Though I tend to be the type to ride from one hot new release to the next, 2020’s lineup was…subpar for me as a whole. Sure, there were a couple of games that made an impact on me, with one in particular that is likely to be crowned my personal Game of the Year. But for the most part, my year was defined by catching up on older games that slipped by me during their hey day. Here are some of the more notable titles I caught up on in 2020!
The original Super Mario All-Stars really made a mark on me. Beyond being a collection of some of greatest games ever made, Nintendo went the extra mile by updating the presentation of each game. It also included Lost Levels, which up until that point was never released outside of Japan. Sure, a case can be made that Nintendo should have left those alone. I, however, loved the fresh coat of paint.
Evoking the All-Stars moniker for Super Mario 3D All-Stars immediately makes me feel like there should be more to this compilation than just the games themselves. This time around, it feels like the package is a bit short on the extras. But does that really matter?
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.
In a matter of days, Super Mario will return to the Switch in Super Mario 3D All-Stars! This compilation includes Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. Though I have experienced all three during their initial releases, I’m excited to try them again with a fresh pair of eyes. Before doing that, I thought I’d share my recollections of each!
Super Mario 64
Months before its release in North America, I got a chance to play Super Mario 64 at Ontario Place. In a world where gaming was still a 2D medium, maneuvering Mario in a 3D environment was the first time I truly felt like I was experiencing the future of gaming. From that point onward, I brainwashed my younger brother to spend all of his birthday money on a Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64.
For its time, it was truly groundbreaking. Mario single-handedly took the entire medium of gaming into the third dimension. I couldn’t believe how incredibly fun it was to jump, back flip, and triple jump my way through these environments. Just days after we got our console, I saved the princess yet again.
As impactful as this game was on my life, I literally haven’t played it in decades. I’m not the type of player that revisits games I’ve already completed; a behaviour that really started with this game. Looking forward to seeing how much of the experience still holds up by today’s standards!
Super Mario Sunshine
I vividly remember disliking Super Mario Sunshine a whole lot. Despite its colourful graphics and one of the most unique soundtracks of the franchise, its camera controls drove me nuts. There was one particular level where you have to scale a multi-leveled tower of mushrooms that was a nightmare to navigate because I couldn’t get a good look at where I needed to go. I never did finish Sunshine and until recently, had no plans to return.
Now that it’s part of this collection, I will give it another shot. My gut says much of my criticisms will remain, but I hope that time has healed those wounds!
Super Mario Galaxy
Heralded by many as Mario’s best 3D outing, Super Mario Galaxy did not grab me at the time. Even when I wrote about how ambivalent the game made me feel, I acknowledged how many great things it was doing. Maybe with a clear mind, I’ll give this one a fair shake!
Are you looking forward to revisiting these classic Mario games? Or are you playing these for the first time? Let me know in the comments!