News Article

Feature: Launching a Console Without Mario

Posted by Nintendo Life Staff

The Launch of 3DS — Thomas Whitehead

In some respects the launch of 3DS shares some of the trends of GameCube, in that its initial sales were impressive. It’s easy to forget that it broke launch day sales records in a number of territories: it became the fastest selling Nintendo handheld on launch day in the US, and broke the equivalent weekend sales record in Europe. By 31st March, just over a month after its release in Japan and barely a full week worldwide, Nintendo had sold around 3.6 million units: an impressive figure, undermined only by Nintendo’s well publicised expectations of four million sales.

Those launch numbers didn’t tell the whole story, however, and as you’ll have guessed from the title for this feature, Nintendo’s iconic plumber was nowhere to be seen in the launch catalogue. That clearly had no impact on the eager early adopters, but rumblings seemed to develop in online gaming communities that the launch line-up was disappointing and not up to scratch. Was that fair? It’s a perspective with some merit, though when we compiled our 3DS launch game buyer's guide it seemed that there were a number of solid experiences, with a couple of pleasant surprises, but little to truly seize the day. Faith was put in titles such as Nintendogs + Cats and Pilotwings Resort, with Nintendo also handing the limelight the 3rd party developers, but the end result arguably lacked a ‘killer app’.

3DS then had a rather grim fall from grace, enduring a period with total worldwide sales of just 710,000 units between 1st April and 30th June. Some accused naysayers of overplaying this drop in sales, but Nintendo’s reaction surely provided all of the evidence that these were dismal figures. Senior board members took major pay cuts, the company reported financial losses, and a severe price cut was confirmed for 3DS. Some fingers were pointed at the line-up of game titles to date and many said that Nintendo failed to deliver a substantial hit on day one. You could argue that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D would have helped but, if you want to focus on the franchise that really sells in big numbers, you have to talk about Mario.

Mario is important to systems, absolutely, but the problems with 3DS in its early months wouldn’t have been simply resolved with the appearance of Super Mario 3D Land or Mario Kart 7.

So Mario wasn’t there on day one, but was that the reason for the drastic loss of interest beyond eager day one buyers? Much like with the GameCube, it’s not that simple. Mario is important to systems, absolutely, but the problems with 3DS in its early months wouldn’t have been simply resolved with the appearance of Super Mario 3D Land or Mario Kart 7. The fact is that the pricing of the system was too high on day one. If Nintendo hadn’t come to that realisation, then surely it would have held firm at the original price point until Mario bounded and hopped to the rescue. Even Mario has his limits, however, as Nintendo realised that the level and nature of competition was different; improvements to the systems capabilities, a library of digital games and a competitive price were some factors that various consumers needed to take the plunge.

If Mario had been there on day one, would he have been able to avoid the slump between April and June? We’d suggest he would have helped the situation, but not completely resolved it, as Nintendo would have still been faced with consumers asking whether they need to pay $250 for a dedicated handheld when their iPhone or Android smartphone has lots of cheap games. Nintendo’s handheld does offer something different from smartphones and tablets, of course, but without a price that feels right on the market, perhaps many would decide that even Mario wasn’t worth the cost.

With the recent news that the system will become profitable, per unit, by the end of August, we’d like to go as far as to say that the delay with Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 actually benefited Nintendo in the long haul. Rather than land as part of an expensive new system lacking functionality, both titles arrived alongside an attractively priced system packed full of new functions courtesy of system updates. In fact, November 2011 arguably became the true launch, in terms of long-terms prospects, for 3DS: let’s not forget that this pre-Holiday period is also the traditional time to launch a new system. The price drop had come earlier in the year, but the combination of two high profile titles and a Holiday season helped to produce some serious sales. Let’s consider that, as of 31st March 2012, Ocarina of Time had sold around 2.61 million copies, yet the two Mario titles had already each sold more than double that amount in less time: in November last year the 3DS clicked into gear.

The challenge for 3DS is maintaining momentum, making sure that sales continue at a steady rate ahead of an expected bump once New Super Mario Bros. 2 arrives. To address the key question about the absence of Mario affecting the system’s launch, then yes it probably contributed to a tough summer period. However, unlike the image issues that arguably blighted GameCube, the 3DS is now making progress, admittedly with plenty of room for improvement in Europe and North America. Perhaps November was the point where the system truly launched to the mainstream, grabbing the attention of those who’d potentially ignored it until that point.

