Wednesday 14 June 2017

Have video games learnt nothing?

Mario with a gun. Mario with a gun with his back to the camera looking back at us over his shoulder with a solemn expression. Brooding Mario. Edgy Mario. 2nd amendment Mario. Mario who, apparently, has been rummaging through Samus Aran's locker when she wasn't looking (Princess Toadstool will not be pleased, no “cake” for Mario tonight!).

In my day we had fire flowers and tanuki suits and we were glad of it.

In a really bizarre way this makes me worry about the future of Nintendo as a console manufacturer and, by extension, the future of console gaming (which, as someone too lazy to ever update his PC before it destroy itself, is an important issue). You see, I've been here before.
Between this and Super Mario Odyssey having Mario running around a realistically proportioned cityscape it feels like the Sega End Times again. We've got one game reiterating the mistakes of Sonic Adventure 1 and another trying to do Mario With A Gun, the very same psychology that lumbered us with Shadow the Hedgehog.

Of course, unlike Sonic, its not like Mario games are ever actually terrible. There have been some that weren't to my taste but overall you can be guaranteed a solid, polished gaming experience. So probably I'm just worrying over nothing. As disastrous as the Sonic Adventure/Dreamcast era was for Sega there were a lot of other factors: the untested newness of 3D polygon graphics, the lingering audience commitment issues of Sega having four different 32-bit consoles, the sudden jettisoning of the Sonic franchise's English-language background in favour of unifying the narrative around the Japanese storyline, voice acting beneath even the worst standards of anime dub.

Most of those problems aren't things Nintendo is going to have to tackle between the tech not being as raw and the Super Mario series basically having perfected silent storytelling (aside from the odd “It's-a me, Mario!”)... but still...

Mario with a gun? 

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