…in more ways than one (I’ll get to that in a little bit).
So, my first post in a long while is a reaction of sorts. Yeah, I’m not exactly thrilled about it either but hey, at least it’s encouraged me to get posting again. That aside, Nintendo have decided to celebrate Mario’s thirty-fifth anniversary with some new products and I’m going to give my unrequested take on the main feature of this celebration. I’m sure nobody cares, but, then again, I don’t particularly care that nobody cares. Here we are and here it is…
The meat of this celebration (and the focus of this post) is the titular Super Mario 3D All-Stars, a remaster collection featuring Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy – three superb platformers from three sequential generations of Nintendo consoles. All three games are said to be optimised with higher resolutions and superior framerates. One would imagine that alternate control options will also have been implemented for Galaxy when using the console in handheld mode since the original did have some wiggly-wavy-pointy Wii remote stuff going on.
The compilation might seem like a quick, lazy cash-grab to the cynical but I think this is stonking value. After all, these three games comfortably crapped all over most rival platformers from their respective time periods. What’s more, all three offer something different, with different core mechanics. Finally, this is the first time that Sunshine and Galaxy have been re-released physically (Galaxy appeared on the Wii-U eShop and also the Nvidia Shield in China). It’s easy to forget that not everybody owns a Wii anymore; even less have a Gamecube. Furthermore, the Switch has brought a lot of new gamers and Nintendo converts into the fold so these games could well be all-new for a lot of people.
What I’m saying is that this triple pack offers a truckload of value for money. Personally I never enjoyed Sunshine on the Gamecube (very fiddly and frustrating game compared to SM64 and Galaxy), but I would love to be able to play Galaxy again with no pre-existing knowledge of the game, and experience it afresh. Galaxy was one of the few games I have ever played that I would not hesitate to award a 10/10 score to – it was that good, and is worth most of the entry fee to 3D All-Stars alone.
This being the internet and age of entitlement however, gamers have still found some wiggle room to moan about 3D All-Stars. “Where’s Galaxy 2?” they ask. “How can it be a 3D collection without Super Mario 3D Land and 3D World?” they criticise. Look: I’m a gamer like you all, and I’d be hyped as fuck to have ALL of these games in one package, but some people need to just stop bitching and always demanding more, more, more. If you don’t think that three of the most celebrated 3D Mario platformers are value enough, then you need to readjust your perspectives and expectations. If this was Nintendo trying to sell a few crusty old NES or SNES games for £50, then I’d be agreeing with the detractors. But these are big games with hours of entertainment to be had in each.
It isn’t all a big fat Mario love-in however. There IS one grumble regarding 3D All-Stars that I have to agree with, and this is where I return to this post’s opening where I stated that this compilation is “…classic Nintendo in more ways than one.” It’s classic Nintendo because there is some classic Nintendo bullshit attached to a genuinely decent product. The smelly bovine poo in question is the limited release nature (available until the end of March ’21 so a six month shelf life), which has – of course – generated a mountain of hype and FOMO. With regards to the physical version of 3D All-Stars, there is the totally expected frenzy of pre-orders that cause sensible, rational consumers to develop a headache. This is Nintendo once again returning to their toy manufacturer roots and driving sales by generating unnecessary fears over supply shortages. There will be no waiting for further print runs so everybody piles in, stepping on heads in order to secure a copy.
Nintendo fans are a special breed though. They will criticise Nintendo for their marketing strategy yet still fall in line and not vote with their wallet. Nintendo consoles also tend to attract sealed collectors who will buy extra copies to keep on their shelf, removing units from the available supply that others would have been able to purchase and enjoy. Sealed collecting is utter madness in my opinion but, unfortunately, it DOES tend to pay off in the long run with Nintendo software retaining high resale prices, and so the practice of ordering extra copies for display purposes or to tuck away in storage as an “investment” will inevitably continue until the end of time.
“Might pick up two copies. A limited run digital release? This thing is going to cost thousands of dollars in the future, lol.”comments section of the nintendolife news article.
I’ve also seen a lot of people with the intent to buy BOTH the digital and physical versions! Nintendo must be laughing their way to the bank with this shit.
