This year marks the 35th anniversary of the original Super Mario Bros.' debut on Japan's Famicom console. Mario's anniversary is always a little sobering for me because I'm old enough to remember how he conquered pop culture for the very first time. Mario's been with me since childhood, through my teenage years, and he's here in my lengthening adulthood. I feel like he and I have some variation of the famous Footprints in the Sand poem going on. ("When there was-a one set of footprints, that's when I-a used a P-Wing! Woo-hooo!")
Thankfully, this iconic anniversary is coupled with strong rumors that make me forget about entropy for a little while. Nintendo reportedly has plans to remaster Mario's classic 3D games for the Switch, which is a very big deal: Nintendo doesn't remaster its Mario games often, especially its 3D Mario games. If this pans out, we could be looking at remasters of Super Mario 64 for the N64, Super Mario Sunshine for the GameCube, and Super Mario Galaxy (and Super Mario Galaxy 2, maybe?) for the Wii. There are also rumblings of a "Deluxe" edition of the Wii U's Super Mario 3D World, as well as a new Paper Mario game.
Social media is obviously alight with Mario fans listing their hopes and dreams for these rumored games, and the hype has made me realize something interesting: People have a lot of differing opinions on 3D Mario games. Mario's jaunts onto the Z-axis divides us in a way that his 2D titles don't. Sure, we argue whether Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World is the superior 2D Mario game (the correct answer is Super Mario Bros. 3, by the way), but otherwise we generally agree on takes like "The New Super Mario Bros. games are solid, if unremarkable."
By comparison, Twitter is currently aflame with 3D Mario feelings. "I hate Super Mario 64!" some Mario fans cry, whereas our own Editor-in-Chief Kat Bailey is excited about the prospect of a revised Mario 64, and so am I. Super Mario 64 DS is an admirable upgrade with a bad control scheme, so I'd love to see Mario's 3D breakout uplifted once again for Switch.
I know my excitement for Mario 64's resurrection isn't universal, though, because people have bad opinions about 3D Mario games. I meditate daily over this widespread failing of humanity. I try to let the ignorant negativity wash over me. Some days I remain at peace. And some days are March 30, 2020. What is wrong with all of you?
Mario 64 isn't the only controversial 3D Mario game. Heck, the Twitter noise verifies they're all controversial in some way. "Super Mario Galaxy versus Super Mario Galaxy 2!" "Super Mario 3D World sucks! No, it doesn't!" Etcetera, etcetera. I've only absorbed a fraction of the discourse and I'm shocked, shocked at some of the low-quality takes people have about Super Mario 3D World. All you haters have forgotten the joy of scrambling up and around the game's fantastical terrain while wearing a cat suit. Next, you'll forget the faces of your fathers.
Still, I can grit my teeth and hand-wave all these wrong opinions about Super Mario 3D World and Super Mario 64, but I refuse to sit still and listen to the world praise 2002's Super Mario Sunshine as a misunderstood classic. This is when I slap my hands on my desk and bark out "No.
I bought Super Mario Sunshine close to launch day, and it remains the only mainline Mario game I haven't finished. I readily admit some of its problems can be fixed through a remaster, its poor camera being one example. Nintendo might even find a way to make Yoshi less useless in Super Mario Sunshine, where he dissolves upon contact with water. That's kind of a small problem when your game takes place primarily on tropical beaches.
They don't even need to remaster Super Mario Sunshine Just program a map that shows the blue coin locations and let you get them from every missionThen it's the best Mario game— AntDude (@antdude92) March 30, 2020
It's also those tropical beaches that, in my opinion, make Super Mario Sunshine the most boring 3D Mario game to date. I don't mind sticking to one biome in some games: I'm fond of Chrono Cross' tropical setting, for example. But I don't play Mario games because I want an extended stay in a virtual resort town. I play them because I want to visit dark castles and sunny plains and dangerous worlds overgrown with plumber-eating plants. I was drawn to the first Super Mario Bros. game because Mario flits between levels above ground, under ground, under water, and even in treetops before he steels himself to conquer a castle full of enemies and traps. I was immediately engrossed in Mario's adventure because all I was familiar with until that point was simple, single-screen Atari 2600 games.
Super Mario games, especially retro fare, have always excelled at taking us to interesting new places. Even Super Mario 64 has wide-open skies, crowded hilltops, and gas-filled mines. (By the way, Mario's death by suffocation is kind of horrific.) Then along comes Super Mario Sunshine and we get beaches. Bays. Harbors. Parks. Nothing about Super Mario Sunshine's levels stick out in my mind, except for that weird, creepy boss battle that references Stephen King's The Shining.
