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Soapbox: Super Mario 3D World's Playful Whimsy is Refreshing, But Faces a Vital Commercial Test

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Will an overwhelmingly positive critical response and buzz deliver success?

Something slightly surprising, to me at least, happened yesterday. Super Mario 3D World had a wonderful series of reviews that went live, on any major outlet you'd care to name, bang on the embargo. I'm not talking about the scores — which were excellent — but the omnipresence and content of those reviews; there seemed to be an overwhelming appreciation for the fact that here's a game that, once everything else is set aside, is pure fun. It's the job of writers to say more than "wow, this is a joy to play", of course, but that seemed to be the overall message once factors such as design, controls and visuals had been paid their dues. I've been playing 3D World a ridiculous amount yet, still, had a case of barely controllable giggles this week when recording multiplayer footage with boss-man Damien McFerran.

I was lucky to do our review, but I'll admit it was one that had me on edge as I wondered whether my love for whimsical nonsense — which Mario platformers deliver — would stand out in a sea of harsh proclamations that Mario's just doing his thing and it's all a bit old; even with the level of creativity on show, you never know. Thankfully, that didn't happen, and it prompted me to pop the bubble that can sometimes envelop me and realise that, actually, maybe there's hope that Nintendo can still transfix gamers and provoke fierce loyalty in the home console space for years to come; perhaps an audience for silly fun is still out there, and ready to buy a Nintendo system for the pleasure.

To give some added personal perspective, as someone that spends days writing about Nintendo I sometimes wonder whether being a 'Nintendo gamer' is the equivalent of being someone who'd sooner listen to Classical music rather than anything in the charts: in other words, not with the majority. The combined launch of PS4 and Xbox One have dominated the gaming media — which is unsurprising and only right — with a tone that I've nevertheless found aggravating. For one thing, the focus on technical aspects such as resolution, gigaflops and a load of tech-jargon has baffled me, especially as neither system can "win". There exist PC rigs that can probably outperform both systems already, and they'll start getting cheaper before we know it; who knows what impact Valve's Steam Boxes (Steam Machine sounds silly) will have, though that'll ultimately depend on various factors. I used to play on (until I moved recently) a very modest PC that produced better visuals than a PS3 or Xbox 360, while my brother has a PC that comfortably outperforms both. In the tech race, the PC will always win.

So the obsessive focus on technical details has been a little too much, for my taste; it's fine to care about this stuff, especially apps and integrated features not so common or easy to use on a PC, but endless talk of RAM and processors is less interesting to me. What I've cared about is whether either system has a launch line-up that would tempt me to splash out money I barely have and, for both cases, the answer is no — I'm not that bothered about watching TV or streaming my gameplay on a console, but that's just my personal preference. It's a case of "not yet" for both, but then launch line-ups always have a borderline impossible task in roping any but the most dedicated and cash-rich fans.

But it's not just about that. Personally, I enjoy plenty of variety in the games I play, and have indulged in plenty of 'triple-A' fighty-shooty titles on PC in years gone past and, in recent months, PS3 and Wii U. In recent times I've enjoyed a bit of Splinter Cell Blacklist, Assassin's Creed IV: Pirate Edition — oh alright, Black Flag — and I'm a huge fan of The Last of Us, which I can't stop praising due to the fact that it has that ultimate rarity: a well-written, thought-provoking script. But the thing is I haven't beaten any of those games, not because I don't like them — I really want to finish The Last of Us — but because I can't bring myself to play them regularly. ZombiU is another, a game I've gone to bat for to defend, but I'm yet to complete the final scenario, which must be all of 45-60 minutes of gameplay.

The fact is that these are all intense, violent mature games, whether in a serious or Hollywood-slapstick way, and demand a certain level of engagement that I can't always offer. With crummy sleep patterns, a full day of work and then boring grown-up chores to do, it can often be 9pm or later before I sit down at my TV, and I often opt for simplicity over tackling that bit I'm stuck on in Last of Us — I'm too stubborn to play on the easy difficulty — because I'm weary and want to relax. That's where Super Mario 3D World comes in. I'm at that stage where I'm scrabbling to collect the toughest of the remaining extras, so it's difficult, but it's also charming, colourful, ridiculous and super-easy to control. Even deaths come with a comical animation and a silly jingle, not with a horrifying zombie knawing off my face.

And that's why many of my PC and PS3 games lie uncompleted while my Mario games have shiny stars. It's not just down to genre, either, as I always play my collection of The Legend of Zelda games to the end; sometimes that series is dark and it is, after all, violent, but it's also fantastical, too, with just the occasional bow and arrow crosshair to worry about. The reason I'm on the fence and not planning to get a PS4 or One until next year — I'll probably opt for the former, or see what the Steam Boxes from Valve offer — is because the games on offer mostly fall into categories I'd play and not finish. With notable exceptions like the poorly received Knack and well-praised Zoo Tycoon, there's plenty of driving/shooty/fighty games; I'd love to play Resogun, meanwhile, but won't spend £350 for the privilege. I'd sooner go back to complete my ridiculous backlog on PS3 and Wii U first.

But to get to the point, how many active home console gamers actually feel that way? Often I feel like a relic of the '90s that's not with the modern gaming scene, happier to jump on Goombas than get a headshot online in CoD. That's the test for Super Mario 3D World, the Wii U and Nintendo in a broader sense. The 3DS has made waves in the past couple of years with its own mix of quaint or oddball titles; A Link Between Worlds, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Pokémon X & Y and more this year alone. But that's the handheld space, where the hardware costs less and, by its very nature, taps into a different part of the gaming landscape. In the living-room battle of home consoles, we'll soon find out whether an outstanding 3D Mario game can not only gain perfect scores in reviews and gushing praise from loyal fans, but the sought-after sales of the greater, sizeable mainstream gaming public.

That audience is largely, based on Nintendo's advertising in North America in particular, down to families, thought there are plenty of adult gamers that may be drawn in by the hype around Mario's latest. That the buzz for the game will help is a given, but it's by how much that will be fascinating, which will be amplified further once Mario Kart 8 is on the scene. I think it's a real unknown, as a point made in the office that the Wii's foundations of success were largely attributable to Wii Sports and Wii Fit is one with merit. Yes, other major franchises performed well on the Wii, but the role of iconic, innovative experiences that grasped mainstream consumers shouldn't be ignored. Without the starting gun of those innovations — I doubt their new iterations on Wii U will hit the heights or have the same level of impact as the originals — how significant will the power of Mario be, in pure numbers?

Next week will give a fascinating first look with the Japanese charts, while mid-December will bring November NPD sales for the US. The most conclusive results will come in Nintendo's next quarterly reports in late January, when it'll report solid figures. Yes, there are other Wii U Holiday releases that'll play roles, along with bundles, but none have seemed to blow the doors off. Super Mario 3D World has, in terms of its reception by the media, but what sales will that excitement turn into in the big, bad world?

I hope they're strong results, not just for the sake of the Wii U's short-term prospects, but also to show that silly, fun nonsense still has a place in the mainstream home console market. As so much effort is expended on selling 'next-gen' concepts and the march towards photo-realistic visuals, I still yearn for a substantial space in the games industry for cartoon-like shenanigans that can be shared with friends on a couch. I want to shoot stuff and put together combos / parries, too, because that's an enjoyable part of modern gaming; just not necessarily after a long day, or when I simply want to chill out.

Maybe I want games to divert my mind to a nonsensical fantasy world without guns — Nintendo and the Wii U give me that.

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User Comments (120)

Gioku

#1

Gioku said:

Even with all the talk that Xbox One and PS4 have better graphics... you still can't look at SM3DW or MK8 and not think they look beautiful. :)

AhabSpampurse

#2

AhabSpampurse said:

Words from my own heart. I've got four kids and a full time job. By the time I sit down I'm mentally drained and physically exhausted. As a youngster I would happily play resi or something that requires full undivided attention, but now, at the end of day I want to sit down, press start, and be playing the actual game and furthermore, relaxing within five minutes. I was a huge 360 gamer, and now I just don't have the patience for the vast majority of titles. Nintendo though, with their charm and simplicity have always brought me back.

BakaKnight

#3

BakaKnight said:

I can only agree to every line.
Guess I'm a relic of the '90s too XP

Many games out there sound interesting and worthy of a try, but hope noone will ever take away from us the "nonsensical fantasy" games. I wouldn't be able to keep be a gamer without them honestly.

