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The Universal Reset
Monday, 31 January 2011
Super Mario Sunshine 3D?

Now that the Nintendo 3DS has a solid release date, the aspiring game designer in all of us is beginning to come up with ideas for stuff that would look nifty in 3D. For those of us whose imaginations only work occasionally, our thoughts have gone back in time to the other game consoles -- games we've played in the past that we really liked and would enjoy playing anew in stereoscopic 3D.
Now, although I had a great deal of games which I could call my "favourites" on the N64 and GameCube, the one which stands out as something that would really work in 3D without much retooling would definitely be Super Mario Sunshine for GameCube.

I recently decided to haul out my old collection of GCN games and play a few of them on Wii. Mario Sunshine was the first one I even considered. The tropical resort of Isle Delfino, where Mario was mistaken for a vandal, remains appealing nine years on. Even a kid who is too young to remember the Sixth Generation would be able to pick up the GameCube controller, start up the game and be captivated for hours, maybe even days or weeks (not all in one sitting, of course) by this game which is almost as old as he is.

This kind of perpetual appeal is really what Nintendo and others look for when they want to re-make a game for a newer platform. A re-made Super Mario 64 for Nintendo's Tenth-Generation console would be an instant hit. Whereas, a Nintendo DS port of Princess Tomato and the Salad Kingdom set to release tomorrow would probably be so inconspicuous, no one would know it existed until they saw the entire shipment on sale in the 90%-off bin.
Obviously, Nintendo have a decent understanding of this idea, as they are extraordinarily picky about what games they re-make... not that they do that very often. Just because a game has Mario or Link in it does not automatically make it a classic. Even these two formidable characters have their good and bad days.
To take a recent development as an example, Nintendo will be releasing a re-make of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for 3DS. Why Ocarina of Time? Why not Majora's Mask? Because Ocarina of Time was better-received by players, some critics even called it the best Zelda game in the series. Whereas, Majora's Mask, whilst fairly popular in its day, only has a marginal cult-following now. No one really raved about it when it was new, either. It was just sort of accepted into the Zelda series without any fanfare or million-selling.
Likewise, they re-made Super Mario 64 for the original Nintendo DS. Why Mario 64? Why not something else? Well, apart from the fact that it was the only 3D Mario platformer that could possibly run on the system; it was the most popular Mario game since the original Super Mario Bros. But, they didn't just update the graphics and call it finished like some people would (cough-cough-Xbox Live Arcade-cough) -- no, indeed! They added 30 more Power Stars, three other playable characters to find them, and extra bonus levels to find them in! In effect, they built on the original. No doubt something similar has happened in the case of Ocarina of Time DS.

So, that brings us back to this entry's title. Super Mario Sunshine was the most popular Mario game for the GCN, it has eternal replay value, and it has a lot of nifty stuff in it that would look even niftier in 3D. Not to mention the fact that the 3DS is capable of GCN-level graphics processing. The only drawback is that the original Mario Sunshine was sort of reliant on buttons. The GCN controller had a lot of buttons on it and every one performed a different function (some games have functional overlap between controller buttons). Specifically, it had eight buttons (A, B, X, Y, Z, L, R, and START/PAUSE) and two control sticks. The 3DS has only the one stick and it's right above the directional pad. What I do in Mario Sunshine, and verily, in all 3rd-person games I play, is to move Mario forward and backward with the Control Stick and "steer" him with the C Stick. That wouldn't be possible on the 3DS. The camera would need to be relegated to the d-pad, which can't really be used at the same time as the stick (you would be in your own way). Perhaps you don't use the camera to steer Mario. You would still need to be able to see what you're using FLUDD on.
A possible solution to the camera issue could be that it centres behind Mario when a shoulder button is pressed. After all, that's what it did on the GCN.

But, really, they pay people to come up with solutions to logistical problems like that. I'm just a guy with a blog.

I think it would be uber-nifty to see just how far Ricco Harbour is from Delfino Plaza. 3D Super Mario Sunshine... nifty stuff.

Posted by theniftyperson at 9:03 PM CST

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