If Nintendo's remaster of Super Mario Sunshine whisks Mario off its sunny shores for bonus levels—not counting those infuriating challenge levels where you perform tricky platforming without FLUDD's aid—I'll go ahead and give it another chance. But if the content in Super Mario Sunshine is unaltered, I will spray it with a hose until it retreats, gasping, back into the sea from whence it came.
This is my opinion. Allow me a moment to throw open my arms for the slings and arrows that are no doubt incoming. Super Mario 3D World forever! Super Mario Sunshine never! You know I'm right. Except when you point out Super Mario Sunshine offers a uniquely interesting control scheme thanks to the inclusion of FLUDD. Oh gosh, 3D Mario discourse sure is a mess. Let's just all agree the prospect of a Super Mario Galaxy remake is the most exciting thing to come out of these Mario remaster rumors.
("Forget Super Mario Galaxy, remaster Super Mario Galaxy 2!")
Major Game Releases: March 30 to April 3
Here are the major releases for the week of March 30 to April 3. Check out our full list of video game release dates for 2020 right here.
- Persona 5 Royal [March 30 for PS4]: The Phantom Thieves of Hearts are doing their thing again. Should you commit another 100 hours to their struggle for justice? I think so. Royal is a great upgrade to an already epic game. If you have the time to spare, dive right in. And if you're playing Persona 5 for the first time, Royal is definitely the way to go.
- Totally Reliable Delivery Service [April 1 for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC]: Society has huddled into a quarantine that's seemingly without end, and delivery people have become legit heroes. It's dangerous enough to deliver packages in our virus-saturated world, but the employees in Tinybuild's Totally Reliable Delivery Service ramp up the risk by making deliveries while dangling from helicopters, cascading down ziplines, and hanging on to the backs of cars. Join up to four friends to get the job done.
- Resident Evil 3 Remake [April 3 for PS4, Xbox One, PC]: Resident Evil 3 was divisive when it first came out for the PlayStation, and the remake looks to be divisive too. While we ultimately scored the Resident Evil 2 remake higher than Jill's playtime with Nemesis, Resident Evil 3 Remake is still a solid game.
Five Things You Should Know Heading Into This Week in Gaming
- I'd pay good money for the opportunity to travel down to GameStop's head offices and slap the people in charge with a fish. After pulling vomit-inducing shenanigans to declare itself a "vital service" so it can stay open during the coronavirus pandemic, GameStop is now ordering its employees to protect themselves with impromptu gloves made of plastic bags. GameStop's never left an amazing impression on consumers, but its antics during the quarantine are beyond the beyond. These are the actions of a company that knows it can't save itself, so it's busting down the walls and stealing as much copper wire as it can before it bails.
- With everyone at home and playing video games, companies are taking measures to make sure bandwith doesn't tank. Steam's made some changes to its auto-update, and Sony has started slowing things down, too. Digital downloads are a blessing in these rough times, but give yourself a few extra hours to download Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
- Need some background music for those moments when you put a knife in your mouth and chase people around the house? The soundtrack for the Untitled Goose Game is now available to stream. Peace was never an option, but great music is.
- If you're playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, we have guides, guides, and more guides. We recently broke down the nature of the islands you can visit using a Nook Miles ticket, so there's no longer a need to be totally terrified when you land on the legendary Tarantula Island. Need more New Horizons tips, tricks, and guides? We have you covered.
- These are unprecedented times for the world. Humans aren't strangers to pandemics, but the speed and aggression of the coronavirus is worrying. Stay healthy, stay safe, and try to stay isolated. I've been anxious and depressed, but something I read recently lifted me up quite a bit: The feelings we're experiencing aren't dissimilar to the stages of grief. In other words, it's OK to not feel OK, and you will adapt. If you get bored in quarantine, USgamer has a huge backlog interviews, features, impressions, and reviews for you to read. Enjoy!
Axe of the Blood God for March 23, 2020
Axe of the Blood God is our official RPG podcast releasing every single Monday. You can find subscription info here. We also put out an Axe of the Blood God newsletter every Wednesday, which you can subscribe to here.
MinnMax's Ben Hanson joins Kat and Nadia as a special guest to remember the awkwardness that was Square's direct to video era. From Advent Children to Crisis Core, the trio recount the good and bad of the compilation and wonder whether it deserves any sort of mention in Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Plus: Nadia's Bravely Default 2 impressions! Listen here.