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Five Things: Super Mario Bros.

5-things-super-mario-brosMario the gaming icon is perhaps most synonymous with his 2D platforming adventures dating back to the 1985 hit: Super Mario Bros. for the NES. It was a pioneer of sorts and has quite rightly been cited as the most important game ever made. Naturally, a succession of sequels have been released spanning decades.

Unfortunately the past few entries in the series have stagnated and coagulated into a giant blur of similarity. In its current state, the kinds of originality and tonal differences that made the earlier games in the series so memorable, even to this day are sorely lacking.

With that in mind, here are Five Things that I think should be in the next Super Mario Bros. Game! Before we jump in, make sure you check out the previous 5 things article for Donkey Kong Country if you missed it!

5. A New Art Style
While I’d like to preface this part and say that there’s nothing wrong with the current art style, it’s time to change it up a bit. Part of what helped separate the early Super Mario Bros. titles were its distinct art styles and settings. You can see a screenshot of Super Mario Bros 3. and immediately identify that it’s from Super Mario Bros 3. The same can’t particularly be said for the latest cluster of SMB titles.

4. A New Villain
Bowser will ALWAYS be Mario’s greatest rival, but that doesn’t mean that he should be the main antagonist of every single title. Mario has gone toe-to-toe with different villains in the spin off games, such as Count Bleck, or Wart, but rarely does a main-series Mario game introduce a brand new character as a villain. At least one that’s not Bowser’s son.

It would be another great way to set it apart from the last few entries.

3. Online
Couch Co-Op is a staple of Mario games, and that should never change. But we’re also living in the year 2016, and online gameplay needs to be implemented in all games that can accommodate it. This goes double for Nintendo as they push a new system out of the gate.

Very often will a player only have his or her self, or a single other person to play a multiplayer game with locally. It means they can’t really grasp the full experience. It’s restrictive. More options are better for everyone.

2. Old favorite costume… The Frog Suit!
Each new Super Mario Bros. game does a pretty good job of introducing a handful of interesting new costumes, and many of the puzzles you’ll find within the levels revolve around using these costumes.

However, the Tanooki suit revival has proven to be very successful in its own right. Tanooki Mario even popped up in Mario Kart 8 as Downloadable Content. What’s the natural followup move to that? Bring back that cute Frog suit from Super Mario Bros. 3. Frog Luigi for Mario Kart 9 DLC!

1. Wario & Waluigi.
With the recent home console Super Mario Bros. games supporting up to FOUR player simultaneous gameplay, Nintendo decided to bring back the ever-popular Luigi and round out the selectable roster with…. Generic blue and yellow Toads.

Let me paint you a picture of the opening cinematic:
Wario and Waluigi are casually walking along a road when our new villain speeds past them with Peach in-arm, who screams ‘help’ as they pass. She has been kidnapped again! Trailing behind are Mario and Luigi. As they dash out of view, the dastardly evil plumbers look at each other and laugh, when to their surprise a henchman speeds past them with their collected treasure in-arm. It has been stolen! They panic and join Mario and Luigi on their quest to defeat this villain!

What do you think? What Five Things would you like to see in the next Super Mario Bros. game? Which series would you like us to cover next? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Hammer Bro. Suit!

    Arthur 97 on September 22 |
  2. Wario and Waluigi in would make me excited.

    Thomas on September 22 |
  3. I can already see the web comics of Wario and Waluigi “accidentally” throwing Mario off a cliff, or “accidentally” pushing Luigi into a Thump. ^-^

    Smash44 on September 22 |
  4. Actually, the Wario/Waluigi setup sounds like a better idea for a Mario & Luigi RPG.

    Javadoze (@Javadoze) on September 22 |
  5. 5. I’m ok with this.
    4. I am not ok with this.
    3. Absolutely
    2. Absolutely
    1. I’m not opposed to this, but I would find it extremely jarring if Wario was as athletic as Mario or Luigi. I propose instead of having Skins, have playstyles for each character, kinda like Mario 64 DS. Levels have secrets that only certain characters can access using their specific abilities. And if multiple players want to play the same character, i.e. 2 Marios, use the generic toads.

    I honestly just want another game in the Doki Doki Style.

    Jamesster445 on September 22 |
  6. I would love a lot of these, since Mario has just gotten stale for me. Or maybe I’m too much of a Sonic guy.

    Either way, one thing I want is GOOD co-op. In games like Sonic 3 and Rayman Origins/Legends, Co-op isn’t necessary but manages to add so much to the gameplay. It’s fun, and the levels are built around it being useful.

    Mario co-op has just felt more intrusive than helpful, as other players constantly get in your way thanks to annoying ways to interact. I especially found this odd in Mario 3d World, a game with much more room for space than the Wii titles.

