Archive for January, 2013

Mediocre Mario 64

January 28, 2013

Early 3D games knew they were cutting edge. They emphasized pure exploration because exploration was the avant-garde; these worlds were made of real space and they were new and that newness was breathtaking. Super Mario 64 perfectly captures the spirit of an age. There’s a sense of nervous exhilaration sprung from Z-axis freedom, a sort of garage-band energy that comes from feeling out new styles of play.

This was the next logical step, and you can almost feel the heads at Nintendo putting their first cautious foot forward before breaking into a run. Super Mario 64 was the future.

If you could play it again, for the very first time, you probably wouldn’t like it.

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Wii U review: New Super Mario Bros. U

January 1, 2013

New Super Mario Bros. U shows Nintendo at their blandest. The series has always felt a little stagnant when compared to earlier Mario titles, but with this entry Nintendo contentedly adds very little.

The first New Super Mario Bros felt fresh after years without 2D Mario titles, and the Wii version added a riotous multiplayer mode that felt inspired if not completely polished. Now, the New Super Mario Bros. series has stagnated just short of 1991’s Super Mario World. Twenty-one years later and the gameplay has sidestepped more than it’s advanced.

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