The Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Twitter account has shared another cut-scene from Super Mario 3D All-Stars, and this time we get a look at Super Mario Galaxy. The cut-scene confirms that along with shaking the Joy-Con to use Mario's spin attack, you can also press the Y button to do the same thing.
Is the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection nothing more than just ports? We take a look at the evidence for Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy on Switch to see whether that's really the case or not, based on in-game graphics, cutscenes, and the UI!
In order to build up to the release of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Nintendo of Europe has decided to kick off the week with a bit of Super Mario Galaxy music! Seeing as the upcoming Nintendo Switch title will feature a music player, this post serves as both a way to advertise the upcoming collection of Mario titles while simultaneously providing some iconic tunes to get Monday started.
I found the full image of the galaxy depicted in Super Mario Galaxy's logo - an edited image of Andromeda Galaxy taken by Robert Gendler in 2005. It took some tricky work to confirm, but I pulled it off. pic.twitter.com/5xhb9oIQ9O
Sure, Super Mario Galaxy came out 13 years ago, but people are still discovering new and interesting things about it. Case in point, the logo discovery from Twitter user CometMedal.
Turns out the starts featured in Super Mario Galaxy's logo aren't just random points of light drawn by Nintendo, but instead, are stars in the Andromeda Galaxy! Nintendo snuck a bit of real-world scenery into the logo, most likely to make work a bit easier. Still, neat to know where the visual came from!
At this point, you shouldn't need anymore evidence that Brie Larson is a Nintendo super-fan. Her love of Nintendo has popped up time and time again, and we have yet another example from a video Brie posted to her YouTube channel.
In a discussion about her gaming habits, Larson reveals that she actually got into a tiff with her boyfriend over Super Mario Galaxy. She was trying to beat the final level in the game, which was getting her a bit worked up. Her boyfriend told her that she was taking the game too seriously, so she did what any Nintendo fan would do...she kicked him out of the house!
You can hear Brie talk about this story in the video above at the 11:18 mark.
Super Mario Galaxy contains unused models for two Piranha Plant-like enemies that are notable for having names that do not seem to fit them, or perhaps hint at functionality not in the code. The one on the left is called "DragonHeadFlower", while the right one is "OctopusQueen". pic.twitter.com/Khtn1Y6CtO
Super Mario Galaxy came out all the way back in 2007, but players are still finding new content 13 years later. Case in point, the above unused enemies that were found hiding in the game's source code.
Both of them look like Piranha Plants in some ways, but also have features that make them a bit different. That character on the left is absolutely terrifying...that much I can tell you. Why Nintendo left these guys out of the final game is unknown, but at least they have their chance to shine today!
Day two of this work week and we're sticking with the Mario theme. There's a topic I've been pondering with ports of Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, and now's the perfect time to discuss it! As always, thanks for reading.
The Switch's Joy-Con can do lots of things the Wii's Wii Remote couldn't. There's NFC tech inside, it has HD rumble for a more immersive experience, there's an IR camera for unique tracking opportunities, and so on. The Wii Remote also had motion controls, but there's no doubt the tech inside the Joy-Con is much more capable of a sophisticated gesture-controlled experience. By and large, the Joy-Con is on-par, if not better than almost everything the Wii Remote had. It's the almost that has me worried.
The one thing the Wii Remote has on the Joy-Con is its IR pointer. A ton of games on the Wii used the IR pointer for menus, game input, and more. Super Mario Galaxy happens to be one of those games. There are a number of menus that you can interact by pointing at your TV screen and lining up the pointer icon. On top of that, the IR pointer was used for pointing at/interacting with elements during gameplay as well. Those are the areas that I'm worried about if Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 were to come to Switch.
Making menus work without a Wii Remote pointer is no trouble at all. If memory serves me right, both Galaxy games already let you scroll through menus with the joystick anyway. It's the gameplay areas where IR pointing was necessary, and I don't recall there being another way to manipulate things. Granted, I am an old man and I might be forgetting a few alternate control methods, but I'm pretty sure some areas in both games would need considerable tweaking.
The most obvious change would have to come with collecting certain star bits. In Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, you'll find star bits scattered all over levels. Instead of having to run over and grab them all, you could simply point the Wii Remote at the TV screen and "touch" them with your pointer to collect them. Not only did this make it easy to collect star bits that were both near and far in a level, it was fun to grab them as well! Finding every last star bit in an area and seeing them zip all the way over to Mario, no matter how far away they were, became like a mini-game in and of itself.
