been plenty of spin-offs and different genres, but until now Super Mario entries were spread out over time.

I've loved the recent explosion of Super Mario games, 2D and 3D, but I think Gaz raises a good point in terms of whether the sheer volume will lead to a loss of impact and, ultimately, creativity. So far it's been ok, but at this rate it's surely a worry for the future.



New_3DaSh_XL said:

I think they should depend on Mario a lot, for a few titles, but sometimes they go too far. They need more options. Super Smash is a really good option, Kid Icarus is too, Zelda is really good, I don't know much about Pikmin, Luigi's Mansion I wouldn't mind, maybe once a console, a mariokart a console, and definetly look to Miis as part of the big Nintendo future. Yes, Nintend relies too mch on Marios. Not the Mario games, just mario in general. Mario, keep. Mariokart, keep. Prety much all of the others get rid of. Luigi's Mansion isn't really Mario, and also one Animal Crossing per console. Really, there isn't enough of the others. They would make more money if the neglected and ones that aren't developed as often come back, suck as Kid Icarus, Luigi's Mansion, etc.



Simon_Deku said:

Agreed. Mario is old news in my house. He's just gotten stale. The only games of his that I enjoy anymore is Mario Kart. Honestly, the only reason that I bought 3D land is because it brought back the Tanooki Suit, which brings back lots of good memories. I think that Zelda is more deservant of the spotlight. Zelda hasn't gotten old in the slightest.



SmashYoshi123 said:

@chewytapeworm Speaking of The Paper Mario On 3DS, When ARE Nintendo GONNA Bring US IT, Heck Its The Same With Animal Crossing, Even Though That HAS A Rumoured Date, Is It Devolopment Issues Or Something?, Seriously.



grumblebuzzz said:

@MrBabySpencer I think in the case of Paper Mario and Animal Crossing, we are going to see a lot more of them at E3 because Nintendo wants to stretch their release schedule out over time. I'm kind of worried right now about Luigi's Mansion 2, since Miyamoto said that it would probably be a first quarter 2012 release but hasn't happened and won't.



coolvw93 said:

I think it is a good thing, when you think nintendo, people usually associate mario with it. No other gaming company (even though there might be, im not thinking of any, except for Sonic for Sega) has a gaming icon that keeps bringing back the people who played Super Mario Bros. and also get new and younger gamers excited about mario. i think them relying on it is a good thing.

But, i wouldnt mind seeing some nintendo gaming franchises we havent seen in a while, like F-Zero(i miss those high speeding days), a new starfox(if it came out on wiiU day one, id totally put the money down for one), Metroid, and maybe try to bring back Faxanadu. Bringing Kid Icarus out was awsome, and i think they need to go back and try to bring back some of the great gaming franchises to see how they would do.



grumblebuzzz said:

@warioswoods I agree. As much flack as SM3DL has gotten for being a retro throwback without much innovation, that in itself is sort of innovative since they've never done it so blatantly before; however, if the next game in the 3DL series is cape Mario riding Yoshi with Chargin' Chucks runnin' around, I might become a little worried.



ThePirateCaptain said:

There are just a lot of Mario spin-off titles that are mediocre, the core franchise is very good.Some may say Nintendo relies too heavily on Mario, but they make good games that I will continue to buy.



Yosher said:

More of a certain series usually doesn't do that particular series much good.

In Mario's case though? More is definetely good! They're not overdoing it by releasing a main game every year or two, the spin-offs are simply for people who actually enjoy that sport/puzzle/whatever the spinoff is. That's what most people don't see. Mario's main adventuring titles don't get all that much more attention than Zelda.

Besides, if there WERE too many Mario games, the world would have been tired of him and the gang already, yet Mario games are still immensely popular. At least, most of his titles are. The Baseball series isn't very popular (which is sadly why it never got released in the PAL regions).



