So, ummm… where to start? Well, Super Mario 64
is *maybe* the most revolutionary game of all time. Like, no jokes. It introduced the console world to “analogue control”, as defunct and backwards now as the N64
controller is. No, wait, let’s be clear: it introduced games
across all platforms to the concept of analogue control -- not to be confused with mouse and keyboard control, which is twitch -- I’m talking true
analogue control. And that’s a thing.
So, out of the bag, you get the most revolutionary game in this writer’s opinion, of all time, and now it’s handheld (on a bigger screen, it did hit the DS eons ago). But also shiny and capable of running smoothly on a giant 4K TV (in my case a Samsung Q9 Series 65”
beast), and playing with a Pro Controller
. The nostalgia… it was -- and still is -- very real (see, that game got me into the game’s industry, but that’s a story for another time). Then you also have Super Mario Sunshine
and Super Mario Galaxy
. And between the three of them for completionists, we’re talking at least 100 hours of gaming, but really, probably more.
"I’m not trumpeting elite skills or anything here, but, like, the voice of Mario, who is a pure legend (and had a bit-part in David Fincher’s underrated The Game), got pure joy watching a Nintendophile play the game he’d voiced..."
Funny story, while running Australia
’s favourite Nintendo gaming rag, Nintendo Gamer
, I not only got to meet the voice of Mario at the time (for the first, but not last time) -- Charles Martinet
-- I played
Sunshine for him, and he was in awe of how I played. I’m not trumpeting elite skills or anything here, but, like, the voice of Mario, who is a pure legend (and had a bit-part in David Fincher
’s underrated The Game
), got pure joy watching a Nintendophile play the game he’d voiced with skill, passion and love.
Super Mario Sunshine was the first Super Mario game I ever reviewed as a games writer. To this day, it’s my favourite and replaying it with a shiny new coat of paint (pun intended) has made me fall in love with it all over again. Like Super Mario 64 before it, it broke new ground. It played with physics in sandboxes, but within each, in unique ways; playing basketball with a piece of fruit for the sun-lazy Delfinos who crave… something
. Or using giant mirrors as mini-boss battle platforms and puzzles all at once. And the water, oh my, the water. A lot of people will tell you Galaxy is the best of the Mario series, and they’d have a right to say so, but the macro in Sunshine over Galaxy’s micro, in that it presents more as a series of development ideas loosely tied together, is in stark shade to Sunshine’s coherent world.
"It’s as Metroid as Mario has ever been, which is saying a lot..."
Delfino Plaza – the game’s hub between port-able worlds is ever-growing. Each time you “Shine Get!” (which Nintendo of America
incorrectly removed from the Japanese
version, and failed to redeem that error here in the remaster), something changes; you get new access to, say, a Blue Coin you couldn’t before, and new secrets open up and present. It’s as Metroid as Mario has ever been, which is saying a lot. And while each ‘level’ is in a way a sort of standalone sandbox with new challenges, the game makes sure you can still see them through the shimmering heat off in the distance from any place in the game.
You also can’t go past the charm of Sunshine. 64 was a lonely experience – Mario against a world out to beat him at every turn and Galaxy was vacuous in that you were literally level-hopping. But in Sunshine, each sandbox became bigger the more equipped with abilities you became -- your rescued allies equally grew in numbers and the game reflected your progress in a way Coins, 1-Ups and Shines (or Stars) couldn’t. And this attached you to its world in a new way for the IP. Add to this dancing Delfinos who initially dislike you, but quickly warm to you because, hey, all that Vitamin D can only be good for the soul, and you have a place that is warm, friendly and somewhere you just want to be. It’s as close to an open-world Mario game we’re likely ever going to get. And that’s why it beats out every other 3D Super Mario game.
"It was also the first time we’d seen Mario and co at this level of visual fidelity, regardless of Nintendo dragging its feet even on 720p..."
But on that, Super Mario Galaxy presents its own case. The aforementioned “development ideas” are still Mario ideas at heart. It was also the first time we’d seen Mario and co at this level of visual fidelity, regardless of Nintendo dragging its feet even on 720p, let alone realising the adoption rate of HD and now UHD TVs would be as fast as it was, and is. (And they still sort of are, but this ‘collection’ alone sort of highlights just why
they can get away with it.)
Anyway, Galaxy. In my review of Galaxy for the then growing written content side of AusGamers says:
Seriously though. Good God this is good. Almost a little too good. In fact it dwarfs almost every Wii game before it. To begin with – who says you need hi-def? Not Nintendo, that's for sure. The amount of colour, vibrancy and pure imagination literally seeping from every corner of this game is wondrous (bearing in mind it's set in space, so there are no corners). Mario has never looked like this. His world has never looked like this. In fact, he’s never faced this type of thing before – but neither have you. His usual happenings and our understood conventions haven't just been turned on their head, they've been torn asunder. To say Super Mario Galaxy reinvents the platformer would be erroneous; instead, what it does is redefine the videogaming boundaries of fun, in that, like my corners and space joke above, it tears them away so all that’s left is a mystical and astonishingly inviting game-world, a not-so-empty vacuum of pure gaming space where imagination takes hold, flight and charge.
Glowing, sure. But certainly apt.
"But nothing ultimately needed to change between any of them anyway, except maybe these could have been the perfect testbed for Nintendo’s own version of Achievements..."
Where does any of that leave us? Well, for under 80 Dollarydoos you can have three of the greatest Triple-A titles of all time in your possession; literally hours upon hours of gaming in the Nintendo sense, at your fingertips. There’s learning curves -- the fixed “Mario Camera” (an actual development term) will take some getting used to, and there’s no real change to any of them, each is different with maybe only Mario’s jumping actions remaining consistent (yeah, yeah: coins, mushies etc, but still…), so you will have a unique experience within each. But nothing ultimately needed to change between any of them anyway, except maybe these could have been the perfect testbed for Nintendo’s own version of Achievements
because they’re full of secrets, hidden wonders and high skill-ceiling, well… achievements.
If you need any more selling on grabbing this collection (which also has the soundtracks of each game available independently), think The Orange Box and the value you got of that, only this time it’s with Mario and a forever-kidnapped Princess who clearly has never heard of “guards” before. But all three, still brilliant.
The game is out now at a decent price and is worth more than a couple hours of your time or, maybe your kid who never played these can learn a thing or two. Either way, pick it up. This package alone is worth owning a Switch for.