You could also use the IR pointer to fire off star bits at enemies. This would be great if you were running into trouble with some baddies, as you could stun them for a moment or two. If you were about to take a hit from an enemy, you might be able to save yourself the damage by shooting out a star bit at exactly the right spot. A second player could also come in with a Wii Remote and grab enemies to mess with them, providing another way for you to maneuver around levels without as much worry.
A specific IR Pointer action in Super Mario Galaxy 2 was tied to Yoshi's tongue. While most Mario games have you hit one button for a canned Yoshi's tongue action, Super Mario Galaxy 2 let you point to shoot Yoshi's tongue anywhere you wanted. The tongue would twist and shift to reach its destination, adding in a whole new layer of enjoyment. You could certainly take things back to how they were in previous Mario games, or perhaps add some other way of targeting, but I doubt any of it would feel as fun or engaging as the Wii Remote pointer method.
Outside of those features, there were other superfluous uses of the IR pointer. There were Pull Stars you would point/click to pull Mario through space, bubbles for Mario to travel in that were blown around based on where your pointer was, and Sling Pods that would let you pull back and whip Mario into the unknown. While these gameplay features were certainly made more fun and novel by using the Wii Remote pointer, mapping them to traditional controls wouldn't be any issue at all, and you'd most likely retain a similar level of fun.
I just keep circling back to the star bit collection/firing aspect, though. I don't see a good way for that to be remedied. Super Mario Galaxy made its way to the Nvidia Shield, and it let you control the on-screen pointer with the second joystick. As you might guess, that was a clunky solution at best. It barely got the job done, but doesn't measure up to the Wii Remote pointer in any way, shape, or form. If anything, it went to show just how integral the Wii Remote was to a big part of Super Mario Galaxy's experience.
Furthermore, if you're playing Super Mario Galaxy 1 or 2 on Switch in handheld mode, I would imagine the only options for star bit collecting would be the second joystick or touch screen. We already know how the second joystick implementation works out, which would make the touch screen option the better of the two. That still wouldn't be ideal though, as your hand would have to obscure a large part of the action during gameplay. That's not to mention the clunky nature of constantly having to take one hand off the Switch in order to drag/poke/prod your finger on the screen. Again, it doesn't sound like a great solution, but I'll take that over the second joystick approach.
Back on the docked gameplay side of things, the other control solution is to use the Joy-Con as a 'virtual' IR pointer. Thanks to the advanced tech inside the Joy-Con, it can do a decent job of mapping out where you are in 3D space. It also knows which what you're holding the controller, which can be used to roughly approximate where the tip of the Joy-Con is pointing. It's not a perfect solution, but it's certainly better than what Super Mario Galaxy did on the Nvidia Shield. World of Goo's Switch port utilizes this feature, and it mostly works, but it needs to be recalibrated quite a bit. Whether Nintendo could improve on what Tomorrow Corporation pulled off with their 'virtual' IR pointer remains to be seen.
If Nintendo is indeed bringing either Galaxy game to Switch, they must have found a solution to these issues that they're happy with. I can't imagine they would release ports that are fundamentally broken compared to the original. Whether they've got a virtual IR pointer that doesn't need nearly as much recalibration, or completely reworked star bit mechanics remains to be seen. Perhaps they thought of a completely different solution that I'm not even considering. If anyone can pull something like this off, it's Nintendo.
All I want for Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 ports on Switch would be for the original experience to be as close to intact as possible. Those two games are my favorite Mario titles hands-down, and they were really huge steps for what Mario experiences could offer. Part of that fun and wonder came from the Wii Remote interactions, and I don't want to see that content lost. I'll be hoping Nintendo surprises us with some unique twist or incredible solution to the problem. Whatever they do come up with, I'll certainly give it a try before I make my final call. With all that said though, I'm hanging on to my original copies Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2. The classics never get old!
This is a Thought I've been wanting to write for awhile now, but I've been a bit worried about putting it together and sharing. I don't want to ruffle any features, but hopefully it'll lead to good discussion!
I think we can all agree that Mario has had the most impressive run in video games as far as quality is concerned. Mainline Mario games are always top notch. There have been so many entries, and there really isn't a bad one in the bunch. There might be absolutely fantastic entries and really great ones, but it would be tough to find people who believe certain installments to be bad, or flat out terrible.
Keeping up that quality over all these years hasn't been easy, that's for sure. Nintendo is always breaking down not only what makes Mario fun, but what new mechanics they can introduce without having a game not feel like a Mario title anymore. It's an insanely delicate balancing act, but somehow the Big N keeps managing to pull it off. The team behind these games knows what makes Mario tick, and they have a passion for the series like none other.
