Is the Mario series being influenced by Mario ROM Hacks?

Especially the Kaizo type played in so many Youtube Let’s Play videos? Because I’ve seen more and more things once only expected in difficult ROM hacks get made standard by the latest Mario games that I wonder whether some of Nintendo’s newer Mario developers either watched the videos or were part of the ‘hacking’ scene in their youth.

Above: Even this Mario music video shows such levels in the background at certain points…

I mean, I can’t be the only person who’s noticed how much more often Munchers seem to be appearing in modern Mario games, right? After all, they were completely absent from every Mario game bar remakes between Wario Land 1 and New Super Mario Bros Wii. That’s FIFTEEN YEARS between appearances, yet they’ve become all common in the recent New Super Mario Bros games?

And isn’t it funny how the way they’re used in New Super Mario Bros U’s Challenge levels is almost identical to their usage in ROM hacks?

Above: This is basically an official kaizo level

Heck, they even used sideways and upside down Munchers this time, just like those ultra difficult games people play on Youtube!

Not just those either. Anyone remember how Missile Bills seem to have got a lot more powerful in recent games? Back in SMB 3, all they did was turn around once you passed them. Yet now in New Super Mario Bros Wii and the like they basically act the Homing Bullet Bills from the fan games and hacks rather than the Mario 3 enemy:

Above: I’m sorry, but heat seeking Bullets were never in the 2D games prior to this.

It really does seem like a lot of concepts and objects used in kaizo hacks and other fan projects seem to be brought back in recent Mario games for Nintendo themselves to use in much the same way.

Talking of difficult games and kaizo, it seems like the recent games have quite a lot of content that could be considered as such, mostly in the ‘secret’ levels and downloadable level packs. Sure it did technically exist in Mario games prior with the Lost Levels, but it seems like it’s become more and more commonplace as the series went on.

Like how Endless World of Yoshis/Crazy Maze Days could almost be seen as proto kaizo:

It has many characteristics found in fan made levels. Ultra high difficulty, lack of checkpoints, trial and error gameplay, fast scrolling, mazes, having to redo the whole level if you make a minor mistake like with the Chomp Rock thing and puzzles which aren’t that easy to figure out. It may or may not have predated the Kaizo and I Wanna Be the Guy, but it seems to have quite a few of the ideas them and their successors seem to have refined into a twisted art form.

Yoshi’s Island DS is another obvious case of being inspired by hacks and fan projects, the secret levels are so blatantly unfair and even poorly designed they’re impossible to distinguish from the fan made ones!

In case you didn’t watch the videos, the whole design of the secret levels in Yoshi’s Island DS seems to be built around trying to annoy the player as much as possible with traps you can’t see or detect in advance, the possibility of being forced to die at every opportunity and gimmicks which are not fun in the slightest. The game reminds me of some Yoshi’s Island based games and mods, and not in a good way.

Or how the Perfect Run in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and World S8 Crown from Super Mario 3D Land are basically official platform hell/kaizo challenges, complete with the ‘one slip up and start from the beginning’ bit:

And many of the challenge levels in New Super Mario Bros U seem to basically be ‘canonizing’ stuff from Mario ROM hacks and fan games. Like the whole ‘jump on enemies in a row without touching the ground to win’ thing.

1 up challenge


Above: 1-Up enemy hopping challenges.  New to official Mario games, not new to unofficial ones.

That’s been done in a lot of ROM hacks before Nintendo officially made it part of the Mario series with New Super Mario Bros U.

How about the whole challenge with the mole on the raft? Where you have to get the mole to the end of the level to win? That’s very much a concept you’d expect to see in a kaizo hack, not an official/published game.

It’s also sort of interesting how Nintendo has basically included the whole ‘ascetic’ concept, where you have to avoid killing any enemies or getting any coins. It’s not called that, but there are some definite similarities between fan made levels like this one:

And New Super Mario Bros U challenges like these:

Above: This challenge is literally ‘don’t touch any coins or enemies’.  Wonder where we’ve heard that before…

It’s like someone at Nintendo is watching all those Youtube LPs and taking down notes for bonus content for recent Mario games!