Reala said:

As long as it means more Mario RPG's then I'm fine with it, I mostly avoid the rest Wario's where its at.



drumsandperc92 said:

wii U needs a real, new, super mario game. as new as galaxy was.
it needs a mario kart, a 2d super mario that is NOT just another NSMB that's exactly the same, a new Zelda in a year or two due to how recently SS was released, a new F-Zero as a launch title, a new Metroid Prime (i know it was supposed to be a trilogy but by god that was such a good series), Pikmin 3 at launch, Super Smash that really changes up the formula a bit and keeps it competitive and fair, a new dedicated Yoshi game where he's not just a guest character for Mario, a new Donkey Kong in 3d would be great - think DK 64 sequel. Long overdue, that game was underrated. It needs a new Star Fox which could really take advantage of the Tablet if you held it up and used it to look around beyond the TV to see the space around you during flight, a new Paper Mario or maybe a fully realized 3D Super Mario RPG - a sequel to the SNES game! That would be very cool. Imagine on the wii U in glorious HD yet still stylized in the typical mario fashion, a huge Peach's Castle to explore and interact with. and lastly, a BRAND NEW IP from Nintendo. The last one on a home console was Pikmin. Let's see some new ideas - i know Miyamoto has something cookin', hopefully it'll be a launch title.
But more directly associated with the article - yes, Nintendo is relying too much on Mario, and I think they have such wonderful other fan favorite series that they can exploit more to move consoles. I think if Wii U launched with an F-Zero as a racing game, Pikmin 3 as a strategy game or whatever it's categorized as, Metroid Prime 4 as a shooter/adventure, and some sort of fighting game the system will fly off the shelves. Not to mention great 3rd party titles like Assassin's Creed 3, Skryim, Arkham City, etc. For those who only own wii's, I'm sure they'd be excited to play games that have been out for a year they couldn't play. For me who also owns a 360, I'm holding on Arkham City so it'll have all DLC and expansions most likely, as well as Assassin's Creed 3 since it'll likely run in 1080p and just be nicer to look at with the HUD moved to the tablet.



Mk_II said:

over-reliant? Yeah, just like McDonalds is over-reliant on our appetite for burgers and fries.



Rapadash6 said:

I'll only agree with this assertion when Mario platformers actually do begin to feel stale. Truth is though, all of Mario's recent games have been excellent, so I think it's too early to be pushing the "running it into the ground" button just yet. I also hope damn well that Mario's there for us at Wii Us launch.



NintenHero said:

Let's get serious, how many times do you guys wanna rescue Princess Peach from Bowser? Mario has been stomping heads for over 25 years now... it's time for Nintendo to make new heroes, seriously, even though each Mario game is somewhat different with new experiences and is always enjoyable it's all basically the same thing whether you wanna admit it or not.

I'm a Zelda fan, but each Zelda game is just to similar. Get x items from x temples by solving x puzzles to get x weapon and beat the bad guy... Zelda games are awesome man but facts are facts.

Either which way, Nintendo still does a great job with both Mario and Zelda games and I support them 100%.



3DSHub said:

Somewhat. Not the main series, but mainly with all of its spin-offs. Mario Party is probably the worst culprit. I'd like to see Ninty cool their jets a bit with Mario for a while. But, being the huge money-maker he is, they probably won't...



Shining-Void said:

Yesh. I can go with out mario for another 5 years. Give Starfox and F-Zero their long deserved spotlight. Why not make Kid Icarus for the wii u too.



Bass_X0 said:

it needs a mario kart,

No. I think a Smash Bros. racing game would be better instead. Don't limit it to only Mario characters and Mario themed tracks - open it up to the whole of Nintendo and whatever guests that may be added.

Vehicles and weapons would be personal to each individual character. Link would ride Epona who would control differently to a go-kart.



IAmNotWill said:

It doesn't matter to me. I like good games so I don't mind all the Mario. And a lot of people here are saying cut down on Mario and bring out the other franchises. Why not both?



Dodger said:

I don't think Super Mario is overdone yet. However, it can go the way of the hedgehog if they aren't careful. I would prefer that they take it slow because good Super Mario games are really good.

The Mario series is one that I pick and choose from. I guess I'm a cafeteria Mario player. I can perfectly understand not liking the series. Galaxy is my favorite. I buy the ones that look fun and skip the ones that don't. I got Mario World, Galaxy 1 and 2, NSMB, NSMBWii for the multiplayer, SML2 and SMB1. For example, I skipped SM3DL because it doesn't look fun. The demo units I have tried are rather bland no matter what world I try, the super play videos actually look like things I could do and the game is too short for the price it is currently at. There are games I want more and it isn't a series I have a lot of nostalgia for.



Luffymcduck said:

New Super Mario Bros Wii was too similar to DS version. I played DS version a lot since it was a new super mario bros game, something we hadn´t had for years. Wii version used the same backrounds mostly and didn´t have that many new ideas (aside from the great 4 player game, something I´m really glad of).

