By Clinton Nix / November 16th, 2012
Mariopoly and the Decimation of Competition
This year alone, Nintendo has released Mario Party 9, Mario Tennis Open, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and Paper Mario: Sticker Star, with New Super Mario Bros. U coming in a few days. This may seem like standard fare, as Nintendo has released a number of spin-offs for Mario pretty much ever since the series became a success. However, the problem is that we are getting over saturated with everything Mario in a short period of time, instead of Nintendo taking the chance on new intellectual properties, or at least using….other beloved intellectual properties. Where is Starfox, F-Zero, or even Kirby? They are all missing in action, besides a random collection release. Add that with the fact that we already had a New Super Mario Bros. game released four months ago, and it’s starting to seem like a Monopoly of Mario. Nintendo is resting entirely too much on its famous franchise, only because it’s an obvious quick sell, a safe bet. If we continue to eat it up, then say goodbye to the creative Nintendo we once knew.
One Finger Pointing Means Three Fingers Back
It’s no secret that the House of Mario has a stranglehold on the market of their own systems. It’s been a long running problem, ever since the N64 days, that the majority of games that sell ‘well’ on Nintendo systems are, in fact, Nintendo’s. Many third parties have simply packed up and moved to greener pastures. Many people do blame Nintendo or third parties, and I do agree that Nintendo should be held partly accountable as well as the companies who consistently put out shovelware and low quality products, but the blame is two-fold: The ‘Mariopoly’ would not exist if we didn’t help it.
We live in a world where your dollar is your voice, and people jumping all over the newest Mario spin-off sends the message to Nintendo. When New Super Mario Bros. Wii sells 26 million copies, almost three times as many as Super Mario Galaxy, that shows Nintendo that we want more New Super Mario Bros. Is that really what everyone wants? Sequel after sequel of….the same game with a new coat of paint and slightly tweaked levels? Granted, Mario has always been about using the same game concept every time, but almost every game has been a huge leap in delivering innovative gameplay design. Personally, I’d rather have the innovation, and not the ever so slightly tweaked repackaging of the same game. I certainly don’t want to continuously pay $60 for a recycled experience either.
We’re not stuck with this fate, however. With the launch of the Wii U comes another generation, and another chance for new games to see the light. It’s also another chance for us as consumers to prove ourselves by picking out other good games when they arrive. It would make sense for New Super Mario Bros. U to be mandatory at the Wii U launch, if it was the only choice. But that is simply not the case. There are several games worth purchasing upon release that will fill the platforming void, and ones I’m going to feel much better about spending my hard earned cash on.
Let’s go through the list: we have Epic Mickey: The Power of Two, Toki Tori 2, and Trine 2: Director’s Cut. Cloudberry Kingdom, Mutant Mudds: Deluxe, and Mighty Switch Force HD will also be at launch or launch window games as well. One thing to keep in mind is that many of these titles are eShop only games, and many of them will most likely sell for less than the full $60 that New Super Mario Bros. U will be going for. Oh yeah, there’s also one more game worth mentioning…
Rayman Legends. It was going to be a launch title, but was delayed a couple of months, for reasons of ‘making sure that the game is of the highest quality.’ But I think we know the real reason. Ubisoft delayed it because, despite being an incredible platforming series, it doesn’t stand a chance against the Mariopoly. This doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the quality of the Rayman series; it is solely because of the undeniable strength of the Mario brand. I’ve already had my proof that Rayman Legends is going to be a blast, after playing a demo in a nearby Gamestop. To be honest, I wasn’t even that interested in the Rayman series beforehand. After seeing how Legends utilizes the Gamepad, and how beautiful its design is, I was instantly sold on it.
What I’m thinking, as a budget constricted gamer, is that I have to make a choice. Why not just skip New Super Mario Bros. U altogether? There are plenty of similar games available at the Wii U’s launch to fulfill that particular gaming need. It’s not like the series is struggling in sales– not by a long shot. And honestly, I’d rather put my money towards something that is a bit more creative than New Super Mario Bros. Wii re-skinned in 720p.
Just for fun: the comparison has already been done for us.
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