Nintendo Articles

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

New Super Mario Bros 2; Ten Things I Don’t Want to See

Well, there are way too many articles now going on about all the cool things the author wishes Nintendo would reveal to be in New Super Mario Bros 2, but that’s getting a bit old and tired now. So instead, here are ten things found in older Mario games that I really don’t want to see in New Super Mario Bros 2. Enjoy!

1. Typical Boring World Themes

Here’s what I bet the world theme will look like, if New Super Mario Bros Wii is any indication:

  1. Grass Land
  2. Desert Land
  3. Water Land/Ice Land
  4. Forest Land/Water Land
  5. Ice Land/Forest Land
  6. Mountain Land
  7. Sky Land
  8. Dark Land
  9. Rainbow Land

I even named them as if they were in Super Mario Bros 3, because that’s what 90% of Mario game worlds seem to be based on.  But we don’t need these generic world archtypes.

Look at Super Mario 3D Land for example, there are no general world themes at all and the game works perfectly fine.  Look at Super Mario World, the map actually looks like a ‘real’ place and it works fine:

Why not just stick with a map like the one above and have the levels just correspond to their location on the overworld map?  It feels far less ‘game like’ and artificial that way, since real life countries generally aren’t ‘single biome’ in TV Tropes terms. Any one logical location will have plains, forests, caves, lakes and mountains in the same general area, not all spread out across the globe as if some omnipotent creator decided that all the mountains should be placed in area 6.

2. Saving only after every fortress/tower/castle

Does anyone ever really think this was a good idea?  I mean, the gimmick of only being able to save after certain levels dates all the way back to Super Mario World, and even that didn’t do this for any greater reason than to annoy the player.

It’s even worse in New Super Mario Bros simply because it’s a portable game.  You know, those things which are meant to be played in short bursts while commuting or visiting someone or just before your DS battery dies out.  How in the world was limiting the save feature for a handheld game even remotely a good idea?

So now we’ve got a 2D Mario platformer coming to the 3DS and the console’s battery life isn’t exactly brilliant, it’d be a good idea to do away with pointless save game limits and collecting star coins and who knows what else and to just do what Yoshi’s Island and Wario Land do; have it auto save after every level.

3. The tower music from New Super Mario Bros

Not that it’s bad music, but in a Mario sub series where near enough every piece of music bar the main theme get replaced outright on a game by game basis, why exactly did we have this music appear in both games?

It’s perfectly good music for the place it appears, but I’d just love to hear a new tune playing in the tower/fortress levels.  That’s what they do with the castle music and it always works wonderfully.

4. Level Limited Power Ups and Yoshi

The problem with level limited power ups seems to be generally gone since the days of Ne Super Mario Bros and Super Mario 3D Land, but it still doesn’t excuse how Yoshi has never been an ‘item’ you can bring to different levels any more.

Did we really need to ditch him at the end of the few levels he was in back in New Super Mario Bros Wii?  What exactly was all so wrong about the Super Mario World structure where you could bring Yoshi into near enough any level you felt like bringing him too?

I’m starting to think that balancing levels for Yoshi’s abilities was just seen as too much work for Nintendo and hence they took the cop out route in New Super Mario Bros Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2.  But I hope this time round we can not only use him in any level we please, but also have him able to go underwater and all that neat stuff.

5. Eight/Nine Worlds

This would be an especially lazy design choice after Super Mario 3D Land and its sixteen worlds worth of unique levels.

Nintendo, Super Mario Bros 3 may have had eight worlds, as did the original NES game.  But that doesn’t mean EVERY recent Mario game of note needs to do the same.  You could have many more like Super Mario 3D Land did, or even less like Yoshi’s Island and Super Mario Sunshine did.  There’s no rule that eight has to be the magic number.

What I’d ideally want is about 16 worlds of unique levels.  We are in the 21st century now, so what worked back in the days when consoles had less power than your standard calculator is completely irrelevant in the modern day.

6. A Mediocre Final Level (the bosses are good)

This is mainly in respect to New Super Mario Bros Wii, but in general illustrates a point that Nintendo needs to understand.

A good final boss doesn’t excuse a badly designed and quickly thrown together final level, and vice versa.  Look at the final level in New Super Mario Bros Wii for instance:

The boss fight is excellent.  If that’s counted as part of the level, good on Nintendo.  But the rest of it seems so poorly designed.  It’s just two rooms with a bunch of firebars and podoboos to dodge and doesn’t have anything remotely like the finale feel that older Mario games had.  Look at Super Mario World’s final level for instance, that was a pretty good final castle:

As was the final castle in Super Mario Bros 3:

Yoshi’s Island had a good finale too:

Even other Nintendo series did the whole ‘final castle’ thing well, I used to always like how you had to conquer Ganon’s Castle/Tower to complete any game of the Legend of Zelda series.  Sure they weren’t often perfectly well designed, but they felt climactic to say the least.  You had to know all the tricks you used in earlier dungeons, maybe refight all the bosses you defeated earlier and defeat his elite troops as you climbed the tower to the sound of him being a church organ near the top.  It really made you feel like you were Hyrule’s last hope.

