Six Lazy examples of Fake Longevity and Padding in Nintendo Games

When it comes to making a game a certain length, the best thing to do is to add just the right amount of content to last players the specified amount of time in the form of dungeons, missions, bosses, levels and story scenes. Make them feel like their time isn’t being wasted.

Unfortunately, not all Nintendo games did this too well. Sometimes, it seems the devs just took the cheap way out rather than making players actually want to complete the game, they just added pointless requirements to pad out time that crippled how enjoyable the game was. Here are six examples of fake longevity, examples showing where Nintendo resorted to poor game design and padding to keep people playing far longer than they would have otherwise.

1. New Super Mario Bros 2; Getting Ten Million Coins (and other stuff)

This isn’t the last title screen you unlock…

Getting 1 million coins is bad enough (and arguably lazy as hell design, especially as it’ll take your average player a good few months of average Coin Rush playthroughs to get there). But giving the player a reward for maxing out the coin counter?

How the heck is that a reasonable thing to ask from the player? In the best case scenario (involving a max coin glitch in Coin Rush), that’ll take 333 run throughs of a level pack.

Which for your average Joe, means about 10 minutes a level pack. That’s 54 hours, or about 2 and a half days of non stop Coin Rush if you do perfectly, never mess up, don’t take too long and apparently haven’t the slightest hint of a social life or job.

But reasonably speaking, no one’s going to do this that quickly. For one thing, if people have to sleep, that pretty much comes out at about 3 or 4 days, and if they have to do other things in the day, make that about a week. That’s if someone does perfectly, does the same perfect level pack non stop from the minute they get in to the minute they go to bed, and take no breaks whatsoever.

And for someone who doesn’t deliberately try to exploit the game? They’ll get there in about 5 months if lucky.

It’s a pretty bad way of getting someone to play your game for longer, don’t you think? And what for, a statue on the title screen?

Try harder Nintendo.

2. Super Smash Bros Brawl; Beating everything with everyone

Want more than this?  Then a lot of tedious tasks await…

Now to be fair, the Smash Bros series is jam packed with content and hard to get achievements that seem to be there merely to extend play time. Remember the Diskun trophy in Melee that required one to get all the bonuses?

But Brawl just goes too far in some ways. To unlock everything, you literally have to do everything, with everyone. You have to beat Classic Mode and All Star Mode with every single character. Then beat each of these on every single difficulty level. Then beat Boss Battles with every single character. And you guessed it, you have to beat it on every difficulty level (this part is even unskippable if you live in the US, since the achievement of beating it on Intense is impossible to bypass with a Golden Hammer).

Oh wait, then you’ve got the next bunch of unlockables, which are very much the very definition of lazy. Play Home Run Contest with everyone? That doesn’t even require any skill!

Not to mention 100 Man Brawl. Really, beat it with everyone? Then beat it under 4 minutes? Then under 3 minutes?

Oh, and Target Tests. Beating all five levels with all 30 odd characters is bad enough, you also want people to beat each of them under a specific time?

Yes Nintendo, we get it. Smash Bros has a lot of content. But a lot of content doesn’t mean we should get forced to play through all of it to complete the game. You don’t see people being forced to beat Mario Kart’s GPs with every single playable character on every CC, why have the equivalent in Smash Bros?

3. Super Mario Sunshine; Blue Coin collectathons

I’ll be perfectly honest here, I’ve always felt Super Mario Sunshine was one of the weakest of the 3D Mario games. However, nothing brings its weaknesses to mind more than just one thing, the damn Blue Coins.

I wish all Blue Coins were this easy to find.

For one thing, this is padding of the worst kind, a whole 24 Shine Sprites are gained by collecting Blue Coins, that’s more than one sixth of the total in the entire game!

It also doesn’t really make any sense, if the islanders want the sunshine back and the Shine Sprites back at the giant gate or whatever, why is one shopkeeper holding 24 of them for ransom? You’d think by now the Isle Delfino police force would have gone in and busted him for trading stolen goods by now, if not for compliance in potential terrorism…

And to top it all of, there’s no logical placement of many of these coins. How’s someone supposed to figure out that they’ve got to spray water at the MOON in Pianta Village to get a Blue Coin? How does that even make sense?

And really, others aren’t that logical or easy to figure out either. How about the ones gotten by eating all the Bees with Yoshi? The coins in the alcoves in Noki Bay? Or the one you randomly get by dropping fruit into the ceiling fan in Gelato Beach?

The Blue Coins in the game are honestly just a poorly thought out way for Nintendo’s designers not to have to bother with designing more levels, and the way they’re laid out is just completely illogical at best.

4. Super Mario 3D Land; All Gold Flags

This has to be one of the strangest things to require anyone to do in a Mario game prior to the 1 million coins mission in New Super Mario Bros 2.

Because all the gold flags mean is that you reached the top of the flagpole. That’s the challenge, reach the top of the flagpole in every level.

It just makes no sense as a requirement, and seems like a fairly lame way to add value to the game and drag out the time required to reach level S8 Crown.

5. The Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker; Finding the Triforce

Nothing much needs to be said, even Nintendo’s own developers admitted the Triforce Chart thing was quickly thrown together to replace a bunch dungeons and more interesting content cut out to get the game released on time.

But it’s still a poor way to extend game length. You need to get more rupees than ever before to pay off Tingle for whatever stupid reason, you need to head around doing otherwise unrelated seeming side quests to progress, and you need to head over 30 floors down into the Savage Labyrinth for a Triforce Chart, in what’s the games equivalent to the Cave of Ordeals.

Not great design at all.

6. Super Mario Galaxy 1: Doing the whole game twice

Because as neat as having Luigi as an unlockable character in a 3D game at the time was, the way that Nintendo extended the game’s length here was actually rather insulting.

Oh, we won’t give you the new level right away. We won’t just let you use Luigi in Mario’s adventure. Oh no, you have to beat the whole game all over again with him, including every challenging bonus mission, every trial galaxy and every purple coin collection mission. Sure, you get to race a tougher cosmic clone, he handles a bit differently and some dialogue is changed, but to put it bluntly, it’s just the same thing you’ve already done just done a second time around.

One of the few differences in the second playthrough

What do you get for this?

You get the game’s intro level, except with a boring, easy purple coin hunt and some NPCs to talk to. Is this really worth going through Luigi’s Purple Coins, Dreadnaught’s Purple Coins, the trash destroying missions and the Trial Galaxies TWICE to unlock?

This is my reward for all that hell?  Really?

I mean, it’s not the only time this has been done in a video game, quite a few have second quests you have to beat to finish the game entirely. But most of the others at least change most of the room layouts and make the second quest kind of akin to Master Quest (the Ocarina of Time add on from the Wind Waker bonus disc), Super Mario Galaxy 1 just does far less.

Well, those are some examples of fake game longevity, what others do you remember from Nintendo’s games? Because I’m sure I must have missed quite a few on the list, right?


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9 years ago

Sorry, but I’m gonna have to disagree with your statement on Smash Bros. The achievments ARE hard to get, but Nintendo is “forcing” you to unlock the achievements. If you REALLY don’t want to unlock them, don’t unlock them. It’s that simple. Besides, you unlock a lot of the achievements just by playing the Subspace Emmisary.

8 years ago

Actually, the reason you have to get all the golden flags for 100% on Super Mario 3D land is because Nintendo is showing off how brilliant they are at making it possible to reach each flag at the very tip.

4 years ago

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