Mario arrived at just the right time for 3DS, but only because Nintendo had learned its lessons and dealt with early mistakes. The famous mascot wasn’t weighed down by a high price-tag or underwhelming features, but joined the party when it was really getting started. He showed up fashionably late, and has helped the system move towards a more optimistic future.

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User Comments (77)



BlueBana said:

No Mario, Bad Sales..
Then I hope for Nintendo that they've got a Mario game ready for the Wii U launch!



Chris720 said:

Mario isn't important to kicking off consoles, but it sure enough helps when he's there. The 3DS didn't launch with a Mario game and it didn't do so well but it picked up when SM3DL and MK7 launched...

I want to see how Nintendo will respond with the launch of the Wii U though... Mario or no Mario? That is the question!



SpaceKappa said:

Super Mario 64 is the best launch game in the history of ever. Period.

I'd absolutely LOVE for there to be a Mario game of that scale launched with Wii U, but I'm not holding my breath.



NintyMan said:

It's nice to do something different, but the two launches without Mario (Gamecube and 3DS) fell short of what they needed to do to boost Nintendo up. I actually hope that there is a Mario game released alongside the Wii U so that it can ensure that it gets that critical boost that helps it get on to success. It worked so many times before.



MAB said:

Gamecube launched with some awesome titles 'Rogue Squadron' and 'Monkeyball' and 'Eternal Darkness' wasn't far behind them. That little toy in 3rd place also ended with a bang and the best graphical game of that gen 'Resi Evil 4'.

I didn't get the 3DS at launch but ended up giving in when 'Resi Evil Revelations' was released and got it at an EB games sale for $190.

The poor plumber dude needs some time off since there has been about 10 mario games in the last year now. Give another franchise that much needed glory because mario is starting to get overused and tired.



MrArcade said:

I want Wario land 5 on Wii U (shake it isnt really 5 imo), who's with me?



Haywired said:

Perhaps the importance of launch line-ups is overstated. In the short-term each new console seems to become the fastest-selling ever regardless of the launch line-up and in the long-term the two most successful consoles of all-time, the PS2 and DS, didn't have what would generally be considered strong launch line-ups.

Personally I've never been too fussed. If there's one killer app at launch; great. If there's multiple killer apps; great. But if there's none, then it just means I'll buy something a bit more obscure that I probably would've missed out on if there were more obvious choices available.

I also think that for the past three Nintendo launches (DS, Wii, 3DS) Nintendo has wanted the focus to be on the console's specific feature/gimmick (touch screen, motion controls, 3D), so they can use that as the killer app at launch and save Mario for later (particularly as Mario would both overshadow and not really use said features).



New_3DaSh_XL said:

Mario always helps, but there needs to be something new-something that uses the device's controls well. Pilotwings Resort was OK, but didn't really use all the 3DS could offer. Kid Icarus, however, did. As did Mario Kart 7. Suer Mario 3D Land, yes, would've helped sales, but doesn't use all the controls. It barely uses gyro controls.

However, you must realize, it was good Nintendo didn't have a Mario at launch. It helped them see that the console cost too much.

However, no new Zelda on a console isn't good. It's been over a year and so far, we've heard they're working on it, and that's it. Maybe we'll see it at E3, but I sorta doubt it.



hillbill26 said:

Well, since the Wii was such a success than I see no problem with the "Mario or No Mario" on day one dispute on the Wii U. I mean, we already have about Mario games planned for the new console already, so I think it wouldn't matter



Kirk said:

Nintendo needs more than just a new Mario game at launch to make a console successful but I truly believe launching with a brand new, stand out, truly classic AAA Mario platformer would only be a good thing.

IMO the SNES and N64 launches are two of the most memorable Nintendo console launches ever, from the perspective of the gamer rather than the retailer, and part of that was because on launch day we got to play two of the most stunning games ever, Super Mario World and Super Mario 64, which were about as good as it got on their respective systems.

Nintendo needs to launch the Wii U with a BANG! and a stunning new Mario game, not a cookie cutter New Super Mario Bros title however (which is probably all they're going to have unfortunately), could be what's needed to encourage that explosion.