What I´d like to see next is a less straightforvard Mario game. I always liked those the most. Super Mario World with lots of secret exits and a SINGLE huge map. Give us a 3D Mario like 64 or Sunshine, I want to explore huge non-linear levels in a Mario game again.



ZurrrrBlattTron said:

I don't like the newer super Mario games smbw was boring unless you had someone to play with Mario galaxy series was ok but I just could not get into it
Mario sunshine was my fav game I just loved walking and exploring around delfino island :3 back then it seemed like a huge world unlike just one castle and a front yard (64) Mario galaxy didn't give off that feel also Mario and Luigi 3ds anyone dB that would rock lolz



AltDotNerd said:

Well, this is what always happens:
Nintendo announces a new Mario game, people say "Too much Mario!"
Nintendo doesn't announce a new Mario game, people say "Where's Mario!"
Nintendo will always make new Mario games. Deal with it.



MetalMario said:

I love Mario games to death, but yeah, I can see it.

Just look at the Club Nintendo prizes, most of those are Mario too.

Honestly, I don't mind getting all these Mario games, but I also like Zelda, Star Fox, Metroid, Donkey Kong, Pokemon, StarTropics, Kid Icarus, Kirby, etc., etc. And I want some more of those.

By the end of this year, if you add Luigi's Mansion 2, Paper Mario, and Mario Tennis Open to my 3DS games, I'll have 5 games from the Mario franchise on it already, out of a total of 10 games.



thanos316 said:

no they are not. let me rethink my answer. they do pump out a lot of mario titles but most of them are high quality. im not really talking about the sports games, but mario galaxy and mario for the ds and mario kart. even mario strikers was a good game for the game cube i think it first came out for. but ninty has metroid, now kid icarus is back. but mario games sells like hotcakes, so why wouldn't ninty keep up this cash cow. more power to them. i haven't played mario galaxy titles as yet but soon enough i will. i say keep pumping out mario titles until they don't sell good anymore.



Burning_Spear said:

3D Land was a fantastic game, but to me, it only seemed fresh from the standpoint of utilizing 3D as a component of the game. The levels themselves seemed like a best-of-Mario collection. That's really the only time I've felt that during the Mario series. I think Nintendo needs to tread carefully now. There's a fine line between giving the people what they want and flogging something to death. Mario is the No. 1 system-seller, so I understand what they're doing, but after this, I think the franchise would benefit from a long break to develop something fresh in the vein of Galaxy.



TKOWL said:

Mario is like Disney's Mickey: oversaturated to the the point of freaking tedium.

Honestly I'm starting to become less of a fan of him as the years go by, it's sad that he's the only reason the 3DS is selling now.



JakobG said:

First they complain about there not being a Mario-launch title, now they complain about Mario being overused.
Pick a goddamn side already.



Cotton said:

I personally dont like mario as much as like zelda(favorite) or kid icarus



1wiierdguy said:

I still look forward to each Mario release. For me it hasn't been to much. Yet. I think the reason SM3dL seemed to lack innovation is because it was rushed out to prop up an at the time failing system. Mario Glaxy 2 was so good I can't complain. I think the huge success of NSMB on Ds led to a Wii version. The slow start to the 3ds is something Ninty doesn't want to repeat with Wii U, hence a Mario title very early in its launch window. I think after that Ninty will ease up on Mario for a while. People have already mentioned many Nintendo franchises that could use more love. I'd like to ass Waverace to that list.



Shirma_Akayaku said:

There are many game companies who make a great video game, yet never look back on it for a long time (even never). I think Nintendo should look back at the past and revive those games that went flying off the shelves in all the stores. And I have noticed a decline of interest of Mario games in myself. I recently played sonic riders and it was great.

The generation of young gamers should play games from the past and today, and see what's the difference. I'm sure many young kids could say that the graphics on old games look terrible yet the experience of the game could be the best thing of all in a game.



ajcismo said:

Yes, and so what?
Milk that cow with the red hat, the pail underneath it has "$$" on it.



Squirtodile said:

I guess Sega and Sonic are kinda like this too...most people probably think of sonic when they hear sega, and Mario when they hear nintendo. I know i do, and ive tried the majority of NIntendo series.



