So far, I admit Mario in March has been a bit of a bust this year. The snow stopped just in time to interrupt my carefully laid plans. Admittedly, I still take pride in the fact that I updated the YouTube page regularly until last week and even uploaded a video with some game play that got almost 70 views. Even though the page is almost 10 years old, this is the first time that I focused this much on putting time into making it work as more than just a family page. And, so, we come to “Into the 3rd dimension.”
Every time I write that, I think of The Simpsons episode. We watched it last year as a family to celebrate Halloween and I must say, “It holds up.” I’m about to sound like a grumpy old man, but you write what you know. Those early seasons of The Simpsons are just pure magic and will never be surpassed. But, as I often do, I digress.
Super Mario 64
By the time we reach this generation of video games, I grew up. I worked at Yankee Candle (the local warehouse earlier mentioned in the introduction to this page before changed) and lived with my then girlfriend (and eventual wife and mother of my children). If you asked me now how I ended up purchasing a Nintendo 64, I’m sure that I would retcon (but it might be the truth) and give the ages old excuse of all Nintendo has to do is release a Mario, Zelda, and Metroid game and I’ll buy the console.
Truth be told, I think the only one of those three franchises even rumored to be released for the system at the time was Mario. And, more truth be told, I never became a fan of Metroid until Metroid Prime and then Metroid Zero on the Game Boy Advance. Two truths and a lie? No, three embarrassing truths. You know this by now. We revel in our nerd shame around here. Final truth. I forgot all about Zelda and similarly rediscovered the games with Ocarina of Time and later A Link to the Past on the Game Boy Advance.
Not Mario. I played every Mario game available. Especially this one. I loved this game so much and it came at just the right time in my life. Old enough to afford it, but young enough to still have enough time to play until I beat it 100%. I even found Yoshi on the roof.
Super Mario Sunshine
I know that some consider the Nintendo Gamecube to be the weird red headed cousin in between the much more popular Nintendo 64 and Nintendo Wii. However, I have a soft spot for the weird purple cube that played the weird little discs.
That weird cousin gave birth to an equally weird child in Super Mario Sunshine. While much of the traditional Mario game play, and even the three dimensional elements introduced in Super Mario 64, persisted in this game, they also threw quite the wrinkle at us. Mario wore a water spray jet pack on his back that allowed for all kinds of new and cool stuff for him to do. If you watched my video, you know all about how I reacted to this development. While I found it intriguing, I treated it very much the same way I treated Super Mario Bros. 2. I ignored it for other games at the time. To this day, even though Liam picked up a Gamecube, I never went back to play it again. Perhaps this article will inspire me.
Super Mario Galaxy
Okay, this is more like it. The game plays almost exactly like Super Mario 64. But, it adds some new mechanics, as well. Unlike Sunshine, though, those mechanics aren’t too weird. They take some getting used to, but they are more of an extension of the game instead of introducing all new and weird stuff like jet packs.
This game truly took Mario into the 3rd dimension. While Super Mario 64 emulated three dimensional game play very well, it wasn’t until Galaxy that you felt like you had full range of motion. I think I went back to finishing Mario games again with this one. As an added bonus, this is the first Mario game that I got to play with the boys.
Like many at the time, I wondered how three dimensional gaming might work with our favorite plumber. Yes, it’s true. Some will try to deny it now, but many people predicted Super Mario 64 as a flop among flops and that side scrolling is the only way to experience these games. As I always do, I will admit that I’m wrong and bringing Mario into the 3rd dimension was a wonderful choice and I’m glad to have seen what they were able to do with the games.