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Tomorrow is Mario Day (because Mar. 10 looks like Mario), which got me thinking about the Mario games I’ve played.
For the most part, the Mario games I’ve played have been some kind of spin-off of the original. You know, things like Mario Kart and Yoshi’s Island. They’ve made me fall in love with the characters, the world, and the stories of the jump-happy plumber, but I’m not terribly skilled at more traditional games. There’s one reason:
The issue of skating physics
There comes a time in every gamer’s life where they’re outdone by a game they thought would be no problem at all.
For Shane, it was Unfair Mario.
For me, it was normal Mario.
My sister had a copy of the GBA re-release of Yoshi’s Island when we were growing up. One of the bonus features on that game was that you could pick an option from the home screen that let you play a delightfully retro Mario Bros. game.
I didn’t put too much time into that, though, because for whatever reason, I totally sucked at it.
I tried it a few times, and when I just couldn’t get the hang of the skating physics, I sentenced it to a lifetime of banishment because I was a preteen drama llama.
I had more luck with Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga when she got that a few years later, most likely because it was nothing at all like that previous Mario game I’d sucked at; the gameplay is much closer to that of a turn-based Final Fantasy game than a traditional side-scroller.
That’s probably what gave me the (mildly misplaced) confidence to try Super Mario Bros. Wii.
The multiplayer mission
One of the biggest issues (and it’s really not a big issue at all, I’m just being dramatic) that we have with the Xbox and the PlayStation is just how many of our local multiplayer games are for two players.
It’s great for when it’s just the two of us, but when my sister comes over and we play Lego games, for example, one person gets to take the sidelines. And that’s not always fun.
Then, Shane moved his Wii into the apartment.
To me, the Wii is the epitome of a party console. Every game we’d had for it when I was growing up was at least a two-person multiplayer, and most of them were four-person. I was so ready for boisterous bouts of Mario Party and Mario Kart.
Just one problem.
We didn’t have either game.
I thought I could get around that little issue by asking my sister to bring the family copies, but in my excitement, I forgot that internal storage is a thing and that my save files wouldn’t come with the discs.
That’s not a big deal for Mario Party, because all you unlock is different maps and characters, but it would be an issue for Mario Kart because about half the races need to be unlocked through Grand Prix tournaments.
I could set aside time to unlock those races, but in the meantime, Shane suggested the three of us try Super Mario Bros. Wii.
Although I was hesitant about returning to a side-scroller with the dreaded skating physics, I had a little voice in the back of my mind telling me I was older now, and wiser, and that I could definitely do it.
I went for it, and it was everything I expected.
Not just a slip-up
Let me just start by saying that I have no idea what it is about skating physics that messes with me. I know that people don’t just take off running and stop on a dime; acceleration and deceleration are things.
But that doesn’t stop me from forgetting all about that the second I get into a game. I guess I just have higher expectations of the characters?
I don’t know.
That said, it only took me five levels to get my head wrapped around the skating physics. Maybe that sounds like a lot, but well, last time I hadn’t gotten it figured out at all, so there’s that.
It also took most of Shane’s stashed lives from previous playthroughs for me to figure out that when I was in danger (AKA when I accidentally skated off the edge of something), I should just press A to bubble back to the other players.
He did pretty well saving up again, though, which worked out well for me because the next time we played, we got the player numbers all mixed up. I got his extra lives again, and my poor sister got the shame of all the continues I’d gotten.
It ended up being a very raucous and fun way to spend the evening with the three of us, and it really didn’t help my vision of the Wii as the party console!