Archive | November, 2012

New Super Mario Bros U Thoughts

17 Nov

For twenty-eight long years, I have played one form of video game or another.  Some of my earliest memories are of playing Pac-Man on the family Atari.  But it didn’t last long.  I fervently remember waiting impatiently for mom and dad to break down and buy a Nintendo and then years later, a Super Nintendo.  Some of my favorite childhood memories are of rushing from one castle to the next, trying vainly to find that missing princess.  Or in Mario 3, trying to save yet another king who had been transformed into a dog, frog, or some other ridiculous creature.  That childhood longing has returned this month as I have been waiting for the Wii U to descend from Mount Nintendo, with bundles of video game goodness.  Sadly, I didn’t have the money to pre-order the console and now that I have raised the money, it is sold out.  So who knows when I will be able to experience the joy of a new Super Mario Bros game? 

I must confess, in spite of the pretty impressive list of launch titles, the one game I cannot wait to play is New Super Mario Bros U.  It might seem ridiculous to many of you, but the sheer fun of Mario and his brother trying to crush Bowser’s latest plans has been with me my entire life.  The new game looks like typical (read FUN) fare for a Mario game.  This has caused many “hardcore” gamers to bad mouth the game even before it is out. 

This bothers me a great deal.  Gamers, of all sorts, need to realize that there is NOT one type of game for everyone.  Thus, fussing that Mario Wii U is getting excellent reviews, while your favorite game of the month got the same (or less) of a score is ridiculous.  Games need to be measured (like all things) on their own merits.  If you are planning on playing the new Mario game, you know what you are getting into.  It will be a 2D platformer.  Honestly, this is how I prefer my Mario.  I enjoyed Super Mario Galaxy 2 but I must admit I am not crazy about the 3D Mario games, as a rule.  To me, Mario has always been about platforming, a very specific type of game.  I have played each of the console platform games.  That is what I want.  I want an experience that will take me back to those begone years of begging dad to buy Mario 3, a title I did not “own” until the Virtual Console days several years back.   The incredible frustration of a spot that requires a perfectly timed jump to land right on a Koopa and propel me to the next ledge.  And that is what this game offers.  You know it going into it, so why would people freak out that it isn’t as deep as the next Call of Duty game?  Which really isn’t all that deep in the first place.  Shoot random guy.  Move onto the next random guy and shoot again. 

But that is another story completely.  So what is it about this game that promises to add to the excitement?  I know many complained about New Super Mario Bros Wii’s cooperative mode and I understand why.  Teamed with a collection of noobs, it becomes more difficult.  But honestly, I love my kids and they ARE noobs.  This gives me a chance to play something I love with them and laugh at and with them.  The new game adds to it.  Although I was initially disappointed to hear that if I wanted to play with the kids and still use the new GamePad that I would be relegated to a near omniscient player, throwing random blocks in to help them, it occurred to me that could be nice.  Like any good parent, sometimes you want to help your kids.  And they beg me anytime a Mario game comes out to help them get past a difficult spot.  Now, I can do it without taking over.  But even more fun, sometimes I can choose to be devious and add in a spot that blocks them completely?  Or intentionally cause them to plummet off a cliff and die, poor Mario, die?  The best idea in while!

Another great addition to this game is the advent of challenge missions.  Many may not care that I am super at Super Mario, but once again, old school fans will know the joy of zooming through level after level unmolested.  So to heighten the difficulty and replayability, Nintendo has added challenge missions.  And from what I have seen online, they truly are “challenge” missions.  One apparently requires you to never touch the ground in the stage, which sounds truly difficult, while another requires you to NOT kill any enemies.  I am sorry but I practically majored in goomba smashing and koopa kicking.  How the heck am I supposed to not kill the little guys? 

Now, unlike many gamers, I am not going to rate the game I have yet to play.  Based on what I know and love about the series, I see this being a solid 10 for me, but I haven’t played it.  I do however know that for the hours of joy that I, my wife, and my kids will probably get out of it make it worth the $60 to me, as opposed to some other game that everyone else in the world is looking forward to (Black Ops, I am talking to you).  If you get it before me, please let me know your honest opinion!  If you just want to judge a book by its cover, however……