Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Totally insane ideas for a new Mario

   I`ve read a blog today that just fires me.  Far from trying to belittle Mario or Nintendo, GodofMoogles writes to encourage Nintendo to get back in the kitchen and make him some good, and truly innovative games in the Mario franchise.  While his opinions on Super Mario Galaxy and Donkey Kong Country Returns are, in my humble opinion, completely turvey, I find the thrust of his point one not easily dismissed.  While GodofMoogles merely wants Nintendo to start cooking with more innovative ingredients, I felt compelled to look for innovations myself that Nintendo might feel interested in pursuing, as much to prove it could be done.  I`m also doing this out of an enlightened interest to not start flamewars over passionate opinions, but to see if I can add something to the discussion.

  The following is a list of utterly insane Super Mario spitballed ideas.  While they might inspire new competing platformers, I thought each one would be well served by Super Mario`s existing cannon and cast.  I`ve also tried to aim for family friendly ideas.  Finally each tries something new and fresh, or they should; Mario has done a lot already and this is harder than it looks.

Idea #1: Mix Mario with Terraria
   Jumpman now builds his way to the sky!  This approach is fraught with complications, as Minecraft, Terraria, Little Big Planet and many others can all claim the game is a clone of them.  There is a very limited window for building levels on the fly with Super Mario assets, and I suspect the competition would force the designer to dig deeper into series lore, digging up Fludd, Star Road, the Rainbow Cruise Ship, and Luigi`s Mansion just to get started.  Invariably I keep coming back to Super Mario Jenga!

Idea #2: Super Mario Sim-RPG
  This idea combines the unusually deep cooking system in Paper Mario with Sims bars; Mario powers up more or less as a function of the dishes prepared.  Better, more exclusive dishes generate better powers. Then mix the whole thing with competitive platforming.  For best results, stir one pound New Super Mario Bros. Wii with online versus modes, and a deep online leaderboard. Serve with as many NPC cooks as possible, and don`t forget the unlockable recipies as a side dish. 

Idea #3: Super Mario Trick or Treat
  Although partially seen in Super Mario World, there`s a lot to love in the basics and more room to expand.  Give each of Mario`s already iconic enemies a series of new costumes. 

Idea #4: Super Mario vs the Giant Robots
  Contrary to the title, you can pilot your own mech.  Retaining the fun requires playing with ideas like transforming, firing off cinematic attacks and scores of bullet bills, and having ubber powerful attacks stopped at the last second by hidden power up blocks.  Best achieved if Mario can go toe-to-toe with the mechs with friends, and each gets to tailor their mech, or chose to go without.

Idea #5: Goomba EVO
  Perhaps this one is just good for a laugh.  Take the premise of EVO: The Search for Eden (1992J, 1993U, Almanic Corp, pub Enix).  There is a ready-made market in classic gamers, and the game, while copiously violent, still has potential as a family adventure.  Players start of as a Goomba, and when they have achieved enough experience with bite attacks, they can upgrade along any number of competiting evolutionary paths.  The best part is that the subject matter is Goomba, so the religious nut jobs protesting the SNES original can take a powder.  Square-Enix might have something to say about it, though.

Idea #6: Super Mario Smuggling Run
  You got me.  I thought of this one while reading about the LucasFilm buy-out.  Super Mario with a lightsaber? Passé!  Super Mario as Han Solo with his Dinosaur co-pilot? Potential!  Mario is connected to a ship (get over it Windwaker haters!) and must smuggle cargo past crews of Patrolling Lakitus.  Hide the cargo well or prepare to run.  Actually, scratch that.  Swap the Lakitus out for Masks (from SMB2/USA).  I`m okay with both Maritime and Interplanetary settings, although I wonder if there might be a way to smuggle through the pipe-maze...

Idea #7: Super Mario Boss Rush
  I love Galaxy 1 and 2, New Super Mario Bros, not so much.  There is one aspect on which the criticisms building against Mario are totally valid: since Bowser`s Inside Story, Bowser has completely and utterly stagnated.  He is a terrible bad guy, great when the series only needed a suggestion of trouble, but it`s running thin by now.  Idea percolating ... aha!  Battle Royale!  Bring back all of Mario`s biggest bad guys!  Let the lame Koopa King fight for his Princess for a change, or let him prove he`s still the baddest of the bad!  All while battling Mario. 

  That`s about the best I can do today.  As for credit, each of these ideas are already out there.  They would each just be much more fun with Mario at the helm.  I did this as a thought experiment to see how much further Mario, who has done just about everything already, can still go.  Here`s hoping the next Mario we see (after New Super Mario Bros U, I mean), comes up with some fresh infusions of energy to keep the series vibrant.  Thanks for reading.

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