Tsurii897

#4

Tsurii897 said:

"But to get to the point, how many active home console gamers actually feel that way? Often I feel like a relic of the '90s that's not with the modern gaming scene, happier to jump on Goombas than get a headshot online in CoD. "

I'm "just" 19 (started to play video games with like 7 or 8 years- so in the early 2000s) and I feel the same exact way ^^
I enjoy to play the so-called "mature" games from time to time, some more (with my all-time favorites being games like God of War, Ninja Gaiden or Metal Gear) some not so much (the obligatory CoD campaign and most shooters - not too much into that genre, although some are pretty entertaining, too).
But when it comes to the more colourful, creative games I'm hooked right away: be it Mario, Zelda and Pikmin on my Nintendo consoles or Little Big Planet, Jak and Daxter and Ni No Kuni on my PS3. I ALWAYS finish those 100%, re-play them and keep them for my small "collection".

banacheck

#5

banacheck said:

Why does everyone always stereotype PS3 games? Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Dragons Crown, LBP, Puppeteer, Ratchet and Clank into the Nexus, i could go on. Are no more violent than mario but for me it a variety of different games that i can play, from RPG like Darks Souls/Dragons Crown to LBP, Puppeteer. Plus the odd FPS & racer it would drive me nuts playing nothing but a few types of games, thats why i welcome indies . The spec thing console deliver amazing graphics while not having to mess around with your rig, high end PC just for gaming is a total waste of hardware on games alone. As most games of today are develop for consoles first and for most, that will never take advantage of a high end PC . I think some gamers want a powerful console to play games with smarter AI, physics, graphics but also knowing it'll run the games and not trun out into something like Skyrim which was a total mess unplayable.Also a lot of people also grew-up with games like GOW, MGS,KH etc so it holds a special place, why play one console when you can choose more than one.

Phantom_R

#6

Phantom_R said:

You can definitely notice that Nintendo is going all-out right now: among Awakening, New Leaf, 3D World, A Link Between Worlds, etc., they've taken up more of an "anything goes" policy, where anything that's fun and new gets thrown into the game. Kid Icarus: Uprising is the ultimate embodiment of this.

It's Nintendo's new way of not having to contend with the Xbox One and PS4, which are providing nearly identical games and experiences. Nintendo's strategy is bound to win... but only if you can get a non-believer to take the plunge.

I mean, my brothers and their devout Xbox fanboys didn't even know that the Wii U was a new console until I played Nintendo Land with them, and even they were convinced.

It's up to us to sell the Wii U. There's my proof. Nintendo's given us the tools and we need to do the converting.

NbaJunkie

#7

NbaJunkie said:

Very well written article. Many of us don't have the patience to sit through these violent and emotionally draining games . Once you get older you appreciate gaming for what it is,and always has been Fun.hopefully 3d world does well. But we are in an age were your taste in games aren't considered refined unless you are bashing someone into a pulp..

ricklongo

#8

ricklongo said:

Heh, I can totally relate. I can safely say that right now I absolutely love my Wii U. The last few retail games I've bought are all cartoonish fun experiences: Pikmin 3, Wind Waker HD, The Wonderful 101, Sonic Lost World (much, much better than critics seem to give it credit for, by the way). They entertain and relax me in a way that, sadly, most AAA games these days can't.

I'm a big fan of some more "serious" franchises too, like Civilization and The Elder Scrolls. I'll soon get Assassin's Creed Black Flag as my December Wii U game (yet only because Tropical Freeze was delayed, heh). But I've found the vast majority of "mature" games these days just seem to fall flat on me. Call of Duty and similar shooters are absolutely not my thing. I could never get into the Batman Arkham series, for example, and yet used to absolutely love the more cartoonish The Adventures of Batman & Robin on my SNES.

I don't know, I'd just much rather stomp on goombas than kill random pedestrians in GTA. It brings me much more pleasure, and in the end that's what matters.

triforcepower73

#9

triforcepower73 said:

Super Mario 3D World will most certainly do well. I have no doubt about that. But I feel like the "hardcore" dudebro gamers just don't give Nintendo a chance anymore.

I was talking to a friend of mine a few months ago, who is an avid CoD, Skyrim, and Dead Space fan. He's 13 btw. We got onto the subject of Nintendo games, specifically, Zelda. He just outright said, "Zelda's stupid." I stood there for a few seconds, thinking through what I would say. I asked him why he had that opinion. He said they were too easy. I asked him which ones he had played and he said "a few minutes of Twilight Princess." I agreed with him that it was easy, but still a great, fun game that he should have given a better chance. I also told him he should try some of the older, harder ones. But, of course, like a typical teenage "hardcore" gamer, he said he hated old games because he can't stand the graphics. I just stopped arguing there, cause I knew there was no changing his mind.

That's just one example. I have many other friends who are like that. And it goes to show what's sadly popular these days. And to be clear, the games he likes aren't "bad." I'm just saying that it seems that the modern gamer doesn't want to give Nintendo a chance, no matter the reviews/scores their games get, no matter the price, no matter anything. They just typically dismiss it immediately if it has the Nintendo logo on it. Modern gamers are missing out on so much. I feel sorry for them. :(

idork99

#10

idork99 said:

Great read. I was going to quote a section of the article but someone beat me to it.

I am totally with you on the stomping Goombas rather than shooting on CoD. Interestingly enough, I own NSMBU and BLOPS2 for my Wii U. And although I bought BLOPS2 for my family and friends (and it was on sale for $20), the retail game I've spent the most time with is NSMBU. If I were a teenager, there would be no doubt that I'd be indulging in CoD a la Street Fighter II in the 90's: they are the "It" games for their time. As a teenager, my attention span was fully focused on gaming. Now with life in the way, I just want to sit down, relax and play something familiar to me. After some intense work days, the last thing I need at the end of the day is some more intense, often tedious, action.

B-Squared

#11

B-Squared said:

As I look at my backlog of games recently...things like the Directors Cut of Deus Ex Human Revolution and Zombi U go untouched...while I played Sonic Lost World all the way through and almost got everything. Granted, that's not pure Nintendo (and I'm kinda broken up about this particular game) but I do feel that "modern AAA" games don't resonate with me. Nintendo is Nintendo and they don't compete with Sony and Microsoft in the same way. Its not that they couldn't; that's not who they are.

Nintendo will always be unique and seems to put fun first, which I appreciate. And I appreciate Sony and Microsoft doing something different too. I just wish people would put down their staunch fanboyism and give more things a chance. I only owned a Wii last generation because of money issues but there were a great amount of games on the other consoles too. Just give fun a chance!

Ristar42

#12

Ristar42 said:

I think the distinction is a bit overstated here, I only tend to have one console I'm buying games for at a time and at the moment thats a PS3, I've no interest in CoD or military fps games, but I still find a better range of games that interest me to play, than I would on the Wii U at the moment.
I've played most of the recent Mario games and completed them, I think they're generally great games, but its not enough for me to invest in a Wii U at the moment. Its great that Nintendo has these exclusives, but the console misses out on many interesting and varied multi platform releases, which is a shame. I still like the idea of games consoles myself, I started with the Atari 2600!

Artwark

#13

Artwark said:

I've always believed that graphics doesn't change the gameplay nor does it make people want to get games for it. Even Hiroshi Yamauchi believes in this. This gen is probably the last gen that can do this good in terms of graphics. I mean what the next next gen will sound like, 6 k graphics? Really people can be silly at times and just realize that graphics are what makes games great.

Infact lots of my college friends are soo obsessed with increasing the poly count for character modelling without even thinking why are they doing this or does it make a difference.

I'm pretty positive that Microsoft isn't going to last long in the gaming industry not because I know it but because of the fact that they don't have to be in the industry because they can just walk off and make windows better.

SanderEvers

#14

SanderEvers said:

Yay.. Nintendo is bringing two of the best games this year to their console/handheld. And what does Nintendolife? Post another doom and gloom article.

This is so extremely good.

/sarcasm.

Talking about competition between Nintendo and MS and Sony is nonsense. There simply is no competition. And there hasn't been any competition between them since the launch of the GameCube. Nintendo chose a different path and is still going strong on that path.
I hear people whining about "core" games on the Wii (U), and I still say that it were those "core" gamers that deserted Nintendo for the XBOX and the PS2.

I am and will always be true to Nintendo. I will buy almost every game they release and have a lot of fun with these games.

Darknyht

#15

Darknyht said:

@triforcepower73 That's sort of funny when I take into consideration I have been replaying Zelda II and Zelda: aLttP. I've been lamenting how much more difficult they are compared not just to most games now, but in comparison to my fond memories of them. With both it has been a constant struggle not to resort to a FAQ each time I die at the hands of one of the dungeons.

I came back to Nintendo games because they are simply fun to play. They make great games without having to resort to the "edgy" and shock value crutches that so many developers feel the need to over use. I am tired of people in the gaming (and the rest of the entertainment) industry resorting to that just to get attention.

