It's one of those eternal debates — Super Mario World or Super Mario Bros. 3? Personally I fall on the side of Super Mario World, but recent New Super Mario Bros. games seem to be using the SMB3 template, ignoring the thing that made SMW so interesting. Today on Objection myself and Daniel Vuckovic from Vooks discuss Mario. Should Nintendo lay off the Super Mario Bros. 3 homage and move on?
MARK: So Mr Vooks, we had a little discussion on Twitter yesterday — it was short, but significant. During that conversation one fact became clear: I, Mark Serrels, am a massive fan of Super Mario World. I believe it to be the greatest 2D Super Mario game.
You on the other hand prefer Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES.
Is this true Daniel Vuckovic? IS THIS TRUE?
VOOKS: Indeed it is Mr S. For the longest time I never got into Super Mario World. I never even played it the full time through until its release on the Game Boy Advance as Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2. It just never clicked with me at all. It's a good game, but...
Super Mario Bros. 3, though? Oh boy, what a revelation, it's the quintessential Mario game. Super Mario Bros. 3 is the THE 2D Mario. You've got the tightest controls, the best that 8-Bit graphics and sounds has to offer, the most varied worlds and all the power-ups that we enjoy today. Power Leafs, Tanooki Suits, Hammer Bros., Frog Suits, Karibo Shoe, Flutes the P-Wing. It's all here and it was all released in 1990, it pushed the NES to the max.
MARK: It’s an interesting one, because I would never for a second question the impact of Super Mario Bros. 3. I loved the game, and I think it holds up to this day. I could happily play through the game right this second and love it.
But I’ve always preferred Super Mario World for a number of reasons – the main one being the pace of it, the controls, the precision of the jumps. It’s hard to explain, but Super Mario World has a unique feel that Nintendo hasn’t really been able (or tried) to replicate since.
I’m nostalgic for it, because with the New Super Mario Bros series (both on Wii and the handhelds) I can’t help but get the feeling that Nintendo is attempting to replicate the feel of Super Mario Bros. 3, not the – in my humble opinion – superior Super Mario World.
VOOKS: Indeed they are. New Super Mario Bros. 2 not only feels like Super Mario Bros. 3 but the locations and the power ups in the game feel like a homage to Super Mario Bros. 3. The 'coin' game mechanic aside, the game looks and feels like Super Mario Bros. 3. I realise that no one here has really played New Super Mario Bros. 2 yet but when you do, you'll see why.
The last game that I've played from Nintendo that had a similar feeling to Super Mario World was Super Princess Peach. Sure Yoshi wasn't there, but that felt much like Super Mario World. I suppose no one reading this has played that one though!
I think Nintendo embracing SMB3 as the inspiration for New Super Mario Bros. isn't a bad thing, but we are getting to the point where the 'New' series is becoming terribly stale — both in look and actual gameplay. Perhaps switching to a Super Mario World or even Yoshi's Island style would be better?
MARK: For me, personally, I think it would be a great idea. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is one of my favourite multiplayer games of all time, and I enjoyed the original New Super Mario Bros. game on the DS but, having played a little of the new 3DS effort, I feel as though I can literally feel myself being dragged through an increasingly rigid Mario template. Nothing is surprising, nothing feels fresh.
Super Mario World, from top to bottom, feels like a completely different Mario game, and it’s one that rewards more experienced players. No Mario game before or since has allowed me to really feel like a master of the game’s controls. Now that everyone, from the most casual fan to the Nintendo faithful, has sort of re-remembered what it is to play a Mario game, I feel like a subtle reinvention of that 'feel' would be an interesting next move.
Part of me is hoping that’s what we see from New Super Mario Bros. U. I’ve always just loved everything about Super Mario World, the multiple exits, the short cuts, the art, the look, the consistently inventive design. At the moment I feel as though Mario is being done by the numbers – I’d like to see some of the spontaneous innovation that’s been poured into Super Mario Galaxy brought back.
Super Mario World, I think, was designed with that same spirit.
VOOKS: I don't know if New Super Mario Bros. U is going to be the game we're looking for. It's a launch game and, statistically, those don't fare too well. I haven't played it yet, I know people who have, but so far it does look pretty much like a HD New Super Mario Bros. game. That's just from looking at it.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 was much like that when we all first saw it, then we read the Iwata Asks and it looked better but then you play it. It's fun but it's overly the same. I have enjoyed New Super Mario Bros 2.. It does feel like Super Mario Bros. 3 so I'm not sure if I want more Mario games based on anything before or something completely new. Somewhere in the middle would be nice.