SkywardLink98 said:

Even though Mario = Great Sales I'd prefer to see other games at launch because we have MORE than enough Mario games, as it's Nintendo's "Evergreen" title. O'd rather see Kid Icarus, Zelda and Metroid as launch titles. Any one of those would make a console a day 1 purchase



Fabian said:

What they really need is a good online store with strong titles on day one maybe a new Ice Climber Game or some good game cube relases via Wii U VC. All the Wii U needs is Pikmin 3 on day one and New super Mari Bros Mii. And Ninty really has to try to get Resident Evil 6 on the Wii U (right now it´s just confirmed for PS3,360 and Pc) because Resi GAmes are allways verry famous on Nintendo consoles and a lot of people would buy it (me too^^)



Weskerb said:

All I really remember from GameCube's launch was Super Monkey Ball. Then by the time Mario Sunshine came out, everyone had PS2s.



Cotton said:

I just want a kid icarus sequel or zelda maybe mario kart but all of the mario gmes seem to be tje same



aaronsullivan said:

The Wii U Zelda has a chance to bring some disenfranchised "hardcore" players back to Nintendo. It would be fun to get a tease about what direction that game will take, but it's just going to be too early.

Metroid is the most "core" game there as a Nintendo first party title, but Other M really marred the franchise (even though it is severely underrated, imo). Metroid needs a reboot in image and the Wii U is the place to do it. I'd say there's a 50/50 chance that Retro is coming back to it. I'll be happy with a new Star Fox, but unless the approach is very tricky, it isn't going to bring much excitement to anyone but current Nintendo fans.

Mario is going to be the party NSMBM game, but I worry that the Mii aspect is going to be somewhat disappointing. Maybe Miis will get revamped? It's a bit funny at first blush, but I think that game has the most potential to bring in some core gamers because it's fantastic for nasty uncooperative play. It has the potential to feel edgy when played right. If Nintendo could play to that angle (and I'm guessing it won't) then it could attract some outsiders.

I actually think a new take on Zelda Four Swords would be a better draw and a better game! I DO hope it happens eventually.

Then, there's whatever take Nintendo is going to go for with the mini games. So far it looks like it's going to try to appeal to the broad market (like Wii Sports) and try to appease Nintendo franchise fans at the same time with cool themes and suits that include the Nintendo classic characters. That will be great, but not so much for the Microsoft and Sony crowd.

So, basically, it looks like it's up to third parties to bring in Sony and Microsoft regulars unless Nintendo has something very big and very secret coming. Well, there's that possibility of a Retro Metroid...



SuperMinusWorld said:

"He may be a star, but it's not all about Mario"

No, he's THE star. Let's face it, Nintendo's systems wouldn't be nearly as successful without their mascot giving them a lift to critical success. Sure, maybe a Mario at launch isn't integral if the system itself isn't handled correctly (price, features, specs, etc.) but if the console is done right, then a Mario game is key. Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 can easily be credited with getting 3DS out of its slump, and New Super Mario Bros. 2 will no doubt boost sales even further. The biggest question is how Nintendo will deal with Wii U's launch. There needs to be a Super Mario with a good system price point. That New Super Mario Bros. Mii nonsense isn't going to have lasting appeal and will no doubt enrage and annoy longtime fans of the series. Keep Miis out of a Mario game, keep the multiplayer, and get rid of the 'New' branding: Give us Super Mario Bros. 4, as was previously rumored.
As for a proper Wii U Mario 3D game, if the devs want to see astronomical sales like NSMBWii, it needs to have at least Mario & Luigi co-op. Co-operation and multiplayer modes are arguably the biggest grab-in for modern gamers as of now. Plus, what Mario fan/gamer/person-with-a-soul wouldn't want to see both Mario Brothers running around in 3D-space. That would be so gratifying, and would attract exponentially higher sales. Give players back the sprawling worlds of 64 and Sunshine, or at least put in as many open world levels as linear levels to balance out the game's variety, and give us co-op. That will be the game that will help Wii U win against the likes of Xbox Durango and PS4 and claim the crown of Next Generation Gaming.



Geonjaha said:

It's not necessarily about launching with Mario. It's just the fact that the launch games werent that great - some were good, but none were that special. If the 3DS had launched with Animal Crossing, Luigi's Mansion, Monster Hunter or even Resident Evil Revelations and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater then it would have done MUCH better.