Stuffgamer1 said:

I have to admit, Joshers744 pretty much articulated my opinion of the situation perfectly. Super Mario 3D Land is good, but samey and just not as exciting as previous Mario titles. I enjoyed both New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2 more than 3D Land overall. Another Mario game (or worse, two) releasing this year would feel like major overload. Except for spin-offs, where I am looking forward to Mario Tennis Open and hoping that the 3DS Paper Mario finally releases ones of these days.



Slapshot said:

Fantastic article Gaz!

This has been a worry of mine as well. Regardless of the company, or how outstanding the gameplay is, I myself easily tire of over-saturation in games. Whether it be Nintendo's Mario or Zelda series, Microsoft's Halo or Gears of War series, Sony's Uncharted, or other third party owned series, I just can't continue to play yearly/bi-yearly releases with the same affection and enjoyment as a new IP, or a series that has had a 2+ gap within releases.

Nintendo does need to realize that they're verging on over-saturation with the Mario series and with each yearly release that dominates the charts, they are in turn pushing aspiring third parties further away, as literally nothing can stand toe-to-toe with a Mario title on a Nintendo system.



gojiguy said:

Yes. It's not a question. It's a fact.

Whatever happened to other Nintendo franchises? F-Zero has died in favour of Mario Kart...



BlackShyGuy said:

Yeah, I think it's time to show off some brand new heroes for Nintendo. Sorry Mario, but its time to share the spotlight.



XCWarrior said:

You go with what sells. Sex, drugs, violence and Mario.

How those go together I don't know, but it's true.



Emaan said:

There hasn't been a Mario game I haven't liked, I think just in the past year or two, its gotten a little clustered with the releases. I wish they wouldn't announce a new Mario for 3DS already, we just had one, and the New Super Mario Bros. Mii game I really hope is just a demo and not a full game. Mario doesn't need a break, he just needs to give us some space. Let the other franchises shine, and for once I don't want to see Mario at a system release, as in the Wii U this year.



DogNut327 said:

If you have a winning formula, why would you ditch it? Mario is system seller, that's why they overuse him. I just wish they wouldn't do annual releases. A console game one and a handheld the next is fine, but two releases on the same system isn't, IMO.



RR529 said:

I agree that he has been a little oversatutated as of late. I enjoyed the heck out of Galaxy and Galaxy 2, and even 3D Land was fun (if short), but the 2 NSMB games really didn't do much for me (and this is coming from someone who considers SMW to be one of their favorite games of all time).

I'll accept the new 2D Platformer on 3DS (I'll buy it for certain), but I don't want any more Mario platformers on the system after that. 2 main series Mario games are all one system needs. They already have a Mario Kart on the system, and no system needs more than one, so they should leave it at that. Were also getting Paper Mario, which will be fun, and like platformers, I think 2 Mario RPGs is a good number for a system, so a Mario & Luigi title down the line would be great.

IMO, the Platforming, Karting, and RPG Mario games are the "big 3" branches of Mario (with the Platforming being the biggest). All the other Mario series (like Tennis, Golf, Party, ect), while fun, serve no real purpose than to oversatutate the character, so I wouldn't mind them being ignored (although I know we're getting a Tennis soon). After the 2 Platformers, 2 RPGs, and Kart are released, focus on other Mario characters for your Mario releases. Luigi's Mansion 2 is a great example of this (it lures in that Mario crowd, without making the Mario games themselves stale). The Wario Land, WarioWare, Yoshi's Island, and Donkey Kong series would also do well to drag in the Mario crowd, and each have their own unique style that would keep the Mario world from becoming a stale one (Heck, finally give Bowser his own game and that would be fantastic).

As for other series. Continue to introduce new IPs through eShop (a great practice). I'd like to see an original Zelda for the system (a MM remake after the fact wouldn't hurt, but isn't necessary). KI:U is good for Kid Icarus for now (a sequel would be better fit for Wii U). A new sprite based sidescrolling Metroid in stereoscopic 3D would be awesome. Fire Emblem Awakening is looking good, and I wouldn't mind seeing another FE down the line. Ruby and Sapphire remakes for Pokémon, along with a couple of completely new core Pokémon games down the line, and I'll be happy.



lanabanana said:

Yes but it doesn't matter cuz Mario is AWESOME! He's like the most famous video game character!!!



Henmii said:

"Is Nintendo Over-Reliant on Super Mario?"

Eh, yes!! But it's understandable: Mario games ALWAYS sell!!

