By gamezombie 1 Comments
This week we find ourselves in the midst of a gamer’s Holiday, a multi-day event akin to Hanukkah…well, almost. Anyhow, we’re all paying attention to the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC), right? Your confirmation aside, we are! Amongst all of the other teasers (Shenmue 3, new Skyward Sword gameplay), Nintendo’s president, Saruto Iwata, gave us (or me, at the very least) a pretty provocative visual hint: he exited GDC’s center stage in front of an immense Super Mario sign. Yes, yes, I’m sure you’re all thrilled at my excellence of wording here. However, it’s not just in the name- it’s in the context. Iwata had previously capped off Nintendo 3DS discussion and was hinting at the new stereoscopic games to grace us with their presence. Among these was a new Super Mario 3DS game. This news is, to most, perhaps as stale as the Hoosier Food Court I currently find myself in, but the Super Mario logo itself yielded the best news of all in the ‘o’ of ‘Mario.’ The ‘o’ was accented with a tail-a tail! Can you say Tanooki suit, anyone (!)?
In light of this recent revelation, I think the game’s perception now takes a completely different route than most of us had previously thought. Myself, I believed that, at best, we would be introduced to yet another Mario Galaxy title-one that could be played on the fly, in semi-3D. Even though the Mario Galaxy team will be creating this new handheld plumber pilgrimage, I believe they’re going to take this title in a new direction. At this point, I believe it to be a tad too early to discuss gameplay and plot based on the details a tail might foreshadow. However, I do think it’s due time to conjure up what this could possibly mean for the new handheld adventure. In fan boy-fashion, I’d like to discuss my hopes and where I’d like to see this title go.
Let’s start with the tail. Yes, the tail again. Introduced in Mario 3, we utilized this ass-accent in innumerable ways-getting through levels on a P-Power’s whim, finding secrets, and easily defeating Bowser’s Baddies. Suffice to say, this was perhaps the best item one could hope for when taking their chance in Toad’s item hut. In a newly furnished 3DS adventure, the tail could bring back elements of Mario which I believe have been lost throughout time. Is it not true that the core replay value of most Mario’s comes in finding secrets? The tail/Tanooki suit offers not only visual awesomeness for our plump protagonist, but the opportunity for expansive exploration. With the incorporation of an item like this, one could expect P-Power to make a triumphant return. So screw the flower, screw the star, and bring on the leaf-errr, tail.
Besides for elements of secrecy and subsequent discovery, what could the implications of the past bring? Does the Mario Galaxy team intend to bring Mario back from his mass space exploration? We could, my friends, find ourselves back in a grounded exploration. The Mushroom Kingdom having been becoming stale for some time now (methinks) we could even find Mario grounded on a distant planet, one since discovered in his journey to the stars. This new world could have elements of the old- castles, climate change from world to world, and alien goombas which are given the ceremonial stomp to defeat. My personal presuppositions of setting may be a bit far-fetched, but with the transition from Mario Galaxy to a handheld sequel of sorts, anything is possible.Setting aside, this is a 3D (okay, stereoscopic) title, after all. I think Nintendo intends to do a bit more than revamp a title of the past (like Starfox 64 or Ocarina of Time). Could a 3D gameplay be utilized for aspects of gameplay as well? I think it’s a given that the visuals are bound to be of excellent quality, but I believe the 3D could help enhance the discovery of secrets and level advancement. This new Mario could take on a few elements from Paper Mario, which seems to add a fair amount of dimensionality to its series’ gameplay.
Even if the Mario Galaxy team decided they needed more time to appropriately plan out a new adventure, I would personally be okay with a “filler-title” of sorts. A connoisseur of everything retro, I say let’s remake Super Mario Bros. 3…in 3D! A quest like that would tide me over for several seasons, to be sure. In all honesty, however, I believe the tail-yes, again with the tail- has gotten me far too wound up. It is an icon which offers a wide range of direction, a retroactive take on game development. If anything, I’m personally excited to see some gameplay footage in the future. It will be interesting to see if the Mario Galaxy team, once again, takes to the stars.