'Super Mario 3D All-Stars' Features Great Games Inside a Missed Opportunity

Super Mario 3D All-Stars, releasing this week on Switch, attempts to capture one specific and important arc of Mario's presence with upgraded versions of Super Mario 64 (1996, Nintendo 64), Super Mario Sunshine (2002, GameCube), and Super Mario Galaxy (2007, Wii) into a single collection. Between 1996 and 2007, Nintendo broke our collective brains by successfully bringing Mario into the 3rd dimension and, over time, refined what that meant.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bv84q8/super-mario-3d-all-stars-review

I don’t think there’s a way to make everyone happy with things like this. On the one hand, you have what are essentially straight ports of old games ala 3D all Stars which get chided for being a lazy bare bones re-release, then on the other hand you get a much more expansive reworking of Demons Souls and but people say it’s changed the game and people who play it now aren’t playing the actual game.

Yeah, I’d also like some retrospective material on these games, that’s highly disappointing, but it feels weird to hear the same people bemoaning the changes in Demons Souls and how it no longer feels true to the original now bemoan a game that’s just the same warts and all. Sure a small handful of remakes have captured the original more or less perfectly while retaining what made the originals special, but those are the exception.

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I think the way to make everyone happy is to expand Nintendo Switch Online to include these games, along with the rest of Nintendo’s N64, Gamecube, and Wii libraries. Maybe that means NSO goes up in price, but at least it would be a better service than it is now. But we are so conditioned to expect the bare minimum from Nintendo that we accept this cynical repackaging.

Nintendo could be doing so much more with their back catalog that would benefit customers and the platform itself. But they just refuse to do it.

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Yes, that is a fair point. I was more thinking the philosophical/artistic point of just dumping a rom versus retouching or full on remaking a game.

If we take the financial issue out of the debate though, I don’t know what the answer really is. I suppose the best answer is a have your cake and eat it too where both options exist, the as unaltered as possible with a new controller original AND a revamped version with modern concessions. If I could only have one though, to me I’d prefer a straight port like what we’re getting. I’m not playing Mario 64 to get a brand new experience, I’m playing it to feel like a kid again. No matter how good the new experience may be, it’s not going to hit those points in my brain the same way. I’ll never argue that the original RE2 is better than the remake, but the remake didn’t make me turn off the PS1 and give the game back to my friend I was borrowing it from because zombies came through the loading screen when I thought I was safe.

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The difference is if a remake captures the art direction of the original, where the DeS remake represents a lateral move away from the art direction seen in the Souls series. Whomp’s Fortress in Galaxy and Peach’s Castle from Odyssey would both be good visual templates for a 64 overhaul since they follow a lot of the same art direction principles (64 DS oddly doesn’t and was a little bland by comparison).

One thing I’d have liked to see is Sunshine adding a more organized blue coin tracker, and smoothing out the flagrantly bad parts of the game, like having to repeat the miserable Yoshi boat ride if you screw up the secret stage.

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I’ve seen a lot of Sunshine slander today and frankly I’m a little offended.

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I just wish they had added an option to play 64 in “DS Mode”. Sometimes I just want to cheese the levels with Luigi’s ridiculously broken helicopter backflip.

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Sunshine is the best Mario game unless you decide you want to get every star.

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This constant elision of remakes and remasters will be the doom of gaming. Doom!

You can see how the misapplication of terms leads to a misunderstanding of intent - comparing these remasters to remakes like Tony Hawk* and Spyro is apples to oranges, to me.

*yes, I know what Activision are calling it

Including archival material in the collection would have been excellent, but it’s not surprising Nintendidn’t.

Well, beyond what miscu points out with art direction changes, is it really the same people bemoaning both? Or two different subsets of the community, each giving their thoughts on them? Or even people grappling with the complicated question of what “makes” a game the game?

Personally, I wouldn’t mind playing any of these games in a form as close to their original as possible, even so far as to not add widescreen to Sunshine*. If someone else prefers a modernization, that’s fine. Regardless, my main concern as ever is availability (for either version). Here’s of course where my objection to this collection comes, that it’s not just the only way for modern audiences to easily purchase Sunshine and Galaxy (Galaxy 2 still sadly missing), but that it’s also artificially limited in availability. What an absolute disappointment.

* I would co-sign adding options to replace motion input for Galaxy though. Part because convenience but more importantly because of accessibility.

In this extremely specific instance, I was talking about Patrick and the people on the podcast. They have spoken in their feelings in the art changes to Demons Souls, yet a straight port is also disappointing.

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I think the important thing to remember is that Demon’s Souls is a singular, standalone experience with aesthetic sensibilities with a particular intent. Remaking those visuals does change what how those same goals are achieved, and to an extent, what those goals even are.

The Mario 3D All-Stars release is a compilation, and a compilation says something different. How does the lineage of these games come across playing them back to back? How do you emphasise the aesthetic differences and what those differences meant across three games with a somewhat uniform artstyle? I think a lot of the complaints people have is that by assembling these games into a compilation, there’s expected affect that just isn’t there for people. It’s supposed to be a celebration but in reality it’s a bundle.

I don’t think people wanted these games to be remade with completely different assets under the All-Stars banner as much as they wanted the additions to flow together like the visual changes in the original All Stars did.

Gotcha. Haven’t been keeping up with the pod, although I am familiar with not everyone being on board with the art changes in the DS remake.

Apparently, Nintendo removed inverted controls (which were the default in the original) with no option to go back to them. Bizarre that one of the few changes they decided to make was to make the game less playable to those most used to the original.

I guess I’ll be waiting for a patch before I boot that one up.

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Oh noooo, that sucks. I hope there’s sufficient noise about this that they do patch it back in, but with Nintendo who knows.

It’s such a baffling design decision just make it optional why are Nintendo like this