Nintendo Articles

Our exclusive editorials about the 3DS and its games, as well as Nintendo as a whole.

In Defense of New Super Mario Bros 2; Is it really that bad a game?

Because some people seem to have gone all end of the world/panic mode about New Super Mario Bros 2 and started ranting about the downfall of Nintendo and the Mario series, here are some reasons not to pre judge the game by just four screenshots.

1. It doesn’t look as good as Kid Icarus Uprising!

So?  Most 3DS don’t and most future ones won’t either including most by Nintendo.  Does every game under the sun have to use the full power of the console it’s released on now?

It’s perfectly reasonable to think Nintendo were lazy with the graphics in New Super Mario Bros 2.  But be a bit more rational here, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the style either and it isn’t really that different from the one in Super Mario 3D Land or any other recent Mario game.  Besides gameplay is far more important than graphics, and comparing this game to Kid Icarus is comparing apples and oranges.

2. Being mostly made of familiar elements from past games isn’t a bad thing

Really, that’s what most recent Mario games have consisted of.  Was the shift from New Super Mario Bros to New Super Mario Bros Wii really much more of a shift than the one from New Super Mario Bros 1 to New Super Mario Bros?

But more importantly, many of the elements Nintendo seem to be bringing back are ones fans have wanted for ages.  How long have people wanted Raccoon Mario and proper flight again? And if these elements are in New Super Mario Bros 2, who knows what else could turn up.  Look at some of the array of classic things New Super Mario Bros Wii brought back:

  1. Koopalings
  2. Rideable Yoshi
  3. Kamek + transformations
  4. Airship Levels
  5. Porcupuffer
  6. Spikes (those spike ball turtle enemies)
  7. Munchers
  8. Ptooies
  9. Fuzzies
  10. Boo Rings
  11. POW Blocks…
That’s just some of it.  When you consider that there’s still quite a lot more awesome stuff from older games still available to bring back for this game (have to say, I’d personally hope for Roto Discs, Reznor and Chargin’ Chucks next), should we really be complaining too much about this one?  Considering we’re even getting a new Mario game less than a year after Super Mario 3D Land and that we’re getting a potentially much better one on the Wii U a short time after that, why not just chill out a bit and look forward to the old school stuff that Nintendo might bring back in this game?

3. It’s too similar to NSMB… Choose your poison carefully

Really, for all the people complaining it’s too much like the first two New Super Mario Bros games, keep in mind what happened in the past every time Nintendo (or anyone else) tried to drastically change their beloved series and try something new.

People hated it for being new and different to the older games.  Remember a well known game called Super Mario Sunshine?  It’s a great game and it was very different to the Mario games before and after it.  Pity fans hated various elements and practically every new character it introduced, at least initially.

It also sold the least of all Mario platformers in history.  Meanwhile look at games that didn’t change a whole lot like New Super Mario Bros and you get games which sold well over 20 million copies and ended up making Nintendo an absolute ton of money.  Is it really any surprise why they stuck with what’s familiar in making this game?

 4. We’ve seen just four screenshots

Isn’t that just a little early to judge a game?  We don’t even have any gameplay footage or any form of trailer yet and who knows what’s in this game that we can’t already see?

Look at New Super Mario Bros Wii for instance.  It’s not the most ambitious game in the world or the best possible 2D Mario platformer ever but it definitely turned out to be better than people expected.  The boss battles were excellent:

How many boss battles are shown in these screenshots again?  Zero.  Heck we don’t even know who’s helping Bowser in this one, or (at least in theory) whether Bowser is even involved in the first place.

Another thing that was at least decent about the New Super Mario Bros games was the music.  Yes the grass land theme was annoying and overused.  But I don’t know anyone who disliked the castle music so far, in either game:

But seeing as we have no footage of the game and hence no way to hear any of the soundtrack we don’t know in the slightest how catchy some of the music might be.  For all we know that desert level could have something majestic and almost egyptian sounding playing in the background that makes people think it’s awesome.  Like this:

Not as if people on the internet seem to care, half of them seem to think anything not orchestrated is no better than elevator music nowadays.  Yes Super Mario Galaxy had the better soundtrack, but that doesn’t mean the music in New Super Mario Bros is mediocre or bad. Or that New Super Mario Bros 2 won’t have an even better soundtrack than the last two New Super Mario Bros games…

Another thing that can’t be judged is the quality of the level design, whether the levels will be fun to play in general or what gimmicks may show up in the rest of the game.  For all the ‘OMG rehash’ comments New Super Mario Bros Wii got for being like its predecessor, it’s hardly as if the game didn’t have a ton of gimmicks and clever tricks up its sleeve in the later levels.

