Has Inflation De-Valued The Mario Coin?

If you've heard anything at all about the latest Super Mario Bros. game, you know that it has a lot of coins. So many coins. The diligent player can collect a million of the shiny little guys.

An article over at Scripted Sequence ponders whether the ongoing inflation of coins in Mario games has led to a decrease in their value, and, to the author, a decrease in overall enjoyment of the game.

Which brings us to the ‘New' series, starting with New Super Mario Bros. on the DS, through New Super Mario Bros. Wii and on to last week's release. Even before this latest edition, coins were much more numerous. There is no fist-pumping when you reach 100. You'll tot up extra lives without even realising it. By their proliferation, coins, and life, become cheap. There are new iterations too. Long trails of blue coins you have to rush to collect, awkward to reach red coins that offer a prize if you grab them all. Most importantly, and a key feature of the ‘New' series, are the ‘Star Coins', of which there are three on each level. Finding and collecting all of these gives the player the most profound satisfaction, even greater than story completion, even if they do very little. Simply put, the journey becomes more important than reaching the destination.

Clearly the coin has reached its zenith with New Super Mario Bros. 2. Its time has come. There are so many in this game they become an almost inane feature, a slapstick overload as they fly from every direction and constantly rack up on your scoreboard.

It's certainly true that an individual coin means less in New Super Mario Bros. 2. While that doesn't really diminish my enjoyment of the game, it is an interesting thought: As games do more, more, more, eventually that will mean less and less. It happens in western games all the time; it could certainly happen to Nintendo.

New Super Economic Downturn Bros. 2 [Scripted Sequence via Critical Distance]


Comments

    Red coins aren't exactly new. Yoshi's Island, right?

      Mario games have been so easy to get lives from in the past decade that coins were pointless. If anything, New Super Mario Bros. 2 re-valued the coin.

      Yeah, they were, but I think they functioned differently.

    "Even before this latest edition, coins were much more numerous. There is no fist-pumping when you reach 100. You’ll tot up extra lives without even realising it. By their proliferation, coins, and life, become cheap."

    I never really thought of it like that before. Lives definitely are more plentiful, but never really paid attention to the growing number of coins per level.

    When I finished the original Super Mario Bros, I hunted down every coin I could find and finished with 1 spare life. When I finished New Super Mario 2, I had upwards of 60 spare lives and had been ignoring coins for the most part; no reason at all to collect them if your only after the main part of the game, likewise in the original you felt compelled to get them as 1 coin held a lot of value, it was the difference between completion and game over.

      I'll be honest, the only SMB game I've finished was NSMB on the DS, which was considerably more forgiving than it's 8-bit ancestor. While I never played it extensively (maybe five hours in total across my entire life, even after I bought it from the Wii Shop in 2007), I don't think I ever made it past World 4.

        Heh, you should try The Lost Levels. If there's any game I boast about completing to mates, it's that one. Hard as all hell.

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