After a long and dry season of no big Nintendo announcements, the company behind Mario just dropped 16 minutes of pure gaming goodness surrounding their most famous franchise. In honor of the 35th anniversary of the original Super Mario Bros, Nintendo has announced many goodies that are coming to the switch and store shelves for the rest of the year and into 2021. The drought has ended, and there are many things in this Direct that I will break down and give my opinion on.
To begin this Direct, Nintendo unveiled a Game and Watch system that includes Super Mario Bros, The Lost Levels, a recreation of the first Game and Watch game, and a clock feature. I like the concept of this device. This gadget is the culmination of early Nintendo, which comes in a really neat package with a lot of cool history behind every part of the system. However, I do have a big problem with the system, and that is the price. $50 is far too expensive for a cute gadget that plays a few games. I understand that the original Game and Watch games are around this price, but that is because they are discontinued and difficult to come by. This system is the same price of two and a half years of a Nintendo online subscription, which already has the original Super Mario Bros and a ton of other retro games. There are so many ways in which to play SMB, that shelling out $50 for this device seems ludicrous. Collectors and retro fans alike will eat this system up, but I see no reason to go out of my way and purchase this device.
The next announcement was of the Super Mario 3D World Port that is coming to the Switch in the spring. This was honestly not too surprising of an announcement considering the Switch has already gotten most of the Wii U first-party games as ports or sequels. It was only a matter of time before Super Mario 3D World came to the Switch. However, this game is going to be packaged with some additional content “Bowser’s Fury”. The details of this content are not yet known, but it is good that more content is being added for the Switch release. Nintendo has a bad habit or rereleasing Wii U games for $60 bucks on the Switch without adding any more content or another reason to revisit the game. For example, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was a game that was initially released for the Wii U. It got a price cut on the Wii U down to $20 in the Nintendo Selects edition. When the Switch version was announced, the Switch version was at $60 and the game was removed from the Wii U eshop. Hopefully, this scummy behavior is in the past as Super Mario 3D World + Bowsers Fury is adding more content to the original game. However, this port is listed at $60, so Bowsers Fury should hopefully justify the full price.
Another cool announcement is Super Mario 35, which is a Super Mario Battle Royale game. 35 players will all play the original Super Mario Bros, but every enemy you kill will be sent to an opposing player. This game is very similar to Tetris 99, another Nintendo Switch subscriber game that takes a well-known game and makes it a Battle Royale. Although I like the idea, chances are I am not going to be very good at it, as I lack basic Mario platforming skills. A big issue with this game and another I will discuss later is that it will be a limited-time game. That means that it will be no longer playable starting on March 31st, 2021 after it launches on October 1st, 2020. This seems crummy as it is a game that many people seem to be interested in, and having limited access makes it look like Nintendo wants to boost their Switch sales so they can survive the holiday season.
One of the most intriguing announcements in this Direct is the Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit toys. These things look like they are going to be a lot of fun. This looks like it’s an RC car that you can drive around your home. The kicker here is that it is a fully playable Mario Kart game where you can set up the course design in your own home and play with items from the series. There is a camera on the car that streams to your Switch, making it look like a real Mario Kart game is happening at your feet. This is very innovative and creative, which will make it a hot-selling Christmas item. But, at $100, this toy might not be as successful as advertised. I can also see possible issues with this game such as interference in the real-life course affecting the playability of the game. If you run into your cat while playing, it could throw off the game entirely. Will I get this? No, I lack the finances and the space to do so, but this game will be on my Youtube watchlist when it releases.
Nintendo had a few more small announcements in the Direct. First is that Super Mario All-Stars is going to be available on Nintendo Switch Online. Cool. Great. Awesome. Most of these games are already playable. Next were a few events that would celebrate Mario’s 35th anniversary like a Smash Bros event, a Splatoon Splatfest, and Mario Kart Tour limited edition skin. This is fine, and I appreciate the collaboration, but I am only interested in the Splatfest because they are fun and a Mario theme doesn’t deter me from playing in one anyway. Other announcements included merchandise such as Splatfest shirts, Puma shoes, and the Mario LEGO sets which have already been released.
The biggest announcement has to be the announcement of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, which is a collection of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy all on one game. This is something that many people were wanting to see, and with it finally happening, there is a lot of excitement. I finally get to play the original Super Mario 64 without having to squint at my DS or scouring the land for a working Nintendo 64 and game. I get to play one of the greatest games of all time and with controls that actually work. Super Mario Sunshine is one of the first games I have ever played, and its rerelease is something that I and many of my friends have wanted for years. Super Mario Galaxy is a wonderful game but I have reservations about the game working without the Wii remotes. The pointer functionality is essential to playing the game, and the switch lacks that technology. The video showed us the workings a little bit, but it has not swayed me. This game will come in at $60 but also be a limited release. The game will only be available to purchase for a few months, which makes me wonder why Nintendo would do this. This game is going to sell like crazy well into the window of purchase, which is crazy to stop selling it in March when the games sell poorer than the rest of the year. It’s bonkers as to why Nintendo would shut down such easy money.
That was the whole direct and I really loved it. Despite the issues that I had with the products, Nintendo gave us a lot of joy in such a dour year. Hopefully, this train will keep moving into the holiday season, but for now, I am a very happy Nintendo fan.