A Nintendo community
by the fans!
                 
 Go to forum index
Why 10 Million Copies of NSMBW Sold is Great for the Future of Video Games
Editorial by 
(Editor)
January 16, 2010, 01:08
 
New Super Mario Bros. Wii has caused its fair share of controversy in its two months since release. Some would point to IGN's criticism of the game leading to the site's Doomsday (and Negative World rising from its ashes). In the end, some think the game is lazy, some think the game is brilliant, some think it's both. But as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't really matter.

What does matter is this game is now in 10 million hands across the world and that number will certainly grow and grow. Who those hands are attached to is another point of contention. Some say the game is for "casual gamers", no doubt making heavy use of the Super Guide and shamefully escaping to their bubble at the sight of trouble. Others say "core gamers" can play to remember what a real challenge was like with actual consequences for death.

However, these debates seem to exclude an important group: Future gamers. The Wii had ridiculous sales this holiday season, and holidays are all about the kiddies. Let's imagine a young child, maybe 6 years old unwrapping his Wii on Christmas Day. Sure, he'll enjoy some Wii Sports with Mom and Dad, but before long he wants to get into his first full game, so he peels the plastic off his red NSMBW case.

What he gets is not a game that teaches him to sit down in front of the TV and watch long drawn out cutscenes. It doesn't teach him to pick up from a checkpoint 5 seconds back when he dies. It teaches him to play a video game. To learn the levels and master them. To go for the challenge of star coins and be rewarded with crazy bonus levels. Sure, he might use the Super Guide sometimes. After all he's a novice. But chances are he'll go back and do it himself eventually. And his skills will grow.

You can say the game is lazy, uninspired, a rehash, but there is no denying that it is Mario. And just like Mario taught me and probably you and so many other gamers out there how to play (and WHY to play), it's going to be teaching thousands and thousands and likely millions of youngsters how to game in the 2010s. And eventually, those youngsters will be an audience that developers will have to cater to, which means for at least the near future there'll still be games like Mario to come. So when I see NSMBW in the NPD Top 10 for the next several months, I might be crying semen tears, but they'll be semen tears of joy.

URL to share (right click and copy)
Posted: 01/16/10, 01:08  - Edit:  02/24/11, 23:05
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account?
 
While I concur that the sales are great for both Nintendo and the industry, there is no "right" way to play videogames and insinuating playing a traditional platformer is somehow more instrumental in developing as a gamer... which in and of itself is kind of ridiculous... than say an online shooter, rpg or any other genre of game you care to choose is absurd. I mean hell, Half Life 2 used a checkpoint system, that doesn't somehow make it's contribution to the fps genre any less substantial, nor would a kid playing that game learn any less about gaming than the kid who plays the new Mario.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 01:46
Good thing I didn't say any of those things you accused me of. I said that it's good that games like Mario and gamers who like them will continue to exist. I didn't say anything bad about those other types of games and I'm glad too that they will continue to exist, but there wasn't really any doubt was there?

A kid playing Halflife won't learn less, they'll just learn different things and there are certainly things they'll learn from NSMBW that they wouldnt learn in Halflife.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 01:51  - Edit:  01/16/10, 01:54
JSlakov said:


What he gets is not a game that teaches him to sit down in front of the TV and watch long drawn out cutscenes. It doesn't teach him to pick up from a checkpoint 5 seconds back when he dies. It teaches him to play a video game. To learn the levels and master them... And his skills will grow.
...
And just like Mario taught me and probably you and so many other gamers out there how to play (and WHY to play), it's going to be teaching thousands and thousands and likely millions of youngsters how to game in the 2010s.

I apologize if I somehow completely got your point wrong, however I was referring specifically to the above.

Secondly while this game being as it's a retro platformer is somewhat shocking it's selling so well, Mario as a brand name has always sold. Doesn't matter if it's Mario Party, Mario Kart, Smash Brothers with Mario and Co on the box, Paper Mario, Mario rpg, etc. It's arguably the most lucrative, established and venerable license in the history of gaming and will continue to be so most likely until gaming ceases to exist.

