Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Completing New Super Mario Bros. Wii was an enormous triumph.

This is the last post for my strangely long vacation. Please tell me that I didn't lose readers in the mean time. You all mean so much to me! Don't leave!! I really love this post for today, just so you know. Have you read it before? It's all about playing New Super Mario Bros for the Wii!


August 2011

Our house of many mushrooms.

Before I left for Washington in the middle of June, Andrew and I were on a steady schedule of playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii and/or watching an episode of True Blood every night before we went to bed. I quite enjoyed this seeing as it was fun and fulfilling and best of all he and I are excellent cooperative players at Mario.

With all of the insane hopping, jumping, flying, floating and stomping that goes on in a multiplayer side scroller, it is unfortunately easy to accidentally take all of the items out of the classic question mark block, or to bump into your co-pilot and send them screaming into a pit of lava. Some even call it 'marriage poison'.

It would appear that some relationship duos don't play quite as
harmoniously as Andrew and I do. I consider us very lucky!

When I first brought up playing Mario together, he had some reservations. Apparently he wasn't terribly well versed in the Mario universe while he was growing up, and as a result felt that he possessed inadequate experience to be able to play alongside me, Mario lover extraordinaire* since age five.

I quelled this concern, stating I didn't care how good or bad he was and that I simply wanted us to play together. I am sorely lacking in the co-op/multiplayer gaming department, seeing as I rarely had anyone to play with. I have a sister who greatly enjoyed gaming when she was younger (and does now again many years later) but that's really another subject. The point here is that when I have had a multiplayer game (that was co-op!) I always enjoyed the experience and I wished that I had more. So anyway, he finally agreed to play with me.

It has been a truly fantastic experience to play alongside him and watch him improve. He started out like anyone else did as a new player; uncertain, overly-cautious and accident prone. It was like watching myself so many years ago, and it was great. I've never been present for someone's first experience with Mario (other than my own, of course). I recall my sister being great at Mario and I repeatedly died, feeling forever like an extremely poor player. Andrew is now really quite skilled!

Currently, I am very pleased to say, we are at Bowser's castle at the end of the game! This is insanely thrilling to me because, and don't judge me here, I've never been able to finish any of the traditional side-scrolling Mario games! I know I know, it's absolutely shameful! And it certainly isn't for lack of trying. I have played Mario and Mario 3 so many times, but my goodness are they difficult. The original one I've warped to World 8 with all the tanks and just, no. No no no. As for Mario 3 I always always always get stuck on World 5 in the clouds. I simply cannot get past the cloud portion. Someday I would love to complete them both.

To my delight, the cloud levels in New Super Mario Bros. Wii are
actually extremely fun! I wonder what the creatures are called...

The level designs are absolutely superb. It's very much a 'just right' situation for me. The worlds follow the classic pattern of grass, sand, ocean/ice, etc. It is completely nostalgic while being very new at the same time. The presence of Blooper swimming dangerously in the ocean thrills me to no end and I personally believe that he doesn't have a strong enough showing in the series. 

One aspect of gaming that I've never quite indulged in is the secrets/side quests. I'm not sure if I've just never noticed them before, or if I didn't care, or if I thought the main story was too time-consuming or what. I've become aware, however, that I am missing out on a huge portion of the great gaming experience! To my good fortune, Andrew is very into secrets and side quests. This has made it a very easy transition. 

Between jaw-clenching, hand-cramping, eye-twitching sessions of the later levels that brought me dangerously close to screaming, we've been going back to previous worlds and collecting the star coins that are hiding in each level. It eases the tension of the more difficult stages and allows us to continue playing and keep having fun! Good on Nintendo for that feature. Of course the star coins are actually used for unlocking helpful hint content, but they keep me playing even when I'm feeling fed up so I'm happy for their existence. 

I can't wait to complete the final battle. What we've seen of it so far has been nothing short of epic. Nintendo pulled out all the stops to make it an enjoyable and exciting experience, even including some hyper satisfying throw-backs to the original final Mario-Bowser battle. The presence of real-time destructible environments really piqued Andrew's involvement levels and, quite frankly, made me feel 100% panicked and frantic.

I don't do well in the event of being chased by something that takes up half of the 
screen. I keep dying from jumping erratically. I wouldn't recommend this tactic.

Hopefully next week I'll have some screenshots of my own and an accompanying 'Success!' post to inform you all that we've finally finished the game. And to anyone that owns a Wii and hasn't played it yet, I strongly urge you to pick up a copy! It's so much fun but really does require patience and understanding, especially when your co-player butt-bounces you into oblivion right next to the flagpole. You have to accept that that sort of thing is just going to happen.


*I kid. I love Mario very much but I'm definitely not an extraordinary player :)

(Comic strip from Penny Arcade, cloud stage image taken from Nintendo's NSMB website and final Bowser screenshot borrowed with love from Gamespot)


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