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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Are We Approaching Mario Oversaturation?


A long time ago, I had an article entitled "A Warning For Activision" wherein I said that Activision was going back to the well far too often for their franchises and drew some comparisons with Sega. I made the same argument with Mega Man too, expressing concern that Capcom was destroying the Blue Bomber with multiple trips to the well.

Now I find myself taking Nintendo to task for the same thing: Too many Mario games!

In the Mega Man article, I pointed out that Nintendo had been extremely careful with Mario during his 27-year lifespan, releasing only 16 games up until this point:

4 - NES (Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 1-3)
3 - Game Boy (Super Mario Land 1-3)
2 - SNES (Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island)
1 - N64 (Super Mario 64)
1 - Gamecube (Super Mario Sunshine)
1 - DS (New Super Mario Bros.)
3 - Wii (Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii)
1 - 3DS (Super Mario 3D Land)

But something funny has happened in the last six years. Since Nintendo hit the jackpot with New Super Mario Bros. in 2006, they've been on an absolute tear with new Mario games. Here's what we'll see released since 2006 through to the end of this year:

1 - DS (New Super Mario Bros.)
3 - Wii (Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii)
2 - 3DS (Super Mario 3D Land, New Super Mario Bros. 2)
1 - Wii U (New Super Mario Bros. Mii)

That works out to more than a game a year. That's too much Mario.

New Super Mario Bros. was an amazing success, undoubtedly. Speaking from personal experience, I can say that when I first played it, I knew I needed a DS that instant. It had been so long since I played a new Mario game that I was positively famished for it.

Each game since then has brought something new to the table, whether it's crazy gravity hijinks, the inclusion of 3D, multiplayer or just tightened gameplay. New Super Mario Bros. Mii is going to bring more collaboration, I suppose.

However, I can't for the life of me figure out what New Super Mario Bros. 2 is supposed to bring to the table. I know that digital distribution is going to be a big part of it, but if that's the only reason it's seeing release, it just seems like a shameless money grab more than some substantial upgrade.

I guess we'll find out on August 19th.