CanisWolfred

#16

CanisWolfred said:

It better. I don't want them to be forced to fall back on the Galaxy and New series again, just because that's what sells...seriously, this is the first time in over a decade that I've had any interest in a Mario game. If it fails, then the public officially has no taste.

Kodeen

#17

Kodeen said:

@Artwark

Funny you should mention that last bit, apparently Stephen Elop (current CEO of Nokia) would sell of the Xbox division and focus on Windows/Office/Enterprise if he became the next CEO of Microsoft.

@banacheck

Thank you for saying this. A lot of times I read the general sentiment on this site, both from users and even the editors, that Nintendo is the only company that understands 'fun', and that the only thing other developers can achieve is a close approximation. It gets really tiring.

Stubborn_Monkey

#18

Stubborn_Monkey said:

I think the problem is that games have become... bloated, to put it somehow. You no longer have "levels" or "courses" or "worlds". You have "campaigns" and "save files". They're more elaborate, more cinematic experiences, but if you want carefree fun, well... you can't just play it for a couple of minutes.

It is a matter of game design, not content. There's always been violence in video games. See: Ninja Gaiden, Contra, Double Dragon et al. on the NES; Final Fight, Metal Slug and a myriad others on arcade cabinets... Those were violent games, but more or less all of them had a lighthearted, fast-paced approach to the action, and didn't demand the player to spend a full evening with them.

It's true that now technology allows developers to craft ambitious, colossal epics, but that ambition goes overboard sometimes and they forget to let the players have some fun. GAMING has become a CHORE.

Nintendo knows to balance the structure so the players can just play as long as they want. Planning to spend several hours in front of the TV? Sure, have fun. Just have a couple of minutes before hitting the bed? Can do. That's why their consoles sometimes feel more like toys than pieces of hardware... because they never forget to have some fun.

And I'm sure 3D World will sell very well. It's Mario. Take a bag of sand, stamp the Super Mario logo on it, send it to Gobi, and it will sell.

Tsurii897

#20

Tsurii897 said:

@triforcepower73
" He just outright said, "Zelda's stupid." "
My Brother (who's also 13 btw) said the same thing...Needless to say I punched him, right? :D

It's kinda sad, how ignorant even such young gamers are nowadays. I'm not too old myself (19 as mentioned in my other comment), but at least I give games, I'm not too fond of, a chance.

WingedSnagret

#21

WingedSnagret said:

This is exactly why I'm a loyal Nintendo fan. To me, video games are for fun and escapism; doing things you never could in real life.

Things like flinging fireballs out of my hands to defeat evil mushrooms (Mario), catching and battling alongside creatures of all shapes, sizes, and types, (Pokemon), flying through the air while shooting at various monsters, (Kid Icarus), or even simply living in a peaceful town full of friendly animals (Animal Crossing), are all examples of amazing experiences you could never have outside the virtual world.

Most games today however? Guns, war, gore, and realistic images. All things you can experience in our real world that I'd rather not think about. If I want to see or feel those scenarios, I'd watch the news or join the military.

VoiceOfReason

#22

VoiceOfReason said:

@triforcepower73
I grew up on SNES (played NES for a bit, but mostly SNES) My favorite game is Super Mario World (Beat it when I was 5), and so when I hear 10-15 year olds say stuff like "Nintendo sucks" because its "not cool" I feel exactly what you are saying. I love PlayStation too, but when I hear "Nintendo Sucks" and "Sony Sucks" it hurts in two different place, really deep down (Especially since I've been playing almost since I was born). Todays 13 year olds don't give Nintendo a chance, and will grow up basically Nintendo-less, and I dread what will happen to Nintendo when everyone who's around thinks "They suck".

TechnoEA

#24

TechnoEA said:

@banacheck Ignore it, you get used to the assumptions made by people on this site towards PlayStation, apparently according to one user what they say negatively about PlayStation is fact. We both know PlayStation is a variety brand and doesn't just deal with FPS or dudebro games, but actually makes a ton more of innovative and creative things just like Nintendo. They are fanboys.

From Puppeteer to Last of Us to Knack to God of War.

Anyway from the commercial I saw for SM3DW, it will do fine. It's advertising the Wii U better is what Nintendo SHOULD be doing. Maybe throw in this game to really show off the difference.

DarkKirby

#25

DarkKirby said:

If you like Nintendo's kid friendly games that's fine.

But it's not as if Nintendo had all the other games that competing systems also offer Nintendo would stop offering those kid friendly Nintendo games.

And it's because the Wii U doesn't offer what it's competition offers that the Wii U is suffering in sales. In the end, it comes down to what games the system has, if and their quality and features match up to the competition.

That's not to say I want to Wii U to fail, I have a Wii U, I have a vested interest in the Wii U succeeding, I just don't think a Nintendo game every 4-5 months is enough, especially as the PS4 and Xbone are being released to handily shove the Wii U back in the position as the weakest system.

earthboundlink

#26

earthboundlink said:

The author appears to be me. I have written this article in my head a million times over. If you compiled my various comments on video game articles, this article is more or less what it would say. Right on, OP. Right on.

Kruger85

#27

Kruger85 said:

The huge problem is that both Mario Galaxy games sold that not great and were nowhere near the 35 Million for NSMB!!
This game should have arrived 6 months after launch not over 12!!It is launched alongside the Xbox One and while people who already own a Wii U will rush out and buy this, 1 great game I don't think will be enough to take people away from buying a PS4 or Xbox One!!
I still think it is to little to late for the Wii U but we will see...if sales do not go through the roof for the Wii U with this huge release then nothing will save the Wii U!!!

StarDust4Ever

#28

StarDust4Ever said:

I still say Nintendo is not doing enough to advertise the Wii-U. I've only ever seen Nintendo ads on the adult swim block on the cartoon network and then only 3DS, and I can't help but wonder that Nitnendo is not targeting the primetime networks at all. Nintendo needs to advertise the Wii-U because there are still people out there who don't even know it exists after a year on the market, yet Ps3 and Xbone ads everywhere. These people will buy the latest from Sony and MS and Nintendo will be stuck in third place - AGAIN!!!

McGruber

#30

McGruber said:

I don't think it's a question of whether gamers and people in general still like Nintendo type gaming experiences. I think Nintendo just does a HORRIBLE job, at least in the US, of marketing them. When I bought a Wii U, I had my friend over to play some Nintendo Land. He is XBOX all the way, and has never even owned a Nintendo console that I know of. When we played some of the multiplayer games on there like Chase Mii, I think we were both surprised by how awesomely fun and funny they were to play. The problem is neither of us would have had a clue of these type of experiences if I didn't buy a Wii U on day one. I later sold the thing because of the lack of games and features (I'll buy one again eventually).

sadsack777

#31

sadsack777 said:

@VoiceOfReason the reason u feel like that is ur brought up playing fun games now today the rest of gamers are taken away from that but at lest u can stand pround of being a true gamer take it easy

McGruber

#32

McGruber said:

Also, aside from Miiverse, which is never advertised anyway, Nintendo has done an ATROCIOUS job at catering to gamers. They said this system was supposed to be more about what core gamers want, but aside from Miiverse and some M rated ports from 3rd parties, they did nothing. A more feature rich system, an account system, and games like Metroid Prime 4 instead of NintendoLand (which is still great in it's own right) would have done them wonders. Now they are stuck pandering to parents, who a majority don't see the point in another Wii when they already have one...

DerpSandwich

#33

DerpSandwich said:

Oh man, I'm the same way. I've got about a million "serious" games on my 360 that I really love yet I still haven't beaten, because every time I want to play a game it's so much easier to just pick up Super Mario 3D Land or Pikmin 3 for the umpteenth time.

theoldman

#34

theoldman said:

This may be one of the most important articles written about the state of gaming today, let alone the Wii U. I say that because it was written by, essentially, a fan. Even though he writes for a Nintendo site, there are, as everyone points out, doom and gloom articles written about the big N all the time. But its these types of retrospective articles that really define what these games mean to people on a much more personal level and ultimately make everyone else understand that feeling.

Its kind of like the end scene in Elf. where no ones believes in santa anymore until Zooey Deschanel starts singing, and reinvigorates everyones love for the holiday. Well, in this case 3D World is doing the singing, and suddenly people are believing in Nintendo again.

.....Or am I looking way too far into this? haha

CaptOlimar30

#35

CaptOlimar30 said:

Nintendo games have always been the ones I go to when I get bored of complex games and it looks like Super Mario 3D World is a perfect game to go back to for simple fun. I'm so pumped.

