Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 19, 2017

Nintendo still thinks lack of 3d Mario popularity is due to ‘accessibility’

Check out this interview with Koizuma and such.

GC: But I always found it disappointing that it sold so much less than the New Super Mario Bros. games, which were clearly more accessible to casual gamers. This is a problem all developers struggle with, but how do you balance the complexity and difficulty of a game with one that’s accessible? And do you feel the problem has gotten worse with the rise of smartphones, where a game that would seem relatively simplistic to ordinary gamers 5 or 10 years ago is now almost too much for most casual gamers.

First of all, THIS IS THE INTERVIEWER. The interviewer is injecting his own personal opinion which is wildly contradictory to the market. “I hate how NSMB sold so well. It only sold due to casual gamers. Wah.” That is what he is saying!

Now you know why I hate game journalists.

More incredible, look how Nintendo responded:

YK: So I think historically, just as a starting point, a lot of people have the 2D Mario games as a place where they become familiar with the series and some of the concepts; because they are so easy to play, so easy to understand. Whereas when we made the shift into 3D games with Super Mario 64, at that time I think we did notice that there was a slightly fewer number of people playing. We didn’t necessarily have the exact same number of players slide right on over.

Slightly fewer!? hahahahaha

They are lying to themselves.

Super Mario 64 sold 11 million, most of that from the United States.

Super Mario Sunshine sold 6 million, most of that from the United States.

Super Mario Galaxy sold around 12 million units.

Super Mario Bros. (1985) – 40.24 million
New Super Mario Bros. (2006) – 30.80 million
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009) – 29.90 million
Super Mario World (1990) – 20.61 million
Super Mario Land (1989) – 18.14 million
Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988) – 17.28 million

NSMB Wii sold more than TWICE as Super Mario Galaxy despite Galaxy being released earlier on the system. It’s clear that 2d Mario is the preference.

The 8-bit and 16-bit sales are massive especially when you calculate the population growth and additional markets that have come from twenty to thirty years ago. Also, the early Mario games faced a cold market, today’s Mario games face a warm market.

“But what about NSMB U that didn’t sell the Wii U? OMG, Malstrom!” cries the reader.

Let’s look at the sales numbers for best selling Wii U games:

Mario Kart 8 — 7.5 million
New Super Mario Bros. U — 5..19 million
Nintendo Land — 5.07 million
Super Mario 3D World — 4.82 million
Super Smash Bros. Wii U — 4.8 million
Splatoon — 4.27 million
Super Mario Maker — 3.52 million
New Super Luigi U — 2.49 million
Mario Party 10 — 1.76 million
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD — 1.72 million

NSMB U was met with disappointment and boredom while Super Mario 3d World was declared ‘best game ever’ and Iwata bet the company’s financials on 3d World (only to watch it blow up hahaha).

“Mario Kart 8 is so popular. OMG!” people keep saying. Well, NSMB U is the SECOND best selling game on the Wii U. So yes, 2d Mario did push the system despite it being seen as a disappointing 2d Mario of a disappointing hardware. If Mario Kart 8 is good enough to port over to Switch, then the next game ought to be NSMB U.

New Super Luigi U sold more than HALF of what Super Mario 3d World sold. There is no way to look at these sales numbers without coming to the conclusion that 2d Mario is what people want, not 3d Mario. Even strange Luigi 2d Mario expansions perform well. Nintendo doesn’t have the balls to put out a Super Luigi 3d World because no one would buy it. People buy 3d Mario for the Mario, not for the 3d. But people do buy 2d Mario for both Mario and the 2d.

“But what about 3DS, Malstrom? 3d Mario outsold 2d Mario there!”

You mean a strange 2d Mario that was about collecting coins that offered very little new while a heavily marketed 3d Mario, saturated in Tanooki suits, sold about the same? It shows how weak 3d Mario is.

Pokemon X/Y — 14.7 million
Mario Kart 7 — 13.26 million
Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire — 11.84 million
Super Mario 3D Land — 10.73 million
New Super Mario Bros. 2 — 10.25 million
Animal Crossing: New Leaf — 10 million
Super Smash Bros. 3DS — 8.12 million
Tomodachi Life — 4.98 million
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon — 4.82 million
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D — 4.04 million

You never hear about NSMB 2 for the 3DS despite it selling over 10 million units (!). On the Gaming Message Forums, all you hear about is Super Mario 3d Land and how ‘wonderful’ and ‘amazing’ it is. Yeah right.

