Yesterday, GamesRadar’s own David Houghton, a fine journalist in the caliber of Hunter S Thompson, Lester Bangs, and that paparazzi who snapped Britney Spears’ crotch, posted this article. In it, he postulates that Super Mario Galaxy 2 was a mistake and a huge step in the wrong direction for Nintendo. And while I can vouch for my GR comrade’s sanity, to say that this is a provocative, even divisive statement is putting it lightly. What I really mean is: Dave, buddy - could you be more ludicrously wrong? Seriously, when is a new core Mario game a bad thing?
Now I’m definitely not defending the entire Nintendo press conference. Seeing Wii Sports Resort for the second year in a row was incredibly boring, Wii Fit Plus is for our moms and so is Women’s Murder Club. And this E3 indicated that a Wii Remote isn’t so special anymore. But everyone was so ready to hate another Nintendo conference that it can put a negative spin on anything, which is what I believe happened to some with Galaxy 2.
Is it too close to the previous game? The game is probably coming out in holiday 2010, three years after the first game, which is a pretty big gap in this era of annualized exploitation. It gives the developers lots of time to make a sequel to what is arguably the best game on the system.
Will it be too much like the first one? I’ll admit that it’s currently pretty close graphically – a full year before it’s actually released – but the trailer is full of new moves, powers, mechanics and fricking Yoshi, which could change the way it’s played in so many ways. It is extremely short sighted, given Nintendo’s track record of quality with Mario titles, to think they are just going to crap another Galaxy game with nothing new.
And lastly, Mario games have had direct sequels before and they were excellent. Donkey Kong on Game Boy, Mario Land 2, and even Mario World when compared to Mario 3 just built on the previous game instead of changing everything. Looking at other Nintendo titles, Zelda: Twilight Princess, though graphically different, was in the same console cycle as Wind Waker and played very similarly. That was a pretty crappy game, huh? Not to mention the assuredly terrible Punch-Out!! from a couple weeks back. What a mistake Nintendo made there, right?
Above: Henry Gilbert - also the author of The many faces of Mario and Mario's endless supply of costumes - is completely unbiased
This year’s press conference was their best in years and Mario Galaxy 2, along with Metroid: Other M and Golden Sun DS (to name a few), show Nintendo is at least trying harder. It doesn’t fix everything but it turns a corner with a bigger emphasis on hardcore games that they’ll need if Natal steals their casual audience next year. Here’s hoping they continue in this direction.
Jun 4, 2009
E3 09: Mario Galaxy 2 sums up Nintendo's wrongs
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