GalacticMario28

#36

GalacticMario28 said:

I don't think Super Mario 3D World alone will allow the Wii U to compete with the PS4 and Xbox One, at least not directly anyway. I do think that it has the potential to raise awareness, to show people just what kind of experiences they can expect from now on if they buy a Wii U: experiences that take you back to when you were a kid and allow you to enjoy something on a level you could never reach by playing all of those 'mature' games on rival consoles. Needless to say, not everyone cares to have such experiences, but I'd like to think that enough people do to allow 3D World and the Wii U to thrive, even in this day of 'mature' gaming.

CaptOlimar30

#37

CaptOlimar30 said:

@banacheck I agree, PS3 games tend to be overgeneralized but unfortunately most of the titles you mentioned underperform in sales although they are certainly as simply magical and fun as Nintendo's games. Nintendo isn't performing as well as they should either so the worry seems to be that tastes have moved on from having a fun time to having a hyper-realistic time which I think we all hope isn't the case.

unrandomsam

#38

unrandomsam said:

The first 4 worlds are a waste again. (I hate collectables as well. Don't mind time attacks.)

Doesn't seem like it has a fair number or levels / loads of secret levels and multiple paths. (No space limitations that stops them giving at least the sort of amount they had in Mario World).

Caryslan

#39

Caryslan said:

I think Super Mario 3D World will sell very well. It may not sell 10 million units in a week, but Nintendo is a master at making their games sell long term. During the Wii and DS' time at top, many of they games remained on the charts for months or in some cases years.

Super Mario 3D World may get overshadowed by the PS4 and Xbox One this holiday season, but it may not matter. The PS4 and Xbox One are selling to fanboys and the super hardcore gamers right now. Most other gamers are happy with their PS3 and Xbox 360s, and see little reason to upgrade right now. Especially given the fact that those systems are still getting major support into next year.

Plus, the PS4 and Xbox One will face the same issues that all consoles face after their launch. The period where new games are slow to come out due to developers learning the tech and shifting support from the older consoles.

This is where the WIi U has an advantage. While the PS4 and Xbox One are coming off the post hype crash and are seeing a slowdown in new games, Nintendo will have a steady stream of games ready to go. DKC, Mario Kart 8, and even Smash Bros 4(If its not delayed) are all set for next year.

Nintendo has a chance if they can take advantage. It still going to take some time for the PS4 and Xbox One to get their heavy hitters next year. Halo 5 is likely to drop next year, but it will come during the Holiday Season. If Nintendo can play their cards right they can take a lead against the PS4 and Xbox One.

The key is getting their big hitters out the door. Pikmin 3 and Wind Waker HD were warm-ups. One was a sequel to a lower tier Nintendo ip and the other was a remake of a 10-year old game.

Super Mario 3D World is the first major 3D Mario on a home console since Galaxy 2. Its also the biggest title the Wii U has gotten so far. It may not put up insane day 1 numbers, but if Nintendo plays it right it could easily boost the Wii U and give it a major push into the next year when their other big hitters begin to arrive.

10000mario

#40

10000mario said:

This is the reason nintendo gets my money, if a console has 256gb of RAM, 7,832gb of memory, 17,635 quad core processors, with a controller with a built in blu ray player, and can handle 17,000,000 people on its online servers, but has no fun games... I don't really care for that console.

belmont

#41

belmont said:

This was a great and interesting article. However I agree with @banacheck. I really don't get the Nintendo relevance in this article since there are tons of games as described in the other platforms maybe more than those Wii U and 3DS have.

Most indies fit the above criteria (Thomas was Alone, Hotline Miami, Proteus, Braid,...). Also there are games like Little big planet, Puppeteer, Dragons Crown, Ratchet and Clank. Anyway I personally prefer rpg games.

After seeing the reviews I think of buying 3D World but I am still somewhat afraid since there is no demo to try and I have not played a Mario game since Mario 64 (I got a Wii U but have no games yet).

unrandomsam

#42

unrandomsam said:

@banacheck Having a high end pc over a 7 year period will save more money than you would spend just on the extra that stuff costs on consoles. (At the point where if you cannot get 1080p/60fps minimum/vsynced on something you want then you do something about it). What is more you can decide what is acceptable. (3rd parties seem to think 30fps is I don't and never will). Plus if you buy something cheap that you are not sure if you can run well right now you can just leave it a year and play it then. If it runs badly on a console it will forever and there is nothing you can do about it. Especially the new ones they are just rubbish PC's. (As in much worse than what I bought 2 years ago).

I kind of like the look of Dragons Crown. Not bothered about any of the other PS3 games. (PS3 is another Saturn where nobody even bothered to use it properly sadly). Anyway I won't buy Sony they have ripped me off twice. (As in any other company would have just sorted it out I did nothing wrong).

Dpullam

#43

Dpullam said:

I've seem some advertisements for the Wii U across a few channels lately, but mostly I have been seeing Xbox One and Playstation 4 commercials. It makes perfect sense since the PS4 has just been released while the Xbox One edges closer to its own release, but at the same time, I don't quite feel that Nintendo has done enough to promote their new system. I personally will be buying the system myself, but it is preferable that as many people as possible know about the existence of the Wii U. It already has a decent library of games available, and all it needs now is more consumers. With some luck, Super Mario 3D World might open the doors to the start of the Wii U's success. I'm certainly looking forward to reading about the potential big boost in sales that it will provide once the figures are released. Those figures could potentially spell the future of the Wii U.

belmont

#44

belmont said:

@unrandomsam A PS4 costs 400 euros. A very good PC costs 1000 euros and you have to spend 200 euros to update the graphics card every 2 years, excluding the processor. Back in 2006 I got a PC and sometime after a PS3. My PC cannot play any game after 2010 while I still have games like the Last of Us on PS3.

Kirk

#45

Kirk said:

I hear ya.

To me, this kind of whimsical magical Mario platform game is kinda what gaming is all about.

I guess that's why these games continue to be so loved.

triforcepower73

#46

triforcepower73 said:

@Darknyht Yes those games are really difficult! But my friend just dismissed them because they're old games and "the graphics are awful!" I hate being in the same age group as those kinds of people. Then, when I'm in a group of 13-16 yr old guys, I'm the odd one out because nobody else likes Nintendo. :(

@Baum897 That's funny because we're sorta opposite. I'm 14 and I love Nintendo(and any other game company that develops fun and/or well-made games). My brother is 20 and he's not too fond of them. Except for Super Smash Bros and Kirby sometimes, he hardly plays on a Nintendo. I wish I could punch him when he says negative things about Zelda. But then he would kill me and my mom would kill me again. ;)

@VoiceOfReason As I've said previously, it really sucks when you're in the same age group as all the teens who hate Nintendo. Then you're the odd one out and people(like some on this site) criticize teens as a whole by saying things like "kids these days don't know what video games are all about" or "teens are so ignorant" etc. There are a few teens who are smart and open-minded.

ueI

#47

ueI said:

I'm a little bit confused by the assertion that you like other games but you can't bring yourself to play them. It sounds as if you don't really like them, then.
Though even reviews for mature games sometimes say little more than "wow, this is a joy to play."
Anyway, there's a reason that these discussions overlook games such as Ni no Kuni, Dragons Crown, LBP, Puppeteer, and Ratchet and Clank. It's because these games receive very little publicity in comparison to other PS3 exclusives and multiplatforms. When's the last time a game like this was nominated for an award, barring LBP? People think PS3 is only for mature gamers because the media portrays it that way.
It's true that indie games tend to provide different experiences as @belmont said. I usually like them, but I'm wary of those that some use the indie label to justify a poor game.

maneauleau

#48

maneauleau said:

I think and feel exactly like you Thomas, I am not only a Nintendo player, I am also a PC gamer and I appreciate genres like FPS, RTS, dota-likes etc... but I really hope these and Nintendo can coexist because I need both. And if I have to choose I would prefer Nintendo because I am not really convinced or attracted by ultra realistic graphics. Life is realistic enough, let me enjoy dreamy unrealistic colorful worlds instead. I hope Super Mario 3D World will be like a Christmas fairy tale and will sell Wii U like hot breads and let the Wii U build some confidence and a bigger audience. We need more titles like this.

GreatPlayer

#49

GreatPlayer said:

@triforcepower73 When video games first came out you are not supposed to beat them easily. You may never beat them. You just keep playing them and one day, and hopefully one day, you can beat them, partly by skills and partly by luck. When I played Ninja Gaiden 2 I could not even finish the second stage. (On the other hand, I hate old games that increase difficulty by respawning enemies.) Ninja Gaiden 3 is a much fairer game. Strangely, I never played Zelda in NES era.

