Nintendo on the legacy of the New Super Mario Bros

In 2006, the iconic Super Mario series celebrated 10 years of triumphantly coming to 3D with Super Mario 64. That original entry proved that Nintendo’s iconic plumber could transition to 3D, and that it could be a juggernaut franchise in 2D. This became the blueprint for every 3D platformer for many years to come. Super Mario 64 looked amazing in motion, but more importantly, it played like a dream. To say it revolutionized gaming would be an understatement.

In 2002, Nintendo released Super Mario Sunshine on the Gamecube to critical and fan acclaim. The visual improvements from the Nintendo 64 and GameCube were evident, and Super Mario Sunshine once again proved a hit with fans and critics alike. While many celebrated the continued success of this 3D evolution for gaming’s most important and beloved franchise, some wondered if Mario’s 2D past was just that: a past.

New Super Mario Bros. (2006)

The last 2D Super Mario game was released on the Super Nintendo in 1995, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, and the Game Boy Advance only received remakes of previous Mario side-scrollers. As Nintendo worked on its next 3D entry, the now-adored Super Mario Galaxy for its hugely popular Wii console, the company looked to its even more popular handheld system, the Nintendo DS, as a potential home for a return to 2D Mario.

The result was New Super Mario Bros., a game that brought the series back to classic 2D gameplay but with modern visuals and gameplay conventions. “We are working on the New Super Mario Bros. series based on the idea of ​​recreating the original Super Mario Bros. experience released in 1985 in a new way,” says Takashi Tezuka, producer of Super Mario Bros. Wonder and The New Super Mario Bros. Series. “You can think of it as carefully preserving it while dressing it up with new elements that enhance the core gameplay.”

Recapturing the magic of the classic entries and bringing it forward in the then modern era, 2006’s New Super Mario Bros. was a definitive darling and a huge hit with players. The game sold nearly 31 million copies, making it the best-selling game on Nintendo’s all-time best-selling system.

“For the New Super Mario Bros. series, we did what we always do, which is to go back and review what we had in the past and see how we could make changes to make it fit for the current generation,” says Tezuka. “The New Super Mario Bros. series went on for a long time, and one of the things we accomplished during that time was creating new Mario fans.”

New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009)

The success of the DS entry led to three sequels on three different platforms: New Super Mario Bros. Wii in 2009, New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the 3DS in 2012, and New Super Mario Bros. U on the Wii U, also in 2012. Each entry in the franchise has sold well, charting in at least five of their console’s all-time sales charts. The Switch port of New Super Mario Bros. U is also currently in the top 10 for overall sales on the Nintendo Switch.

It’s safe to say that Nintendo’s attempt to bring Mario back to 2D after a hiatus in the late 90s and early 00s was a success. However, after 2012’s New Super Mario Bros. U, the series went dark. Although the New Super Mario Bros. games always sold well, more critical voices emerged with each subsequent entry, claiming the series was stagnating. Each entry is well made and well designed, but the games are similar to each other. Nintendo released the aforementioned Switch port in 2019, and that same year, Super Mario Maker 2 featured a style where players could create courses, but Mario’s popular subseries disappeared.

New Super Mario Bros. U (2012)

Similar to the arrival of the last 2D revival for the franchise, a similar gap formed in the aftermath of the last New Super Mario Bros. game. In fact, the longest gap between Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island on the SNES and New Super Mario Bros. on the DS matches the 11 years since the last all-new home console 2D Super Mario Bros. game. And similarly, the franchise seems to be focused on 3D entries in the meantime, with titles like Super Mario 3D World and Super Mario Odyssey carrying the franchise’s flag.

Although the absence was long, Nintendo was far from resting on its laurels, as developers continued to think of ways to deliver in a way that would make them and their fans happy. “It’s been a while since the last installment in the New Super Mario Bros. franchise, but as we create another iteration in the series, we understand that we need to go above and beyond the last title,” says Tezuka. . “So, for us, we were filled with really, really strong feelings about wanting to create something with a lot of rich content.”

In the absence of this, fans of the 2D side can get their fix with the auto-runner Super Mario Run for mobile devices or have their own fun with the two entries in the Super Mario Maker franchise. But it was not the same. However, it seems that Nintendo has found a way to one-up its previous games and now, the 2D part of the series is ready for another injection of life and a spectacular comeback with Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder (2023)

“The New Super Mario Bros. series has been going on for a while since the release of New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS, so we wanted to create a new 2D Mario experience,” said Super Mario Bros. Wonder director Shiro Mori, who worked on New Super Mario Bros. 2 and New Super Mario Bros. U. He says that he has also worked. “That’s how (Super Mario Bros. Wonder) started. We created a system for the game from scratch.”

This new entry marks the end of an era for Nintendo, which delivered four of those new Super Mario Bros. titles before announcing Super Mario Bros. Wonder last summer. But the company is hesitant to say that Super Mario Bros. Wonder will serve as a blueprint for future games in the same way that New Super Mario Bros. did in 2006.

“I believe we’ve moved into a new phase with the New Super Mario Bros. series, but at this point, we don’t know what the next game style will be,” says Tezuka.

“However, we know that Super Mario Bros. has set a great stage for the adventure of Wonder Mario and friends,” says art director Masanobu Sato in response.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder, the series’ first all-new 2D console platformer in 11 years, arrives on Switch on October 20. For more information on this exciting new entry and how it’s changing from the New Super Mario Bros. series, visit our hub by clicking the banner below.

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