On Thursday September 3rd, Nintendo released their Mario 35th Anniversary Nintendo Direct. The direct had some neat things to show off such as upcoming releases of a Game and Watch console, R/C Mario Kart, and the release of Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES Online service. Of course these pale in comparison to the crown jewel of the 16 minute long video. The trailer and release date for Super Mario 3D All-Stars. A game that was rumored for months on end and not only exists, but will be released later this month on September 18th. The collection includes Super Mario 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy, 2 of these titles getting only their second re-release ever. As a fan I’m excited, I’ve never had the chance to play ANY of these games and now they are coming out in less than 3 weeks! Who wouldn’t be jazzed about this? However right after we were jumping for joy, Nintendo pulled a, well, a Nintendo move and announced that the game will only be available from the 18th to March 2021. Limited physical release and download release. Looking on twitter after the announcement the reaction is pretty split from what I can see. I’ve seen people talk about how they can’t wait to play the first 3D Mario game again and others mad about the limited release and the price point. As cool as this is, this does raise some eyebrows and some reservations within the Nintendo faithful, yours truly included.
Now this isn’t the first time Nintendo has pulled something like this, but hopefully they’ve learned their lesson. The most recent “limited release” fiasco I can remember is the initial launch of the NES Classic. I still have nightmares looking at eBay and the over $200 price tags for a system that was meant as a novelty gift for hardcore old school gamers. Luckily they did rerelease the system and made getting the SNES Classic less of a headache but they did receive a ton of backlash for the lack of product. In all fairness it is a great marketing tactic by Nintendo to say that a game that many fans have been waiting for will only be available for a limited time. It gives us consumers a sense of urgency and fear of missing out so we better strike while the iron is hot. However this sense of urgency has bitten Nintendo in the behind before (NES Classic again) but looking at their track record recently things are looking good.
Full disclosure I was able to walk into a GameStop and pre-order a copy of Super Mario 3D All-Stars the day after the direct with no problem whatsoever. I also saw other game stores I follow announce they are also open for pre-orders. By the looks of things, and watching some people whom I follow online, no one has had an issue getting a pre-order of the game. Just from that it looks like Nintendo is making an effort to have physical copies available to all who want one. Of course we also live in a digital world so if you can’t get the physical copy of the game you can download it off the e-shop which is something I was prepared to do. I’m an old soul in I like having a physical copy of my games but dang it if I had to settle withe the digital copy I’ll take what I can get. However one other thing I’ve noticed people aren’t super happy with is the price of the game. It’s a full priced game at $60 and I’ve seen people compare this to the Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy that was not only $20 cheaper, but added new modes and levels to the original games. Not to point fingers but this does raise a decent point and this isn’t the first time Nintendo has released a game at full price (Link’s Awakening I’m looking at you). Now I’m not too fond of spending that much (even though I’ve already payed for the game in full) but I know I’ll be getting a quality product and that puts my mind at ease. Also who knows? The physical copy could end up selling for much more down the line, these games usually do later down the line.
I mentioned at the top that the SNES Online service just got the original All-Stars game and I have to say it was a great lead up to the unveiling of 3D. I am a subscriber to the service and have never played the original All-Stars game so having it there for me to play is great. I won’t go too much into it but seeing a 16 bit version of Super Mario Bros 1-3 is absolutely gorgeous. Not to knock to original graphics and 8-bit art or anything but dang do these games look pretty. They also play very well and I’m looking forward to playing these while I wait for 3D to come out. Luckily the game isn’t too hard to come by if you want a hard copy, I’ve seen loose carts of it at trade shows and used game stores for a reasonable price. The Wii version is a little more pricey depending which edition you want, and if you want the cart complete in box then prepare to drop some serious cash for it.
Mario is the face of Nintendo so of course they’ll go all out for him when it comes to games, march, and celebrating his anniversary in general, but that also raises another question. What about the other big Nintendo franchises with 35 year anniversaries? Zelda and Metroid share one and while I’m willing to bet money on some sort of anniversary thing for Zelda, we need one for Metroid too. For the past few years the Metroid franchise has been very quiet with the only big news being Metroid Prime 4, way back in 2017 and nothing since. As much as I expect (and most likely will love) a Zelda 35 year anniversary game, we REALLY need one for Metroid as well. Of course this direct was all about Mario, and its well deserved. 35 years of being a gaming icon is nothing to sneeze at and I am very much looking forward to the next 35 years of our favorite red plumber.