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?