Now even though there are tons of stellar entries in the Mario franchise, people certainly have their favorites. There will be Mario games people can put above a pedestal above all others, and some games that people will easily place a bit lower down on their list. Again, that doesn't mean the games are bad by any means. They just have a few elements that push them up or down an overall list.
For a lot of players, there are two entries in the Mario franchise that really showcase what Nintendo can do when they're at the top of their Mario game. Those would be Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Odyssey. Both games managed to maintain the classic Mario feel while putting their own spin on tried-and-true mechanics, and also breaking new ground for the series. Each entry has been a phenomenal success in terms of critical praise and consumer support, so there's no denying Odyssey and Galaxy are definitely among the best of the best.
That brings us to a very important question. If you were only going to get a sequel to one of these games, or you could have your pick of which game would get a sequel first, which would you choose?
I'll share my answer, but I need to clarify something first. I really do adore Super Mario Odyssey. I find it to be one of the best Mario games out there. Everything from visuals to level building is really impressive, and the sense of scale for the adventure is pretty fantastic. It also includes an insane level of charm across every area, character, and interaction. Super Mario Odyssey made Mario feel more alive than ever before, at least in my opinion.
With that said, the question isn't all that hard for me. While I love Super Mario Odyssey, I was/am completely blown away by Super Mario Galaxy. If I were asked what my favorite Mario games were, my top two would be Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, and their places could be interchangeable. For me, those games marked an unbelievably high point for the Mario series, and brought in a revolution like none other.
There's just something so magical about the Galaxy games. Exploring hugely detailed, open-ended environments in Odyssey was wonderful, but I just don't think it compares to flipping and flying around planets in Galaxy. The feeling of soaring through the air, collecting Star Bits, and playing with gravity were all extremely new elements for a Mario game. Plus, the way they were used in combination was supremely addictive. Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 were just pure, unadulterated fun for me.
I also happen to think that the music in both Galaxy 1 and 2 is quite a good deal beyond the score for Super Mario Odyssey. There are a handful of great tunes in Odyssey, but overall, I was a bit let down by some of the tracks. The good ones are REALLY good, but the ones that didn't do anything for me came across as a bit ho-hum and uninspired. Not bad, but not memorable or engaging.
The soundtracks for Galaxy legitimately brought me to tears in some parts. They felt so new for a Mario series, and so extremely epic. They heightened the experience of flying through space and walking upside-down on platforms, planets, and perches. I still regularly listen to the soundtracks for both of those games, but I only listen to a handful of tunes from Super Mario Odyssey, and not nearly as often as Galaxy.
While I do think Odyssey is a great game, my pick goes with Galaxy without question. I would love a Galaxy 3, which I know isn't quite fair, as there's only been one Odyssey so far. I certainly wouldn't be upset if another Odyssey were announced, but I'd be over the moon hearing Galaxy 3 was on the way.
Which series gets your nod for a sequel? Which one do you want to see makes its way back on Switch, and why?
There’s no doubt about it: Nintendo titles consistently deliver some of the best soundtracks in video games.
And when you start to look into how they consistently meet such high standards, all searches lead back to one name, a man just as visionary and influential as Shigeru Myamoto.
That man is Koji Kondo.
Kondo is like a master chef in a fully stocked kitchen. He creates perfect themes regardless of what he has to work with — from the limitations of an 8-bit cartridge to cooperating with other composers who bring vastly different ideas.
His work has become a secret sauce for Nintendo’s tentpole franchises, something they sprinkle into any dish and instantly capture the magic we all expect from these games.
Sure, sound effects go a long way in establishing certain franchises or characters. But it’s usually the music that made these games resonate with us years or even decades after we played them.
Is Ocarina of Time as memorable without Zelda’s Lullaby or Saria’s Song? Does Mario become a global superstar without the Overworld or Peach’s Castle themes? Kondo earned his reputation, and it’s not hard to see why Nintendo would want him as a music supervisor on every major title.
This past decade brought big changes to Nintendo, especially in the form of new directors, programmers, and composers. But somehow, none of that is slowing Nintendo down.
Every new release raises the bar for its respective genre. Nintendo continues to imagine worlds, characters, and musical themes that create special memories for a new generation of gamers.
So, with that in mind, let’s spend some time paying respect to four of the best Nintendo game soundtracks of the decade.
#4. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Music composed by Hajime Wakai (lead), Shiho Fujii, Mahito Yokota, Takeshi Hama, and Koji Kondo (supervisor)
The Legend of Zelda is a founding father in the history of video games. It’s a major component behind Nintendo’s enduring success, and when you think of the Zelda games, it’s impossible to dismiss the role that Koji Kondo’s music played in this franchise.