We don’t even know if this game will have the same world themes as the last two New Super Mario Bros games will.  Yes it’s got a forest world, a grass world and a snow/ice world.  Oh wait, it’s got levels with those themes.  But so did Super Mario 3D Land which turned out to have no themed worlds whatsoever.  Might the same thing apply here?  Or perhaps Nintendo might even return to a more Super Mario World type map.  Who knows?

All in all, be reasonable and actually wait for some more information before judging this game as a lazy rehash or the death of Nintendo or the Mario series or anything else.  Don’t go judging games based on exactly four screenshots and assume you know what happens in the rest of the entire game as a result.

Mario Kart 7 Being Patched; A Few Issues?

1. Is the patch included with new copies of Mario Kart 7?

Because it’s required to play online, so if it isn’t available by default, Nintendo have absolutely destroyed the long term value of the game.

You see, some people (okay, probably the majority) don’t really follow news that much.  And a very significant portion of Nintendo’s userbase probably don’t even know about the eShop to begin with.

So picture this.  Nintendo’s expanded audience finally buys a 3DS each and get Mario Kart 7 alongside it (given that the Wii Mario Kart game sold about 20 million copies, this is very likely to happen).  They then decide like you do that they should start playing online…

And then up comes a message like ‘sorry, but you need the latest patch to play Mario Kart 7 online due to critical bugs, download it from the eShop’.

Why do I have this feeling Nintendo is going to be flooded with angry customers annoyed that they can’t play Mario Kart 7 online for the next two years?

People do not read instructions or manuals.  They generally don’t go looking for information online the minute they buy the game either.

So if Nintendo doesn’t include the necessary patch on the game cartridge by default, they are going to be in the middle of a huge customer support nightmare for the next few months/years.  You can almost see the hilarity that’ll occur when Nintendo is trying to explain the patching system to a really pissed off mother annoyed her son/daughter can’t play Mario Kart 7 online.  Or how every Nintendo forum on the internet will end up filled with unlucky people asking why Mario Kart 7’s online features don’t work…

This update better damn be included on the game card by default for the next batch of Mario Kart 7 games.

2. Will it potentially break other aspects of the game?

This is one reason companies and individuals absolutely DREAD patching an already complete game.  For every bug fixed, you end up with another one added. Take Wuhu Mountain Loop for instance.

Everyone hates this place, right?

It’s fairly obvious why the glitch exists, and in the most logically strict sense of the term it isn’t really a glitch.  There are two areas, one at the beginning of part 2 and one at the end of it, and the end section passes generally by the starting section. So the water which drops you in the end of section 2 was originally meant to catch people who fell off the track near the end of the section.

So assuming Nintendo makes it so falling in the water/on the rock wall puts you back at the start of section 2, what happens if you fall off the near the end?  Do you end up a whole lap behind everyone else?  Because that’s what could easily happen if Nintendo takes the easy option in regards to fixing it.

What happens if you fall off here?

What if they just put a wall there to stop people reaching said area?  Well that’s problematic because the glitch technically still exists.  Gamers don’t like walls telling them where to go in video games, and I guarantee within a week someone will have found a way past any barricade Nintendo can put that spot.  As a result, just adding a wall or barrier would just mean it’d take a little longer for someone to exploit their way through it.  You’d need an infinite height invisible wall + fence for the entire length of the pond and cavern to really block anyone.

Note how easy it is to reach said area.  A fence won’t work very well.

Final possibility is that they remake much of the checkpoint system, but that’s both extremely hard to do at short notice and would potentially break a lot of other tracks.