I dont buy every Mario game, but I do end up buying quite a few, and it's always because I can count on them to be good games, and I know that BECAUSE it's a mario game, Nintendo put a lot of their time and effort into to - so it's going to end up looking really good.



New_3DaSh_XL said:

Nintendo, give us something new-something that'll use the U's remote, gyro, and HD very nicely. Something that'll use the U's capabilities, that is a good idea.



EvilLucario said:

@MadAussieBloke Woah, woah, woah, WHAT? Resi 4 was the most graphically impressive game of the 6th Gen? While that will depend on one's definition of graphical quality, The Wind Waker and Metroid Prime 2 would like to have a talk with Resi 4.

Anyway, the first part of a good launch is with all features intact and ready to go. Mario comes after that. I mean, I bought my 3DS on Sept. 10 with Ocarina of Time 3D.



Randomname19 said:

I will get the WiI U on day one only if there's a game that I wan't really badly.If that doesn't happen I will buy Arkham City and Assassin's Creed 3 and get the console later.I never owned an HD console,I can wait a little more.



WreckItRyan said:

Bah, I loved the GameCube. Mario isn't necessary at launch, and as discussed in a prior feature, is becoming quite overused. Sure, he's the most recognizable video game character of all time and deserves to be at the front of Nintendo, but it's time for some new IP to take the stage! Bring it on, Nintendo! Give me a chance to willingly throw money at you!!!



Chrono_Cross said:

No Mario at launch = bad sales? I don't think so.

Since the launch on Nintendo 64, only the DS has had a Mario title at launch. GameCube, Wii, GBA, and 3DS all went for some time without a Mario title to speak of. So why start now?



Bulbousaur said:

In my opinion, the lack of Mario does not lead to a poor launch, it is the lack of triple-A first-party games that leads to a bad launch. Not to say that Waverace and Luigi's Mansions are bad games, in fact they are the opposite, but they were admittedly not as good, or as attractive to the general public, as games like Wind Waker and Metroid Prime.



Jamix012 said:

@Chrono_Cross GBA launched with Super Mario Advance, otherwise you're correct. It doesn't help though that at launch all bar one of those consoles didn't do so hot. And Wii had Wii sports and Zelda in it's place.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@SpaceKappa Super Mario Bros., Super Mario World, Rogue Squadron 2, and Zelda: Twilight Princess would like to argue that they should also be considered for Best Launch Game Ever.



Mahe said:

Gamecube just didn't have the games.

Pikmin? Super Mario Sunshine? Who cares?



Gamesake said:

Does it have to be Mario? Maybe gamers will settle for a cheesy knock-off. That seems to work for Sony.



sinalefa said:

In my case, a Mario at launch is a good thing, as long as it is not the only one. I got a N64 at launch with Mario 64, enjoyed the hell out of it, and then I got bored of it (even if it is awesome) and got a PS1 instead.

After that, I learned to wait until there were several must buy games to finally consider getting a console. And I don't see me considering New Mario Mii one of those must buy games.

Even if it will be the 4th New Mario title, it is still only the second same screen multiplayer Mario, and if they refine the formula or are willing to go a little wild with it, a lot of people will no doubt pick the console because of that. But as the article implies, a great launch does not necessarily mean momentum. If Nintendo really wants the hardcore back, they will have to offer many things to get and keep that.



hYdeks said:

@Mahe I care, I loved those games

but I don't really need a Mario game at launch, but soon after launch will be nice. I rather see some other nintendo franchise take launch instead of Mario.



Neram said:

GameCube wasn't a "me too" take on the PlayStation moniker nor did it sound childish, (you're only thinking that now because of it's childish reputation it gained over time) it was a cube that played games, you're over-thinking it. Also, clicky analogs are a really stupid idea, you know how many PS3 and 360 controllers I've seen that have been screwed because of that, especially from sprinting in Call of Duty. Mario games have always showed best what Nintendo consoles are capable of, I think it's completely necessary to launch with a Mario.



Mercury9 said:

I'd sooner have a Zelda or Metroid game flying the Nintendo flag at launch. Mario is awesome but if Nintendo want to make an impression with the hardcore (shudder ) they'll need them more than Mario.