If your point is in fact that the success of this game will guarantee the success of future 2D platformers, of that I'm not so sure though I'd love it if you are right. A far more indicative indication of that trend would be a relatively unknown 2D platformer selling millions and not one that has Mario on the box. Of those I honestly can't think of any off of the top of my head in recent years, which is disappointing because I too love a good platformer, like I'm sure most of the people here do. All that being said Gish would be a good place to start if you want to check out what the underground is doing with the platform genre. It's a great physics based side scroller that I personally found to be a blast. $9.99. Hopefully if games like that start selling alongside games like Mario your wish will come true and we can have a re-emergence of sorts of the platformer;)

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 02:06  - Edit:  01/16/10, 02:09
I just tried to play the Gish demo even though "physics based platformers" aren't my thing. Good god, I know my screen isn't the best but I can't see crap. Add some color in there fer chrissakes. Or just some white, for those of us with screens with poor contrast.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 04:27  - Edit:  01/16/10, 04:31
Don't get me wrong, I do prefer old school games to the newer school games. And I'm sure that preference came out in my writing to some extent, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy many games with cinematics and frequent checkpoints.

And I don't think these kids will never play those games, I'm sure they will and enjoy them, but the fact that they will be reared on old school Mario the way I and so many of us have means they'll have a place for that style in their heart, a place that I fear people who started gaming with PSX, PS2, even N64 may lack.

It may be a Mario game, but the fact that it is old school sets it apart from games like Mario Party, Mario Tennis, even SMG. SMG in many ways is more new school, not just being in 3D but being fairly forgiving in difficulty and including cinematics (an inclusion that made it "not lazy" in comparison to NSMBW). So, I think its more significant that these kids play NSMBW than SMG in terms of keeping a certain facet of gaming alive.

As for Gish I got it as part of a deal on Steam, 10 indie games for $30. I've only had time for World of Goo and Braid so far but a friend of mine swears by Gish and I will certainly get to it.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 05:22
Why is Gish so dark? Sheesh.

Interesting thoughts, JSlakov. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 05:25
Pandareus said:
I just tried to play the Gish demo even though "physics based platformers" aren't my thing. Good god, I know my screen isn't the best but I can't see crap. Add some color in there fer chrissakes. Or just some white, for those of us with screens with poor contrast.


Haha, yea the first world is a tad drab which I'm sure is what the demo is. It lightens up. I don't have a problem with it however I have a pretty decent Samsung SyncMaster. That being said I was just using it as an example of what I deem to be interesting platformers outside of the Mario world and proof that at least in the indy world the genre is somewhat alive and well. Secondly regarding the graphical fidelity of the game... it's a $10 game that has been on sale for as low as $2.50, it's not exactly a big production by a studio like Nintendo ya know, cut it a bit of slack, I actually think it's pretty well done. Metacritic has it at 80 as well...;)

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 05:47
Sounds pretty interesting. Gah! I need to get back on Steam soon, s'been awhile.

On topic, I agree with Slakov's later post, though I'm sure a lot of that is my own bias and love for old-school game design as well. I do think that there need for more games that go a bit less on the story-heavy, and lean more towards solid gameplay. Not a knock against the more cinematic games, but I'm still one of the cats that thinks that game companies are still trying way too hard to chase Hollywood. For a while, it nearly meant the death of some of my favorite genres (namely fighting games, though as of late they're getting all "cinematic" too).

Thankfully the genre (or hell, 2D in general) hasn't completely died and actually seems to be going through an actual revival. [happy_dance]

Don't you be dissin' my Galaxy though, Slakov. Though honestly, while it may have been a bit more cinematic than most Mario games, it really wasn't super-cinematic at all and still felt very, very old school. So I guess I do disagree there.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 06:02
Yeah, but I think making the first stages that dark was a stupid decision and I'm not gonna cut the designer slack for that. It's actually unplayable on my laptop. I'm feeling nauseous from trying to play it (though that might also be the meds I have to take, haha).

