When you are playing your favourite classic 2D Mario games, such as the first three Bros. and World, have you ever stopped and wondered how certain aspects of the games would work in a 3D space? How would certain enemies such as Cheep Cheeps, Bats or Koopa Kids attack? How would you translate airship levels into 3D, with those giant, spiky blocks and bullet bills everywhere, or get the classic, level-ending staircase and flagpole in? It's harder than you would think, which is why Super Mario 3D Land looks, despite the many influences from classic Mario, really fresh and original.
Modernism is a very broad and complicated term, but one simple definition is that it is taking something that is old, and making it new again. When artists are low on ideas, they often look to the past to find inspiration, which I have surmised is what Nintendo have done when making their next portable platformer. Nintendo EAD Tokyo (Super Mario Galaxies) have translated the best elements of Super Mario Bros 3, while adding their own creative flair, to make what looks like a unique and very promising title; possibly the 3DS's first original killer app.
IGN and a few other sites have stated that big, epic games full of spectacle are best suited to home consoles or PCs rather than tiny screens, with handheld games working best when they are game-play focussed and relatively simple. SM3DL seems to fit that niche perfectly, having creative level design without being as flashy and big-scale as the Galaxies.
You see, in Super Mario Bros. and 3, the levels were actually really short (oh, the difference difficulty makes!). As many 3DS owners would know, when you have the 3D on while playing a massive game like Zelda, you will eventually get a head-ache and eye-strain if you do not turn it off. If you've read previews of the game, you will know that the developers have put a lot of effort into making the 3D look great, so having short, three-minute-attempt levels means gamers can enjoy the game in glorious 3D without the side-effects, as well as being able to just conveniently whip out their 3DS for a few moments.
The other elements look mighty fine as well. The music from the trailer is catchy and up-beat (expect some great Koji Kondo and Mahito Yokota stuff), the colourful visuals are probably the best seen on the system yet, and the Star Coins will make sure the game lasts a while.
The reason I said in the title of the post that the game could be a masterpiece is simple; this is the Galaxy team. Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 are two of the best games ever made, and are packed with more creativity in one level than most games struggle to have in their entirety. I am confident in saying Nintendo EAD Tokyo know how to make Mario brilliance, and I know that if that brilliance extends into Super Mario 3D Land, and if they are able to successfully translate the classic 2D elements into 3D; we will have a masterpiece; and probably the best portable Mario game ever.
This game is on the top of my most-wanted list. Who knows, it might even help Nintendo sell a few 3DSs? Iwata deserves a bigger pay-check!
I love a good Nintendo game as much as my fellow gamer, but there are a few things Nintendo does that just seem... obsolete. Here are a just a few off the top of my head:
Lives/Game Over - Sure, a lives system pressures gamers to try harder every-time, but when the lives drop to 0 and the screen flashes 'Game Over' is it really over? No, obviously not! Lives belonged in the arcades, when there was a queue for the machine, but nowadays lives seem like a gaming aspect Nintendo hasn't realised is obsolete. Just wanting to beat a level and not having to continue from the checkpoint again is motivation enough to try, so when we lose lives and have to repeat a bunch of levels we already completed just to get to that same point, it pulls us out of the experience.
Only three save slots? - This one's pretty self-explanatory, really. The Wii has 512 MB internal memory, enough for dozens upon dozens of save files. So why restrict it to only three, Nintendo? I personally never need more than three, but what about big families, where each sibling wants to have their own save file? With the exception of those who avidly purchase from WiiWare and Virtual Console, most Wii owners have plenty of memory available. Nintendo should increase the amount of saves, or start releasing games to use up our memory *cough* *Xenoblade* *cough* (that's strange; my cough was so strong my fingers involuntarily typed the sound made by it...)
Online - I know, I know, you've read about this on every gaming website in the world, but the fact remains that Nintendo has failed to offer a competent online service that meets the demands of typical gamers. Nintendo is often associated with fun, and everyone knows that online makes games more fun. Look at how much fun Mario Kart Wii was online, for example, despite being very flawed. Nintendo needs to set up a subsidiary and hire lots of new staff for one purpose; to provide a good online service. All they would need to do is copy Xbox Live or PSN, and fans would be happy! Because a world where gamers can jump into an online game of Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart without any hassle is a world we all want to live in.
Nintendo is a beloved company that represents gaming in general, and although Nintendo will never stop making games, they can always make a few improvements. Well, there you go. It's getting late over here in Australia so I'll leave it at that.