WingedSnagret said:

Like we have talked about before, Mario has been overused way too much recently. It's time for others to have a moment in the spotlight and take the reigns of the console sales. And by the looks of what we shall see in year at E3 (i.e. Pikmin 3, Starfox, likely a new Zelda game, and others) that hopefully will happen in some way or another.



Alienfish said:

Wii didn't launch with Mario, but look how well it sold. It did release with Zelda though. Maybe Nintendo should launch more consoles with Zelda.



tweet75 said:

I am hoping that wii u launches with a packed in mario game like in the snes and nes games. I remember when you bought a snes and got super mario world it gave you confidence you got a great system with great games from a great company.



DerpSandwich said:

Man, this article just rekindles the massive confusion I feel when people say the Gamecube sucked. Nearly too many great games to count. And I totally took for granted the awesome early schedule, too. Now I'm looking at the slow release of first party games and remembering a time when I could get Luigi's Mansion, Smash Bros., and Pikmin in a span of a few months... Nintendo needs to get it together.



warioswoods said:

This will sound like a joke, but I'm actually wondering if it's even more important these days to have Wario at launch.

Seriously. Smooth Moves was a fantastic way to show off all the possibilities of the new hardware in a social, frenzied way that sold the concept of the wii-mote well. They need a new WarioWare that takes advantage of all the crazy ideas one could make happen with that awesome tablet. You could come up with a million odd social ideas, passing it around the room from player to player as the microgrames roll.



minimario_man said:

I'd love to see a 2-D mario game in hand-drawn graphics (similar to warioland shake it). Of course the Co-op would be an added bonus, but I'd love to see a HD hand-drawn 2D mario game.



thanos316 said:

launching a console with mario would help sales, but i feel this time around the wii u needs more variety. im not saying that anything is wrong with another mario game but most people will be looking for the other heavy hitters like cod, grand theft auto, or even a zelda game. if on day one you see grand theft auto coming to wii u that would create a lot of positive headlines. but ninty is smart and im sure something big will be shown at e3.



MAB said:

Yes! Resi 4 has better grafx than wind waker and metroid prime 2. Magazines and internet sites and I agree.



odd69 said:

We need zelda, mario, metriod,kirby at launch, no questions asked



Imagine23 said:

it probably wouldn't be such a big deal if there wasn't going to be a single Mario game on a Nintendo console. Without making Mario the center of attention, it enables Nintendo to focus on their other franchises.



Super-Mario-Fan said:

I think Mario games are great so I think it is important to have Mario games because Mario games are really the only reason im into Nintendo. Without Mario I probably wouldn't even be playing Nintendo games.



Squirtodile said:

I wish i could say just put Super Mario 4, TLOZ OOT 2, Star Fox 5, Metroid Prime 4, Kirby Wii U, Luigi's Mansion 2 (Or 3 XD), Pikmin 3, and Super Mario Galaxy 3 at launch...then the Wii U would own. But, we wouldn't get the wii u this decade lol.



TheDreamingHawk said:

I wouldn't mind if there wasn't a Mario title, but there should at least be 1 Nintendo title at launch. Like Pikmin 3. None of those titles like Ninja gaiden and assassin's creed interest me one bit. I know nintendo is going to make the wii U have a huge variety of genres, but not putting some of their titles will do a repeat of the bad 3DS launch.



Emaan said:

Its not an absolute must for Mario to be at launch in my opinion, because Mario simply isn't special to a system launch anymore. For example, a new Mario is out for a new system, so what? We just had a new Mario game last year. The significance of a new Mario game is much different now than it used to be. If Nintendo can have a strong launch lineup, including a mix of their other franchises, good third party support, and an original new game, they can do just fine. Also I love the Gamecube, probably my favorite game system ever



mamp said:

Nintendo consoles have to come with Mario games, it's just a good idea. Because Mario is the highest selling game of all of Nintendo's IPs. Plus, Mario sells to everyone hardcore, casual, whatever it just sells so it should come with any Nintendo system.



