It’s Super Mario World

Super Mario WorldIn the middle of TIME Magazine’s ten questions with Shigeru Miyamoto I noticed this question from Shabaab in Maryland:

Many criticize the reuse of franchises like Mario. Do you prefer to create new characters or work with old ones? ’Shabaab Kamal, BETHESDA, MD.

I try not so much to create new characters and worlds but to create new game-play experiences. If a new experience is better suited to a new type of character or world than one of our existing franchises, then we might create a new character or world around it.

Why did I notice it? Because throughout the years I’ve heard hundreds of people moan about how there’s another Mario title on the way, or how Zelda should hang up her hip hugging gowns and tell Link to rescue some other damsel in distress for once.

Thing is, you’re going to continue to see franchise IP pumped out by Nintendo for as long as they exist, and that’s a good thing.

Why? Because, in the modified words of President Bill Clinton, “it’s the environment, stupid!” Mario games, Metroid games, and Zelda games and the like were never really about the character. Sure, they had some personality in their appearances, but not really. In an age of realistic facial ticks and movement and voice acting, Mario and company have remained largely — although not entirely — mute.

There’s a reason for that. Mario is merely a tool with which you the gamer uses to interact with the important part of the game — the world; its characters; its music; and its emotions. It’s a symbiotic relationship to be sure — Nintendo needs Mario as the stepping stone into these new worlds for them to be successful — but once you’re in it’s the characters and enemies and worlds that are what makes the game and NOT our plucky plumber.

Also, I’d argue that those people who criticize a Mario game today for being “more of the same” haven’t done a few things. First, as is par for the course, they certainly haven’t played the game they’re criticizing. Second, if they did play it, perhaps at a friend’s house or some shoddy GameStop kiosk, they probably didn’t have the testicular fortitude to “let themselves go” and really get immersed in the game. The same phenomenon exists with people who refuse to pick a Wiimote and wave it around like an idiot. It’s too bad. I’d rather have fun that look cool all the time (although with all this mainstream press, having a Wii is pretty cool these days, huh?).

So remember, when you find yourself about to make fun of Nintendo for a “rehash” or another Mario game or whatever, just take a breath and go play the frickin’ game first. Get lost in it. Notice the little things that make the world unique. Appreciate the fact that it’s not the character you are controlling that is the important part, but the world he or she is exploring. Conquering. Understanding. I think you’ll find it’s more fun that way. It is a video GAME, right?

Regardless, all of that above said and more, Super Paper Mario is way too wordy for its own good.