This also shows how little Super Mario Maker is selling. Sure it sells a few million, but the reason why people are not drawn to Super Mario Maker is because there is no adventure in it. It is just a construction kit. How boring.

Now, let us return to the interview:

And so from that point on I think that we changed our awareness just a little bit, we were trying to think of, ‘How do we solve some of these accessibility problems?’ Our goal is to make the 3D games even more accessible than the 2D ones, so that that could become the entry point. And we look at that from a number of various angles. And one of the key ways that we decided on an approach to that is to create that kind of emotional resonance for players.

In other words, how do we get 3d Mario to outsell 2d Mario and have 2d Mario die? That is what Nintendo is asking.

What is NOT being asked is, “Why are we wasting so much resources on 3d Mario when it doesn’t sell nearly as well as 2d Mario despite 2d Mario being MUCH cheaper to make?”

Nintendo is interested in making games for themselves, not for us.

Nintendo refuses to give any serious production or creative effort into 2d Mario. Super Mario Galaxy gets the orchestra, NSMB Wii gets the ‘wah wah’. 3d Mario gets the Giant World, 2d Mario gets the generic ‘ice worlds’ and all.

It isn’t that 2d Mario is more accessible. It is that 3d Mario is being rejected. Nintendo and others are lying to themselves if they cannot see that.


There’s this feeling of detachment and you’re sort of removed from immersion if you need a lot of explanation, if something is unfamiliar. So we have to look at how can we create systems that will feel familiar, even if you’re seeing them for the first time? And how do we integrate them all together into one game, so that they seem like a seamless part of a whole? And that was the sort of synthesis work that the team had to figure out.

And so with that experience we’re able to do a lot of play-testing, and have people from lots of different demographics come in – really a diverse group. You have some people who are definitely core gamers and more experienced, but you also have casual gamers and even people who’ve never played games before. And we look very carefully at what is hard for some of the more casual or newer gamers to understand; and we try to identify each one as a problem that we can then solve.

They have no clue what they’re doing, folks.

I would like 2d Mario to be given to an outside developer such as Retro. Maybe that is what they are up to. Yeah right. Nintendo has no passion for 2d Mario, and it shows, but the market does.

You know who should be interviewing these Nintendo guys? ME. Can you imagine Malstrom interviewing them? I’d be throwing sales figures at them and history. “Why do you keep making something the market keeps rejecting? Why are you trying to make games for yourself? Iwata told you not to do that!”

Reader sings: “Odyssey! Yes see! Odyssey! Yes see!

We will see how this game does. Despite the juggernaut of marketing, holiday season, and hot console going for it, I think Mario Odyssey sales will go from strong to tepid as that is the case for every 3d Mario game. People expecting Mario Odyssey to sell like Grand Theft Auto are going to be in for a rude awakening. Actually, they have these irrational hopes every time a 3d Mario comes out.

“Mario 64 will rock the world with the N64!”

Mario 64 condemns the N64 to sales death with the exception being America because hot American economy had people buy 3d Mario just because.

“Mario Sunshine will rock the world with the Gamecube!”

Sunshine condemns the Gamecube to sales death with the exception being America because yada yada.

“Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 will rock the world with the Wii’s high install base!”

haha. Nope! Low budget NSMB Wii causes the Wii to sell four million units in December of 2009 in America alone. Unprecedented and has not been surpassed.

“Mario 3d Land will rock the 3DS.”


“Mario 3d World will launch the Wii U!”

Nope! Iwata bet his analysis on this, and he got served crow. It also showed that Iwata had poor market analysis skills to say what he did.

Now: “Super Mario Odyssey will rock the Switch!”

I know how this is going to go. It is not because I am some seer or have super duper ability. History tells us the probability of ‘Odyssey rocking the Switch’ to be low.

Meanwhile, Breath of the Wild IS rocking the Switch and the world. Breath of the Wild is a Zelda game with open world, RPG elements, ,and less emphasis on puzzles and story. Gee, who has been pushing for this type of Zelda for years? Hint: it wasn’t game journalists or Gaming Message Forums.

Now look at how Nintendo keeps screwing up Metroid and Mario. When are they going to right those ships?



%d bloggers like this: