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Wei Man takes a look at what Nintendo's first- & second-parties have to offer

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// DS Lite
// King Kong
// Electroplankton
// Kirby: Canvas Curse
// WarioWare: Touched!

// 1st/2nd Parties
// E3 Surprises
// DS to Wii
// Wii Reaction
// The Difference
Wii Titles to Anticipate
Part 3


Ah Mario, where art thou? It's been so long since we've first heard about that fabled "Mario 128" and since then there has been so little revealed. In fact the only thing Nintendo fans have to go on is that Miyamoto and his staff have been experimenting with various ideas with the proverbial icon. What will come out of it is anyone's guess at this point, with only some vague comments and the hope that Mario will deliver a grand way to go off of. After all Nintendo's main icon has a lot to live up to on the Wii, especially given the new controller that's meant to change the way we play games. When it comes to revolutionizing the industry, Mario has been one of the forerunners and very few games don't owe something to Nintendo's plumber. What did Mario create that others relied on? To list a few: easter-egg secrets, 360 directional & pressure-sensitive movement, and actual levels.

The original Super Mario Bros. propelled the industry into an entirely new world. All of the sudden, games weren't just about obtaining high scores, but rather about trying to complete a multitude of levels. That in itself would've already been enough but the game took it even further by throwing in a large variety of levels, including the Bullet Bill-filled world 7-1, the various underwater stages, and the gauntlet run of world 8-3. To put the cherry on top, Nintendo also introduced a neat little bonus called "secrets." That pipe that led to an underground area? That block which contained a vine stretching to the sky? The fact that finding a way to the reach the roof of a stage might actually yield a hidden room that lets Mario skip worlds? All these things combined to create a game that was completely unprecedented at the time, and changed the face of gaming forever.

When the industry decided to head into a new revolution with the advent of 3D, Mario didn't sit idly by, either. He was there right from the Nintendo 64's launch to show off the advantages of the analog stick in a 3D world. The stick allowed him full 360 directional movement while doing so in various degrees of speed, from straightforward running to slow, tip-toed sneaking. A camera giving players a huge variety of control was also introduced, allowing them many different ways to view the action, and change it as they see fit, given the new perspective. Mario didn't even stop at that either, he even took the bold step of letting go of his stage-by-stage format to show off the freedom of 3D, featuring a full castle hub to explore as well as expansive, free-roaming worlds to jump through. So to recap, Mario basically helped pioneer analog control, camera control, and open 3D worlds. 3D gaming had already shown up, but Super Mario 64 changed it forever.

Now we have the Mario coming to Wii, and with a controller that Nintendo is promising to deliver a new "revolution" in gaming. But can the greatest figure in videogames deliver another revolution like he did in Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64? The standards are high, but it doesn't necessarily need to meet the bar that its predecessors have set. After all, Super Mario 64 didn't revolutionize as greatly as Super Mario Bros. either. The former did invent elements that truly made 3D gaming work, but the latter basically changed the structure of video game design itself. But what does Mario need to do for this coming generation? Show gamers that he plays in a solid, fun and unique way with the Wii's controller, and once again set a new standard to follow.

We gamers are not going to lie to you, Mario...the pressure is on.

"The memories I have with this series. Discovering the warp pipe area in World 1-2 for the first time, finding my first access point to the Star World where I found a path to Bowser's Castle, just having fun exploring the castle environments for the first time, and more. Oh what fun, and I hope for many more great memories to come."
- Wei Man

"Practically nothing is known about this game, but I know I am hyped for it more than any other title on the Wii. The free-hand controller (FHC) opens up so many new ways to control Mario; it will be an experience just to hear what Nintendo has planned. Instead of merely having one button controlling Mario's jumping, a whole spectrum of moves can be executable through use of the FHC. This title will be extremely important in showcasing just what sorts of maneuvers are possible through use of the controller. Miyamoto has been tinkering with this title for some time, so hopefully it lives up to the promise it has."
- Micah

"Strangely enough, whenever this game is mentioned, people tend to ask "I wonder what costume Miyamoto will be making himself look stupid in this year." I predict a massive Mushroom with a FHC stalk.

This is without a doubt the most important franchise in the video game industry. I hope, for the sake of the industry, that this is the most impressive showcase of their new FHC setup. I hope it'll once again emit that feeling of controlling Mario in 3D for the first time. That sort of freedom is rarely seen in games nowadays. Don't disappoint me, Shiggers.
- Darren

We haven't heard much. Miyamoto hasn't confirmed anything besides how he was conducting various experiments, and heading into E3, all is quiet around what EAD has prepared for Wii. The only glimmer of hope is that Iwata wants a Mario platformer at launch, unlike what happened with the Gamecube. All we can do is hope.

PART 1 - PART 2 - PART 3

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