    I’ll overall take anything unique and new in Mario. He’s just gotten so boring. I’d much rather spend hours on the Dreamcast than spend seconds going back to the cobbled together and repetitive mess that was 3d World.

    aguchamp33 on September 22 |
  7. Interesting list.

    5.- Yeah, totally, the NSMB looks is getting old, and a new artstyle might lead to new gameplay ideas…or vice versa

    4.- A new mainline game could use the “Bowser only as the first boss” idea that is represented in the RPG sagas, especially in Super Mario RPG. creating a new villain that could even threaten the Koopa Kingdom, so you will need to save even Bowser in some castle =P

    3.- Umm… Mario for me is a “in house” experience, playing solo or with a friends/siblings/parents/couple in the same place… but maybe if the game is in the vein of Super Mario 3 or World, both players could help each other by playing in different routes that affect each other… because playing with a stranger in the same stage would be a F… nightmare XD

    2.- The more costumes/power ups, the better, that frog suit was really hard to use, but it would be a cool challenge to use it in a new game.

    1.- Waluigi needs to be in a mainline game, I would prefer him as a mini boss with Wario then both become an unlockable playable characters in the new game plus.

    great ideas overall.

    I also would like to see more variety of wacky levels, like the good old gigant world =P, maybe a small world? or even levels with more than one route for exploration.

    Voyager on September 22 |
  8. I’d love a reinvigoration for 2D Mario; Miyamoto (I think, does he still call the shots on Mario platformers?) has let the series stagnate with rehashing the same game four times, and worse, it’s started to leak into other areas such as the RPGs. It was great when every 2D Mario played and looked differently from each other. I’d like to see a refreshing 2D Mario experience again. Now, as for the points:

    5. Most definitely agreed. I’m not quite sure what art-style to go with though, perhaps hand-drawn sprites or make it a 3D side-scroller like Donkey Kong Country Returns? Also, hopefully they change the gameplay (by that I just mean the physics and stuff) and not just the art-style, rather than having the same engine with a new coat of plaint slapped on.

    4. Also agreed. And by extension, hopefully the plot wouldn’t involve Peach being kidnapped either. I think it’d be really cool if instead of making a brand new villian they brought back Wart or Tatanga.

    3. Nothing objectionable about this.

    2. Gotta disagree with this one; the Frog Suit is very situational, being only good in levels with Water. I think it’d be better to bring back a suit that is a bit more versatile. Cape Feather or Blue Shell coming back would be pretty cool.

    1. Definitely. The choice to have random Yellow and Blue Toads annoys me even to this day (I mean, they didn’t even use the main Toad). I really found it stupid how they didn’t use Wario for the role of Yellow, and was absolutely dumbfounded that Wario wasn’t even in NSMB2 at all when it’s a game focused on coins and gold. It sucks how Wario never appears in the platformers. It was cool how he was in 64 DS, I’d like him to show up again. And Waluigi definitely needs to show up in the main series, but I feel he work better in a 3D Mario platformer (every 2D Mario is based on blocks and characters are two blocks high, but since Waluigi is much taller he’d probably be three blocks high, which would effect level design). It’d never happen but I think it’d be cool if after you beat the “Final” Boss in World 8, Waluigi interrupts the congratulations screen after the credits, revealing a bonus world where Waluigi is the boss. Probably an amusement park with giant casinos and pinball machines. Call it “Waluigi Land”.

    Now this is what I’d like to see in the next 2D Mario game:
    – A plot that doesn’t involve rescuing Peach or some other princess/princesses
    – Luigi having different stats instead of playing the same as Mario (slower run, higher jump, bad traction)
    – Lots of secret exits in the vein of Super Mario World, whereas in New Super Mario Bros there tends to be only one or two at most per world.
    – Yoshi being able to be taken into every level instead of having a few levels designed for him and never showing up elsewhere
    – New world themes instead of the usual Grass, Desert, Snow, Lava, etc. (how about a factory, or ancient ruins, or a theme park?)
    – The Bonus 9th World actually having a new theme instead of just having a level based off each world.
    – Playable Wario

    By the way, there seems to be an error in the second paragraph where you started to say something but didn’t quite finish it.

    MagcargoMan on September 23 |
  9. (Note: this was written before I noticed the above post, so a few points might be redundant.)

    First of all, is this about the New Super Mario Bros. series or recent Mario games in general? Because I personally feel 3D Land and 3D World did an interesting job at innovating – or rather, implementing the classic, powerup-based Mario gameplay in 3D. If anything, Nintendo seems interested in keeping the 2D games as familiar as possible while reserving deep gameplay changes for other titles, possibly to have a “safety net” of sorts.

    – Art style

    I’m not so sure about this, mainly because I feel the high number of style changes between the first Mario games were more due to technological advancements than an actual will to shake things up. By now the 3D Mario art style has pretty much settled down, even considering the large quantity of spin-offs: a radical change would run the risk of making the new game just not fit with the rest, unless the whole series quickly followed suit.

