The Super Mario Wish List

For many, the name Mario is synonymous with platform gaming and console gaming as a whole. Nintendo’s mustached mascot has become a global icon over the past couple of decades, and his self-titled platformers seem to show no signs of slowing down any time soon.

With the release of each successive proper Mario title (let’s just exclude Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Sunshine, shall we?), Nintendo has found ways to up the ante, building on the formula and shaking it up enough to make it new and exciting.

SMB3 added super suits and a huge world where players could explore new areas by choice, Super Mario World expanded the exploration and included new platforming elements, Super Mario 64 blew open the Mushroom Kingdom into three dimensions and Super Mario Galaxies stretched those dimensions upside down and around curved planetoids.

So what now? As Nintendo has proved, nothing is off limits in terms of creating new Super Mario gameplay that builds on the predecessors. If that holds true, then there are a number of ways that the gaming behemoth could possibly enrich the experience that we’ve all come to know and love.

To fully dive into this idea, I’ve put together a little wish list for what new gameplay elements and features Mario could add in this gen, the next and beyond…

5. RPG Elements

No, I don’t mean Mario with a Buster Sword or Summon Espers, I’m talking about gaining new abilities and perhaps different collectible items. I mean, part of the game has you collecting coins and other trinkets, so why not expand on this idea and give Mario the opportunity to buy certain power-ups or items that can lift him to new, previously inaccessible areas.

Personally, I find Crackdown to be this gen’s greatest platformer to date, and I think a big portion of that had to do with the progression of your abilities. I know some would say this might not have a place in the Mario universe, but hey, anything’s possible.

4. The Cavalcade of Power-Ups

While I enjoy that the Mario franchise is constantly trying to move on and find new, more exciting power-ups (Boo Mario and Metal Mario come to mind), what’s wrong with giving Mario the full gamut of all of the power-ups that he has enjoyed over the course of his many games?

Why not build a game that highlights the tanooki suit or the metal cap in a way that ties into the gameplay and the world more significantly? Where’s the beloved Fire Flower and the Wing Cap? Bring ’em all back and use them, I say. It could even tie into a “story” that Mario games seem to lack, but more on that later…

3. A Whole New World

Part of what makes each Super Mario game so exciting is the sense of exploring each unique environment. This began way back in SMB3 and continues in some form in Galaxies with the planetoids. Why not go all out then and give Mario a living, breathing open world to explore? Imagine the whole of the Mushroom Kingdom open before you as you step out of the castle, ready for you to discover its secrets. Link got an open Hyrule, so it seems fitting that Mario could get an open Mushroom Kingdom.

2. Less Waggle, More Options

While I can’t deny that Super Mario Galaxies made decent use of the Wii-mote, I have to say that waggling every fifteen seconds to perform a spin attack got really old really fast. In future motion-controlled Mario titles, players need to be given a choice to go to the classic controller or something like it. This becomes especially true if the motion control can be performed with a simple button press, like the spin attack from Galaxies.

To me, Mario has so many more options available to him for motion control than just a spin attack. Picture flying over wide open grassy fields with the wing cap, using the Wii-mote to direct Mario’s flight. Or throwing fireballs with a wave of your hand. There are plenty of design choices available, so I hope we see more of those explored.

1. Story

It’s been said before, but it needs saying again: Mario needs a story befitting of the plumber’s great gaming legacy. Sure, part of what makes Mario great is his simplicity, but after 20 plus years of Princess Peach being kidnapped by Bowser, let’s think outside of the box, Nintendo.

There’s no reason that the next Super Mario game can’t have a superb story set inside of the iconic Mushroom Kingdom, spanning across mountainous terrain, underwater fortresses and even the starry sky. It doesn’t need to be some angsty Square story, either.

If the Mario RPGs have proven anything, it’s that our favorite plumber can be involved in some epic, magical storylines that still have the humor and whimsical nature of the other Mario games. Play the Thousand Year Door if you don’t believe me.

What do you guys think future Mario platformers need? What elements would you like to see explored?

Written by

I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

13 thoughts on “The Super Mario Wish List”

  1. How about peach being rickrolled by Bowser…raped, burned, i dunno. Nintendo: There are more than 3 ratings for video games, besides, E, E10, and T.

  2. In the world of video games classic doesn’t stay classic forever. I’d prefer gears of war over pong anyday.

  3. Those are all great ideas. That’s probably why I loved the first two paper mario games so much. If they would use some of those same elements like the story. I loved your idea of an open mushroom kingdom. That would be amazing.

  4. [quote comment=”711″]Umm….Doesn’t the Paper Mario franchise cover like all of these? lol[/quote]

    Not quite, as the Paper Mario stuff is still 2D. I would love to see a whole 3D environment that was dedicated to platforming that covered any/all of these, rather than it being kept to just being an RPG.

    But yes, those games are great.

  5. Eddy, great post.

    First, play Ratchet and Clank for the PS3. Best platformer I have played in years.

    New Super Mario Bros was also fun, did you play that?

    The RPG thing is kind of neat. It would be like Metroid, where you learn a new ability and that allows you to go to a new area.

    Great ideas all around.

    But Super Mario Sunshine was a proper Mario title,lol. Just b/c most of it was kinda eh…

  6. Paper Mario=2D?

    Not really….. I’d say it’s more 2.5D…. But whatever.

    A agree with most of these. A fully 3D Mario game in the RPG style of Paper Mario would be awesome on so many levels.

    I mildly disagree with #4… I think too much diversity could almost be limiting. Plus, as awesome as SMB3 was, I never wanna see Mario in a tanooki suit again. XP

    But just thinking about an “open mushroom kingdom” has got me drooling.

    P.S. Justin, you may be dissatisfied with the E, E+10, T phenomena, but I’m sure if Nintendo came out with a Mario game rated M, they’d never sell a copy again. I know I wouldn’t buy it.

  7. Thanks for the comments!

    Also, I should clarify. When I said 2D, I was thinking of the Thousand Year Door. The newest paper Mario is indeed 2.5D.

    And yes, the thought of soaring around with a wing hat over an open Mushroom Kingdom makes me delirious.

    Ratchet and Clank does indeed rule. A great platformer as well. You really need to play Crackdown, though. Don’t let it scare you away with its GTA clone-ness.

  8. I hated Super Paper Mario, they took out a lot of what made the first two really enjoyable for me, I’ve hardly even played it. I might go back to it simply to see The Mysterious Mr. L. I watched my bro play one of the parts he’s in. He’s lulz. Sunshine was just kind of stupid. Galaxy is alright but I haven’t finished that either, there’s just something about backwards longjumping up the forever stairs without 70 stars to get to the last bowser level that appeals to me. Or without any stars for that matter. XD

  9. Think of Super Mario 64. Seriously its a top game in my list. Best mario ever.

    We need a recreation of that, without it being a mirror image. Eclectic worlds with sweet ways to get stars. I played Galaxy and it was as close as they have gotten to 64 but it wasn’t the same.

    Recreate the magic that was the 64 version.

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