I am fortunate. I saw the beginnings of the computer being accepted in the home, I saw it gradually shedding its “geeky” status, the massive sales of gaming consoles and perhaps more fondly remember when the latest and greatest games were not played at the expense of the homes TV being commandeered but down at the local arcade for 10p a go.
During all that time one character has frequently appeared. It seems that no matter how the technology changes, which franchises appear, there’s always Mario hanging around in the background. And I hated the game.
I hated jumping on blocks, I hated the annoying sounds, I found myself with little desire to progress very far in the game and when the game adapted for newer technology, I found nothing new in a tired franchise – it was lipstick on a pig.
So for people who can’t get enough Mario (and I’d worry about those) here comes “Mario Maker” – Nintendo’s latest attempt to suck a little more out of the Mario franchise and I expect, try to sell a few more WIIU consoles which to be fair have not been doing all that well in the face of Xbox One and PS4.
Mario Maker will hit store shelves next year and users can play the typical sideways-scrolling 2D Mario with 8-bit graphics from the older game or the slightly better graphics from the New Super Mario Bros U. things turn a lot more exciting on hitting the level editor button. Here, users can add walls, enemies, pipes and a bunch of more obstacles while creating levels.
So now those annoying Mario levels can be made even more difficult as people spend hours making the shallow game-play even more difficult.
I think times have moved on. Nintendo’s seeming insistence on producing “cutesy” products, are quickly becoming a relic of yesterday. People want GTA, Killzone, Gran Turismo. They are not in my view, excited by Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros.
Let me give you an observation – Anything which has to put “super” in its title, usually isn’t.
Nintendo is, in my opinion living on borrowed time. Their next gen console failed to come close to the specifications of Microsoft and Sony’s product. Innovation on all fronts seems to be lacking too. Say what you will about the Xbox, but the Kinect at least offered something a little new. What has Nintendo got? A “new” large & expensive controller/screen which is the stuff of nightmare’s for any parent who has left a child alone with a controller.
Nintendo could have done things very differently too. When it became obvious where the trends in gaming were going, they could have done something similar to Sega and started producing their titles for other platforms. They didn’t though and what happened was that Mario (and his cute friends) were hijacked by the emulation scene who gave any user the ability to play all the older Nintendo on virtually any platform. There’s even Mario in the browser, again, since Nintendo never stepped up to the mark, someone else did. With the rate technology is advancing and the emulation scene, a fully functioning WIIU emulator is not that far off.
Is a 2d Mario Maker is going to capture the hearts and minds of the public? Is a Mario Maker is going to see millions spending hours of their time devising new and clever levels akin to Little Big Planet? I don’t think so, too little too late. Not only in my view is the franchise tired, but the majority of gamers are far more sophisticated than 2d moustached men jumping on platforms. It’s all a little too shallow.
If we look back in computing history, we can easily see that the Mario franchise was destined to hit other platform whether Nintendo wanted it or not. Look at Great Giana Sisters on the Amiga. Now with the emulation scene in full swing, Nintendo has missed the boat there too.
Mario will always remain part of computing history, but have we not moved on enough to now lay Mario and his friends to rest? I think so. The next generation of gamers in their millions seem to think so. Nintendo though, doesn’t seem to have got the message yet and its cost them the WIIU to find out.