In the last five years there have been four Mario platformers, across the DS and Wii. New Super Mario Bros. (2006), Super Mario Galaxy (2007), New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009), Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010). Super Mario 3DS could be the fifth Mario game in five years, if it releases this year.
Now, Mario games are, arguably, of better quality than ever. I think we can all agree that SMG 2 and NSMB Wii are some of the best 3D, and 2D platformers ever made. But, while Nintendo always used to reinvent the gameplay with each iteration, we have now gotten two direct sequels that reuse gameplay assets. Of course, the creativity in level design is still unparralleled, but the feeling of playing a completely new Mario game seems to be escaping us recently. Super Mario 3D promises to mix things up with a mish-mash of 2D and 3D Mario staples, with a little bit of Super Mario 64 throw in for good measure. But, I can't help but feel that the excitement level for Super Mario 3DS is pretty low. Is it because it's on the 3DS, a new platform, or is it because we are growing slightly burnt out on all the Mario games?
And, after Super Mario 3DS, what's next? People will be clamoring for "Mario HD" on the Wii U, and you know Nintendo will not abandon the NSMB line of games, as they have the biggest sales potential. I mean, they basically already showed off NSMB Mii, and though I know it was a tech demo I sincerely hope they inject more creativity into it than that. Something like NSMB 2 that plays like Doki Doki Panic. Or something out of left field like Super Mario Sunshine. I'm going to conclude by saying that Nintendo needs to shake up the Mario series just a bit more, if it's going to keep pumping them out at this rate.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii was, well, *new* to me. I know that the DS stuff has had the New Super Mario Bros. treatment for a few years now, but I hadn't played a Mario side-scroller since the SNES days! I'd definitely like to see that continue.
It..gets confusing though. In Zero's Open Letter to Nintendo, he wrote that gamers differentiate the systems (consoles, handhelds) from each other. I certainly do. I think that Nintendo, most of the time, doesn't. But in this case, I think they actually DO. I don't know where I'm going with this, hopefully someone else can pick it up? I lost my train of thought..
No, I don't think they are. True sequels to mario platformers are still very far apart (Galaxy in 2007 and Galaxy 2 in 2010, that's 3 years, and I would say New Super Mario Bros. 2006, and New Super Mario Bros. Wii, 2009, that's still another 3 years)
So no, I don't think they're running him into the ground, as far as the platformers go. And the spin-offs like mario kart and sports mix, well, that's just what they are, spin-offs, not true sequels to anything.
And yeah, I do consider the New Super Mario Bros. series and Galaxy to be two completely different breeds of games.
As long as Nintendo continues to keep main Mario titles their marquee quality titles that keep classic gameplay mechanics while throwing new and exciting stuff in there as well, then there can never be too much. It's like asking if one could ever eat too much cheescake.
I don't really think the games with mario as a guest star, like the sports ones or whatever, really count against the quality of the Mario brand.
And I don't care. The games have been different enough to justify releasing them so closely. Now, if New Super Mario Bros. Mii came out in 2012, that could be overkill. Still, I don't think I'll complain about a new Mario game.
Maybe they should slack a bit on the New Super Mario Bros games, but the rest I'm fine with. As long as we don't get a third Galaxy game, and I don't think we will.
NSMB Mii is still faaar away, they got plenty of time to differentiate the game. And I hope they do. But even if they don't, it will have been a while since NSMBW (which incidentally your post made me want to play again).
Super Mario Galaxy 2 was an anomaly. New Super Mario Bros Wii was released to cash in on the success of both NSMB and the Wii, bringing a traditional 2D Mario platformer on a home console in I don't know how many years. Even so, I didn't get to play it but NSMBW wasn't much different from the DS game, (although better).
Super Mario Galaxy 2 was left over ideas from the first game fleshed out and expanded upon to create a sequel. It was unprecedented for Nintendo to ever release a sequel to a proper Mario title since the NES days. Besides that, New Super Mario Bros games and Mario Galaxy are two completely different beasts. Super Mario 3DS seems to want to marry the two, however.
I'm happy with every mainline 2D/3D Mario game we got this generation. So, no, I don't think they're running Mario into the ground. In fact, it seems to me that there have probably been fewer Mario games this gen over last if you consider that the Sports and Party games have been somewhat phased out in favor of dedicated Wii Series games.
But talking strictly platformers, Nintendo could release a new Mario game every 6 months as far as I care, so long as the quality stays as good as what we got this generation. Roll them off the line like donuts. I'm not someone who complains about too much of a good thing. And, unlike Guillaume, I'd be delighted to see a Mario Galaxy 3.
I absolutely love Mario games, and I'm looking forward to Super Mario 3D. But I'll admit that I'm not that excited for it....at least, not as excited as I was with previous Mario games. At first I thought this was because of Mario fatigue, but I'm beginning to wonder if I just don't get as excited for things as I used to. This probably has more to do with getting older more than anything else.
I think running into the ground was a little harsh on the thread title...what I really mean is that with all the Mario games coming out, it's hard to get as excited for them as before. The franchise hasn't seen as many titles in a short amount of time as the NES days. But I understand why. It's because, as with the NES before it, the DS and Wii are ushering in a slew of new gamers who haven't touched a console or handheld before. Nothing better than Mario to seed lifelong fans.
I think a more dispersed release schedule for Mario games, be it 2D or 3D, could be beneficial. That being said, I can't see it happening. The money is greener than ever. Here we go!
@Guillaume That's what I'm talking about. Too much of a good thing. Rather than a Mario platformer every year, I'd prefer more entries in the Star Fox, F-Zero, and other franchises, and new IPs, to spice up the lineup a bit. Or, you know, Nintendo could release their JRPGs here in a timely manner.
@canonj Yeah, I think I over-hyped myself for Galaxy 2 and NSMB Wii. But they totally lived up to it! The downside is that I'm in recovery mode right now, and Super Mario 3DS isn't as exciting as it should be. Then again, I haven't seen a 3D video of it yet.
The thing is, the 3-D Mario games play pretty differently than the 2-D ones, so it's almost two different audiences. Yes there is some overlap there, but I know in Japan the 2-D Mario platformers sell way better than the 3-D ones. I guess that's true in all three markets, but especially in Japan. The 2-D games are much more casual-friendly I think. For me, the 2-D games are nice, but when Nintendo releases a new 3-D Super Mario platformer, it's an event.
Mario has gotten to the point where Nintendo can practically do anything with him. I mean, I'm sure Bugs Bunny has been in a lot of crappy cartoons, but he's still Bugs Bunny. He's a part of our culture. As long as Nintendo keeps making good games, they can afford to have their Mario Super Sluggers and Minigame mixup games without letting Mario lose his street cred.