Personally though I would love to see more new platformer/adventure franchises. It should not be Mario all the time! They can think of new franchises and/or revive old ones, like they recently did with Kid Icarus. A great game, and quite fresh!



BlueToad said:

Yes, but Mario can always live up to all the hype (well maybe not always.....)



The_Ink_Pit_Ox said:

I think that Nintendo has gotten carried away with all their Mario spinoffs. They've already created a spinoff of Mario Party? What's next, Mario Darts?



MagicEmperor said:

As long as Nintendo keeps making Super Mario games, I will keep buying them. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, as I am to mine: if Nintendo is over-reliant on Mario, then I don't want them to change.

Besides, it's not like Nintendo has never made a new IP.



Wolfenstein83 said:

I think the franchise has been a huge success, and very profitable, but obviously for good reason.
There is alot of Mario related stuff, but there is also alot of innovative new directions they have taken the characters.
It's not like they keep releasing the same game over and over, there is always something new to look forward to, and things can only continue on that path, so long as there is no shortage of imagination, and fans willing to try something different.
Heck if we want, we have plenty of classics to fall back on too!
Of course I am talking about the core series, not the spin-offs, which maybe there are too many, but I am sure alot of fans don't mind.
I think if they keep creative focus on the core series they will be better off, but then again I love Mario Kart, and Mario I am guilty as charged.



Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

Mario was the first game character I ever played as. I'm a long time fan and never get tired of him. I'm glad he's been taken care of for this long.



FonistofCruxis said:

I completely agree with this article. Nintendo please stop releasing a new mains series Mario title every year! If they keep doing this its likely that the creativity and magic of the series will keep decreasing and I don't want that to happen. Super Mario 3D land felt rushed to me and there wasn't really any moment in the game that stood out to me as something that would be remembered as a great moment in Mario history. I can't remember the last time I felt that about a main series Mario title.



x-mas_mii said:

theres only one reason why I like mario games:
when i was younger, i would always play rush:2049. well, when i lost my copy of it, i played mario kart all the time. whan that copy broke, i played mario64 until my 64 got dropped down the stairs while lending it to a friend



kyuubikid213 said:

That's like saying "Is Microsoft/Sony over-reliant on Halo/Killzone?"

Every company needs their first party titles. If Microsoft just killed off the Gears of War franchise or if Sony just ended the Uncharted series, then there would be one less game to enjoy made by the company.



kkslider5552000 said:

No it isn't the same unless you just mean the platformers. Reread what the article actually says btw.

And Killzone is a bad example...probably because it's an utterly forgettable series.



Imagine23 said:

I'm a hardcore Mario fan, but even I think Nintendo should stop going overboard with the Mario titles.

But then again, if it isn't broken, don't fix it.



gamecubefan said:

WiiU will have a true successor to Mario64... in that it will all take place IN THE MUSHROOM KINGDOM. Not Isle Delfino, not Space.... but THE MUSHROOM KINGDOM.

Mario 64 through Mario Galaxy 2 are still easily the best 3d platforming games of all time for their respective time periods. i'd say there is a few more installments of the "old formula" left in the tank.

then start to get creative. how about a super-realistic mario adventure around the mushroom kingdom where it is just one big world, no "levels" or "map screens" basically you run around and can jump into a tube or just jump into a level at any point you wish as everything is one size only.



gamecubefan said:

you can run off to the left or right to exit the level at any point, run for days north and get to the ice world/snow levels. run for days the other way and get to desert, keep running and get to beach and water levels. Levels are life-size and you can enter at any section but there is some reason installed in the gaming that encourages the player to "start from the begging of the level section"



The_Ink_Pit_Ox said:

Nintendo needs to cool it with Mario and start developing the franchises they have chosen to revive/futher emphasize.



Ayer99 said:

I am by no means tired of Mario. Do I think that it would be nice to see Link and Samus getting the spotlight a little more often.... Of course. But at the end of the day, nothing sells quite like a Mario game....



WiiLovePeace said:

As long as the Super Mario games continue to be fun I'll continue to buy them & so far so good imo, so Nintendo can continue to bring more Mario games out



Mandoble said:

They need something else and in enough numbers to attract these that simply dont like marios. One Zelda or one Metroid every 5 years will not be enough. As far as I remember the WiiU launch star will be a Pikmin and not a Mario, but for thousands of potential new Nintendo users I bet Pikmins and Marios are all in the same bag.