VoiceOfReason

#50

VoiceOfReason said:

@triforcepower73
Hey, no offence man! I was agreeing with you! Didn't mean to give that impression! I should have said most 13 year olds. Sorry. I know a 15 year old and we play Nintendo stuff (and PlayStation) all the time. He's not biased, but many others I know are, whether they hate Nintendo or are just going with the crowd. Most are in fact, which is why I said what I said at the end of my comment. I just meant that I hear a lot of (about the average age is) 13 year olds saying that stuff.
Good of you to be open minded. I commend you. Also, you seem very passionate, did you grow up on Nintendo at a young age?

SkywardCrowbar

#51

SkywardCrowbar said:

Well, considering that Super Mario 3D World is #1 on Amazon and is sold out on Amazon Canada, I'd say it's selling pretty well. I look forward to asking the people at my local Gamestop how many they sold.

unrandomsam

#52

unrandomsam said:

@GreatPlayer For me I don't like games now where all they do is make you put in time to get upgrades then it is really easy. I prefer it when the player has to get better in order to progress. People don't like the lost levels but I like the fact that it removes much of the luck. (You can get lucky on the castle and that is it). Its basically impossible to be lucky enough to fluke a world. VC Arcade Ghost's n Goblins there is very little luck in that either I have found.

unrandomsam

#54

unrandomsam said:

Sonic Generations I liked as well (Surprisingly for me the 3D bits more - once you get to a certain level its great).
I suspect I will like Lost World - Maybe more than this if half the game is wasted which is the impression I get. (If I play the demo of this somewhere pretty soon and whilst I am playing it there is a moment like when you get the Ultra Sword first in Kirby's Adventure then maybe not).

NintyMan

#55

NintyMan said:

I am definitely a relic of the 90's and happy for it. The fun factor should be first and foremost in a video game. It can have beautiful visuals, but if you're not having fun, then why keep playing? Gameplay, story, graphics, music, and presentation can all help or hurt a video game, but to me the most important is gameplay. If you can't control a game well, then you're not going to really appreciate the other elements because the bad gameplay wears you down. There is a huge focus on story in games nowadays, which can be fine, but it doesn't have to be the deciding factor. If it was, Mario would be discontinued and the retro age would look stale. Story can absolutely help to immerse you in the game more, but frankly I just want to play a game to have fun. Where I believe story is essential is in RPGs.

If the excellent reviews and hype for Super Mario 3D World can't help it and Wii U, then I don't know what else will. Mario is familiar. Mario is absolutely capable of bringing that fun factor. Mario is one of the most iconic video game characters ever. What made the original New Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. Wii so successful was the fun they could bring, and multiplayer fun in particular. Super Mario 3D World will be the same way, only now it brings a new form of multiplayer through a 3D Mario form. This combined with the fun single-player, excellent reviews, and increase in good news will attract buyers to Super Mario 3D World. Nintendo doesn't need an ad blitz. They already have a good range of commercials to keep it going, and don't underestimate the word of mouth and internet. Those last two will certainly help Nintendo.

XBox One will get a lot of attention because it is a new console launch and its fans will brag about it, but a very important thing to keep in mind is that it and PS4 may go through the same process as Wii U, a drought cycle with few games that really interest people. Super Mario 3D World should still get a respectable amount of attention to perform very well this Christmas season.

Williaint

#56

Williaint said:

Over the radio, I heard the "game analyst" compare Knack directly to Mario.
I've tried Ratchet and Clank, but didn't enjoy it. There are a lot of platformers that I don't enjoy. The PS3 exclusives named may be fun, but I'd have to judge how much I'd like them for myself.
Many of the exclusives for XBone will, eventually, be on PC.. I'm not an avid PC gamer, I don't often buy games, but I do, on occasion.
@uel It's like this: "The Kids want to be Teens, cause teens are cool. The Teens want to be 20 somethings, cause they are cool. The 20 somethings want to be cool. The Middle-aged group want to be younger, because their idea of 'cool' isn't 'cool' anymore."
@Artwark Like I've said elsewhere, there is an invisible roof. Sure, games can look better, but there's not really anywhere to go after that... or this.
@triforcepower73 I was a gamecube fan, about that age, and had one or two friends that weren't convinced PS2 and Xbox were the next best things to being god. Many of them just got a PS2 or xbox to play DVDs (which is what I use my roommate's 360 for). I'm not impressed, generally, of Generation teXt. At least you've some open minded-sense.
@Skyward Crowbar The Bestbuy I go to still had Pokemon Y's left (One left after mine) and they hadn't even sold any "dream teams". It's a pretty safe bet I'll be able to get at least ALBW there (I'm hoping to get both that and 3D Mario World, of course). I hope I won't have to wait in a big XBOXONE line...
@unrandomsam For once I can agree with you: I don't like "dumb luck" or easy level building in games.
It used to be about beating someone's high score, now it's about winning achievements. Rayman Legends had a fun score system. For about a day, I had 'most jumps' — at least in my country.
@DestinyMan 'hoooooy! Thanks for adding that.

Ralizah

#57

Ralizah said:

The Wii U is pretty underpowered compared to the other next-gen consoles, but the GORGEOUS aesthetic of Nintendo games more than make up for that. Super Mario Galaxy, for example, is still, by far, one of the most visually beautiful games of the last gen, even though the Wii's visuals were, in general, muddy compared to the HD splendor of other machines. It's also the reason that the original Wind Waker's visuals still delight to this day.

timp29

#58

timp29 said:

Nintendo needs to get some hype going. Yeah they've put out 3d land, yeah it's getting good reviews, but they need more Reggie and Fallon moments to sell the idea of owning the console to people. And Iwata/Reggie needs to come out swinging and publicly say 'Why buy an XBone/PS4 when you can buy a PC?'.

Realistically Nintendo offers the only gaming experience that can't really be had outside it's console.

Ryancrisp78

#59

Ryancrisp78 said:

Thank you for perfectly expressing my own feelings about Mario, Nintendo, and gaming in general. I find that the older I get, and the more complicated life becomes, the more I cling to the simple pleasure of a Mario game. I certainly hope that the Wii U's sales improve, and that they are able to stay competitive. Not only because it's good business, but because these games are essential to the gaming landscape. It would be a sad world indeed without a new Mario game to play. Great article!

Beetlejuice

#60

Beetlejuice said:

I don't check the Playstation or Xbox sister sites of Nintendo Life, but do they post articles where Xbox/Playstation writers put down Nintendo titles as being too 'kiddy' while trying to justify why they prefer violent shooters, or does that sort of bizarre insecurity only manifest itself here?

OliverAdam

#61

OliverAdam said:

You haven't beaten The Last of Us and already now you're calling it "well written" ?!

Finish it now, and get your statement confirmed!

bizcuthammer

#62

bizcuthammer said:

Unfortunately, the majority could care less about what's the most fun these days. Its all about whats cool, not fun. I'm not saying "cool" games are no fun, just saying that games that are ONLY fun, but have no "dark" or "cool" or "popular" factor to them are never going to get the respect they deserve. Most Nintendo games fall under this category unfortunately. I prefer fun to cool, and could care less what people think.

Zach

#63

Zach said:

Great article Thomas. Looking at the sales on Amazon sales makes me think that the long term will be no problem. However, it was a joy to read your thoughts. I can't wait.

Shadowkiller97

#64

Shadowkiller97 said:

@WingedSnagret I could not have said it better myself. This is 100% how I feel too!

"This is exactly why I'm a loyal Nintendo fan. To me, video games are for fun and escapism; doing things you never could in real life.

Things like flinging fireballs out of my hands to defeat evil mushrooms (Mario), catching and battling alongside creatures of all shapes, sizes, and types, (Pokemon), flying through the air while shooting at various monsters, (Kid Icarus), or even simply living in a peaceful town full of friendly animals (Animal Crossing), are all examples of amazing experiences you could never have outside the virtual world.

Most games today however? Guns, war, gore, and realistic images. All things you can experience in our real world that I'd rather not think about. If I want to see or feel those scenarios, I'd watch the news or join the military."

cyrus_zuo

#65

cyrus_zuo said:

I feel much the same way as the article, and also feel the strain of being an outsider in gaming. It's sad to me that I have to enjoy Mario just w/my family b/c so many people will ignore the game and praise the shooter.

AtlanteanMan

#66

AtlanteanMan said:

DISCLAIMER: I also happen to own a PlayStation 3 and an Xbox 360 and I have enjoyed them, so please don't consider this post a fanboy rant; it's just a personal opinion.

