Three games that marked us at the time for what they contributed and that will now return in compilation format for Nintendo Switch.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars is one of the great announcements of this last section of 2020. It is, above all, because of the possibility of being able to replay classics that have largely changed our relationship with the platform genre. But there will be time to talk about the compilation. Today we want to collect memories that the three titles evoke: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy. Why they impacted us and what they contributed to the world of video games. These are some of the thoughts that remind us of the first three 3D Mario games.
Super Mario 64, a game that marked the way forward (José María Villalobos)
All of us who play regularly treasure unforgettable moments. In my case, I keep precious memories of that magic that emanated from a stick moving up and down at my command! On the black and white TV we had at home. I see my bare feet in a puddle of water, I can almost feel the slight electric shocks that shook my wet body with the Space Invaders arcade of the pool bar. The Game & Watch with its small buttons polished by intensive use. The resplendent glow of Zelda’s golden cartridge and the thousand secrets that it kept inside … Some of those moments, moreover, become epiphanic and define us for life, change our previous perception and open the doors wide to a new world. That’s where Mario 64 reigns in my memory.
After an agonizing wait, the launch of the eternally delayed Nintendo 64 finally arrived. And there I was, leaving the store clutching that precious multicolored box very tightly. The return to the student flat was arduous. Like salmon going up a river, he struggled against a tide of hundreds of young people who were heading determinedly to the first spring festival of that already distant March of 1997. It was the year of Ok Computer, of Homogenic, of The Boatman´ s Call. It was the year of Contac, of Gattaca, of Cube. It was the year of Nintendo 64. At home, shaky and full of emotion, I connected the console to a small TV. I put the Mario 64 cartridge in the slot, raised the Start lever and … nothing was the same again. In that instant, the glorious 16-bit era was behind us and something absolutely new opened up before me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on the screen. So much so that I spent a quarter of an hour jumping with Mario through the garden, climbing the trees, diving in a small lake … I was so amazed that I did not mind keeping that incredible castle waiting where a thousand and one adventures awaited me.
He had been defending tooth and nail for five years, but to no avail, that video games were more than just entertainment. With Mario 64 I saw it clearly, they were not only something more, they were much more. At last I had in my hands a weapon with which to combat that injustice with guarantees. And it didn’t just open my eyes to me. The solidity of its graphics, the imaginativeness of its levels, the extremely complex decisions regarding the use of the new camera, gave wings to the developers. As when Chabrol spoke of Godard’s irruption in theaters in 1959: “He made his own grammar, and that gave us a lot of supplementary figures. (…) As if a grammarian had discovered a means of using verbs and complements in a different way ”. Mario 64 was a new ABC in the industry, the solid pillar on which to create future worlds in three dimensions. Continuing with the comparison, I dare to say that 3D were to videogames what the arrival of sound to cinema was: a technological change so important and radical that it divided the history of the medium in two (new genres previously unthinkable, new ways of making , to express oneself, to narrate, to imagine). Mario 64 would have been The Jazz singer if it weren’t for the game being light years away from the movie.
That night in March 1997, after an afternoon exploring unpublished lands, I went to the spring festival. I looked at all those people, at my friends gathered there, knowing that no one would understand me if I began to explain what I had witnessed, what I had felt. But I thought, there is time, everything has changed, I have an asset with which to defend the video game as a new art. Nothing will be the same. A cultural revolution is brewing and we have someone who will enlighten us and guide us along the way. It’s him, Mario.
Super Mario Sunshine, a refreshing and innovative delivery
We are in the final stages of an atypical summer, marked by global situations that are beyond our control. However, many of us have taken advantage of having to stay at home to play, be it new titles or great works from the past. One of them is Super Mario Sunshine from GameCube (2002), ideal to accompany the hottest months of the year. And it is that, who does not come to mind the mythical A.C.U.A.C. What was the mustachioed protagonist wearing in this installment? In fact, one of the mottos of the paradisiacal Isla Delfino (where Mario and Peach travel at the beginning of the title) is that guests relax to “come home like new.” However, having played any installment of the franchise in question, you will know that relax is a word that is not usually present in the dictionary of the best-known Italian plumber of video games.
