Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 2, 2015

Email: You’re dead on about NSMB lacking the immersion factor

I know you’ve harped on this so many times before on your site, but I just wanted to say how much I agree with you on this point. As a child when the classic Marios came out, and especially with SMB3, I can’t think of any other game out there that had me so desperate to want to get that game to explore it’s world. The level map system helped cement that feeling of “I’m in a vast new world where anything can happen.”

It’s almost as if Nintendo read the quote above and interpreted as a computer would. Anything can happen to Nintendo meant Super Mario Galaxy – a bunch of nonsensical crap thrown at you. It’s not a cohesive, sensical,magical world. Of course it goes back to Alice and Wonderland… the world has to be something grounded in reality. Something fantastical, yet sensible.

Why has Donkey Kong Country, which used 3d imagery to build its sprites, been accepted and almost even iconic, but NSMB graphics have not?

I think a lot of this has to due with the fact that even though DKC uses “3d imagery”, the animation is still sprite-based 2d. The best angles are chosen for each sprite that give the most iconic looks. Plus, it’s a well known fact that film uses a slower framerate to maximize it’s visual scenery on the viewer – it literally creates a more iconic viewing experience. By limiting the range of animation through sprites, a similar effect happens in 2d animation – literally what we see are “the best” out the animation range and it’s more iconic. 3d animation is more fluid, but it has the same effect as those late night infomercials… cold and scientific, not mystical or iconic.


I really liked the aesthetics of Mario Galaxy (meaning the music and general vibe the game had). I loved its grandiosity. But there was no world, no universe. It was just random crap thrown at you with no coherent structure. Imagine if Zelda overworld made no sense whatsoever when looking at it as a whole. Super Mario Brothers 3 and Super Mario World had OVERWORLDS. The game MADE SENSE because of it. Metroid’s continuous game world makes sense because it has to make sense with it being continuous.

It was always said that in fiction writing, the author must obey the rules of its universe. If a fantasy book has magic defined as a certain way, the author must use it. The rule, if broken, needs to be explained why. If the author doesn’t follow the rules of his universe, then the reader will throw down the book in disgust.

Super Mario Brothers 3 is so rich because of the variety. World 7 is very different from World 4. World 3 is completely different from World 2. World 1 and World 6 are not alike.

You know, Mega Man games were popular due to their variety. Yet, the variety stayed within an overall frame.

Here is a fun question for the day: “What would an immersive 2d Mario be like?”

Whatever answers I come up with, I keep wanting to PLAY such a game! It sounds like so much fun!

This will inevitably confuse Nintendo who is convinced that 2d Mario is about level design and nothing but level design. Level design is very important. But I want to feel like I am on an adventure and not just doing ‘level courses’. What is this shit, Lode Runner?

Above: Lode Runner was a great game, but it was not immersive like Super Mario Brothers.

Nintendo acknowledges that the enemies and music of Super Mario Brothers is Very Important. If this be the case, doesn’t that point to the consumer experience being more than just ‘level design’?

Above: Ice world! Feels a little ominous and somewhat bleak. So awesome! Remember when Mario games didn’t constantly feel like a theme park?



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