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Friday, August 17, 2012

So I Guess There Aren't Too Many Mario Games

I've been concerned recently about there being too many Mario games. Too many games in a series too quickly can dilute a brand, and I certainly don't want that to happen to Mario.

Iwata said something today to try and put our minds at ease, saying that the "New Super Mario Bros." series will only appear once on each system. It makes sense and its a good idea.

The question is this: Have we been thinking about Mario games all wrong? Are they supposed to be a once-in-a-while treat or a steady stream?

Let's figure it out. Between 1985 and 1996, there were ten games in the Mario series spread out over the NES, Game Boy and Super Nintendo, culminating in 1996's Super Mario 64.

Between 1996 and 2006, there was a grand total of one: Super Mario Sunshine. Then, since 2006, there have been a steady stream of Mario games. Once the Wii U game is released, we'll be sitting at seven.

Here's the kicker: What were Nintendo's most financially successful years? Between 1985 and 1996, they became a gaming juggernaut. Between 1996 and 2006, they almost collapsed. Most recently, they've piled up money at an absurd rate.

There are a lot of variables at play here: Market conditions, competition and a myriad of others. Yet, there is a very clear demarcation when Nintendo doesn't make Mario games. When they don't, things go poorly.

So, can you blame Nintendo for wanting to make more Mario games? I guess I can't, although it would be nice if there was a happy medium between "no games ever" or "way too many."