The start of the Sunshine plot is something more original than a good part of the installments of the saga, since instead of having to save the princess directly and without much more context than being kidnapped by Bowser, what the hero of this story is cleaning the island of graffiti and disorder caused by a mysterious Dark Mario. Solving who it is is one of the main attractions of the adventure, in which we come across a series of open and very summery 3D scenarios where varied enemies and interesting allies await us to meet. In fact, and as a curiosity, these NPCs have dubbing in most of their lines of dialogue, something unusual in the Mario Bros. universe, in which the inhabitants usually have at their disposal only a series of sounds and fuss key. Of course, the Italian continues to adopt his role as “silent hero” and does not let go, at least on a verbal plane. But where the title came in was what it offered us through the controls.
All this premise, added to an innovative gameplay that took part of the set of movements of Super Mario 64, added to the mix various elements that had never been available before in the franchise. Examples of this are being able to ride Yoshi and modify his color and abilities (something that was later transferred to Super Mario Galaxy 2), as well as characters such as Bowser Jr. (also known as Bowsy), Maestro Kinopio and Floro Piranha. Altogether, the installment in question left a very good memory to a whole generation of players, who discovered a somewhat different installment within what is possibly the best-known video game franchise of all time. It had new mechanics, being able to calibrate the intensity of the water with the triggers worked really well and when we thought we had seen it all, the retro missions, without our aquac, marveled us at the extreme challenge they posed. He is certainly not the favorite in the tops or the most remembered, but his special aura makes being able to play him again good news.
Super Mario Galaxy, an intergalactic and unique game in equal parts – Eli López
Today, almost thirteen years later, I still say to myself: thank you, Eli from the past. Thank you for saving your weekly pay for several months to buy that gem of video games. Although I could have waited a little longer to order it for Christmas, remember that Super Mario Galaxy went on sale on November 16, 2007, I did not. Could not. From the first trailer I saw of the game, I felt the need to embark on Mario’s new adventure from the first day it was available. I wanted to do everything I saw in the trailers as soon as possible. He couldn’t waste a single second.
I remember playing Super Mario 64 on my uncle’s Nintendo 64. It was a girl of about four or five years old, but, curiously, memories still come to my mind playing it. Obviously I wasn’t very aware of what I was doing, but I was aware of how happy I was. That was probably the main reason why I wanted to get on the Comet Planetarium as soon as possible and explore the galaxies: to be just as happy again. Who doesn’t like to be? And I did it. Boy, I did. From the first few minutes, controlling Mario during the Star Festival, to the last, battling Bowser for a change… Super Mario Galaxy made me feel like a girl again. But what exactly did it do?
The large number of missions it offered and the way to carry them out, continually playing with gravity? The design of the stages, with spherical surfaces that gave rise to all kinds of situations with Mario upside down or on his side? The new characters, among which my dear Estela stood out, and abilities, like becoming a bee or a Boo? The precision of the game’s controls, evident with actions, such as the spin attack? The quality of the graphics, where the use of lighting stood out? Or maybe the music, performed by a symphony orchestra? Really, there is no way I could be left with just one reason why Super Mario Galaxy made me so happy, as well as why it has become such a prominent, influential and beloved game.
Absolutely everything in Super Mario Galaxy was praiseworthy. Well, it’s true that the camera was accurate only 99.9% of the time, but otherwise it was just brilliant. Only Mario could have such an outstanding and different new adventure, although curiously it was full of nods to the previous ones he had had. An adventure that did not seat a chair like Super Mario 64, but that did revolutionize the genre and showed, once again, the good work and that special magic that only Nintendo has. A game that, like the one on the Nintendo 64 console, earned a place in our hearts after offering us some of the best hours of play that we have ever experienced and will ever live with a video game.