Heck, Super Princess Peach did this well, I think the game actually had a final castle so big it took up a whole worlds worth of levels!

In general, it always feels best when you really have to work to get through the final level and reach the final boss, when the final level is filled to the brim with tough trials to conquer and your victory is hard earned.  Why’d you think Pokemon always has Victory Road right before the Elite Four?

Two or three rooms then the epic final boss just doesn’t cut it Nintendo.

7. Toads as players 3 and 4 in multiplayer

Sounds obvious, although we’d better first hope this game even has multiplayer.  But if it does, here’s hoping the third and fourth player characters are not just colour swapped Toads.

Who should they be?  I don’t know to be perfectly honest.  Wario and Waluigi is obviously, Peach possibly (maybe as a secret character or something), normal Toad, who knows.  As for those of you saying it’d hurt game balance or how it wouldn’t be ‘fair’ if characters had different abilities:

Are Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong in Donkey Kong Country Returns the same?

Are Kirby, Meta Knight, King Dedede and Waddle Dee in Kirby’s Return to Dreamland the same?

No.  But it’s more fun to play as unique characters in most cases than palette swapped clones.

Above: Heck, even a fan game does it better than Nintendo!

8. A meaningless bonus world

What exactly do you even get for beating the bonus worlds in Mario games anyway?

Oh yay, you got a letter in the Mario Galaxy titles

Absolutely nothing in New Super Mario Bros Wii

Another letter in Super Mario 3D Land (after world S8 Crown)

So instead of this, how about actually giving people a proper reward for putting in all that work?  Remember how in Donkey Kong Country 2 onwards you had a secret final boss and ‘best’ ending?

Or how some other games actually just had multiple endings?  I distinctly recall Wario Land 2 having about ten different endings with their own final bosses/different final worlds beforehand along with the true one you got for beating the very final chapter.

But really, anything better than a stupid ‘congratulations’ message and a star by your file would work fine here.  Maybe a secret and ridiculously broken power up you can use to screw around with the rest of the game with?  A season change like in Super Mario World complete with different enemy graphics?  I don’t know, but surely Nintendo can think of something for a decent reward.

9. Non Meaningful secret exits/access to special worlds

Even if there is a decent special world in New Super Mario Bros 2, there needs to be an interesting way to access it, not just through what’s pretty much a menu.

Why not have something like the Star Warps in Super Mario World or the Warp Whistle in Super Mario Bros 3 as the way to access the special world?

For matter, why not secret exits that actually lead anywhere?  Because it seems in the New Super Mario Bros games to date, all the secret exits just lead at best to a one or two level detour that quickly rejoins the main path rather than to any actual secrets.  It’d be much better if you could have side routes that took people from one world to another without requiring them to beat the world’s boss, don’t you agree?

Like the 2D platformer equivalent to Banjo Tooie I suppose.

10. Cheap Cut away sections of level

Please Nintendo, never bring back this ridiculous gimmick again.  It worked fine in the Yoshi’s Island games where it was generally used in a reasonable manner, but New Super Mario Bros Wii and Donkey Kong Country Returns abused it to the point every single collectable was randomly found behind some piece of foreground that to all extents and purposes looked completely solid.

Fake walls are not clever and they are not good game design.  Unless you plan to give Mario the Lens of Truth from Ocarina of Time, they’re the very definition of cheap, fake difficulty.

As you can see from that screen, that wall Mario is swimming next to is completely illusionary, despite looking identical to every other wall in the level.  That’s not a fair place to hide a star coin.

If all these things mentioned above don’t turn out to be in New Super Mario Bros 2, I will be much, much happier with the game.  They’re old, outdated and often broken elements that have no place in games released this decade, or have just outstayed their welcome in general.

What things do you not want in New Super Mario Bros 2?

Is the Next Nintendo Power ‘exclusive’ Call of Duty Black Ops 2?

Okay, this is very much not what people would consider 3DS news, but with everyone wondering what that mystery image in Nintendo Power is referring to, could it be about the next Call of Duty game?

Because look at this image again:

Doesn’t that look a whole lot like a picture of Russia to anyone else?  In fact Zelda Informer’s article kind of inspired me here, it was only after they mentioned they mentioned the similarity that I even considered it could be a Call of Duty game.