That’s hence one problem, how to fix the glitch in a way which doesn’t cause other glitches or get it used again in about a week when people figure out how to break your ‘fixes’.

3. Which bugs count as ‘unfair’?

Obviously Wuhu Mountain Loop is one of them, but what others?  I see it being fairly likely they might also patch the one on Island Loop (the one near the lighthouse at the end) because of how common that’s becoming online, but those aren’t the only two exploitable bugs.

What of the Bowser Castle 1 glitch?

Or the DK Jungle glitch?

Or the Koopa Cape glitch?

If they only patch the Wuhu Island courses, I can easily see the Bowser Castle 1 being the most abused glitch online and that track being chosen near constantly.  Pity it’s even worse in that only certain karts can do it.

If that turns out to be patched, then God help us, because the Koopa Cape shortcut might end up being the most overly abused glitch on wifi and the minimum skill level to play has pretty much shot up massively since it’s a really difficult glitch to pull off correctly.

Hopefully all the glitches get patched otherwise online just gets filled with people using different ones, and we could end up with a Bowser Castle 1 and Metal Mario only ‘standard’ like how we had nothing but Funky Kongs on Bowser Bikes in Mario Kart Wii.

However there is one bright side to all this…

It’ll be hilarious whenever Wuhu Mountain Loop comes up.  Because you know people don’t pay much attention to what updates actually do and you know some luckyless moron will try the uber shortcut anyone.  More fool them when they end up in dead last.

I can see a lot of annoyed Japanese users using Metal Mario now their precious shortcut isn’t in the game any more…

In conclusion, let’s hope Nintendo carries out this update correctly and doesn’t end up causing more problems than they fix.

Why exactly do people think selling fan products is acceptable now?

Did I miss something recently about copyright and trademark law?  Because I distinctly recall a lot of unfortunate cases where fans either got sued or sent cease and desist orders for less than this a good while ago.  Remember what happened to both those Chrono Trigger fan games?  The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 2D edition or quite a few Zelda and Pokemon MMORPGs?  Or those cases where people tried to sell fan fiction of Star Wars and Twilight as actual novels and the lawyers of George Lucas and Stephanie Meyer weren’t having any of it?

Yet now I’ve seen quite a few examples of fan works being sold for real money listed on sites like GoNintendo and I have to wonder why the hell the creators of it somehow think they’re going to get away with it.  Or why so few people are willing to say that this could be kind of dodgy from a legal perspective…

The most recent example is this map:

It’s a nice fan made map of the Mushroom Kingdom, and it’d be pretty awesome if it was just on someone’s Deviant Art gallery or available for free online.  But the maker is selling it for nearly FIFTY dollars.  I’m sorry, but are they out of their mind?  There’s a whole host of potential trademark and copyright issues in this thing (if Nintendo were bothered to sue for it, they’d probably win) and it’s basically selling deriative works for somewhat huge profit.

Now I’m not a lawyer, but surely this kind of thing doesn’t so much ‘skirt’ the line between copyright infringement and free use as much as charge over it all guns blazing.  Really, every single attempt to sell fan work for money has ended in tears as far as I can recall.  Why do so many people seem to think they can get away with it?

I also find the double standard online kind of interesting, how as soon as a company steals the work of another everyone talks about them as if they’re the anti christ, yet the minute an individual does it (even if they sell their work at retail) they’re somehow perfectly okay with it.

Admittedly I doubt (or hope) Nintendo is going to anything about it, so many examples of arguably blatant copyright infringement seem to slip through the net that they seem to given up going after them all (look at how many Nintendo fan games are on the app store or sold online).  But it’s still depressing how no one seems to realise that selling fan made stuff is very likely illegal and possibly also morally questionable. Maybe they’re just a bunch of anarchists who seem to think copyright and trademark laws shouldn’t exist and people should do whatever the hell they like.

3DS Safety

Hey everybody, scared that you’re 3DS will get stolen in public? I’m pretty sure this has crossed the minds of those with the ambassador program! Here are some tips you can use to ensure your system will stay in your hands at the end of the day. I have done these strategies ever since I have had a handheld, and I can assure you they have helped me very well so far. Before you say “well, it’s better if you leave it at home”. This holds very true, but the 3DS was meant for you to use outdoors. The streetpass feature pushes you to take it out. If you have any other system like a PSP, or a gba (which if you do, you are behind) then it’s ok. A 3DS, you make progress out in the real world.

