I have spent a lot of energy throwing shade at Super Mario Sunshine over the years. If anything, playing it again as part of Super Mario 3D All-Stars has only amplified my disdain for this GameCube title. The further I go, the more glaring its issues become, from its terrible camera, to its slippery controls, to its overly-punishing level design.
Even so, this game does have a few bright spots. Playing it now has reminded me that it isn’t all bad.
Hate-watching as a concept is described as watching television or film while also hating its concept or subject. Even if you hate it, you’re still going out of your way to consume that content.
Let’s apply that same logic to games. Do you ever hate-play games? Years ago, I made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t spend any of my precious time playing games that I don’t like. Yet, here I am, cringing my teeth as I powered through Super Mario Sunshine as part Super Mario 3D All-Stars. Of all games, why this one?
I’m standing on a tightrope. Somewhere above me is a red coin. Despite repeated attempts at snagging it from the sky, I can’t quite seem to snag it. An angry cloud is whooshing back-and-forth, trying its best to snipe me out of the sky.
Again, I leap. Hurtling towards the coin, the angry cloud finally tags me. Reeling from the pain, my Mario falls like a rock to the lake below. In time with the splash, my controller gets spiked into the ground…again.
When one thinks of Nintendo, the mind tends to gravitate towards their A-list games. Titles that have either garnered a level of success and critical acclaim that puts them at the head of the pack. Mainline Super Mario games easily clear this bar. So do the mainline Zelda games. While it’s one of the newest franchises, the massive success of Splatoon would put it up on that pedestal as well. Where you and I draw the line may vary here and there, but I think we can generally agree on which Nintendo games are at the top and which ones aren’t on that same level.
It’s not necessarily because these games are worse. Maybe they just haven’t found their footing. In spite of being great since the start, it took Fire Emblem decades of time and like a dozen releases before finding a wider audience. Some franchises sell well enough to still get multiple sequels, such as WarioWare or BoxBoy. Others are meant to be niche products, such as Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball. Though Nintendo probably would like for all of their games to sell in the 10+ million range, I get the sense that they’re willing to make and publish B-tier games so long as they make enough of a profit to justify their creation.
In any case, not every game and franchise in Nintendo’s ecosystem is on the same stratosphere. But with a bit more love, maybe some of them could be. Here are a few of my picks for B-tier Nintendo games and franchises that deserve another shot.
Made this one post for GameCube Week, but it kind of morphed into something else. I’m just gonna post it anyway.
On November 18th, 2001, I walked into a Zellers and bought a GameCube. Five years later, I was in line with my friends at that same Zellers, waiting to pick up our Nintendo Wii pre-orders. Between those two sentences, I did a lot of growing up.
At this point, nothing in my heart will be cooler than that Ninja Turtles demo for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the demo itself. But there’s more content on the disc than that. Let’s see what else it has to offer!
GameCube Week continues on In Third Person! This time, I morph ball roll my way back to Metroid Prime!
Some games age like fine wine. You can pick up a Gameboy today – or 100 years from now – and still have just as much fun with Tetris as players did when it was first released in the 1980s. Other games lose their sheen faster than you would hope. Have you played Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64 recently? Despite being revolutionary for its time, advents in the shooter genre have rendered it obsolete. It’s only real value now is nostalgia, which it admittedly has in spades.
Going back to Metroid Prime recently proved to be an interest test of its staying power. Revolutionary in its own right, Samus’ debut on the GameCube successfully translated its 2D exploration roots into the third dimension. How much of the experience still stands strong almost 20 years later? I played it for a few hours on stream to find out.
GameCube Week begins on In Third Person! We start with the curious case of one of gaming’s most notorious bait-and-swich!
Flashback to the year 2000. At Nintendo’s now-defunct Space World show, they revealed the Nintendo GameCube. Though I had concerns with the console’s cutesy looks and its asymmetrical controller, one demo that was shown gave me hope. Little did I know the one thing I clung onto would lead to the ultimate disappointment.
A few years back, I made the tough decision to sell off the vast majority of my backlog. From that point onward, I’ve made it a point to only buy games that I was ready to play in the near future. I also minimized the number of games I would play at once, pretty much capping my limit to one-at-a-time so that I get the most out of each. Though I buy fewer games and play fewer games nowadays, I’m largely comfortable with the way my approach has allowed me to squeeze the most out of my gaming dollars while not having to carry the weight of dozens (or hundreds) of games vying for my attention.
And yet I still have a backlog. A few games slipped through those cracks, while I began gaining interest in others relatively recently. Here are some titles I’m hoping to cross off my bucket list someday!