Arnold's Press Pause and Rewind: July 22nd
Putting Franchises On The Pedestal a.k.a Give Me a Proper Mario Game!
Writing this entry, I'm either going to catch a lot of flak
from die-hard/rabid Nintendo fans, or instead have a whole bunch
of people nodding and agreeing with what I'm about to say. After
coming back from E3 I see all of these people drooling over Super
Mario Galaxy. I like to call this the effect of gaming starvation
and every group of console owners goes through it. The effect
basically makes the dedicated/enthusiast horde of console owners
cling on to a certain game, raising their expectations beyond
anything in the scope.
In other words, placing something on a pedestal. Sony fans never really had just one game to cling on to, seeing as how a year after the PS2's launch there were too many blockbusters (Metal Gear Solid 2, GTA III, Gran Turismo 3, and others) to pay attention to. Microsoft owners may very well be the worst when it comes down to this. Xbox owners clinged to the Halo series so much so that it even earned the console the nickname "Halobox". Today it's not quite the case for Microsoft, but Halo 3 is still riding on some very, very high expectations. Nintendo fans tend to do cling and place games on the pedestal the most out of any group.
If it isn't a Mario game, it's a Zelda game, and if it isn't a Zelda game it's a Metroid game. Expectations are always so high among Nintendo fans and it always brings them back to one spot - disappointment. And it's not that any of these following games were bad, it's just that compared to the caliber we were used to from Nintendo, they don't stack up. Zelda: Wind Waker had a lot of great elements, but also marred by some really stupid gameplay portions, and then half-way in becoming boring.
While Metroid Prime was loved by all, I disliked it for being restrictive and repetitive, on top of not feeling like an actual Metroid game (the sequel was later met with not-so-great response from fans). Perhaps the worst disappointment of all was Star Fox Adventures, which was the game that made me by a GameCube on launch. SFA would then get delayed three times, until finally coming out a year after its announced date. Oh, and it also ended up being terrible. Which leads me to Nintendo's bread and butter: Super Mario. Super Mario Sunshine, again not a bad game, but it simply was not the Super Mario we all grew up with.
Super Mario 64 was truly the last classic Mario title, it stayed true to its roots by being nothing more than just a traditional platform title, but in the third dimension. There were no gimmicks, unlike Sunshine and Galaxy. That's right, I said it. What is so hard about giving us the traditional Mario game in 3D? Why can't I jump into pipes, shoot some fireballs, find some koopas, goombas, throw a shell and experience that classic Mario gameplay that we all grew up playing? What is so hard about giving us a taste of nostalgia? Mario isn't a frigin' space traveler or a galaxy hopper. He's a plumber who has a tall and thin brother by the name of Luigi. They run through colorful stages one-by-one, as they jump, stomp, throw, and power-up along the way.
And I don't want to be forced to play Mario on the Nintendo DS. I only like playing handhelds on a trip, never at home. Likewise, I want a 3D game, and not a 2D platformer - we've had enough of those. I wasn't too thrilled with Super Mario Galaxy, and seeing the way Nintendo is in developing Mario games (one per console for the past two generations), I'm not holding my breath for a proper Mario game to come along my way. It's one thing to improve on a franchise, but it's another to basically abandon its roots.
7/22/2007 Arnold Katayev