Mario Galaxy 2 tutorial DVD is a brilliant idea, deeply flawed

It kind of makes sense in a way, in that following less-than-deserved sales of the stunning SMG (probably, ironically,due to the non-gamer culture that the big N had so carefully crafted around the Wii since its launch), Nintendo probably wants to bring its new casual market closer to the hardcore fold. Funny how things come full circle, isn't it?

But seriously. Does anyone need instructions like 'push stick up and Mario moves up'? Surely the true beauty of Nintendo's immense designtalent has always been the way in which it makes eventually complex games immediately comprehensible on an instinctive level? It's clear from the Goomba's look, action and animation that it's attacking Mario, so a highlighted explanation seems like slight overkill.

But we're not bashing the DVD concept per se. As a kind of extended tutorial for the 'expanded audience' it's probably actually a good thing (though I can't help remembering that I managed to get my Mum playing Super Mario 64 pretty successfully in around five minutes back in 1996). And anything that prevents a core Mario game from starting with five levels of forcedanalogue sticktutorial has to be a good thing. But that leads me onto my other main point.

Above: If EA was doing this on-disc multimedia stuff in 2001, why hasn't it developed into something more expansive and useful?

Why, in this age of DVDand Blu-ray, isn't all of this guide material built into the gameitselfas an option? DVD,don't forget,stands for Digital Versatile Disc, but rarely is that nature made full use of. As it stands, theSMG 2 tutorial DVD won't work in a Wii, meaning that players using it will have to switch between two TVs, a console and a DVDplayer if they're going to observe its lessons and put them into action. Surely that's just the sort of over-complicated, off-putting malarky that Nintendo is trying to protect its audience from these days?

There's nothing more effective than a hands-on lesson, so why not integrate everything into the game as one big multimedia love-in of gaming and learning? New Super Mario Bros. Wii has the optional Super Guide system, and we hear SMG 2 has something similar, so why not just combine the whole lot with integrated hints and videos, making theentire experience silky-smooth, and saving a whole disc and the related production costs?

Above: Sorry guys, concept art just doesn't cut it any more as multimedia content goes, however boobsome

I'm not just having a go at Nintendo here. Very few devs properly make use of the disc formats to hand. SSX Tricky did a good job of putting both game and bonus video content on the same disc, but since then we've had very little clever multimedia integration. Using this stuff properly would make games richer and more accessible to players of every level of experience, but crucially would keep all content optional. If more devs followed Nintendo's example but werecleverer about how they presented it, Granny could learn to play God of War,but we would never have to see a tutorial level again. Just think of that.

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.