Haywired said:

Super Mario is my favorite franchise, but I agree that the releases have become too frequent this generation (perhaps as a result of 2D and 3D Mario now getting equal billing and perhaps because of the poor third-party support of the Wii, after all, the DS only needed one). I still haven't got 3D Land yet because I've played four Super Mario games in the last five years and I haven't built up a hunger for another one yet. I would much prefer if they went back to their old release frequency. When you have to wait for something it becomes all the sweeter when it arrives. As the article says, a new Mario game isn't an event anymore and it should be. They don't want to turn Mario into Sonic by completely over-saturating the market with game after game in such a short time period, burning the franchise out and completely exhausting and overwhelming the audience.

I said this in the article when Iwata already announced another Super Mario on 3DS. No-one seemed to agree with me, though it seems from this that perhaps they did after all.



Jono97 said:

I reckon nintendo needs to make a free-moving game based on mii's. One that you can freely walk around and play.. uh.. paintball?(Just to keep it friendly)



Chris720 said:

It's a yes and also a no. Nintendo use Mario because he can be used in pretty much any game, racing, tennis, baseball, basketball, platformer etc. but for the others you need a new face to fit that scene. Link for action and adventure, Samus for action and (somewhat) horror and so on.

I think Nintendo could use Mario less and still be successful and they could easily use their other characters, but do you know of any of their other characters that work well in most genre's? I don't think Link or Samus would look all that good swinging a tennis racket... but a sword and plasma beam maybe, same goes with Pit...

And afterall, Mario is the face of Nintendo and I doubt that's ever going to change.



JimLad said:

Yes because core fans want something new.
No because they still sell and get Nintendo out of the s**t when hardware sales are down.
They need to start launching their systems with Mario titles again. It pretty much secures their future, then they can roll out the other IPs later on.



Mahe said:

If Nintendo is over-reliant on Mario, players will get bored and stop buying the games. Nintendo needs fresh games like Wii Sports.



WingedSnagret said:

Mario is always gonna be at the top. There is no going around that. But they have been milking the series a little too much as of late... So they do need to focus a little more on other (practically unknown) series. Kid Icarus being a perfect example. I also wonder what a modern 3D Ice Climber would look like...



MrPanic said:

Yes and no. The many Mario games don't bother me, but they could put more effort in bringing out more franchises than just Mario.



Expa0 said:

Meh, they'll just give their players what they want. Also I guess the mario spinoffs wouldn't sell nearly as much if they were called "Kid Icarus kart" or "Metroid tennis" or "Pikmin party" and so forth.



she_gamer said:

Yes, BUT.... the only Mario I actually get excited for is the Paper Mario series. That one still gives plenty of time for anticipation.



SuperMinusWorld said:

Yes and No for me. I've had enough of all the spin-offs and could frankly not care less about them. The core series still, despite the high frequency as of late, still has retained its magic for me. Also, the 2D and 3D series seem to coincide well, and I tend to count them almost as separate franchises. If you take the frequency of just the 2D games or just the 3D games, you'd be better off, for you should understand that not every single 3D Mario fan is also a 2D Mario fan (and vice versa). Nintendo seems to be championing Mario, not using him as a free pass. Look at all these possibly dead mascots like Mega Man or Sonic or Crash Bandicoot or Pac Man. Mario basically fought against all of them and won: He is an enduring character. Sure, I could use maybe an additional year between releases of each game, but Mario is as special to me today as he was 10 years ago (which is really, really, REALLY damn special). Although, I would suggest changing it up a little; ex: if the next 2D platformer has an art style more akin to a Super Mario Bros 4 rather than a New Super title, we'll be good. Also, with Super Mario Wii U a little ways off (we probably won't see it at E3), they'll have more than enough time to work the same magic we saw at E3 2006 with Mario Galaxy.




SuperMinusWorld said:

Also, Nintendo should set up more teams to deal with more of their franchises and should equally worry about the resurrection of Star Fox or F-Zero. That would be great.



Simon_Deku said:

Mario has been overused and is taking the fun out of gaming for me. F-Zero, Star Fox, Kirby, Zelda, Kid Icarus, Those are the games nintendo should focus on. I mean seriously, the only reason F-Zero hasn't beendriven to extinction is because of Smash Bros; Nintendo would never take out a character that was in the original. The exact same goes with Star Fox. Move over Mario, it's their time to shine.



