It must be great being Mario. He can pull off the moustache look, he has oodles of friends to go go-karting with, and he’s the star of some of the most cherished platformers to grace mankind… and he’s only 35! It’s been rumoured that Nintendo plans to celebrate his 35th anniversary by launching Super Mario All-Stars 2, a remastered collection featuring Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2.
In all honesty, Nintendo could just slap quick and dirty HD ports for all these games onto the Switch and they’d sell like hot cakes. But that would be such a wasted opportunity to do something truly special with these games. Here are five things I’d like to see Nintendo do to make this collection a ‘must own’ title.
1. Make that Eel Scary Again
Stay with me on this one. A key design philosophy behind creating remakes and remasters is to give returning players the impression that they’re playing the game for the first time all over again. For many people, myself included, Mario 64’s eel was their first ever piece of gaming nightmare fuel. But looking at him now, he looks like a miserable sock puppet. I want to see Nintendo make that sucker scary again. I’m talking about putting Pennywise the Clown or a Bloodborne-style horror in that dark abyss – something to make me petrified to go in the water! Remasters not only need to reintroduce classics to new generations, but also terrify another wave of first-time players.
While they’re at it, Nintendo should crank up the terror factor for that infamous chomping piano. I can see the ‘Twitch Jumpscare Compilation’ videos already.
2. Purple Coin Comets Are a Pain
Super Mario Galaxy‘s Prankster Comets get a lot of hate, but I actually welcome the challenge and variety they add to the gameplay…with the exception of the Purple Coin Prankster Comets. In Mario 64 and Sunshine, the 100 coin stars gave you the freedom to hunt for coins, rewarding player intuition and thorough investigation. Mario Galaxy‘s ‘collect these 100 coins that we’ve laid out in a breadcrumb trail for you, and don’t you dare miss a single one!’ challenges just feel like thankless busywork that frankly aren’t worth an adult’s time. Please Nintendo, just add five or ten more coins per level to afford us some leeway – having to scrub through an entire level again for that one purple coin you missed isn’t a good time.
3. 60fps + 360 Camera in Mario 64, Please
If the PC modding community has taught us anything, it’s that Super Mario 64 plays like hot butter at 60fps. The only other thing that’d transform 64’s gameplay for the better would be a true 360-degree camera to offer the most precise and pleasurable way to play. Of course, specific scenes will still benefit from the old-school camera. The Resident Evil fixed camera angles in Big Boo’s Haunt are still delightfully unsettling, but for the most part, total camera control would be magical. Undoubtedly, there’ll still be purists out there who think 64’s OG camera system is flawless. All Nintendo has to do to please both sides is give players the option to play with whatever camera style they prefer. Gamers love options, after all…
4. Good Lord, Fix Mario Sunshine’s Physics
After a long internal debate with myself, I came to the conclusion that Mario Sunshine’s jank and difficulty spikes are a large part of its identity. It’s undoubtedly the hardest 3D Mario game, yet collecting all 120 Shine Sprites is a real badge of honour. There is a point, however, when the game ceases to be endearing and instead becomes frustrating, and that arrives whenever Sunshine asks you to engage with its physics-based challenges.
Just the thought of having to roll that damn giant watermelon across a narrow pier again makes me want to go lie down in a dark room until I’ve calmed down. Even simple tasks like spinning a slot machine relies on the game’s God-awful physics. None of these gameplay ideas are fundamentally bad, yet in implementation, they barely function to an acceptable standard and will likely push you to the limits of your patience. Worst of all, the game culminates with the definitive low point of this plumber’s illustrious career: using FLUDD to sheepishly control a rickety boat across a sea of lava through Corona Mountain. This collection is intended to celebrate Mario’s 35th anniversary. I don’t wanna play his blooper reel.
5. Make the Game Its Own Game
When I think about this hypothetical Super Mario All Stars 2 collection, I imagine it as its own game, not just as a glorified DVD menu. Since the hub worlds are such celebrated parts of these Mario games, a playable ‘hub menu’ of sorts could really go a long way.
Imagine controlling Mario around a small portion of Peach’s Castle as toads chaperone you between a variety of chambers. One room could function as Mario’s private gaming man cave with a CRT TV hooked up to a N64, Gamecube, and Wii. This is where you’d pick your game, all through the gleeful eyes of Mario as he picks up the relevant controller to relive (and replay) his finest adventures. Another room could house an in-game shop where the stars you collect act as currency for unlocking promotional artwork and archive trailers for these games. There could even be a hidden room that opens into a playable version of the Mario 128 tech demo! Sky’s the limit for this one!
Cheeky Bonus Point – Give Us Photo Mode
Given Nintendo’s recent love of photo modes in Super Mario Odyssey and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I can speculate, with almost certainty, that this feature will be included. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s a harmless addition that allows players to get a bit creative when they’re tired of platforming. Sunshine is even holiday-themed, so making your own postcards would suit the game’s vibe perfectly. Plus, I just really want to get some selfies with Isle Defino’s Piantas.
For so many people, these Mario games made up a key part of their formative gaming years. If Nintendo steps up and puts in the effort, this collection would not only be a wonderful celebration of all things Mario, it could become the definitive way to play these classics.
Writer of words for tired eyes and lover of games that make me smile. Blogger and YouTube content creator who can’t keep quiet when it comes to gaming. Don’t like my work? Fight me IRL in Smash Brothers.