Worst of all are the scalpers and re-sellers who are drawn to anything “Limited” and “Nintendo” like a Great White to freshly-spilled blood. You can bet that there will be lots of these sorts of people placing orders with multiple outlets (to circumvent purchase limits) for heaps of copies of 3D All-Stars to simply sit on until the desperate demand from Nintendophiles push the market price beyond the original RRP. This will be a six month investment in order to capitalise on the demand for sealed copies of the game post March 2021 but don’t be surprised if the RRP is breached before then, during the game’s official shelf life. It all depends on how badly Switch owners and Nintendo diehards want this game, how many want multiple copies, and how many print runs Nintendo commissions during the six month availability window.
Nintendo fans can be crazy, and anything can happen. Remember how expensive Xenoblade Chronicles became for the Wii before Nintendo eventually printed more copies. Remind yourself of the Amiibo situation and how all the sexy lady figurines were impossible to locate. Recall the Fire Emblem Fates special edition boxset for the 3DS which immediately sold out at its £70-80 RRP and was being flogged by resellers on the likes of ebay for £200+. This is what you are up against with anything Nintendo that is of a limited production nature. And gamers know that this will happen, so they will attempt to be faster next time thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and a cycle that never ends.
I mentioned Fire Emblem Fates because it was a perfect example, but also because it was the last time that I got involved in this madness – the final time that I searched and searched for a copy of a limited release Nintendo title that had had its back doors well and truly smashed-in by the “entrepreneurial” wheeler dealer re-sellers (side note: I did eventually secure a copy and it wasn’t worth the wait. I thought that the game sucked compared to Awakening and only big sister Camilla and her big sisters lent it any noteworthiness…). When videogames become more about investing and begin to resemble the stock market, then I say, “fuck this shit,” and bail. I also don’t enjoy being manipulated by companies who intend to instill that sense of FOMO in me. It’s one reason why I have gradually become more accepting of digital purchases as the years pass, and less interested in owning shelves/storage containers full of physical copies I’ll never use again.
Fortunately, Super Mario 3D All-Stars is also being released digitally! Yay! Or…not. In an unexpected move, Nintendo are also applying the six month limited release to the digital edition. What. The. Actual. Fuck. I can see where they are going with this regarding a physical, collectable product, but a digital download? Come on! There is absolutely no way this can be justified with any sort of sound reasoning. There are no licensing agreements with third parties to get in the way, and no costs that Nintendo will incur for keeping a digital product on sale. What it DOES do is invoke the same FOMO in gamers that intend to purchase 3D All-Stars at some point, and force them to buy it NOW as opposed to later, at their leisure. It front-loads the game’s lifetime sales figures and will inevitably launch it to the top of the sales charts for the year (I hear that it is already up there as I type this…), delivering some good headlines for Nintendo and impressive stats for anybody who can’t be arsed to dig deeper and uncover the contributing factors behind a game’s explosive success at market.
I’ve been reading the various speculative theories that gamers have come up with to explain the limited digital release, and the only one that seems credible to me is that Nintendo intend to break the pack up in the future (once it is pulled from sale) and sell each game individually on the Switch eShop for higher prices. And in true Nintendo fashion, fans will probably lambast their idol for such a shitty move (insert troll face meme here) while simultaneously eating it out as enthusiastically as they’d eat out…well, use the dirty side of your imagination.
Look, I don’t enjoy moaning and grumbling about things – honest. I’ve learnt to vote with my wallet and simply not support stuff that I believe to be a pisstake. As for the scalpers and sealed collectors…it’s their money, and this is capitalism, baby – we all benefit from it even as we pour our bubbling first-world fury into tweets and blog posts. Even so, the limited digital release is still a joke. I’d come to appreciate how physical collectors could battle for copies while the rest of us could still buy games at our convenience from PSN/XBLA/Steam/eShop and enjoy simply playing them. This turns everything upside-down though, and I hope that other publishers aren’t enticed by 3D World‘s pre-order sales stats and encouraged to follow suit.
The remastered package itself though is a great product that will provide hours of top quality platforming fun.