GENERAL USE: This is for general use outside, such as the bus, food area, etc.  First of all, never play and walk at the same time. Even if you’re with friends this is very bad. Someone can run and snatch it, and you’re attention is fixed only at the screen the whole time. You could even get hit by a car! Check your surroundings first before you take it out. Look around you, if any people look unsavory, they most likely are. DO NOT TRUST STRANGERS! If you’re in a public area, check your 3DS for streetpasses or short stuff like swapnote only. If you plan on using wifi somewhere or if you’re going to play for an extended period of time, make sure it’s in a safe area. Library is fine, also coffee shops too. Make sure you look up during loading times. If someone keeps looking at you, consider them a potential threat to your investment of the system. I don’t advise you let anyone play the game unless it’s a friend.  If someone else has a 3DS and you start a conversation, it’s ok to feel a little safer, depending on how they are. Groups are better but again; don’t expose your system like it’s not worth anything.

SCHOOL: Never reveal your system in school. Besides it being confiscated, your fellow classmates may be salivating for the moment you’ll let your guard down. Keep it hidden, don’t tell ANYONE outside your friend circle, and do not use it. If you MUST, go somewhere quiet like the side of a class building or any other place where nobody usually hangs out. You don’t really need to use it in school either, since most of the features the system has can be activated while it is closed (streetpass for miis and games).  If you have a backpack, put your books in, then wrap your system in a sweater if you brought one like this:

(wrap it nice and tight. Do not forget to tuck the sleeves in the center so the system wont be reveal!)

                As you can see, ALWAYS keep the system in the biggest pocket! That way, it is tucked inside the hardest part to reach if some punk decides to sneakily open your backpack. If you put it in the small pocket it’s easier to snatch. Burglary is done quick, or it’s not done at all. You get things stolen only if you let them. On the biggest pocket, it’s the hardest. If someone does manage to open the biggest pocket, they will have a hard time taking out your system from your sweater, if they even know. If they do, you will feel the shift in weight change from your backpack. When walking in class groups, have your backpack by your side, or be one of the students in the way back. Always be aware of your bag and surroundings. Highly do not recommend keeping it in your pants, unless you got some kind of zipper or Velcro cover.

GATHERINGS:  This is the biggest one of all. Too many people, too many distractions, you are always at risk here. Apply everything from school here as well as the following tips. When there is a show or huge event of some sort, people will stand or sit and glare for long moments, even hours. This is the best time to steal from unknowing saps, saps like YOU! If you have a jacket with a pocket, keep the 3DS there. Make sure it rests on your body as well, that way you will feel it if it moves for any reason.  If you have pockets outside, make sure they are buttoned as well, or velcroed. Even then, lightly rest your hand over it. Always be aware of it even when your attention is not on it. If you have a pocket on the inside, you are 100% guaranteed safety if you keep it in there and zip yourself up.

(pockets are great as long as they are buttoned, someone would have to be bold to grab it then.)

Well that wraps it up. Keep these paranoid tips by your side and your system will always be in your hands.

Edit by Nin3DS: We don’t use img BB code here, we use HTML.  Post edited.

Should Nintendo make a direct sequel to Mario Kart 7 soon?

As in like how there was a Super Mario Galaxy 2 after the first Super Mario Galaxy and Pokemon Black and White 2 after Pokemon Black and White? Part of me wonders whether this would be a really good move for Nintendo to make at this point in time, and whether it could revive the steadily dropping interest in the game in general.

On paper, it seems like this could fix quite a few problems Mario Kart 7 has due to being quickly rushed out the door for Christmas 2011 and maybe even help Nintendo make up some more 3DS sales in 2012/2013.

For a start, this opportunity could be used to fix all the hated glitches that have been ruining Mario Kart 7’s online play and that presumably put a fair few people off the game.  Wuhu Mountain Loop would be edited to remove the uber shortcut, and Wuhu Island Loop and Bowser Castle 1 would undertake much the same process. This would bypass the problems with patching Mario Kart 7 because no one could deliberately/accidentally avoid patching the game, and hence these glitches would be completely eliminated.