Anyone who dismisses Nintendo for having inferior consoles or "kiddie" games is almost certainly a product of the post-Final Fantasy VII generation (the game that "made RPGs mainstream", which at the time seemed like a great thing until menu and turn-based combat died to satisfy the button-mashing cravings of nebulous masses). From then on it's been a rift between gamers who care about gameplay and those who tout the visuals and tech specs of their favorite platform. I could care less about 90% of what's on offer for consoles today (streaming video services, music, movies, social networking, etc.), and give me a local multiplayer experience with friends in my living room over online with team-killing, profanity-spewing strangers online any day. And the way companies have recently been manipulating online and DLC to gouge customers of every possible penny, I'd happily return to a completely offline system if someone offered it.

Sega was Nintendo's last true competitor in the console marketplace, because they too are a GAMING COMPANY at heart and their entire business revolves around them (this is why I'd love to see a merger between these two companies, by the way; it'd be a game-changer for the entire industry). Nintendo does their own thing precisely because the demographic they're appealing to (families and gamers who appreciate more than just eye candy and kill counts) is so distinct from those whom Microsoft and Sony are battling to attract.

Throw out sales numbers, technical jargon, and all that fluff; Nintendo games are indeed different from anything else on the market in that they're consistently family-friendly, bright and colorful, and typically of the highest quality and value. GAMEPLAY trumps anything, and it's not exactly as if Wii or Wii U games appear to have been designed by a three year-old using an Etch-A-Sketch. The types of games Nintendo focuses on simply don't require millions of colors and realistic textures as the plethora of FPS titles on other platforms require...but on the Wii U in particular those features are available to developers. Frankly the difference in visuals beginning with this series of consoles (the Wii U, the PS4, and the Xbox One) will be less noticeable from their predecessors than any other generation in history...and it's only going to become a less relevant argument for which system is "superior" as time goes on.

The "kiddie" accusation holds no water, either; Nintendo titles may be bright and cheerful on the outside but they hide some of the most hardcore challenge on any platform. Most (small) kids could never finish a Mario title; the latter stages in Galaxy 1 and 2, Mario 64, and Super Mario World are VERY difficult and demand lots of repetition to progress. Fire Emblem's a serious pain to try to get through without losing any party members to permadeath. Zelda's infamous water dungeons routinely make frustrated gamers reach for a Player's Guide.

I enjoy great games regardless of the system they're on, but occasionally I feel the need to go to bat for Nintendo in particular because, as the writer here stated, they often get pushed aside in favor of the latest of the endless eye candy sequels on other platforms. And so far I see nothing on either PS4 or Xbox One that make me want to invest in either; with time I'm sure those titles will come, but I've had my fill of FPSes and violent 3rd-person stuff for the foreseeable future. Wii U has gotten off to a slow start, but if I had to choose only one next-gen system it'd be the one for me right now.

Cuddles

#67

Cuddles said:

Ok, I just started, but Ima let you finish. Launch line up? What the heck did the WiiU have? What does it have now?! Of course no one mentions the hardware of the WiiU because it isn't really that new. Look, I wanted the WiiU to be something. I wanted it to shine. But I've given up on it. I can't remember the last timed I turned it on to play a port of a game I already have on other consoles or on PC.

AJ_Lethal

#68

AJ_Lethal said:

I must be a 90's old fart since I find modern gaming getting hit hard by Sturgoen's Law. Nowadays games are trying to be more than games, taking themselves too seriously and being overly shallow in their sturcture (graphics as #1 priority). It's a depressing picture.

Good thing Nintendo still knows what videogames are.

ReigningSemtex

#69

ReigningSemtex said:

Looking forward to 3d world because that might be the (console) game to get me off the last of us for a while I've easily sunk 150 hours into that game

unrandomsam

#70

unrandomsam said:

@AtlanteanMan Those games are not very difficult. The Lost Levels is difficult. They could easily have 3 difficulty levels. I don't want to play something I don't like going really slowly which I also don't like and going to levels with the right powerup and that type of thing. Donkey Kong Country Returns got the difficulty perfect its sad that is the only one in recent times. I also want to be into the game straight away but games where you just go through it super quickly and never need to get better don't do it for me. (It annoys me even more if I am forced to play levels I didn't even really enjoy the first time in order to get to the pitiful amount of extra levels. (Super Mario World was great in that respect you knew if a level had multiple exits so you didn't waste time and you knew if you found you would get a new completely new level. (If I had the second half of both galaxy games in one game I suspect I would have got a much greater amount of enjoyment). Those really aren't difficult though.

Mk_II

#71

Mk_II said:

Well said... games are about fun. Headshots and horrible crimes against humanity are no fun.

Doma

#72

Doma said:

I get an overpowered feeling of deja vu whenever i try to play any Mario games, so i avoid them simply for that reason now. The IP needs a serious rest, imo.

daniruy

#73

daniruy said:

Agreed. 100%. I finished The Last of Us (envy me, Thomas), but wasn't the OMG experience I was looking for. Yes, it was very good and it is an amzing game, but I'm having much more fun playing New Super Mario Bros U than that, because, after a day of work/study, I want to relax.

Memeboy3

#74

Memeboy3 said:

@Doma
Shut up!

  • Me, Smosh, PewDiePie and pretty much anyone with 1 brain cell.
    So we have a AAA Nintendo game with 10 new awesome things and Even a tribute to Tohou and Mario Kart, 4 Player Multiplayer and Rosalinda as a playable character and Toad stages and GOLDEN HYPE TRAINS!! And you want Nintendo to give it up?!
    I'm glad YOU don't run a Multi -Billion VG company.
sdelfin

#75

sdelfin said:

@Stubborn_Monkey, you said what I was thinking. Gaming has become a chore in many cases. At some point in recent years, the trend was to simply make games huge, as if to hit a particular benchmark of hours needed to complete the game. Like the writer of the piece, I've sometimes stopped playing various games near the end. In my case, I've noticed that happens because the game stopped being fun well before the end. Nintendo can be guilty of it too. I thought Zelda Twilight Princess felt extremely padded for length. I won't say that there are no more games that are easy to pick up and play, but it's harder to keep track of them. I was just playing Super Mario 3 and Super Mario World(twice) on my GBA(I love that thing) as well as Golden Axe 1 & 2 and Streets of Rage 1 & 2 on my Genesis multiple times and had a blast.

The psychology behind game design is different. When I play a more modern, huge game, I feel like I have to play for hours just to feel like I have accomplished something. It feels like the fun comes at a slow trickle. When I went back to play Mario 3, I could play for 15 minutes and felt like I accomplished a lot. That's just my own take on it.

TechnoEA

#76

TechnoEA said:

I don't because my mind and play style is variety. According to most on this article, apparently PS is the home of dudebro and shooters and fighters (what's wrong with fighters anyway ?), which is funny as I have more original and innovative and creative games than any of the above, the only shooter I have is one COD game MW that's it.... and to put things in perspective; I have over 80 PlayStation titles.

I play mostly Superhero, Power/Magic and Creative games. My entire library ranges from Rayman to Ratchet and Clank to Sound Shapes to Last of Us to RPG's like Tales of to Puzzle games.

For my Nintendo products, I stick with Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Luigi, Animal Crossing to Mario and Luigi games. Occasionally I'll buy a second party or first party title if it's metroid or smash brothers series.

I play Nintendo games because I like to sit down and relax and have fun. I play PlayStation games because I enjoy impactful lasting experiences.

berenlazarus

#78

berenlazarus said:

That was a great article. "Super Mario 3D World" will be a great barometer of the ever growing divide discussed by Tom. Simple, fun games should always have a market, and Nintendo has some of the the best "pick up and play" games around. After long hard days at work or just life in general, you simply don't want to go through the emotional intensity of a title like "The Last of Us". Sometimes you just want to jump on Goombas and not worry about head sets, head shots, gun types, etc. I have been playing through GTA 5 on the XBOX 360; while very fun, that is not a game you can play with your family or your kids if you have any. There's real depth to Nintendo's IPs beyond just "family" appeal, but sometimes we need those whimsical, nonsensical titles and Nintendo is master in that domain.

booopn

#79

booopn said:

Great opinion piece Thomas. Glad to hear you at least give other genres a try. For me I think Nintendo's strength is fun games and the best local multiplayer games. But what I think they are missing is multiplayer can be really fun with friends over the internet as well and almost recreates the local multiplayer setting. It's especially hard now that I'm older to find time for couch coop.

For me I like a wide variety of games and it can often depend on my mood at any given time. The thing that makes me sad is if you choose Nintendo, you are forgoing a large part of the market, while in the past, you could get both the best 3rd parties had to offer as well as Nintendo's excellent first party games.