Honestly, tk, one day you'll have to get a Wii and some decent $10 indie platformers like NyxQuest or LostWinds. ;)

I'm not gonna give up on Gish, I'll try to hook up my computer on my TV tommorrow, see if it helps.

edit - And overall, I agree with what jslakov's point: there's something heartwarming and reassuring about the thought that kids today have a great 2D Mario to grow up with. The licensed crap they have to deal with just doesn't seem to compare to our DuckTales' or Aladdin's, so good for them if they at least got Mario.

Stuff like Gish or the new Mega Man games aren't exactly made with kids in mind.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 06:06  - Edit:  01/16/10, 06:11
@Pandareus

Aladdin was one of my favorite platformers from the 16 bit era. Such a great game. Too bad The Lion King was such a pos... at least that how I remember it at least.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 07:01
Speaking of IGN's criticism leading to doomsday...

LOL.

Honestly, I know we say it a lot whenever a new article pops up, but man, that is some atrocious writing there. Both on the argument side, and the actual quality of the writing itself.

But whatever. I'll bet we could use this new IGN article and get like 50 new members... hahahahah a ha ha hahahahaaaaaaaaa.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 07:32
Too many 3d cinematic core games are actually ridiculously easy, that's true. That's why we complain when we hear you can beat them in less than 10 hours, because you know there's not going to be a whole lot of replayability. (Maybe that's why achievements are becoming such a big deal, they force you to extend the life of a game that's a cakewalk otherwise).

Anyway, that's beside the point. The new Mario is a great early experience for future gamers, welcoming, intelligently designed, social, it has a carefully judged learning curve. In short, all of the things that make a wonderful bridge game and get people invested in this hobby for years to come.

10 million sales will have reached a lot more than 10 million gamers too. Maybe twice or three times as much as that.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 14:48  - Edit:  01/16/10, 14:49
@Oldmanwinter But wouldn't you say it is easier for a kid (or a non-gamer, whatever) to pick up something like New Super Mario Brothers Wii and start learning how to game than Half Life 2? I have my 5, 4, and 3 year old nieces and nephews playing NSMBW and it's a very accessible game. A limited amount of buttons to learn (and whether people like shaking over button pushes or not, it helps little kids distinguish between actions... games with various buttons confuse them). They know how to progress, because for the most part progression means moving to the right. The 5 and 4 year olds can finish stages on their own now (the 3 year old still struggles a bit).

I think it is a very good example of the "bridge" game Nintendo speaks of, and I think bridge games are now and will become increasingly important if Microsoft and Sony try to tap into Nintendo's market as well. Because I don't think Nintendo (or any other publisher) really wants a splintered market like the current Wii market. Eventually they would like a market where you have a good shot of getting a Wii Sport / Fit player into future games. And Half Life 2, checkpoints and all, isn't going to bridge that gap as well as something like New Super Mario Brothers Wii will. Precisely because it is an easier game to get into and learn the basic mechanics of gaming in a non-threatening (yet still challenging) environment.

In some ways I agree (and was just talking to the OP about it last night) that NSMBW might not necessarily lead to other 2D platformers finding a bigger market. But then, it may. This whole "retro revival" thing sort of started on the Wii with the popularity of VC and the likes before bleeding out into the entire industry.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 21:58  - Edit:  01/16/10, 22:00
Now you look like a prophet, JSlakov. Although I guess daily news is pretty repetitive, when you look at it from a distance. Some folks gets shot, unrest in the Middle East, IGN bashes the Wii.

I don't think NSMB will necessarily start a 2D Platforming revolution, as much as I'd like it to. Galaxy didn't. When companies like Bungie and Blizzard and Valve have a huge success, other developers rush to clone them. When Nintendo has one, other developers go "Well, what do you expect? It has a Nintendo logo on the box, ha ha!! Now, back to our 256-player racing sim..."