    If anything, I feel the new games could benefit from more level settings (I’d really like a true factory world, for example). Take 3D World, which had, among other things, haunted snowy areas, rainy levels on top of castles and a final neon world. That, and new level types: I could see a return of the Sky Pop or a close equivalent, especially considering how a fire-breathing Koopa Clown Car was actually added by Super Mario Maker’s developers after noticing fan interest in shoot-’em-up levels.

    – A new villain

    I don’t really see this happening. True, Mario 2 had Wart, but by now Bowser and Mario villain are basically synonymous with each other, at least in platformers. Zelda has other villains than Ganondorf, but since almost every Link is a different person I feel it is more “justified” there.

    That said, a funny idea could be having the new villain kidnap Bowser and having Mario and friends (Peach included) rescue him, for once.

    – Online gameplay

    It’s definitely something to consider, though due to the accuracy required by a platformer network lag could pose a problem. Then again, Smash fares decently even with it.

    – Wario and Waluigi

    I wouldn’t mind them at all, but I guess all depends on how “canon” the development team considers them and how willing they would be to make them “official”, mainstream characters – especially considering that, if I recall correctly, both were created by other development groups. I mean, they are definitely part of the Mario universe, but so far they have only appeared in spin-offs, with the sole (?) exception of Wario in Super Mario 64 DS (if the Mario Land series is considered a spin-off). Moreover, by now Wario is more about WarioWare than platforming.

    Another element to consider is that, while Waluigi is a blank slate, Wario has already his own platforming mechanics from the currently quiescent Wario Land series: as they are very different from standard Mario mechanics just including Wario in a classic 2D Mario game could be somewhat jarring, or even untrue to the character. Then again, Wario was shown using Mario-styled powerups in the first Wario Land and, more importantly, in Super Mario Land 2 during his boss battle, so in the end it would be just a matter of implementation.

    In the end, I think that if multiple new characters are introduced a Mario 2 / 3D World approach – that is, one where every character has their own physics, ways to interact with the environment and even specific attacks – would be preferable to how multiplayer is currently implemented in the 2D games: for example, Wario could have his shoulder bash as a basic attack in addition to regular powerups, like Rosalina has a spin attack in 3D World. This does pose a challenge to level design (ideally every level should be beatable by every character, regardless of differences in physics) but it’s definitely not impossible considering, again, Mario 2 and 3D World.

    Thinking about all this, I had a potentially interesting idea.
    While introducing a completely new villain would be a huge change, I feel bringing back an older one could inject some variety in the series. This has happened before with the Koopalings and Boom Boom, for example. Wart and his Subspace Army are an option – I definitely wouldn’t mind a new Mario game with some Mario 2-inspired mechanics – but I think one specific character could solve several of these issues at once.

    That is, Tatanga from the Mario Land series. Bringing him back in a main series game would:
    – make Sarasaland relevant again, and with it Daisy, another relatively popular character (I still remember the state of Peach’s Smash support community on Miiverse during the ballot) and possible candidate for a playable role.
    – create a stricter connection with Wario, since in the Mario Land games Wario was Tatanga’s employer.
    – open the doors to a stricter connection with Rosalina (already playable in 3D World) and the Galaxy series, considering Tatanga’s alien origin.
    – create opportunities for throwback shoot-’em-up levels, as mentioned above.

    Granted, Mario Land is still a spin-off series, but I feel something like this could be worth considering.

    Menshay on September 23 |
  10. You guys nailed it!

    Even if Wario and Waluigi were just antagonists…

    Dan on September 23 |
  11. I’ve been thinking. What if a new Mario game opens with Mario and Peach’s wedding where all their friends are invited. We then see Bowser invade and before he tries to kidnap the Princess again he is blown out of the sky and old villains such as Wart and Tatatanga freeze her and take her. Hey it might sound crazy but it will be a more interesting story than what we usually get.

    Isaac: Venus Adept on September 25 |
  12. When compared to the recent titles in the NSMB series, a new art style should be considered. Otherwise, complaints about the new game having “new” features with a similar art style will never end. Each entry in the 2D Mario games are have well made levels that only Nintendo can create, so I’m hoping that the level design will be completely different than what Super Mario Maker will do.

    I’ve always considered having Wario or Waluigi in a Mario game. Due to their nature, the adventure would mostly involve treasures as the goal so that senario could tie in with the new villain. Does a new villain have to include a new story? Where would Bowser and his Koopa Troop fit? Sometimes not every main antagonist has to be different like in the Kirby series.

    Adding old favorites like the frog suit is no issue and could easily replace the penguin suit. Item balance in NSMBU felt uneven as several could allow you to float past everything as long as the level allows it.