But do you know what the best evidence I’d say of them being influenced by these game mods is? New Super Mario Bros 2’s Impossible Pack:

Come on, even the very NAME shouts Kaizo! And that level design with difficult enemies in tight spots, zero coins and power ups in the entire level and tricky gimmicks like rising purple acid with narrow jumps past saws and wall jumping up shafts while dodging Fire Chomps and Firebars are all things I’d expect out of the next Kaizo Mario World, not an official level pack!

Everything about it just makes me think of someone like ProtonJon playing a difficult Mario hack with save states and get annoyed at the unfair difficulty. Heck, you could even say Nintendo are harsher than the fans, at least the fans let you use save states and rewinds to beat their levels!

In general, I’d say Mario games seem to be taking more and more inspiration from the fan works based on them, with the super hard bonus levels that were not as common in the NES and SNES days, the elements like Munchers and appearing/disappearing blocks which were far rarer back in Super Mario Bros 3 or World and many ideas seemingly taken from ROM hacks of the Mario series like not killing any enemies or collecting any coins.

Nintendo 3DS Daily Reader Questions; How to beat Mario 3D Land World 2?

It’s that time again!  Yes, Nintendo 3DS Daily has got another e-mail from someone wanting to know how to beat a certain 3DS game, so I thought I’d answer their question in the form of an article.  Here’s the original message and what it said:

Please  help!  We  have  the  NEW  mario  nintendo 3DS,  and  i  swear  the  world  2,  the  end  of  that  world  is  driving  me  nuts!  I  thought  for  sure  if  i  got  all  3  gold  stars,  then  that  would  allow  me  to  get  to  world  3,  but  ah  last  it  hasn’t!  The  game  is  called  super  Mario  3D  land.  But  i  can’t  get  finished  with  world  2. What  else  do  i  have  to  do  to  finish  that  world?

The answer here is simple.  You don’t have to get all the Star Coins to beat each world.  No, what you have to do is play through all the levels in that world and beat them.  This includes the final world level and boss, which is what unlocks the next world in the game.

So to beat Super Mario 3D Land’s second world, all you have to do is complete the airship level in world 2 by reaching Boom Boom and defeating him in a boss battle (then getting to the flag as normal). Here’s a video showing how to do this:

That’s all you need to do.  Ignore the Star Coins, they’re not relevant until you’ve beaten Bowser in world 8 and are trying to play through the special worlds.

Hopefully that answers your question and you can now progress with Super Mario 3D Land.

Register 3DS XL, get a free 3DS Game!

It’s an offer Nintendo of Europe are holding for anyone who registers their 3DS XL on Club Nintendo, and some of the games you can get for free are absolutely fantastic!  Seriously, here are the games you can get a free download code for by registering your 3DS XL:

  1. New Art Academy
  2. Super Mario 3D Land
  3. New Style Boutique
  4. Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
  5. Freakyforms Deluxe.

New Style Boutique and Art Academy aren’t the most interesting choices, but a free copy of Super Mario 3D Land or Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask? Now that’s  a nice deal for anyone who wants to take it!

So yeah, anyone who has a 3DS should definitely go ahead and do this, you’d be mad to miss out on the chance to get a free game worth about £30.


Great New Mario 3DS Designs coming to China!

Unfortunately, there’s no word on whether they’ll ever be released in other regions like the US, Europe or even Japan, because these new designs look absolutely fantastic.  What’s more, they also come with pre installed copies of Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7!  Here’s a picture of each of them:

As you can see, the first design has a classy combination of a Mario face and a bunch of Mario item icons, and the next two have a certain new Mario design in the style of a school or university emblem.  They look like the absolute perfect 3DS designs for any hardcore Mario fan, and I suspect they’ll fetch a pretty nice price on eBay once they’re released over there soon.

What do you think?  Would you love a 3DS that looks like this?


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?