But it makes a lot of sense.  Call of Duty Black Ops 2 images are springing up all over the internet, the announcement for a new Call of Duty game is set to be within the coming month and I’m pretty sure the original Black Ops was set during the Cold War.

Obviously a game set in Russia during the Cold War would be a complete no brainer for the Call of Duty series and Activision, right?

However there’s one thing about all this that makes me wonder even more, and that’s why Nintendo Power might be referring to Call of Duty in the first place.  It’s never been a series that Nintendo fans have cared about and the Wii was never the priority for the last four games as far as what version the most effort was put into.  But we haven’t seen a new Call of Duty game on 3DS yet.

So perhaps thats what Nintendo Power is all excited for.  A Call of Duty game on 3DS would be a pretty big step up from the ones released in the DS era, don’t you think?  Given the 3DS is much better in regards to its technical power, I’d even go as far as saying it could possibly run a Call of Duty game that looked and played not too much differently from the Playstation 2 and Wii versions. That’d be a potential reason why a Nintendo owned magazine would cover this news, it’d be a major franchise available on Nintendo’s latest handheld and would likely leave the Vita with no plausible way to compete in the Western world.

If it was a few months earlier it could potentially have been referring to Metal Gear Solid 3D which has a very similar setting, although the February 2012 release date for the game makes any news about it extremely unlikely.

But maybe I’m just grasping at straws in regards to this.  Maybe it turns out the announcement is covering some no name eShop title or somehow either Fire Emblem or Advance Wars has suddenly ended up set in Russia.   It’s all possible.  None the less I hope you people can see how I came to this conclusion and why the possibility of this mystery game being Call of Duty Black Ops 2 seems extremely likely.

A Look At A Kid Icarus Gathering

        I was able to attend the gatherings that Nintendo hosts for promoting Kid Icarus Uprising. It’s really hard to attend these places because they are very far from where I live, but this time I managed to get to the Best Buy gathering in Mira Mesa, roughly around 3:30pm. I was expecting some kind of Nintendo van (they usually make a tent of whatever they are promoting) but this was inside the store. It was nothing more than a small table where a lady had set up a couple of cards, some fluffy bags to take up space and 2 3DSes with medieval chains welded on. I walked up and greeted myself. She did as well and began to show me what she had to offer.

            She asked if I was familiar with the game. I said I did and we got to the meat of things. Surprisingly she knew what she was talking about. She asked what I liked about the game, and what was hard to do. I asked her questions that only people who play extensively would know. She showed me the weapons she had, the AR cards she has collected (she had 50+ cards!) and the intensity she was currently playing on. She even complained that for some reason the REPs at Nintendo did not give her a stand for the game, which makes it hard for her to play the game and show people. I think she left it in her office or something. It’s understandable too, since she has to make a good first impression for the title, and excessive stress on your left hand is a bad one for this game. She told me “How do they expect me to do my work if I couldn’t have the chance to get my stand” In my head I said to myself: “OMG I wish I had your job, I’m practically playing and showing games for free!!!”

            So then after this chat she busted out her AR cards. I scanned all the ones I didn’t have with her. We would ask each other which characters we liked. After all the scanning was done I received a pack of cards, and I shared the ones she didn’t have. I also got a souflee! It is my fav, but then again who doesn’t like that monster? She mentioned that if I had arrived earlier I would have met 2 other employees who were there specifically to streetpass with customers. Again, another job that I am doing for free. Just then another customer has appeared. She went through the same process with him and all 3 of us began chatting about the game. It was a really good experience, and a very welcoming atmosphere. She asked any final questions we might have had. Naturally mine was if there was a way Nintendo planned on selling the huge AR cards she had on the table. Unfortunately they are not being sold or distributed via Club Nintendo in any way as of now. Here’s hoping! She then packed everything up and we were off to our separate destinations; mine being home.

            I urge everyone to go to these events. You can check your locations out at the official webpage of Kid Icarus Uprising. I plan on going to the next one which is a little less farther than the one I have attended. The people are friendly and it’s a good way to gather some players for local multiplayer and GEM tags. This is definitely something that should catch on for other companies. Business practices like this is what’s putting Nintendo on top. The cards alone are something that is a craze already. If you look for the cards on eBay you will see that the prices are ridiculous; it shows just how valuable they are to people right now. With 400+ cards to collect, Uprising is sure to sell really well all the way to the 3DS’s life cycle, which will be for a very long time. If there is a Kid Icarus gathering in a store near your location, or if you are able to make it via public transportation, do it! You won’t regret it; it is a great little event Nintendo has made. I hope this can happen in the future for tournaments, it would bring that much more people.

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.