Remember the days before online gaming when you used to huddle around the NES, SNES or N64 with friends and relatives for a competitive multiplayer session? Being able to test your skills against people all over the world is all well and good, but you can't beat the experience of playing someone who is within punching distance — something which would enrich online gaming no end, especially when you've got an obnoxious kid on the other end of the headset bellowing insults in your general direction.
The "local" approach is exactly what Nintendo wanted with Super Mario 3D World. Echoing comments made by Shigeru Miyamoto last year, producer Yoshiaki Koizumi has explained to Game Informer that although Nintendo has been experimenting with net play for quite some time, keeping things personal was one of the key aims with the title:
We’ve been testing online multiplayer since the days of Super Mario Galaxy, but with this title we really wanted to deliver an experience that you can share with family, friends, or your boyfriend or girlfriend in the same place like you did with the original NES. We really want players to have fun in front of the TV, talking while they help each other out or get in each other’s way.
We personally think the choice was the right one; playing Super Mario 3D World with friends and family was one of the stand-out experiences of 2013. But what do you think? Would you have liked to have at least had the option to play co-operatively with players from other parts of the world? Share your thoughts with a comment.