Within the last month, I've decided to finally succumb to my girlfriend's wishes and my inner Nintendo fanboy and purchased a Wii. I'm building up to some mega blog post filled with insightful metaphors and loads of fancy talking about it, but it's going to take me a while to summon up that kind of brainpower. In the meantime, let's talk about about Mario All-Stars. See, we CAN be topical! A Retro Monday that is both retro AND contemporary, the little Italian's plumbers greatest hits collection, or 'Now that's what I call the invention of game mechanics and industry-changing techniques and ideas'. Yeah, Mario always has been kind-of a big deal.
Released on Friday, Mario All-Stars is a compilation based on a Super Nintendo game, in which the 3 Super Mario Bros titles are put in one neat little package along with 'The Lost Levels' (Super Mario Bros 2 in Japan). All re-touched and re-done for the 16-bit era, the games were a great introduction to people who may have not played Mario before, and a great refresher course in those that did. All in a single package, I liked the game.
My main problem with the SNES game is the touching up though. As any die-hard Mario fan will attest to, the memories are what drives the series. When I switched on the SNES, the graphics overhaul was undoubtedly an improvement on the original, but it didn't feel the same. It felt a little more rounded, a bit too colourful for my personal tastes. I always thought it was a bit like eating an ice cream with extra sugar sprinkled on the top. Just a little too much.
Old Nes Super Mario Bros
New All-Stars Super Mario Bros
Nevertheless, it meant I got to play the Japanese Mario Bros 2, with it's invisible platforms and general bastardry, and got to properly get to grips with the Western Mario 2, which I never got a pop at first time round. Both were lovely additions, and the package itself was a delight. The little touch of the characters chatting before the title lights up was lovely, and it felt like real value, and a proper addition to a SNES collection.
This time round, it's a little more disappointing. Why? Because it literally hasn't changed.
In reality, it's a SNES Emulator on a disc. They haven't even bothered to fix the screen ratio properly. It's a pretty lacklustre attempt. One which, in my opinion, doesn't really celebrate the 25 years of Mario (we all know it's 27 really). What it does is more cement Nintendo's reputation for laziness when it comes to some of it's titles. Would it of killed them to add a little more to the package? The CD and booklet that came with the game was good, but the game itself could of been just that little more special.
I mean, they could of released a new package, included Super Mario World and a whole host of stuff. Put some Yoshi's Island on there? Paper Mario? All this would of EASILY fit on a Wii disc, and would have made it astonishing. I know it would of been more effort, and I know it might have taken a little longer, but come on guys, give the little plumber a bit of a celebration. He is getting on a bit, after all.
So what can I say? For a grizzled Nintendo veteran, the package was ultimately a tad on the disappointing side. I can see parents showing their kids this and getting them excited about the good old days, but for me, I just wish they'd done a bit more. I reckon you'd fare much better by getting yourself an original Nintendo Entertainment System, and blowing into a good old grey cartridge with 'Super Mario Bros 3' emblazoned up on it's plastic case. Either that or Mario Galaxy. Wahooooo.