Key TakeawaysNostalgia gives us a safe haven during hard times.Remasters allow new players to join in.Super Mario 3D World is more a refinement of a great idea than revolutionary. Nintendo
Remasters and remakes feel like a con. Many gamers, myself included, look upon them with excitement because they give us a chance to relive a memory from the past. But are they always great value for the money? Surely we should all be craving new experiences?
When I look at the upcoming release of the Nintendo Switch's Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury—the latest iteration of a game previously launched for the Nintendo Wii U back in 2013—I think I finally get it. We all want to go back to a safe place of a proven experience—something that we know works well for us and that also feels comfortable and warm. During a global pandemic, I think that's even more the case than ever before.
"It's a nice slice of history in an industry that isn't always so good at keeping track of its past."
Souping up an Old Game
I'm assuming if you've read this far, you know about Super Mario games. We've probably all played at least one title involving some of the most famous platformers out there. Super Mario 3D World was simultaneously a substantial critical success and a little forgotten about when it came to sales.
Released for the Nintendo Wii U, the game suffered because the Wii U didn't succeed like other game consoles. The Wii U sold only about 13 million units during its lifetime, compared to the Nintendo Switch's nearly 80 million and counting.Nintendo
Super Mario 3D World is arguably one of the best games on the system and also one of the best platformers in recent years, thanks to its fantastic level design and overall fun presentation. Its rebirth on the Nintendo Switch in remastered, enhanced port form is perfect for new players, as well as for those who owned a Wii U (like me) looking to return to an old favorite.
It gets even better with the addition of Bowser's Fury—a new campaign that's set to add a decent amount of new content to the game—along with an online multiplayer option and a screenshot mode. Ultimately, though, it is a souped-up version of an eight-year-old game.
Familiarity Is Reassuring
I was one of those people who didn't see the point in remasters. The funny thing is one of the first games I bought for the original Sony PlayStation (way back in the mid-1990s) was a game I played on my home computer during the 1980s—Bubble Bobble. I was buying remasters before I even realized what they were.Nintendo
The beauty behind a remaster or a remake, is that they bring a warm familiarity with them. If I replay Final Fantasy VII now, it reminds me of being a carefree teenager who could spend dozens of hours breeding Chocobos for the sake of it. If I replay Bubble Bobble, it takes me back to my early tentative steps into gaming with my mother. You don't even have to go that far back to have that warm, fuzzy feeling. A game only a few years old can still remind you of a better time in life.
Right now, we're all going through a LOT. It's exhausting and exactly why we could do with stepping back in time just a little bit to a safe haven.
Super Mario 3D World might only be eight years old, but right now, that feels like a lifetime ago for most of us.
Not Everything Has to Be Original
I touched upon this a little when discussing Immortals: Fenyx Rising—another slice of comforting fun—but not every game you play needs to be a step forward.Nintendo
As a big games player, I find myself obliged to discover new things and innovate in some way. Really though, it's a form of entertainment. There might be times where you find out a game has taught you something about the world or yourself, but you've likely played many more games that are simply a lot of fun, if shallow.
Super Mario 3D World isn't shallow in terms of game design, but it also won't teach you much about the world outside of it. It's positively frivolous and lighthearted; true escapism. The game lets you turn Mario into a cat so you can climb walls. What more could you want?
Still, it's a side step for what the Mario series offers rather than being anything genuinely innovative.
Discover Something Old (or Older)
If you didn't own a Nintendo Wii U, you couldn't play Super Mario 3D World. However, so many more of us own a Nintendo Switch, so this is the perfect chance for those players to discover something old that actually feels new to them. That's why Mario Kart 8 has been such a massive success on the Nintendo Switch—because many people didn't get the chance to enjoy it on the Nintendo Wii U.
"I think I finally get it. We all want to go back to a safe place of a proven experience."
You'd think as a new player, you'd miss out on nostalgia, but that's not always the case. Often you can retrace the steps of how games have changed over the years. It's a nice slice of history in an industry that isn't always so good at keeping track of its past. Again, when the current timeline is a little rocky, it's ok to take a step back and retreat into something more comfortable.