    Lastly online, will could be a real game changer if done right. Runbow is a good example even though it’s used in some features, but is still fun. However there is the competitive aspect of players having different playstyles and moving at different paces especially in the main story mode, added with a non-split screen game. If there was an extra mode for online only, then there could be potential.

    If Super Mario Maker is the game that does almost everything. Then this new 2D Mario game needs to be different but traditional in any way.

    Chris.W on September 25 |
  13. Here are some of my personal reactions to those points…

    1. I don’t know about new art styles. The Mario series at this point is quite normal to me as its meant to be in their original form. But if they needed to change the art styles it full potential, I think they’ve already made it to their limit of their style as its difficult to change further on. In other words, Mario universe were meant to be cartoony in style, and it may be difficult to change it to something more different like Sonic’s case. Smash Bros. were able to make its change to their limits, so I guess the form right now is good enough. Or if you’re talking something more different from what I’m saying here, then I’m sorry for misunderstanding.

    2. I could accept new villains other than Bowser. However, I do sense that may be impossible. Miyamoto seem to be overly protective with the Mario series now these days, which means he want to keep the series “safe”, as not adding anymore new characters. I don’t know what this really means, and eventually I don’t even know why they’ve thought that decision was a good idea, because its not. If they’re doing it for the new gamers and Mario fans who don’t know anything about Mario, then its understandable. But there are old fans like us who wants new characters with a new plot, so keeping old characters doing the same old thing doesn’t seem to be impressive as one-patterned storyline isn’t exciting anymore. I don’t know why they don’t do a same thing like Kirby or Zelda which they all allow new characters, but I do agree we need new villains to deal with.

    3. I do really agree that we should have online co-ops. NSMB series and SM3D series were meant to be multi-playable, but if you don’t have a friend and you’re forever alone, then it really sucks as boring. Online co-ops has been the most successful system for many gamers who want to play with other players for competition or simply fun, and its the best communication system ever made IF they’re doing the right thing.

    4. Bringing back the old power ups is a definite thing we want. Bringing back the Tanuki suit was the great idea they’ve done, alongside bringing back the Power Leaf as well. However, even there are several power ups we want to bring it back, some might be rejected due to being unpopular or forgotten. As far I know, Frog suit wasn’t quite that impressive by certain players due to lack of movement while on ground, and looked terribly lame in visual. Other power ups like the SML2’s Rabbit Ears seem to have been forgotten as well, possibly believable as being to useless and visually weird. It really depends on how people view these power ups as, but I do agree they should bring certain old power ups back at least once. In my choice, I would like to have the Hammer Bros. Suit back since its my favorite.

    5. I really don’t know about the Wario Bros. It really depend how Nintendo treat them as; best to go on an adventure as team, or simply join in party and sports game only. However, it may be an interesting point of having the Wario Bros. in the Mario 2D or 3D platform series. Just like SM64DS, each characters had their unique abilities, like Luigi jumping higher but slippery, and Wario being heavy and powerful. They both can use their unique abilities to unsolve puzzles or defeating enemies, something like Triforce Heroes but in a different and unique way of action. And for the Toad…well, I could agree they’re generic, but not quite if only one can be fast and powerful at the same time, like in the SMB2 style. Okay, keep the blue garb but turn the shroom spots back to red like usual.

    However, everything REALLY depends on how Miyamoto wants this series to be. As I said on #2, he has become more protective on this series as he now refusing to add anything new to the series in order to keep things “safe”. I don’t know what this means a lot, but it really sounds meaningless and ridiculous to me. I know we can’t be greedy on few things for the Mario series at this moment as we shouldn’t expect anything at all, but I do really agree that we need to have new changes for the series in order to bring the spark back. It really depends on Miyamoto’s decision now; whether to move to the next level of new things, or simply keep things old as being “safe”.

    zoniken on September 26 |
  14. I’m good with the idea of a new art style, and I know that Nintendo can deliver on that if they want to. A new villain is also fine, so that the games don’t feel so same-y all the time. Online multiplayer is a nice idea on paper, but I imagine it might not be as fun with random people around the world, especially when you know that you’re bound to run into more than a few griefers. Playing with people on your friends list would be a fine addition though, no arguments there. I’ve no real connection to the frog suit since I’ve yet to play much of SMB3, but sure, why not. And as Wario is my favorite character in the Mario universe, I have too say I’m a bit ambivalent at the idea of him joining Mario on a journey. I think it might be more interesting to have a game focused on Wario and Waluigi as a pair themselves, than to join them up with Mario. Even with that said, I’d totally play Wario in a Mario game. Considering Wario was playable in Super Mario 64 DS (never played it myself to know how he controls or why he’s there), I don’t think it’s too far-fetched.

    Spiral on October 6 |