If you typed the word "fun" into an online Nintendo dictionary, they'd be showing round the clock trailers of Super Mario Galaxy in action. But despite the vision of Mario in his bee-branded all-in-ones warming our hearts like so many spoonfuls of sugar, it remains true that, without the safety net of Nintendo's long-established characters, publishers are no longer willing to take a chance on anything that shows a hint of vividity.
But whose fault is that? On other formats, eye-happying games such as Okami, Psychonauts and Viva Pinata - all excellent games to boot - sold as well as poo-flavoured toothpaste. But Nintendo users can't get all uppity about it - without a big name like Mario to bolster pubic interest, the avant-garde day-glo worlds of titles such as Chibi-Robo and Sega's Billy Hatcher & The Giant Egg drew dismal sales, despite the lack of competition on GameCube. While publishers are in part to blame for sullying the reputation of so-called "blue-sky gaming" with any number of offensively bad licensed platformers, equally, you can't blame them for their reluctance to burn money. The failure of all five of those titles to hop into our shopping bags can't all be down to coincidence.