New Super Mario Bros. Wii- A Quick Look

New Super Mario Bros. Wii- A Quick Look

Nintendo have recently come out and admitted that, perhaps, their E3 showing was a bit weak. Certainly alongside Microsoft’s big Milo/Natal double-team, it wasn’t much. But, for a company so often accused these days of neglecting their “hardcore” audience- that’d be us guys- the headlines seemed to spell out ‘Nintendo Go Back To The Franchises’: two Mario games, a new Metroid and hints about a forthcoming Zelda.newsupermariobroswii_08

And yet, sigh, the fans care little. Maybe Nintendo have neglected them too many times, maybe the new school of Nintendo fans are more excited by Wii Vitality. (bitmob have a lovely graph of the up-and-downs here.) Satoru Iwata blames the way they showed New Super Mario Bros. Wii. I think he slightly misses the point, but something he said accidentally hit the nail right on the head:

“…with the New Super Mario Bros. Wii, four people lined up with Wii Remotes was not a scene that no one had ever seen.”

NSMB comes at the same time fresh to the Wii- old-school, slick 2D platforming games are largely limited to the Virtual Console, or variations on the formula (Super Paper Mario, Wario Land, see my rant here) that strip away that necessary joyful fluidity- and completely non-innovative, being a dolled-up DS port of the same basic game they’ve been producing for decades. Mario Galaxy 2 suffers from a similar affliction- when’s the last time Nintendo put out a core Mario game with a 2 on the end? (It tends to be once every generation- Mario 64, Sunshine and now Galaxy.)

But this is the kind of thing Wii fans (and I’m willing to admit we’re a bit starved) have been snapping up since the console’s early days now. It’s easy enough to welcome both games, knowing, if nothing else, they’ll be charming, smoothly competent platformers, even if they lack the constant wonder at Galaxy’s innovations and

No, the real controversy is this: the game will play itself. With the new Demo Play feature, the game can be paused and be allowed to continue by itself. Demo Play will, in the words of Miyamoto himself, allow “a player experiencing an area of difficulty… to clear troubled areas and take over when they’re ready.” Which presumably means it’s there for new (or, shock-horror, casual) gamers.

Which raises questions about both the game’s individual level design (Mario Bros 3, for example, managed to be an unforgivingly difficult game at times, while still being one of the best-selling games of all time) and the changing state of the industry, and especially of Nintendo. It suspect the idea makes even the most softcore gamer wince a little- the game that plays itself.

But ultimately, it’s optional, and Nintendo is just a company and NSMBW is just a game. And likely to be a very good one. C’mon, this is Nintendo.

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