MitchVogel said:

I think that the 3DS was worth the $250 that I paid that midnight in march last year, but in the current market, it wouldn't have worked very well to price it at that in the long run. With the iphone and tablets around, people don't want to buy video game consoles as much as they used to and a cheaper price is necessary to sell a console. Though it's kind of bad news that the industry is taking a hit, I'm actually glad. This means that consoles and games in the near future will have to be cheap or they won't sell many!



shake_zula said:

The last time Nintendo really nailed the hardcore market with a Mario game was 64. They should reboot that... Have an identical hub world (in HD of course) and remake 5% of the actual levels from it. 95% of the game can be original. I know a lot of ex-Nintendo gamers who've since moved onto other consoles that would still freak if they saw Mario jumping into a painting.

Personally, I'm not too bothered about the Mario platformer franchises. I'll always buy them but the big guns for me are Mario Kart and Smash Bros, those are the titles that keep me sticking with Nintendo every generation.



Powerglove said:

Why do people always forget Twilight Princess when they talk about the Wii's launch? I know it was originally a GC game, but TP anchored the Wii's launch day lineup. The fact the Wii had a killer app on day one was huge.



Powerglove said:

The 3DS's launch day lineup definitely sucked. I bought the system on day one, but I didn't buy a game for it because all the games were so bad! I still had fun toying around with the software built into the system though.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@Mahe Even if you don't care for Pikmin and Super Mario Sunshine, the GameCube still has a lot of great games including Super Smash Bros. Melee; Rogue Squadron 2 & 3; Metroid Prime 1 & 2; Zelda: Windwaker; Pokémon Colosseum & XD: Gale of Darkness; Mario Kart: Double Dash; Paper Mario: TTYD; Mario Baseball, Tennis, Golf, and Strikers; Sonic Adventure 2: Battle; the latest F-Zero and 1080 Snowboarding games; and the Link version of Soul Calibur 2.

Personally, I had never owned a Nintendo console before (having a Sega Genesis as my last console), but Rogue Squadron 2, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle are what sold me on the GameCube.



AltDotNerd said:

Mario 64 was actually the last time Nintendo actually launched a console with Mario. Gamecube had Luigi's Mansion (doesn't count as a Mario game) and the Wii had Link as it's launch mascot.



JimLad said:

It won't effect early adopters because they are the die-hard fans. It will effect the following months after the hype dies down, then they need new customers.
A lack of Mario didn't effect the GameCube so much because it got Super Smash Bros Melee within the first month. And you're right 3DS was just too expensive.
The thing is Super Mario World and Mario 64 (and Super Mario Bros) were landmark games. They were the kind of games you go "wow I must play that". I don't think Sunshine was one of those games, or New Super Mario Bros, or Mario 3D Land. Mario Galaxy might have been, but it still wasn't HD.
Sadly he's getting old now and doesn't set the standard like he used to.
Mario is still a surefire way to get the casual crowd on board though, and Nintendo need those consumers before they start rolling out other games, not after.



Slapshot said:

@SpaceKappa said it for me: Mario 64 is indeed the best launch title of all time. Period.

I'll take a NIS/Atlus RPG with my Wii U at launch please and thank you.



SuperMinusWorld said:

@alienfish Twilight Princess, including both versions, has sold about 6 million since its release in 2006. Super Mario Galaxy has sold about 11 million copies since its launch in 2007. No. No Zelda should be required to launch a console. If it is there for Zelda fans, it will definitely bring in many purchases, but Mario will sell a system faster than any other franchise. That's a fact. Plus, you seemed to overlook the massive hype for Wii Sports and the motion controls (as such a thing had never been heard of in gaming until 2005 or so) leading up to Wii's launch. The system was going to become the major success it went on to become with or without Zelda.

@warioswoods Friend, a new WarioWare or Wario Land is ALWAYS a good thing. Haha.



SuperMinusWorld said:

Mario games are still special. They still hold as much significance now as they did a few years ago. He wil always sell millions upon millions of copies. He is appealing to the hardcore, the casual, and everyone in between and has garnered a massive fan base. Mario may not be completely crucial to making a system successful at launch, but it's a damn good idea. GCN, Wii, and 3DS launched without Mario, and two of the three had rocky starts. The Wii was so successful not because of Zelda, but because of the overwhelming hype built up for motion controls amongst the casual and Nintendo's masterful marketing strategies. Let there be a Mario at launch, and then one more during the system's life; just like Wii, which had SMG a year after launch, a 2D Mario 3 years after launch, and then a second 3D Mario 4 years after launch. And the Wii's a huge hit, as Mario (of course, with the combined effort of his fellow Ninty IP's such as Zelda and Kirby) has been able to carry its sales along, especially with Mario fans.