OT, I refuse to think of NSMB multiplayer as "co-op". I think it's a social psychological test to determine how much of an asshole you are.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/10, 23:51  - Edit:  01/16/10, 23:57
The co-op is super fun with nieces and nephews and such, and I guess were I to want to sit down with a "core" gamer and play through it it would be alright, but to me the real multiplayer joy is COIN BATTLE. I honestly think this is one of the best multiplayer modes in any recent game on any recent platform.

Too bad I dominate it so much and have no real competition... *coughs*

Posted by 
 on: 01/17/10, 01:22
Before we knew about pressing A to enter the bubble, it was more like an escort mission game than co-op for me, carrying my niece through all the obstacles.

Posted by 
 on: 01/17/10, 03:00
@Zero
Damn you! That was my first time playing.

Posted by 
 on: 01/17/10, 03:08
Zero said:
@Oldmanwinter But wouldn't you say it is easier for a kid (or a non-gamer, whatever) to pick up something like New Super Mario Brothers Wii and start learning how to game than Half Life 2? I have my 5, 4, and 3 year old nieces and nephews playing NSMBW and it's a very accessible game. A limited amount of buttons to learn (and whether people like shaking over button pushes or not, it helps little kids distinguish between actions... games with various buttons confuse them). They know how to progress, because for the most part progression means moving to the right. The 5 and 4 year olds can finish stages on their own now (the 3 year old still struggles a bit).

I think it is a very good example of the "bridge" game Nintendo speaks of, and I think bridge games are now and will become increasingly important if Microsoft and Sony try to tap into Nintendo's market as well. Because I don't think Nintendo (or any other publisher) really wants a splintered market like the current Wii market. Eventually they would like a market where you have a good shot of getting a Wii Sport / Fit player into future games. And Half Life 2, checkpoints and all, isn't going to bridge that gap as well as something like New Super Mario Brothers Wii will. Precisely because it is an easier game to get into and learn the basic mechanics of gaming in a non-threatening (yet still challenging) environment.

In some ways I agree (and was just talking to the OP about it last night) that NSMBW might not necessarily lead to other 2D platformers finding a bigger market. But then, it may. This whole "retro revival" thing sort of started on the Wii with the popularity of VC and the likes before bleeding out into the entire industry.


I absolutely agree it's an easier transition into gaming and is a far, far better bridge game than most fps titles... depending on the age of course. Some of these 12-14 year olds are monsters at online fps games.

As to Simba, I wasn't intending to "pimp a pc game" (though admittedly posting a link to where you can buy it doesn't do much for my case), I was intending to state that if the OP's point about this type of game hopefully leading to a healthy market for 2D platformers in the future, the sales of something without Mario on the box would be far more indicative of this, which is why I posted Gish, it's one of the better 2D platformers I've played that isn't a big budget production. Substitute any new platformer without Mario for the same comparison, I can't come up with more than a handful and most of them are on PC (or obviously the DS, however comparing what works there to what works with consoles is apples to oranges). That in and of itself speaks far more to the state of the 2D platformer than Mario Wii's sales, imo... which is really sad because it's a great genre that outside of the Mario franchise has been completely relegated to niche status. I personally would love to see them make a comeback, however I really don't think it's going to happen.

Posted by 
 on: 01/17/10, 04:02
Well I'm not talking only about 2D platformers, I'm just talking about games with more old school design still having a wide audience, which I think this games success will help ensure.

Posted by 
 on: 01/17/10, 07:33
There is definitely a retro revival going on, and I think Nintendo and the VC played a huge role in that.

I wonder how successful the retro revivals have been though? Nintendo's have done well. Mega Man 9 was huge, from what I have heard. Bionic Commando Rearmed did pretty well, I think. Beyond that though? I'm kind of curious to know how Konami's ReBirth games have been doing, I'd assume alright since they keep doing them, but who knows?

A Boy and His Blob, on the other hand... tanked.

Hmm. Well, whether it actually leads to a true revival or we just get some games right now, I'll ride it for as long as it goes!

Posted by 
 on: 01/17/10, 08:52
Browse      1