As for the holiday season sales, it will be absolutely critical to WiiU's success how well this Mario title does. I'm hoping it kicks donkey as the reviews have all lined up, I think it's just a matter of proper advertising to get the word out now.
Please watch the profanity — TBD

MagicEmperor

#80

MagicEmperor said:

You know, the Wii U doesn't really need Super Mario 3D World. We should be perfectly fine with Grand Theft Auto IV. :D

Holly

#81

Holly said:

@Phantom_R Amen to that! I've hosted several Nintendo Land parties, and I know for a fact one of those was the reason some friends of mine bought a Wii U. The system's concept is amazingly fun, but hard to describe. You've got to experience it yourself, and that's what I've been trying to help people do.

JudgeMethos

#82

JudgeMethos said:

I admit I wanted a REAL 3D Mario but after seein so many videos and commercials and reading the reviews, I must say I will be buying this now. No doubt.

DarkCoolEdge

#83

DarkCoolEdge said:

I couldn't agree more. Most people will think that I'm crazy but I like much more my Wii than my ps3. Those "mature" games (haha, right...) are less fun, they are entertaining but that's it. And that, for me, is not enough.

luckybreak

#84

luckybreak said:

this is why nintendo will always be around. They are the only company that understands that there is another genre of games, between something like COD or The last of us (a focus/fast paced cinematic game) versus a mindless time waster (candy crush). it requires less effort to have a real engaging fun experience on nintendo.

briwipdx

#85

briwipdx said:

"Maybe I want games to divert my mind to a nonsensical fantasy world without guns — Nintendo and the Wii U give me that."
^^THIS.
i dont wanna re-live some version of the real world in games, especially violent or emotionally tragic things! (horror games r a different story) the Wii U is likely to give me the majority of that kind of non-reality gameplay comparatively and for that i THANK Nintendo... and maybe the PS4

Inev

#86

Inev said:

@TechnoEA
"Impactful experience" could also be used to describe a movie, a book, music, etc.

What else besides video games (and board games) can you apply "Sit down and have fun" to?

Ren

#87

Ren said:

great piece here.
I wish them success with it. I decided against a WiiU for now but this is the first thing that has turned my head a full year after launch.
This will really help things and it will be interesting to see what happens after the holidays coming up. They still have a huge uphill battle since the catch 22 of "bad install base/library means scares developers away means bad install base/library".
Proper marketing and at least one system seller at launch is the only way to avoid that pitfall and it's too late for that but not to late for a bounce back with lots of great games. A small price drop and one more big title like a truly new WiiU Zelda or something would probably win me back and all that could happen next year sometime.
Also I wasn't dying for an HD update of Wiifit; was anyone?

TechnoEA

#88

TechnoEA said:

@Inev I'm a concept artist/illustrator that is fun to sit down and do as well. I read 24/7, but TV isn't really my thing.

I play games that force me to think about my morality and karmic choices. I really love games that mind freak you. Those games leave a long term effect on me, I think about them years to come. Heck LoZ (Legend of Zelda) does that to me. Sometimes I go back and rethink my theories for the games. I love to think, so my gaming taste reflect that. PlayStation provides that for me and LoZ for Nintendo.

I'm not into dudebro, shooter or all fighting games if that's what you're getting at.. My library reflects that as I said. Most of the games either have deep underlying themes, mind freak, or psychological puzzle solving or time travel related.. My taste in books reflect that as well.

I enjoy Mario because I enjoy platforming. Pokemon because I enjoy strategy.

Not sure how what I said was negative towards Nintendo.

Most of the games on Nintendo or PlayStation rarely interest me outside of my taste.

WanderingPB

#89

WanderingPB said:

Tom i agree…and its amazing how people view gaming now as to compared to 25 years ago when games were just fun to play…i remember when super mario 64 came out and i broke night playing the game nonstop over 3 days…it was just so much fun to play and experience…

I had an incredible time playing ZombiU and i praise it for being a true survival horror and its use of the gamepad…but it took me a few days to final work up the nerve to finish the palace…honestly this game had me so tense an after the nursery i was done and wanted no part of the rest of the game but i kept going until the end an luckily got the good ending…but to play games like that constantly i dont think i could and actually i dont think i want to...

I love playing my challenging Nintendo games they give me an escape and its a beautiful fun getaway…but everyones different and this is just my opinion

Im very happy with my Nintendo games and hope that SM3DW will find its way to get people to realize the hidden beauty of the WiiU and its great selection of games

thanos316

#90

thanos316 said:

I like how you mention PC rigs. But a desktop pc is known for web browsing and office documents more than for playing games. gaming pc's are intimidating i thing. too much talk about power and max graphics the ordinary person knows nothing about. the steam machine is in the right place. Its all about marketing. gotta get critics and people talking.the ps4 has momentum behind them right now. and then next it will be the xbox one. so mario will push up the hardware for the wii u. but it will take more to see how long success last for each system..

Ailingforale

#91

Ailingforale said:

I can't agree with this enough. I have to reiterate what others have said and say again that this article sounds like the thoughts in my head.

I love my PC, PS3 and my Wii/Wii U. While I enjoy the intense PC/PS3 games (sometimes silly indie titles), but I have more fun with the Wii U solo and with buds playing Nintendo Land.

2Sang

#92

2Sang said:

Great looking game, too bad the hardware sucks and is certainly to be in last place unless xbone kills you when you press the power button.

triforcepower73

#93

triforcepower73 said:

@VoiceOfReason Yeah, I know you didn't mean to categorize. I'm just saying that a lot of people do that. Also, no, I didn't grow up with Nintendo at a young age. Well, actually I sorta did. My first introduction to gaming was an original Xbox when I was 4 or 5, I think. I thought it was ok, but besides Battlefront 2 and this racing game, I hardly played it. Then I got a DS Lite from my grandparents when I was 7. I thought the same thing about it as I did the Xbox. I wasn't really impressed until I got The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. 3 yrs later, my brothers and I got a Wii from our parents on Christmas. We played it for 13 hrs that day. :) Then me and my brother went to a friend's house and we were introduced to Super Smash Bros. As soon as we got home, we went online and ordered it. I realized through playing it, that Zelda was a franchise! I went online and looked up the Zelda franchise. I'm serious, I really didn't know much about video games 5 yrs ago. So, I got Twilight Princess, and that was the first time I ever had a "I didn't know a video game could be this good" moment. So, yeah, I've been the most impressed with Nintendo throughout the past 9 yrs.

doctor_doak

#95

doctor_doak said:

I think there is a problem where certain 'influential' segments of the industry, and gamers alike equate violence with 'mature content'. So if it doesn't conform to the violence = mature formula, then it must be 'kiddie'. To me, as a non-12 year old male, there is simply nothing more 'immature' than the Call of Duty franchise. But hey, that's my opinion. As for The Last of Us, I haven't played it...but watching gameplay videos it just looks like a semi-interactive movie, and while people get excited over immersive narratives, i'm more interested in 'pure' gameplay experiences, which is something Nintendo are very good at delivering. Also some of the violence in TLOU seems overly gratuitious to me.

I don't have an issue with the technical aspects of the Wii U, it's more related to concerns about Nintendo's capacity to put out enough content on a regular basis to keep me interested, and to justify the (AU) $428 price tag. One thing Sony does particularly well with the Playstation is to ensure that there are always plenty of games, and a wide variety of games available. 4 or 5 1st party titles a year doesn't really cut it..

boynerdrambling

#96

boynerdrambling said:

remember when gaming was about enjoying games like 3D world instead of just analysing how well it does/doesn't sell

Oto

#97

Oto said:

Well written article. Critical success doesn't always translate into commercial success, but here's to hoping it will in this case. Excited for this Friday.

element187

#98

element187 said:

You're not the only one... Now that I'm in my thirties, it find the shoot bang games are no longer as much fun, nor do they offer any compelling challenges (with all the auto assist aiming, hand holding, restarting exactly where you died and cinematic QTE nonsense), they just don't feel like games anymore.... I guess some people rather watch movies, but I rather have actual gameplay.

I used to tease and troll that Nintendo was for kiddies and how immature it all is. But now I have twisted myself to the direct opposite. Where beating up hookers in GTA, or taking head shots in Call of Duty while I listen to a bunch of 12 year olds in the voice chat threatening to decapitate my mother and deficate down her throat........ Call my crazy, but a challenging platformer or playing an amazing JRPG is far more mature and mentally satisfying than the shoot bang garbage....

Btw I would suggest the steambox or a PC . There will be a lot less immature voice banter as young teenagers still think Sony and Microsoft provides the top of the line in gaming, and usually leave the PC space to the adults.

element187

#99

element187 said:

@banacheck stereo type it because go look at a list of the top 100 games for the ps3. It's all brown and grey games with a small handful of other games.

Sony having 3% to 5% of its library colorful isn't good enough to alleviate that stereotype since the majority of the titles are still the typical brown grey shooter.