You might be surprised to see Skyward Sword made the list instead of, say, Breath of the Wild. But it’s important to remember that while Breath of the Wild might be a better game, Skyward Sword took the franchise’s sense of adventure and “hero vs. villain” conflict to new heights.
After the resounding success of Twilight Princess, fans and critics have always been divided over Skyward Sword. But even with those debates, Skyward Sword brought us one of Nintendo’s strongest soundtracks of the decade.
There’s a lightness and optimism to the core themes, and that tone perfectly encapsulates the game. It’s a great — and traditional — example of Nintendo at its finest.
#3. Super Mario Galaxy 2
Music composed by Mahito Yokota (lead), Ryo Nagamatsu, and Koji Kondo (supervisor)
For almost a decade, Galaxy 2 was considered the best 3D Mario game ever made. And if you can manage to turn your attention away from the unique worlds, the gravity mechanics, and the sheer genius of the game design, you’ll get to enjoy an absolutely masterful soundtrack.
Originally, Galaxy 2 was intended to reuse music from its predecessor. But as the game continued to evolve and grow, the sound team (namely lead composer Mahito Yokota) realized that the project deserved new music to match the new worlds.
Unsurprisingly, Yokota was right — the soundtrack quickly became a favorite among fans. And while the music still pays homage to classic Mario games, it combines those tracks with an excellent original score.
#2. Super Mario Odyssey
Music composed by Naoto Kubo (lead), Shiho Fujii, and Koji Kondo
When you look at tracks like Shiveria Town, the New Donk City Festival song, or even the remastered version of Peach’s Castle from Mario 64, Odyssey’s soundtrack ranks up there among Nintendo’s absolute best.
Odyssey brought a very different (and in some cases “weird”) sound to the Mario franchise. The different kingdoms have unique sounds, and each one explores different music genres, time signatures, and instrument mashups.
And yet for all of that tinkering, the game still matches the joyful tone of the game. Odyssey managed to capture an almost childlike sense of wonder, and the soundtrack added to that.
It’s a special achievement for the Mario franchise and Nintendo’s poster child. And in any other decade it would be impossible to choose another soundtrack over Odyssey.
#1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Original music composed by Hideki Sakamoto (with help from dozens of other composers, including Koji Kondo)
Alright, this pick is a bit unfair to every other game released last decade. After all, how many other titles get the benefit of pulling songs from the best games of the past 30 years?
But in terms of ranking soundtracks, it’s impossible to ignore what Ultimate brings to the table. The game is a love letter to fans of every type of game, and it’s clearly something meant to celebrate the industry as a whole.
The soundtrack is so broad and expansive that you might as well think of it as an all-in-one Spotify playlist for the most influential songs of gaming history.
Series creator and director Masahiro Sakurai is an industry legend, and when it comes to developing a new Smash game, the biggest question is “Which fighters can we add to the roster?”
The current list of playable characters will reach an astounding 81 by the end of February 2020. Bringing that many characters and franchises together is an enormous (and somewhat terrifying) amount of work for a single game.
The roster size and the number of stages all play a part in choosing which songs to use, and Sakurai made a bold choice on how they would develop Ultimate’s soundtrack.
He took the list of games represented in the game, then reached out to the composers who worked on those titles. Then he asked those composers to determine how their pieces would be used in Ultimate. The entire process took well over a year before they had a final list of songs.
Developing Ultimate is the video game equivalent of assembling the Avengers. And the result is...well, maybe not “original” music, but it gave us an unforgettable mashup that represented our favorite characters, worlds, and songs.
The game’s 800+ tracks delivers a whopping 28 hours of music, and one of the most unique collections in the history of games. A soundtrack that special is just one more gift from Sakurai to us, and it easily deserves to be considered the best Nintendo soundtrack of the decade...if not ever.
Of course, 2020 kicks off a new decade. And while we saw big changes across Nintendo over the past few years, it’s clear that there are even more changes to come. Figures like Miyamoto, Sakurai, and Kondo are irreplaceable geniuses; they’re also mortal.
One thing we can be confident in — that we’ve seen for ourselves — is that the future of our favorite franchises are in capable hands. As much as I loved the games on this list (and the ones that didn’t make the cut), I’m already excited to see what the next decade has in store.
...and, of course, the soundtracks that will be stuck in my head for months at a time.
Drew Gula is the copywriter at Soundstripe, a royalty free music company that helps filmmakers and musicians do what they love. He's also a lifelong gamer who will happily debate why Ocarina of Time is still the greatest game ever made.