King_Boo said:

I'll put it this way, I'm going to get luigi's mansion 2 and the new paper mario way before I get the new 2d mario



Gamer83 said:

How well was 3DS doing before Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 showed up?



OldBoy said:

Yes but if it makes 'em money then they will keep churning them out. But what I.P's aren't being milked these days? At least Nintendo can't be accused of letting the quality slip. Personally I've lost interest in Mario games but that's because I've been playing them for nearly 20 years.Its natural to want something new.
Regardless of that though Mario games are a perfect gateway into video games for the younger generation.Simple to understand ,hard to master and controls are always spot on.
I'll always play Mario Kart though, don't think I'll ever get sick of those games
Though @Bass_X0 's idea about a Smash Bros kart game sounds f****** awesome!!



moomoo said:

I would say yes, but since they also have Pokemon, which in many regards is more successful than Mario, what with all the cards, anime, merchendise, etc. and the series uncanny ability to sell the same game twice to the same customer, I have to say no.



Dreadjaws said:

Sure, you can say Mario games are plentiful, but at least Nintendo worries about quality and making the games different enough. This hasn't happened with other franchises, such as Guitar Hero.

Besides, like moomoo said, if Pokemon keeps selling millions despite being more frequent and even more derivative than Mario, I see no reason to worry about.



HappyHappy said:

Yes, lately I've noticed that a lot of people are complaining about this that's why I think it's the only reason why they are bring back some old franchises like Punch-Out and Kid Icarus.



famestephy09 said:

I dont mind Nintendo using mario as their main spotlight. I love Mario. However i do wish/want more games to shine threw like how about a Donkey Kong Country? I love DK and although they put it back on the wii how about the 3DS? Or how about Mortal Kombat 3D? I love it on ps3 but how about on 3DS. 3D fatalities would be Awesome.



Dak_n_Jaxter said:

They are one... Is Disney over reliant on Mickey? No, because there 'shouldn't' be one without the other.. To me at least.



WingedSnagret said:

@expa0 Kid Icarus Kart? I'd buy that! I mean they even have vehicles already! (gets over self) But yeah, I think something like Smash Bros. Kart would be interesting, albeit impossibly likely to happen....



Rargon said:

Sometimes you have to rely on the things that helps you the most. I mean, if it weren't for both Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS in 2011 but rather 2012, I think the 3DS' lifespan would have suffered horribly.



ATDI said:

Would like Super Kart Bros. more than Mario Kart (Super Smash Bros. style character roster and items).



Grubdog said:

Is Nintendo Over-Reliant on Videogames? Maybe they should change their name to Electrophonics, just for a change?

We had a nice "break" from Mario platformers between Mario 64 and Sunshine as you said, did it help Sunshine become the most anticipated game ever? It made NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER. It wasn't "refreshing" or great to have no Mario games on GBA, in the end we just had less fun Mario games to play, and having 3 Mario games on Wii is incredibly great and an example of the huge wave of inspiration Nintendo is riding right now. We easily could have not had SMG2 with its crazy "let's do more!" level design, and we'd be missing out on one of the best games of all time.

To suggest they stop doing what they do best is baffling, it's like saying The Beatles made too many albums.



R-L-A-George said:

Yes, though the Mario games help resuscitate their console sale but they need to change it up more. I mean there are a lot of barely explored properties. I mean some of their ideas that failed were and are actually great ideas. Like the concept of the Zelda CDI game, if they did it right.



scrubbyscum999 said:

Meh, I have been realizing a lot of Mario games as of late. I think they should cool it down a little just to come up with innovative ideas like Galaxy. At the same time, Mario makes money and it's really good. You also have to realize that all series have some elements that are used over and over again because that what makes the game (Zelda, Pokemon, Castlevania, etc.). Yet anyone can take a break from a series if they feel like it. Pokemon is my favorite series but I haven't played it in forever because I haven't had time to play video games till recently and I wanted to play other stuff, since I was playing with only a few breaks with Pokemon since I first really got into gaming with Emerald back in 2005, in elementary school. If they make too many Marios I will simply limit myself. I still want Mario to succeed though, so I hope they take a small break.



shinesprite said:

I couldn't agree more! Don't get me wrong the quality is unquestionable, but with each consecutive release, the one seems less special. It's time for Mario to take a power nap, ant let other well-rested Nintendo franchises carry their weight.

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