Tag Archives: Mario

Mario Portal

Indie Game of the Week: Mari0

Ever wished a wish that seemed so implausible that even mentioning it to your closest confident was too risky, as it would likely result in prolonged mockery at your expense?

As a kid, I once considered who was better out of Mario and Sonic. Nowadays kids are quite spoilt and you have irritating crossovers where Mario and Sonic compete in Olympic events. Answer me this, how is that tubby plumber ever realistically supposed to keep up in a sprint against a blue hedgehog who can run so fast that his name is typically used before boom or after super? I could continue my rant, but that would be unbecoming, so let’s focus on the positive.

Occasionally an indie developer will happen across an idea so beautiful and seemingly simple that they are captivated by the concept and are forced to bring it through to fruition. This has been the case in the creation of Mari0, which put in the most simple terms is the answer to the question of, what would happen if, in Super Mario Bros. Mario was able to use a Portal gun?

And this is a true answer, as the developer Stabyourself has completed a full recreation of the Original Super Mario Bros., and equipped the Nintendo veteran with an Aperture Science Handheld portal device.  The game also features a four-player co-op, a level editor, 33 different Mario hats, Minecraft style toolbar and a bunch of other tweaks, edits, adjustments and modifications.  If the thought of this alone hasn’t whetted your appetite then this video will, because it shows how a classic can be re-awesomed by tenderly shoving some modern in its face.

This game is free to download but there are still a few teething problems so be patient and check the forum for solutions to known problems, if this does run smoothly, it’ll be pure joy.

Supreme Commander FI

The Top Five Gaming Battles

In the build-up to Christmas we’ve been getting our teeth into a number of this year’s console gaming releases, and we think there is a common theme that comes out of most of them. Whether it’s Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Skyrim or the new Zelda game Skyward Sword, as a gamer you’re guaranteed some seriously epic battles. From vast legions of warring troops, to intense boss-level horn-locking, video game fighting is getting evermore challenging, intuitive, and cinematic.

Beyond this recent spate of conflict-fuelled titles, it’s fair to say that battles in video games are not a recent invention. Every gamer, casual or committed, can recall without effort a selection of his or her favourite boss battles or most memorable, epic, wide-scale clashes. We’ve racked our brains to come up with just five that, if you’ve played the games, will make you tingle with nostalgic bloodlust. And if you haven’t played the games, we’d seriously recommend rectifying that as soon as you can.


Call of Duty 2 – The D-day landing

A natural first choice, the first mission in the American stages of Call of Duty 2 essentially gave us all the chance to feel like Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan. With amazing graphics considering its 2005 release date, and particularly as one of the earliest Xbox 360 games, this mission gave players an extraordinary cinematic experience. The battle is truly epic in scale, and comes halfway through the game – by which point you might think you were settling in comfortably. The landing succeeds wonderfully at disorientating the player, providing both a shocking and exhilarating adrenalin rush, and lasting as one of the most memorable gaming experiences in history.


The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time – Final Battle vs Ganondorf/Ganon

Widely regarded as one of the greatest games of all time, The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time is absolutely packed with fantastic boss battles. Thanks to its trademark dungeon-based level style, players build up to, anticipate, and ultimately judge the entirety of the game on the standard and novelty of its various bosses. It’s lucky, then, that TOoT has some of the most original big baddies ever to bless Nintendo games (and that’s saying something). The final battle here is really two separate battles, with the pig/monster Ganon rising from the rubble of the (presumed) defeated Ganondorf’s castle. Both fights require skill and perseverance, both feel like a struggle massively against the odds, and both are hugely rewarding in victory.


Wolfenstein 3D – The (almost) Final Battle vs Hitler

Wolf 3D has a proud place in the hearts of many gamers, being widely regarded as one of the key games which helped popularise the first-person shooter genre. Players work their way up from being trapped in a cell with just a knife, to taking down the whole Nazi regime and defeating a robotic-suited, four-mini-gun-wielding Adolf Hitler. The boss battle with Hitler is an extraordinary and (for its time) terrifyingly realistic clash, requiring every ounce of skill built up over all the many previous levels. The boss himself is preceded by a horde of “Hitler-ghosts”, and he’s surrounded by a number of henchmen. Passing into the “green screen” of freedom after victory is unbelievably satisfying.


Super Mario 64 – Final Battle vs Bowser

The conflict between Mario and Bowser seems as old as time (if you were born after 1985 anyway), and facing him at the end of Super Mario 64 is a challenge appropriate to the epic scale of this brilliant game. He takes some beating – and an impressive display of strength (or three) from our hero – before he finally admits defeat. Super Mario 64 is seen to be one of the most revolutionary games of all time, and Bowser has to be one of gaming’s favourite villains.