Knux said:

The problem with Mario games is that these days, they tend to lack that ''wow'' factor that older Mario games like Super Mario 64 and the Super Mario Galaxy games had.

You want to know why Super Mario 64 was a fantastic launch title? It's because not only was the game beyond awesome, but it evolved the Mario franchise and showed off the power of the N64.

That's what Mario games USED to be, which were majestic games that show off the power and features of the console. Super Mario Bros., Super Mario World, and Super Mario 64 accomplished all of these things with flying colors. Super Mario Galaxy would have been perfect as a launch title for the Wii and would have possibly made me buy the console sooner.

But the problem is that Nintendo has been releasing Mario platformers yearly since 2006 (except for 2008) and that is probably why Mario has lost his ''freshness''.

The last Mario game that gave me that ''wow'' factor was Super Mario Galaxy 2, and even then it was just a direct sequel to the first one. None of the New Super Mario Bros. games have blown me out of the water. Nintendo is almost making Mario games mediocre. Not even Super Mario 3D Land was that exciting, and it felt like an odd fusion of a 2D and 3D platformer that just didn't feel right.

If Nintendo truly wants to launch the Wii U with a Mario game, then they need do it with a 3D platformer. Make it an open world platformer like Super Mario 64, and introduce new elements in order to evolve the franchise. But even though we might see something like this in the future, Nintendo is more than likely to produce New Super Mario Bros, Mii as a launch title. And while it is something to see a Mario game at launch if that happens, that still won't make the Wii U a complete success. Because in the end, it is still a 2D Mario platformer. It might attract some sales, but it's not going to be a ''killer app'' for the Wii U like a 3D Mario platformer could possibly be.

So in the end, it doesn't really matter if the Wii U launches with Mario or not. But the console needs a variety of fantastic first-party and third-party titles if the Wii U is going to take off. No matter what kind of Mario game launches with the system (if any) won't be enough to make it's launch successful unless it is something completely mind-blowing.

Also, Super Mario Sunshine greatly disappointed me. Ironically, the best Gamecube launch window games that I've played were Luigi's Mansion and Super Smash Bros. Melee.



Lyndexer said:

Console launch without a Mario game? Most likely no one will buy the console licensed and made by Nintendo won't make many sales. If they did, that'd be a shocking thing to see.



Chrono_Cross said:

You want to know why Super Mario 64 was a fantastic launch title? It's because not only was the game beyond awesome, but it evolved the Mario franchise and showed off the power of the N64.

Um... no. It was because there was nothing else like it. It was the first platformer to actually do it right. By today's standards, it's just a cheezy, outdated game.

If Nintendo truly wants to launch the Wii U with a Mario game, then they need do it with a 3D platformer. Make it an open world platformer like Super Mario 64, and introduce new elements in order to evolve the franchise.

The last time Nintendo did something like that was with Super Mario Sunshine. That didn't end up too well. Besides, Super Mario 64's formula is outdated and won't attract anyone. Nintendo would have to overhaul the entire formula and concept, with a different antagonist and execute it flawlessly like Nintendo did with the Galaxy games.

Also, Super Mario Sunshine greatly disappointed me. Ironically, the best Gamecube launch window games that I've played were Luigi's Mansion and Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Super Mario Sunshine and Super Smash Bros. Melee weren't launch titles. One came out a few months after the GameCube while the other released nearly a year after the launch.



warioswoods said:

"Um... no. It was because there was nothing else like it. It was the first platformer to actually do it right. By today's standards, it's just a cheezy, outdated game"

I'm not sure that statement is even a coherent answer to what you quoted. To what, specifically, does your "um no" refer? Your statements "nothing else like it" and "first [3d] platformer to do it right" both agree pretty well with his statement that it "evolved the Mario franchise." After all, it evolved platforming as a whole, and you seem to agree.

As for whether it's a "cheesy" game (etc) by today's standards, that's rather off topic. He used the past tense exclusively ("was a fantastic launch title" and "was... beyond awesome"), so I don't know why you're trying to pull it into the present.

