|Mario for the Future|
|Posted: 30.10.2008 13:37 by||Comments: 5|
If you're a gamer of any sort of dedication to the industry, it's hard not to respect Shigeru Miyamoto. He's the man behind Mario for heaven's sake. His was the genius endowed noggin that produced The Legend of Zelda. Those folk who enjoyed Pikmin have him to thank for it, and of course our weight challenged pals who stood in line for Wii Fit wouldn't have had the chance to waste their money if good ol' Shigeru hadn't conceived of the game. Amongst the many great figures in gaming, Mr. Miyamoto is probably one of the most legendary, and though it is arguable that he and Nintendo as a whole have strayed slightly from the path of quality gaming with the Wii, his influence on the industry as a whole is undeniable.
So it heartens me a little to hear him admit that, yeah, maybe some change is needed.
“What I’ve been saying to our development teams recently is that Twilight Princess was not a bad game, by any means. But, still, it felt like there was something missing. And while, personally, I feel like Super Mario Galaxy was able to do some things that were very new and were very unique, at the same time, from another perspective, certain elements of it do feel somewhat conservative in terms of how far we branched out with design.”
Galaxy felt a bit too much like this for some people.
You'd have to be there to know how cool this was.
You'd think that after ten years turning on Twilight Princess wouldn't completely feel like playing Ocarina of Time, but low and behold, that is how it felt for me and I have played the game since. I love Ocarina of Time; as far as I am concerned it is one of the most perfect and endearing games ever made, but that doesn't mean I want to spend the rest of my life playing rehashes of it. Nintendo should have continued with the creative trend we saw in The Windwaker, or better yet, they should have veered off in an entirely different direction, reinvigorating the franchise with an entirely new direction, one that I feel should include a little more maturity, or even a new storyline. One can only take down Ganondorf so many times before feeling jaded. With Zelda we'll just have to wait and see.
Mario however is a more dire case in my opinion. Mario is becoming a bit of a joke when you really think about it. He is an undeniably recognizable figure; essentially Nintendo's Mickey Mouse. That being said, Nintendo's habit in recent years of stamping his face all over bad games has me worried. While I hate to belabor the Disney comparison, it frightens me to think that Mario might share the same fate as so many of Disney's classic characters. How many ridiculous sequels has Disney put out in recent years? How many Mario Party's have gamers been subjected to? How many terrible sports games bearing the red and blue plumber's visage?
One of the worst things I feel that can happen to any character is to become an icon. Mario as a gaming franchise was fantastic. His 2D days are unforgettable, as was his entry into the plains of 3D. But since then, how many worthwhile Mario games have there been in comparison to how many lousy, exploitative ones? Is Mario doomed to be like Mickey Mouse, bereft of any other value save the ability to market low quality products to unsuspecting consumers? I hope not. Mario has been too involved in my childhood, in my teenage years, and yes, my adulthood to watch him go down like that. It would be like losing Santa Clause all over again, except worse. Santa just brought the gifts, but Mario, he was the gift.
Mr. Miyamoto's words give me some hope for the future, but the worry still gnaws at me that those golden days really are gone. It's harder to impress gamers now. Seeing Mario and Link in 3D for the first time was a glorious experience that would be impossible to replicate today where 3D has become the norm. Quality, however, is not something that is impossible to emulate. Sometimes quality means changing things and if there are any franchises in need of a little change, they are the one's that Nintendo has maintained as their front line for decades. It isn't as if Nintendo is lacking the brilliance to pull off something new, I'm sure Miyamoto still has something worthwhile in that head of his.