Super Mario All-Stars Wii Review «

Super Mario All-Stars Wii Review
Four legendary games, one empty compilation.
By Jeremy Parish 12/13/2010
Share it:Tweet The Nintendo Entertainment System launched in America as I was nearing the end of elementary school; I was the perfect age to become completely obsessed with it, and just old enough to appreciate what a leap of sophistication it offered over its predecessors. Naturally, the game I played most in those early days was Super Mario Bros. I was no stranger to the medium by 1985, yet Super Mario was, in many respects, the game that taught me to be a gamer.
But then, I’m hardly unique in that regard. Millions upon millions of nascent video game fanatics cut their teeth in the Mushroom Kingdom, learning to run, jump, and fling fireballs with that cross-shaped directional pad; it was a worldwide shared experience set to a peppy calliope tune. Scores of designers learned to create games using the lessons taught by Mario, too. Though plenty of game makers simply imitated the form of Super Mario Bros., the best explored its substance. They looked at the way Mario moved, the arc of his jump and the slight yet consistent inertia of his running momentum; the variety of levels he explored; the gradual upward curve of the game’s difficulty; the thoughtful arrangement of pits and enemies, and how these elements were carefully paired with the controls to create challenges that were often tricky but never unreasonable or unfair. And they built on those things to create new works.

Click the image above to check out all Super Mario All-Stars Wii screens.
Super Mario Bros. looms large in gaming’s collective unconscious. It occupies the same pedestal for the medium that William Shakespeare commands in literature, or the Beatles in rock music. Whether or not you personally like Super Mario Bros. is irrelevant at this point; the game simply is, and its ineffable existence has far more relevance to the medium’s past and future than your trivial opinions.

Given its importance, you’d think Nintendo would put forth a little more effort to commemorate its history. Sure, they’ve hyped its 25th anniversary, but that’s been little more than a marketing campaign — and a rather confused one at that, as most people seems to be under the impression that it’s meant to promote the 25th anniversary of Mario himself…even though he debuted in 1981. (Admittedly, Nintendo of Europe isn’t helping matters much by selling a Super Mario Bros. 25th anniversary Wii console that doesn’t include the game being celebrated but does come with a special version of 1981’s Donkey Kong.)

Click the image above to check out all Super Mario All-Stars Wii screens.
The real crux of Nintendo’s anniversary campaign, however, is this release: Super Mario All-Stars Collector’s Edition for Wii. However, this turns out to be nothing more than the Super NES remake compilation of the same name dropped on a Wii disc and sold for $30. Other Super NES games sell for $8 on Virtual Console, but it seems Nintendo figured they deserve a little extra for this one and released it separately to retail. To help justify the added cost, they threw in some deluxe packaging: a nice box, a soundtrack CD, and a book chronicling Mario’s history. Value is a subjective concept, but it’s hard to argue that these minor bonuses are worth the extra cost when they’re ultimately just window dressing for a zero-effort port of an old compilation of older games. They’re decent, but doesn’t a landmark like Super Mario Bros. deserve better than merely decent?


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