Lastly, you clearly don't have a very good understanding of game history (or film history, or any other medium) when speak of a classic in that sense. Yes, if it released today for the first time, it would be ignored, but that's because we're living in a world where Mario 64 shaped the 3D platformer. It'd be like releasing an unaltered classic 30's black and white film today; it wouldn't make sense, because cinema has moved on. But the film (and the game) is still great, only it has to be played on its own terms and not subjected to the rules of a different era.



Chrono_Cross said:

I'm not sure that statement is even a coherent answer to what you quoted. To what, specifically, does your "um no" refer? Your statements "nothing else like it" and "first [3d] platformer to do it right" both agree pretty well with his statement that it "evolved the Mario franchise." After all, it evolved platforming as a whole, and you seem to agree.

I think the last part of my sentence explained that fairly well. It doesn't hold up after all this time. Even its remake on the DS cemented that truth without hesitation.

so I don't know why you're trying to pull it into the present.

Why was he doing the same then? Why should Nintendo follow through with another Mario title like Super Mario 64? That forumla is old and uninteresting even back when Sunshine was released. (2002)

Lastly, you clearly don't have a very good understanding of game history

I actually do. I just notice the oddballs in the crowd moreso than the others. And by that I mean I notice the overrated games that receive endless praise (from blind fanboys), when they're only mediocre at best.

But the film (and the game) is still great, only it has to be played on its own terms and not subjected to the rules of a different era.

Right. Now lets take a movie like The Godfather. A movie that released in the early 70s and received endless praise for being so superb and well done back then. Just like Super Mario 64. Except The Godfather (or any good movie from the past few decades), does live up to expectations after all these years, unlike SM64.



TheAmazingRaccoon said:

it is not the launch lineup that is the problem; but what comes after launch. The people that buy at launch buy anyway. I bought a ds game at the launch of the 3ds



StarDust4Ever said:

NES, SNES, and N64 all launched in the US with a huge Mario title. additionally, Game boy color, Advance, and DS launched with Mario remakes.

Quite frankly, it is better to have to wait for a well-polished game than buggy rushed junk, But I got bored really quick with the 3DS prior to Zelda 3D and the eShop updates. The 3DS simply was launched too early. It is awesome now...



SuperKris said:

I don't think a Nintendo console at launch has to come with a Mario game. It's just a good idea though, but Nintendo needs to limit themselves kind of when Mario games come out with whatever system. When you have too much Mario everywhere for every system, your taking the easy road knowing that a lot of people will definitely buy it because it is "Mario!". Launching a Console without Mario however isn't really risky. I think Nintendo has some great titles with them to make great successful Launches with.



Mario500 said:

Luigi's first leading role was in Mario is Missing! for the Super Nintendo and personal computers, not Luigi's Mansion for the GameCube.



warioswoods said:


Whoah, blast from a few days ago. Didn't see response until now.

The commenter said only that Nintendo should make another "open world" Mario game, but also wanted Nintendo to evolve the franchise and introduce new ideas, just as that game did. Ie., a spiritual successor to Mario 64 (open game that moves franchise forward), not a copy of its gameplay elements. That's where you're intentionally misreading him and creating a strawman; he didn't say to repeat Mario 64.

So the Godfather still entertains you, but how about an early film like Birth of a Nation? Based on the way you approach Mario 64, I'm fairly certain you'd say that film is overrated and junk, for if judged by today's standards, it's filled with bad narrative, pacing, questionable historical revisions and political sensibilities, etc. But if you learn to read it on its own terms, you can see where the film was cleverly advancing various narrative and cinematic elements of the medium, and you can enjoy its creativity and cleverness on that level.

You seem to suggest that a "good" classic must be instantly enjoyable by today's standards, but enjoying a historical work requires reading it in terms of its era, and is a shift from passively consuming. Mario 64 is a wonderfully well constructed and clever game that solves more design and gameplay problems than most other games of that era combined. It might feel awkward today, but you're evidently not capable of playing it with an eye to what the language of gaming looked like at that time, by which you'd begin to see the great successes of its design.

That's what I mean by your lack of historical understanding. Let's be honest: The Godfather is easy popcorn viewing for a modern audience, and doesn't require any sense of history to enjoy. The blindness here isn't that of fanboys, which is frankly a rather arrogant attitude; it's the blindness of those that aren't capable of enjoying something that challenges them to shift their perspective and to understand how the work played with and against the context within which it first appeared, or how it shifted the language of the medium at that time.

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