Getting Back To It: Super Mario Galaxy

Image by Flickr user: Bludgeoner86 (cc)

Since I started following Simpleek’s example and started doing this challenge back in January, I’ve discovered a few things. First, the list of games I want to return to is much larger than I thought it was. Second, Fable II was never actually very good. I was more of a newbie to that genre back in 2008 than I had originally thought. Third and finally, it really is worth making time to go back rather than just continuing to move forward new releases. Gaming gems are always worth the time, no matter how old they are or how many time you’ve played them before. It was this month’s game: Super Mario Galaxy, that really drove that last point home.

Super Mario Galaxy really is still the exceptional game it was back when it came out in 2007. It doesn’t feel as revolutionary as before, but it’s every bit the solid platformer I remembered it as. That said the game still managed to surprise me. It wasn’t because it was still very fun to play, I was expecting that much, but rather because it actually got me to feel a pang of nostalgia for the Wii’s motion-controls. I haven’t really been one to defend motion controls in most cases. I’ve come to think that they’re almost always unnecessary and create more frustration than they’re worth. However, here we are in 2015 and Super Mario Galaxy actually managed to bring back some of that motion control excitement many a Nintendo fan had when the Wii was still only a year old. It’s an odd feeling to say the least.

Back when the Wii was still new, motion controls were still a new and exciting premise. They were going to provide us with new means to interact with our games, and bring us to a greater level of immersion than ever before. I don’t know if everyone felt like that, but I know I sure did. Games like Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and later entries like Super Paper Mario and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption all delivered on this. They all felt more engaging than their predecessors, and I believe it was largely because of their simple and well-integrated motion controls. Every movement they asked for felt natural, and felt great (well, except when the Wii didn’t pick up your motion). Later entries in the Wii library did away with these simple controls in favor of more and more complex motion. That, coupled with the Xbox’s Kinect and the Playstation Move, pretty much ensured that the legacy of motion controls as a failed gimmick rather than a true step forward. Super Mario Galaxy has reminded me that they really could have been that true step forward, but only if they’d only continued as an as-needed function rather than the shoehorned-in feature that they eventually became.

Beyond the surprise of actually being engaged by the motion controls, Super Mario Galaxy was just downright fun to play! Slingshot-ing around planetoids, running around the insides of hollowed out cubes, pulling out every running and jumping trick in the book as I try desperately to wrangle up all of Luigi’s purple coins before-NO! AWW C’MON! THAT TIMER IS TOO SHORT, AND YOU KNOW IT NINTENDO!!! …*cough*…before falling ever so short and then calmly trying one more time. Ease and challenge. Leisurely strolls and frantic obstacle courses. It’s all here, and (almost) all of it was a joy to come back to. It was just as much of treat now as it was then, and once again left me wanting more. At least this time I don’t have to wait 3 years for a sequel!Super Mario Galaxy 2 may have to wait for a bit though. As incredible as it was flying through the heavens and trouncing Bowser once more for good measure, this experience has me thinking it might be time to give another Wii game one more shot.

Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure has been sitting in my drawer for too long now, and it’s my own fault. I bought this puzzler back in 2008 after reading many a rave review for it. You see, it’s a rather unique puzzle game built around presenting you with either a 2D or 3D space and then leaving it up to you to figure out how to safely get from one end to the other. This game defeated me seven years ago, and I believe the time has finally come return to it. Wish me luck!

Have you ever gone back to a game and had it exceed your expectations? If so, how did it manage to do it?

9 Comments Add yours

  1. duckofindeed says:

    I definitely think that Super Mario Galaxy was one of the best games for motion controls. They used them so well, it really made the game a unique experience. While I prefer regular controls, I do think that sometimes motion controls really added to a game, like the Super Mario Galaxy games and, like you mentioned, Metroid Prime 3. Oh, well. I guess it makes those games special.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      I suppose you’re right. Now that motion controls have come and (mostly) gone, I suppose that does make those that used them well all the more unique.

      I’m not exactly lamenting the passing of motion controls. They became an annoying gimmick that I wanted no part of, so in that sense I’m glad to see them go. It’s just too bad that they became a gimmick instead of the “something more” that they could have been.

      Like

  2. Good to hear that you had fun! I’ve returned to Galaxy 2 several times in the last few years but never the first game… now I’m thinking I should. The purple coins on the 8-bit style level was one of my favourites – I assume that’s what you’re referring to here. That spin jump is a real life saver!

    Speaking of the motion controls, I appreciated its subtlety and the fact that the spin jump works well, but I did resent at times having to collect star bits with the pointer. I know you don’t have to do it but I felt bad for leaving them.

    Also funny that Zack and Wiki is next on your list, because I also have this on my to-play list currently. I got it when it came out and got quite far but it never fully clicked with me. At the time I had some misconceptions that the game would have a Monkey Island-esque vibe and storyline which of course it doesn’t. The puzzles are somewhat similar to adventure games of lore but I remember thinking the game was really its own breed, one of a kind. One nice touch I remember is a jukebox that plays the Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts theme tune. Anyway, years later and now I’m in a different living situation, I have a feeling I’m going to really enjoy Zack and Wiki. Hopefully you will too, and I’m looking forward to your write-up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Thanks! I was indeed referring to the 8-bit coins level (the 2nd one). Intense challenge, but so very satisfying when completed!

      I’ve actually already run into that jukebox in this new playthrough! Unfortunately, it’t the one thing that’s given me the most trouble in the game so far. It doesn’t see to want to detect my movements unless I really shake the tar out my wiimote. Haven’t had to do anything light that for the rest of the game so far.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Matt says:

    Super Mario Galaxy was epic!

    Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure is great as well. I hope you enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      I think I will! Tell me did you play Super Mario Galaxy 2? Which would you consider the superior game?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Matt says:

        Galaxy 2. It is, in my opinion, Nintendo’s finest game ever!

        The thing is: Galaxy was at its best in its linear moments. Its more wide-open galaxies were fun, but the real stars were the linear levels.

        Galaxy 2 understood that and focused solely on linearity, and then proceeded to go absolutely insane with it in order to create mesmerizing levels with loads of different mechanics.

        Liked by 1 person

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