My Favorite Games #8

Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario Bros 3 is a beloved game that largely perfected the gameplay that Nintendo originated in Super Mario Bros. Super Mario Galaxy did the same thing with the style of game that came about in Mario 64. It did so by primarily by taking a few pages from SMB3. Instead of the sprawling playgrounds of Mario 64, SMG uses bite-sized chunks more like the levels of SMB3. It also added a plethora of new power-ups. Ice Flower, Bee suit, Spring Suit. Again like SMB3’s proliferation of abilities. It took one of the best 2D games ever and transplanted its spirit into 3D. It is one of the most amazing games ever.

Super Mario Galaxy is the game that sold me on the Wii. I had held off on a new system until that point, waffling between the underpowered but interesting Wii and the too expensive PS3 while steadily thinning my stack of unbeaten PS2 games. Then I saw Mario Galaxy and my mind was made up. It was everything I could have wanted in a video game. Mario, as always, controls perfectly. It looked better than anything else on the Wii, better than most PS3/360 games one pure art direction. While there were some clunkers of star, like the trash destruction ones, since the games moves from goal to goal and area to area so fast, it is easy to bypass and ignore the crappy ones. At least until you whittle it down to about 10 starts left to get.

What I love SMG for the most, though, is that it brought me back to Mario. I hadn’t really played a Mario game since Mario 64 and while I played that I was possibly the only N64 owner to did not own that game. I hadn’t touched any of the 2D games since before even that and other than Smash Brothers I mostly ignored the spin-offs. But SMG reminded me that I loved Mario and his world. It made me want to go back and see those old games again. The Virtual Console allowed me to do so, but as much as I love all of those games I still love Galaxy the best.

The most visibly amazing part of the game is how you run around the small planetoids that make up the bulk of the game. It adds a layer of suspense, because you never quite know what is over the horizon, but it not at all difficult to navigate. There is just something awesome and intuitive about jumping from small planet to small planet. It works well with Galaxy’s limited but essential use of the Wii Remote’s pointer function. The pointer was always the best new Wii functionality, even though waggle got all the attention. The pointer is used to grab stars and fling Mario around. It is simply a new move to add to Mario’s arsenal and it makes for some fun tricky puzzles.

I just love Super Mario Galaxy. It, or its sequel, is the best 3D platformer ever made. It simply does everything well and just oozes the classic cartoon charm of the Mario series. It is a great game.

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