#1 Posted by rachelepithet (1391 posts) -

One of the real reasons all the latest Mario games are such a drag is that around the time of Super Mario 64, Nintendo once and for all made an official way for Mario and friends and their world to look, sound, animate. With very primary colors and very Telletubbies like voice samples, it's clear that Nintendo wanted to make sure the series appealed to ages 3+ crowd and put the whole New York plumbers idea behind them. No more gravelly ginny voice like the Super Show, no more promo art that makes him look like Ron Jeremy. Before 1996, Mario could be drawn completely different between covers of Nintendo Power, cereal boxes, merchandise, spin off game box art like Teaches Typing, official box art like Yoshis Island, the Saturday morning cartoon, Atari ports, and so on. But I miss that, from Donkey Kong arcade games thru Yoshi' Island, each new Mario game had a new design concept (like: it's all just a broadway play for SMB3). Since 64 though, and especially with the four NSMB games, they all just look like Map Packs for one another. His shirt used to be blue and his overalls red. I mean, I'm glad they never did an 8-bit retro look game due to that trend. I just think LilBigPlanet outdoes Mario with its photorealistic shoe-box toys graphics. Aside from Mario's denim in Smash Bros. he has continued to be the same, and having one new suit and two new enemy types per installment is growing weary. Will they ever make a 2D Mario platformer with all new locations, enemies, and power ups?

#2 Posted by BisonHero (6520 posts) -

This bums me out as well. Part of it is that I miss the era when nobody paid attention to handheld games, so the designers could just go effing crazy with them. Super Mario Land for the Game Boy is almost 100% original enemies and stage concepts. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening has all manner of weird things, like telephone booths where you can call an old man in town who will give you a hint on where to go next.

It's disappointing that they're now so worried about the Mario brand (which could honestly JUST be about Mario) that they feel the need to include like every preexisting enemy in each Mario game, and they add only a handful of new character designs to each game (Piantas, Rosalina and the Lumas, etc.).

#3 Posted by mabber36 (129 posts) -

yeah, I think part of the reason I like mario 64 so much is that everything is so blocky, your mind can just imagine the world however you want

#4 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

I felt like they did a good job changeing it up with the Galaxy games. Part of the reason I liked SMG1 so much is because aside from familiar character it does not feel like a mario game. The standard Mario aesthetic found in all the New Super Mario games is boring to me as well.

#5 Posted by Scrawnto (2446 posts) -

It's sort of like they treat Mario and the rest as actors instead of characters, where their appearances just are and can't be changed. Nintendo is great at that simple, efficient shading style they do, but I really wish they would do more experimental stuff, like the crayon aesthetic of Yoshi's Island, or Kirby's Epic Yarn with their core franchises.

#6 Edited by Rafaelfc (1346 posts) -

Totally! this is what Mario looked like in the cartridge I had for the original Super Mario Bros. game for the NES... so goddamn weird and kinda awesome. Although he looks high in the drawing.

#7 Posted by CrossTheAtlantic (1145 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

I felt like they did a good job changeing it up with the Galaxy games. Part of the reason I liked SMG1 so much is because aside from familiar character it does not feel like a mario game. The standard Mario aesthetic found in all the New Super Mario games is boring to me as well.

Yup. Galaxy (and to a lesser extent Sunshine) show that they still know how to create a great art style around the "standardized" Mario that gives each game it's own feeling. They just sure aren't doing that in NSMB. I, too, really wish they'd change it up rather than using a bunch of assets that don't even feel like they fit together.

#8 Posted by A_Talking_Donkey (262 posts) -

Can you guys name a franchise that doesn't have a samey feel between the games? Picking on Mario for having some games that look similar and play a lot alike though having different power ups and enemies seems rather hypocritical if you don't complain about pretty much every sequel ever.

#9 Posted by Zajtalan (1163 posts) -

For real tho has this fool played the Mario galaxy games?

#10 Posted by MikkaQ (10288 posts) -

Come to think of it, that's probably a lot of the reason I love the Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi games, since they are so tonally different from other Mario games.

#11 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

Funny thing about Mario is that he's flex-able. You can enjoy Mario in paper form, the vanilla mario, RPG bit mario in Mario & Luigi, and enjoy him in incredible 3D with his big console games. I do agree that they have to change up mario with the next 2D platformer so I agree with you.

#12 Posted by yoshisaur (2722 posts) -

I think as obvious veterans of the industry, we just need to leave Mario alone and let Nintendo pander to the audience they are obviously going for: children. I'd hate to reveal this to you folks, but there is a new generation every couple of years that is enjoying the Mario franchise much like we did when we were children. Shocking, I know.

Nintendo still knows what its doing, Galaxy is proof of that, but when it comes down to the standard formula for Super Mario, stop acting like you're the audience they are suppose to be impressing. If anything, I'm proud to know my daughter will grow up with great stuff like New Super Mario Bros. U much like I did with Super Mario World.

#13 Posted by Gargantuan (1882 posts) -

@A_Talking_Donkey said:

Can you guys name a franchise that doesn't have a samey feel between the games? Picking on Mario for having some games that look similar and play a lot alike though having different power ups and enemies seems rather hypocritical if you don't complain about pretty much every sequel ever.

The Elder Scrolls games are very varied. TES II: Daggerfall plays and feels nothing like TES III: Morrowind. TES IV: Oblivion changes a lot of stuff and TES V: Skyrim reworks the whole character system and refines a lot of small stuff. Haven't played TES: Arena or TES Adventures: Redguard so I can't comment on them.

#14 Posted by rachelepithet (1391 posts) -

Thanks to the people that reminded me of Paper Mario, Mario & Luigi Partners in Time, Mario vs. Donkey Kong. It seems like the spinoffs get a variety of Mario universe designs. Its just the FOUR NSMB games with the same song (not just the wahs part, its also the same whole underlying song, a big disappointment for those that loved the completely unique Mario 3, Mario World, and Mario 64 tunes) that are depressing. Mario Galaxy has unique enemies, and gravity is his new move- a big advantage over "Windex" Mario suit for SM Sunshine. Still, Galaxy isn't QUITE far enough removed from just... how Mario "is" since 64.

#15 Posted by Levio (1784 posts) -

I've never thought much about it, but those early pixelated games probably relied more on the players' imaginations and let the artists have more leeway with the content. This in turn could have led to variation between games since each new artist would have their own interpretation of the source material. I can't imagine we'll ever return to that situation now that greater graphical detail has eliminated visual ambiguity.

#16 Posted by TeflonBilly (4713 posts) -

The original New Super Mario Bros was extremely close to the original Super Mario Bros in vibe and tile set used for the levels. New Super Mario Bros Wii veered a little more in Super Mario Bros 3 territory with more suits, but not enough to be groundbreaking on any level, aside from the multiplayer component. I haven't played New Super Mario Bros 2, but it seems like it stayed the same other than introducing the coin emphasis (Something which would fit a lot more in a Wario Land game).

From what I've seen of New Super Mario Bros U, it has a lot more in common with Super Mario World, what with it's emphasis on Yoshis and a lot of the level vibe and tile sets. The thing is that it looks like such a half step because of the "stagnation" if you will of Mario's overall look that you mention.

People have mentioned Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario as two very divergent stylistic choices for Mario which are highly enjoyable. And you can make a case for Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D Land being the "true" successors to the Mario franchise. But personally, I would enjoy a little more verisimillitude for the next 2D Mario game. Like how ambitious Nintendo went with Kirby''s Epic Yarn, Yoshi's Island or Yoshi's Story.

The New Super Mario Bros line is more than competent and I enjoyed the ones I have. It's just that these recent iterations seem more like updates rather than true sequels. Same way I felt about Twilight Princess and why I'm having trouble getting Skyward Sword going. Rather than true sequels to Ocarina Of Time like Majora's Mask and Wind Waker felt, they seem like being bound a bit too much to teh template they were born out of.