JOYSTICK: Mario formula nothing new

Published 5:30 pm Saturday, December 18, 2010

Super Mario Brothers All-Stars: Limited Edition for the Wii. — Photo courtesy of Nintendo.

Nintendo has making money down to a science.

See their latest success formula: re-release a Super Mario compilation put out on the Super Nintendo more than 15 years ago, throw in a CD soundtrack of Mario music and a history booklet, price it significantly lower than other Nintendo-made Wii games and get “Good Morning America” to endorse it as a huge holiday buy. Finally, profit.

Super Mario All-Stars was one heck of a game for the Super NES when it came out in 1993, which ported Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros., the Lost Levels (or the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2), Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3.

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Now, on the 25th anniversary of the plumber’s first Super Mario outing, Nintendo is about to clean up using decades-old gameplay.

There’s nothing wrong with the Mario gameplay, as it’s still the same Mario games people know and love. Unfortunately, that’s the problem with this bundle, as there’s no updated graphics or bonus features. The controls feel a bit forced and complicated on a Wii controller, which means the only way people are going to enjoy this is if they buy Nintendo’s classic controller, in which case Nintendo makes more money). It doesn’t even come with Super Mario World, the premier Super Mario game on the Super NES that it came bundled with at the end of 1994.

The peripherals are also a bit disappointing, as the CD soundtrack contains some music from the Super Mario series, but also has annoying two-second sound bytes and comes in way too short at 26 minutes. The booklet, at 32 pages, comes off as underwhelming too, as it only shows a couple of sketches from each game and doesn’t really feel like a groundbreaking piece of memorabilia.

Super Mario All-Stars: Limited Edition may seem like a good buy at $29.99, but it feels a bit underwhelming in the end, given how many of these games have been re-released over the years. In the end, Mario needs some cooler power-ups and better peripherals shooting out of the pipe in this release.