Wuhu Mountain Loop’s glitches could be fixed (image from Mario Wiki)

The character roster could then be expanded to fix the complaints arising from the lack of Waluigi and other fan favourites.  No this isn’t too implausible for a direct sequel, if Pokemon Black and White 2 can add a few hundred Pokemon from past generations to the Unova regional Pokedex, then Mario Kart 7.5/8 could theoretically bring the Mario Kart Wii cast list over to Mario Kart 7’s game. Imagine how many issues would be fixed if a sequel added Waluigi, Birdo, Dry Bones, Bowser Jr, Diddy Kong, Baby Mario and Luigi, Toadette and maybe King Boo to the already fairly decent Mario Kart 7 roster.

Waluigi could return in a direct Mario Kart 7 sequel.

Other features could be added to improve it, mainly basic features like online leaderboards for time trials, single player vs mode and some sort of tournament/mission mode thing as well.

Not to mention they can then go full out like in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Pokemon Black and White 2 and maybe add an extra cup full of new tracks or two.  One of these cups could be a few more retro tracks/favourites people liked from past Mario Kart games, the other could be some new tracks that people were expecting to get (like the standard city track with traffic to dodge or a new haunted house or a new desert themed level)

A traffic based level like Moonview Highway would be a pretty good addition if new tracks were planned.

Then they could balance the items a bit, fix up communities to have better/more options and move the unlockables around so you don’t just get new stuff for beating 150cc.  The new characters could therefore be unlocked in 50 and 100cc as well as Mirror Mode to reward completionists with more than a changed ending and different title screen.

But if that’s why such a game could be really good as far as gameplay and content go, then what of the business side of things?  Surely Nintendo needs a good reason to make such a game when they could try making something else, right?

Of course.  The thing is, Mario is a known franchise and the Mario Kart series has always sold really well.  It’d be safer than taking a risk on a new series or untested game, and Nintendo would be able to get a good five or so million sales out the title, and presumably rocket the 3DS right to the top of the hardware sales charts.

Super Mario Galaxy 2; Easy enough to make, sold great too.

This might well be needed in 2012, since the games planned to be released for the 3DS at the end of the year are probably not going to do as well as those released last year, bar the 2D Mario platformer.  Luigi’s Mansion 2 is probably going to be a fantastic game, but the original didn’t exactly do as well as a Mario Kart game could have done.  And Paper Mario, while also fantastic hasn’t generally sold that well in the greater scheme of things.

But this is only if such a game would come out in the holiday season, where Nintendo already has a full line up of great 3DS (and probably Wii U) games planned.  But what about the time in between?

Kid Icarus Uprising came out in March

New 2D Mario game will come out at the end of the year

Paper Mario/Luigi’s Mansion 2 will probably come out near the end of the year

What’s between them as far as major Nintendo titles goes?  Middle of the year is roughly when other direct sequels come out, Mario Galaxy 2 came out in May 2011 and Pokemon Black and White 2 will come out on the 23rd June 2012.  Around May-July could be a good time to market another direct sequel to a well known 3DS game, right?

Not to mention that it’d revive the hype that Mario Kart 7 received on its release date, hype which has since pretty much died off near completely.  That’s not good news for Nintendo seeing as the last two games stuck around in at least a generally popular state for two or three years before online died off completely, while their latest one has basically ‘failed’ after about four months on the market.  And while Kid Icarus Uprising is currently the big ‘online multiplayer’ game of the moment, having two successful ones on the market wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it?

Of course, people are going to say Nintendo is greedy/evil/[insert negative term here] for releasing such a game if it was ever made, the same crowd seems to think everything and anything should be downloadable content in this day and age.  But hey, we didn’t originally expect two 3D Mario games on a console or two… three main series Pokemon games on a console either, right?

So with all that said, would it be a good idea to make/release a direct sequel to Mario Kart 7 in the foreseeable future to make up for the rushed state the first one was released in and to get people playing the Mario Kart series again?  What do you think?