I’m almost certain this has been covered by other folks before, but as we creep closer to its release I find myself feeling worse and worse about Super Mario 3D All-Stars as a whole. You’d think that a package containing one of the best video games of all time would be a more exciting proposition, but there are so many little upsetting nuggets of information that keep cropping up that have effectively killed any enthusiasm I had for the collection.
For those who aren’t aware, Super Mario 3D All-Stars is an homage to the original Super Mario All-Stars on the Super Nintendo that contained the likes of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, and Super Mario Bros. 3. It was an incredible package that is still held in high regards today as one of the best deals in games. Super Mario 3D All-Stars does not seem like it will be anywhere near as revered as its predecessor.
The first issue comes down to the game selection itself. Super Mario 3D All-Stars contains Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy all for the “reasonable” price of $60. The exclusion of Super Mario Galaxy 2 is suspect to say the least, especially when you realize that one of the three games in this collection is a big ol’ stinker. That’s right folks, we’ve entered the portion of the blog where I dunk on Super Mario Sunshine.
Super Mario Sunshine is a game that doesn’t feel good to play, has some of the worst levels in Mario history in it, and steals the focus away from Mario and his cool jumps in favor of using a dumb water-gun jet-pack thing. It also inverted the camera controls on both the y and x axes which is an insane thing to do as is, but they took it a step further and disallowed the ability to un-invert it at all. You either had to reprogram your brain to play this bad video game, or do the smart thing and stop playing it altogether. Super Mario Sunshine is a bad game and shouldn’t be considered an “all-star” of anything.
But aside from suspect game choices, there isn’t any real work being done to these games. Both Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Sunshine are now presented in a modern 16:9 aspect ratio, but Super Mario 64 isn’t for some reason. None of the games are getting graphically retouched or injected with new content or accessibility features beyond the ability to mitigate some of the motion controls in Super Mario Galaxy. It just seems like a mediocre package meant to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Mario.
But the scummiest and grossest thing that Nintendo is doing with Super Mario 3D All-Stars is making it a limited release, both physically and digitally. I get limited physical releases, especially in this day and age where more and more of us are just buying things digitally, but to put an end date on when I can purchase this package digitally is wild. For reference, from the time it goes on sale at the end of this week you’ll have until the end of March 2021 to snag this overpriced collection of mostly good games.
At first the decision just seems like that classic “Nintendo is out of touch” thing, but the more you think about it the more your mind starts to craft these conspiracy theories and underhanded schemes that you could totally see Nintendo doing. My take on the situation is that Nintendo is trying to create a false scarcity for these revered games to boost their sales over the holiday season in lieu of having a big marquee game release. The artificial scarcity makes both physical and digital versions of the package seem like must have collector pieces, while also bolstering their fiscal 1st quarter earnings by guaranteeing that the sales can only hit during a specific period of time. Totally unrelated piece of information, the first fiscal quarter always ends on March 31st, just around the time when Super Mario 3D All-Stars will no longer be available for purchase.
But after you look at the blatant attempt to boost profits in a time period where a marquee game would normally come out, it’s important to remember that Nintendo has another incentive to cut off sales of Super Mario 3D All-Stars. There’s a reality in which Nintendo breaks the collection up and allows you to buy each game individually for a slightly inflated price. The collection itself feels like your chance to get the “best value” price before they break it up into 25 or 30 dollar chunks. But if I’m honest, it is Nintendo and they’ll probably try to make you pay full price for an untouched version of Super Mario 64.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars would be a no-brainer for me if it was graphically retouched, or also offered the 3DS remake of Super Mario 64 on it. To me, I thought the bare minimum would be to just make these games run in 16:9, but Super Mario 3D All-Stars even falls short of that by only providing that “upgrade” to two-thirds of the games included. I think that Super Mario 3D All-Stars is bad package that Nintendo is trying coerce its fans into buying it by telling them it’s a limited time offer. The worst part however is that it’s totally going to work and Nintendo will make a boat load of money off of it. Or maybe the inclusion of Super Mario Sunshine is the worst part of this entire package? Who can say?