Supreme Commander – Any Battle

At a first glance, Supreme Commander may seem like just another RTS game, consisting exclusively of epic battles between whole player-controlled armies. Yet don’t be fooled – this is more than just another rehashing of the Command & Conquer series. Supreme Commander takes the number of troops that can be controlled by one player to a new level, by letting the user zoom in and out – from an up close and personal approach, to surveying vast land-masses over which units are sprawled. The result is a game full of epic battles, on a truly grand scale.


So there you have it.  No doubt you’ll agree with some but not all.  In fact, you’re bound to have a completely different top five.   So let me know, what that top five would consist of, by either commenting below or sharing your list with me on Twitter or Facebook.


How the successes of the Wii could give us a clue about the Wii 2

We’re all well aware that the Nintendo Wii has sold in huge quantities and, even at time of writing this post, it leads the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in worldwide sales.  With the recent speculation regarding the Wii 2 (or Wii HD, Wii II, or other similar names..), I’ve been thinking about what Nintendo did right the first time to achieve so much success, and how Nintendo will leverage these points to ensure a similar success in their next console.

There are a few important points that Nintendo really got right at the time.  Most obviously was the unique style of play that it introduced and was subsequently adapted by Sony and Microsoft.  I think it’s great that motion controlled play similar to the Wii, Sony’s Move and Kinect hasn’t moved across to PC gaming and I, personally, would like to keep it that way.  However, motion controlled play works well on consoles, and I know many hardcore PC gamers who picked up a Wii when they launched, as it was something so different.

Nintendo also ensured that very few would be disgruntled by the arrival of another games console which would render their current model outdated and obsolete.  It is a seemingly simple move but making the Wii backwards compatible to the GameCube means that you can still enjoy a collection of games that you may have amassed over an extended period of time and through a good deal of financial expenditure.

The Wii Remote was a wireless controller unlike any other game console controller before it, and needed to be in order for it to operate in this unique style.  What was so crucial about this was that it was completely intuitive in its usage.  Anyone could play and it crossed generations and created an experience in living rooms that the whole family could find entertaining.  However, is it too simple? After enjoying the week with friends and family, I quickly moved back to the mouse and keyboard on the PC.

One of the key factors in all this was of course price.  Nintendo quite clearly did not opt for more power or even attempt to compete in terms of graphics, which  had tended to be the trend at the time.  This had the added bonus that there was no burning urgency to replace your old CRT TV for a HD TV to fully experience the sharpness of HD images. By taking this route Nintendo would challenge their competitors on a battlefield which could be argued had been taken for granted, that of a distinctive game playing experience.

Fan concept art for the Wii 2

Even now, the choice between Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 is difficult because both, in most aspects, are equally matched.  There’s very little to distinguish in general performance and operation. Both controllers have a similar layout and there are only a few exclusive titles.  What this means is that if you do want something fresh and innovative you have to look elsewhere.  Curiosity even among the serious gamers was hard to quell.  At such a reasonable asking price and such positive hype, it was hard to find a reason not to take a punt at this surprisingly attractive new model.  You could have your fully specced out PC for serious gaming, and then a £180 Wii to play with your mates. Perfect.

So now talk is growing of the Wii 2 and the question is, what will it offer in an attempt to replicate the success of its predecessor? As of this point, we only have rumours.  Perhaps it will have a tie in with the Nintendo 3DS as a controller, similar to how the DS was put to limited use on the original Wii. I ‘d assume that the console would be more powerful but I’d also guess that it won’t be significantly more powerful than the PS3 or Xbox 360.  There are bound to be improvements on the motion controller which was such a brilliant move in the first place but could do with refinement as it begins to show its age next the Move and Kinect. I’d also imagine that there would also be a continuation of the backwards compatibility trend, once again allowing families and those that have spent large sums of money on the games and accessories to put their minds at rest.  The trump card for Nintendo is the treasure trove of exclusive, first-party titles.  If you want to play the latest, Mario, Zelda, Star Fox or Metroid games then you’ll have to buy the latest Nintendo platform.  The nice thing about this all is that Nintendo would not necessarily have to break the bank to make this happen as the technology has been around for a while now meaning the the price should once again be relatively affordable.

Nintendo have managed to place themselves in the envious position of being one of the only technology companies that can be late to the HD party and not suffer because of it.  Once again Nintendo can rely on what they do best, creativity, which requires no sizeable increase funding.  What a win for Nintendo.  But, will they be able to do what they did with the Wii, sell their consoles to serious PC gamers who are the hardest crowd to please?