Once upon a time, Super Mario Brothers 2 came out in Japan. The game is essentially a rom hack of Super Mario Brothers 1. Some new things were added like the whirlwinds. But it uses the same exact game engine and the same graphics and sound effects.
The West didn’t get Super Mario Brothers 2 probably due to the Japanese thinking we couldn’t handle the difficulty. But Super Mario Brothers 2 did not replicate the success of Super Mario Brothers 1. I remember some Japanese players saying they turned the SMB2 disk in for a fun game like Doki doki Panic. The West got Doki Doki Panic with revised Mario sprites as Super Mario Brothers 2.
When it came time to issue the portable versions, the GBA launched with Super Mario Brothers 2 USA instead of Super Mario Brothers 2 Japan. Why? Because Doki Doki Panic was the better game.
Aside from the fatal flaw of the lack of accessibility caused by the difficulty, Super Mario Brothers 2 Japanese was a flawed product because it was little more than re-using the same game engine.
We still don’t fully understand how video games are consumed. But one thing that does appear clear is that unless a new game engine is present, the game is never accepted as a sequel. Richard Garriot thought he could sell additional Ultima games while using the same game engine (Worlds of Ultima) but that didn’t work out too well. For whatever reason, the game engine is part of the experience. It is impossible to make a game feel fresh if it uses the same exact engine.
Stagnant is the word to describe Super Mario Brothers 2 Japanese. The game adds new mechanics but nothing to the Mario universe. The engine is re-used and makes the game feel stale. This complaint about Super Mario Brothers 2 Japanese does apply to the new 2d Mario games.
A message from Nintendo of America:
“Malstrom! Have you PLAYED either of the new 2d Marios? No, you have not! Therefore, how can you pass judgement on them already?”
Unless you provide evidence that the Mario universe is expanded with the games or example to show that it is not the same exact game engine, I can rightly say the games are re-using the engine and do nothing but make some additional gameplay mechanics.
I don’t think Nintendo understands why we buy 2d Mario. They probably just think it is about the ‘gameplay mechanics’. Let me ask Nintendo a question: if you guys were blind to the 2d Mario demand for decades, what makes you think you understand what is all going on behind the scenes today?