ThomasBW84Admin

#101

ThomasBW84 said:

@TechnoEA I didn't make assumptions, I was talking about other genres of games (shooty / fighty as I put it) on PC, PS3 AND Wii U. I may have a tendency to play Nintendo games, that's obvious, but I made no suggestion that there are no 'fun' games on PS3. I just said that Nintendo consistently delivers that style of game to keep me amused.

neumaus

#104

neumaus said:

@FutureAlphaMale I've been a reader at Pushsquare for quite a while now, and during that time I have not seen them put down Nintendo for any reason. I like Pushsquare for that; they come off more mature.

D3athBr1ng3r187

#105

D3athBr1ng3r187 said:

@element187 Sadly I feel the same stereotype about Nintendo for 90% of their games being "kiddy/family" titles and 5% or 6% are core but I won't debate this today but i'm going to state though that it's gamers opinion and preference to play what they like to feel they day which is what this post all about not stating what the system has or doesn't.

ThomasBW84Admin

#106

ThomasBW84 said:

@FutureAlphaMale @neumaus As I mentioned in my previous comment, I don't "put down" the PS3 or Sony, please read the article again. I'm talking about genres, not platforms, and reflecting on a perspective of a Nintendo gamer. Far from criticising the PS3, I go out of my way to praise The Last of Us, for example (which I've done before). I also refer to stuff like Zoo Tycoon on the One being well received — even if it's not enough on its own for me to buy the system right now.

To say you're both mis-representing / mis-interpreting my article is a gross understatement.

AJWolfTill

#107

AJWolfTill said:

I probably spend more time currently playing mature titles, the majority of my Wii U games being third party but the idea of not being able to access the pure fun and joy of games and franchises like Mario, Zelda, Pikmin Rayman Legends and KI:U when I want them means I will always get Nintendo consoles. The only games I've played which rivalled a Nintendo game, purely in terms of gameplay, are the Resi 4 Wii version and Rayman Legends. Even my favourite games and franchises from other publishers, just don't master gameplay like Nintendo.

neumaus

#108

neumaus said:

@ThomasBW84 No need to get upset, I wasn't referring to you or your article in my comment. I was just answering his question...I wasn't saying anything about you or your views. Sorry if it seemed that way.

Darkness3131

#110

Darkness3131 said:

I get scrutinized as a gamer all the time for leaning more to the Nintendo side of things and disliking shooters. Now this is not to say I'm classifying the other consoles as consoles with only FPS line-ups; there are some really good games for other systems. When you think of Nintendo though, you thinking of Mario and other notable characters that you can just play for fun (and their are always other tittles that are a little more in depth). I think this article really got it, and while I'm not a 90's kid really, I feel the same way about things.

Rafie

#111

Rafie said:

@D3athBr1ng3r187 Right on man. Although I won't use the word "kiddie", I'll say it's more casual than anything. People here on this site bash Sony every chance they get and it's crazy. I know I've spoken up quite a few times and some see me as the "Sony-pony fanboy", or white-knighter. I'm really not though. I'm all for gamer equality.

Gamer83

#112

Gamer83 said:

There's really a question of if a Mario game will sell and move consoles off the shelves?

Beetlejuice

#114

Beetlejuice said:

@ThomasBW84

The point stands though that the article seems to stem from some sort of Nintendo insecurity, where you feel the need to "justify" or explain your preference of Nintendo titles over other ones. Damien did something similar in his legendary rant about why he disliked GTA5 and how everyone should go buy Windwaker HD instead because it's a "better" game.

I've never seen an article on a Sony or Xbox site before where a writer has attempted to justify their preference of Halo/Uncharted/God of War/etc. by comparing them to Mario or Zelda games before, and thats all I was pointing out.

Bizzyb

#115

Bizzyb said:

The problem is that people have some weird, inane idea that they have to uphold some kind of "cool" "mature" image while playing videogames.

It's crazy but apparently fun is not the most important aspect to all people when deciding which games to play. If there's no shooting, driving, or sports involved then the game is thus a "child's" game beneath their attention. Sad, I know

Stubborn_Monkey

#116

Stubborn_Monkey said:

@sdelfin

It's true that Twilight Princess gets often criticised for being artificially widened, it's one of its most frenquently mentioned flaws. In fact, didn't Eiji Aonuma say he wanted Skyward Sword to be set in a more compact, denser world? That game had its share of problems too, with all the complaints about hand-holding. Wind Waker wasn't perfect either, with all the sailing and Triforce chart quest that several players hated and the HD version attempted to mend; it also had content cut to meet the deadline but that's neither here nor there.

I'm centering on Zelda because I think action-adventure games are the ones most affected by the problems I mentioned on my first post ("being bloated", "becoming a chore".). Perhaps that's the thing: it's a matter of genre. Platformers aren't the most common kind of game nowadays; in the 80's and early 90's action games (platform, run-and-gun, beat'em up etc.) dominated the landscape but right now it's either FPS or Third-Person Action-Adventure. So perhaps that's the issue: genre shift, from pure action to action-adventure. Perhaps I am too accustomed to the instant gratification (or, if you did it wrong, instant frustration) video games offered two decades ago.

Does that mean it is just a matter of taste? Maybe. JRPGs have also been accused of being stale, lifeless experiences lately, so certain genres may be more susceptible to the issues discussed above.

But, at the end of the day, I'm glad that there are developers like Nintendo that release games like 3D World. Like I've said before, platformers are a minority right now, and Mario has always been the leader in platform games (Yes, Sonic, Rayman, and others are still there, but Mario is the King.), so the fact that Mario games do well in reviews and sales guarantees... I wouldn't say the genre's survival, but I would say its popularity. Not that I'm against FPS and Action-Adventure games, it's just that no genre should monopolise the market. That way every gamer would find a game that suits his/her taste.

tl;dr: Mario. Me like.

AlexSora89

#117

AlexSora89 said:

Ok, I'll get straight to the point.
Console wars, like any war, have no real winners, as wittily pointed out by South Park lately. That said, if Nintendo doesn't win this one, it's just a matter of time. There's "only" so much realism you can cram into a console's graphical power, and when every console gets to the inevitable "life-like graphics", Nintendo will catch up, and when that happens, the Nintendo Difference will shine again - good luck kicking Ninty off the throne again. Period.

sdelfin

#119

sdelfin said:

@Stubborn_Monkey thanks for the very insightful reply. I can't speak about the approach to Skyward Sword. I'm aware that Twilight Princess is thought to be quite padded by many. That was my own conclusion. My first attempt through it left me bored after a while. When I finally beat it, I had to force myself as it felt like a chore long before it ended. Still, others do like it and it is well made. I think the Zelda franchise is at a point where it is difficult for the developers to meet the wide-ranging expectations and desires of players. I loved Wind Waker 10 years ago, but I totally understand the common complaints.

It's interesting to see where the industry is now. As you pointed out, there are so many first and third-person action games now. There has always been a push for more realism, but now the technology exists to replicate it and I don't know if that's a good thing. Games are not necessarily games anymore as much as they are world simulations or approximations. A lot of people are turned off by the complexity. Others, like me, find the experiences more tiring than fun. As I said before, it seems to take forever to feel like I've accomplished anything and the level of fun I have is proportional. It's why sandbox games bore me now that the novelty has worn off. It feels like I'm only getting a very slow stream of fun, but the storytelling tries to keep me hooked. That's not why I started playing games in the first place. I got into it because good games were immensely fun within a few minutes. I still get spontaneous urges to play old classics. It's also a good feeling to play for a little while, have a lot of fun in that short time, feel some accomplishment, and be able to walk away easily. I also don't have the time for a lot of modern gaming.

In a way, developers may have little choice. Big games like GTA pushed the industry in a certain direction. Games got much bigger and far more complex. Prices stayed about the same, while development budgets exploded. Even big developers have fallen due to the budget arms race. I don't like seeing the way things are headed. It seems a very limited type of game, the action adventure, has any hope of big sales.

Mario is definitely king. No disputes there. I was a Sonic guy back in the day, but Sega didn't protect the property well. It's good to see Nintendo still making things like 3D world which are games first and foremost. I hope to try it at some point. Like you, I'm not against choice. I've played some great shooters and adventure games. Between genre monopoly and huge development costs, I'm not liking the state of the industry right now.

JimLad

#120

JimLad said:

I blame the parents.
If they weren't so slack in letting their kids play these 18+ rated games, developers wouldn't be making so many of them.
Most games today are bloody because that's what kids want, but you wouldn't let a child watch a 18+ movie. That's why we still have a large number of decent family movies being made. The same isn't true for games sadly.

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