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Mario Christmas Wishes

by Kosta Andreadis, Billy Berghammer, Justin Nation, Mike Revier, and Kevin Ries - December 23, 1999, 6:16 pm EST

The first Planet Christmas Special! During the holidays of 1999, the Planet Staff discuss what they're hoping for in the next-generation Mario game.


Santa Mario!

As far as we've been told, and if all goes according to schedule, we could be playing the next Generation Mario title on our Dolphin this time next year. And while some of you are dreaming of opening Donkey Kong 64, Jet Force Gemini, or Sprocket on Christmas Day, we are hungry for the future of our beloved Mario. What if it was next year, and there is a brand spanking new Dolphin sitting under the tree, with the new Mario title sitting next to it. What would you like the new Mario to be like? The Planet N2000 staff has pondered this very idea, and here's what we'd like to see Mario (whatever it's called) Dolphin style.

Billy Berghammer

The next Mario game is something I am looking forward to most on the Dolphin. (outside of a Wave Race sequel) The Mario experience is something I have absolutely cherished most among all Video Games. Still to this date, I think Mario 64 was one of my favorite adventures. Every new system has come with a new and improved Mario, and each new version I have fallen in love with. Wherever Miyamoto takes us on our next journey it'll be sure to impress us all.

Gameplay I think is the most important thing Nintendo needs to concentrate on. Obviously all the Mario games out there have that Miyamoto Mario touch to them. Whether you are playing Super Mario Bros. 1, or Mario 64, it feels like you are playing a Mario game. I want this game to bring back that same feeling. The main reason I liked Mario better than say for example Banjo Kazooie is that it was more of an exploratory game, than a "go collect 50 of these, and 8 of these, and feed this to that" sort of deal. I still have yet to beat BK because of that. I got sick of looking for crap! Give me some platformer meaty goodness! Where's the game? Mario has never really made me feel that way, even after beating the game and going back for more Stars. If this game ends up to be a scavenger hunt I will be extremely bored.

I want a lot of the old school things to be brought back. What the heck happened to fireballs? Bring back the suits! I want to see more enemies this time around as well. All of the favorites from the past, as well as some new baddies. Just thinking about what Bowser will look like on the Dolphin makes me drool.

It would be nice to see the level system go back to the map-like route feel that Super Mario World on the SNES had. Everything was connected. I don't want an actual map per say, but I just want some sort of continuity to this game. Kind of in the way Zelda 64 was where you kind of did things in a certain order, yet you still had your freedom. It wasn't just "get enough of this to unlock this world" sort of deal. Also the "play this same level 8 times, but in a different way to get a star" junk has to go. Granted I still loved Mario 64, and never got bored, but NES, and SNES versions had tons and tons of different levels! Fortunately with DVD there won't be a storage problem, so this shouldn't be an issue.

As far as The Multiplayer aspect of this game, I think it would be a great secondary game. Mario has generally been a single person game, and I believe that should be the hardcore focus of this game. If Nintendo wants to add a cooperative game to it, fine. Playing this game cooperatively online I don't think would really be feasible. Possibly Mini games, but not the actual game itself. I think that with all that is going on with this game there would be terrible lag. I guess that all depends on Nintendo's network setup. Yet if there was some sort of multiplayer battle mode, that could work online. Perhaps a shell shooting 1st or 3rd person battle mode? Also on the hypothetical Nintendo network you could have a ranking system for high scores, level completion times, and other game aspects.

Graphics I really am not too concerned about. Mario is going to look pretty, no question about it. With a console as powerful as the Dolphin is planned to be, everything on screen should be quick, vivid, and with no pop-up. If these things become an issue, I hope Nintendo delays the release of this game. Problems like this should be something of the past by now.

The new Mario should be able to sound pretty spectacular as well since the Dolphin is a DVD based system. I expect full digital Surround sound and nothing less. Mario music has never been a problem, and with DVD, aurally this game should sound nothing less than perfect. I am one to vote that Mario and all the characters actually get to speak more than just sounds. Mario doesn't have to talk a whole lot, but I think when characters interact and there is actual dialog, it should be real voices. I hope Nintendo can get the voices down well, and use some quality voice actors. After hearing the voices on Sonic Adventure, I also hope Nintendo does a better job with the lip-voice synchronization. Sonic was absolutely terrible in this area. If Nintendo wants to make Mario more mature, the voice is one of the first areas they will have to work on. Making Mario sound like a Chipmunk on helium doesn't help. I don't want Mario sounding like some deep voiced Antonio Banderez, but more realism in this area could help in the maturity factor.

This game will be a winner. There's no question about that. I cannot wait to get my hands on this game, let alone screens and movies. But for now we can only dream and hope. Dinosaurs will once fly again, and rest assured it will be awe inspiring!

Justin Nation

Hrm... where to begin when it comes to Nintendo's premiere mascot? Well, thinking it over I guess the main thrust of what I envision for Mario on the Dolphin would be best defined as filling in the gaps. There were elements to Mario 64 that were outright brilliant but within a year of its release it didn't end up being terribly difficult to pinpoint a number of crucial areas Mario 64 was lacking in. Granted, these faults weren't the result of poor game design or vision, merely with the fact that Miyamoto and his team were braving a new frontier through defining the 3D platformer and could only try to do so much at once. Bottom line: I want and expect the jump in gameplay and innovation to be in line with the jump from Super Mario Brothers to Super Mario Brothers 3 (which, in my opinion, is the greatest console title ever made... though Super Mario World was a fine follow-up in a very familiar mold). The complexity in Mario 64 was limited at best, the levels were somewhat sparse, gameplay was almost always straight-forward, and really Mario himself was a bit shallow in his overall abilities. Anyway, here's a little more detail on the visions I can see in my head.

Graphics: I can actually see two very different directions to be taken here. One would be to go more of a Sonic Adventure route and let Mario adventure against the backdrop of quasi-reality. While in the case of Sonic Adventure specifically I didn't really like the look of things I think it was on a track to something workable. Changing Mario's environment to something along these lines would certainly allow for a greater variety in locales as well as giving some room to work with in making Mario more 'mature' overall.

While some people may concern themselves over perpetuating the 'kiddie' Nintendo image, though, I think the best way to do a new Mario is to work on creating a believable real-time cartoon universe for him to inhabit. Doing this would certainly be no easy task but in the end I think the shock value could be worth it. The only thing I ask there is to really work on coming up with some new ideas. Lava, ice, cloud, etc worlds have all been done... if they must be repeated really try to add something new to them. Make the environments come alive, abuse the other-worldliness of the surroundings and do things developers of more realistic games couldn't touch.

Sound: OK, so people may think I'm nuts but in many ways other than a few phrases I don't know how much I want Mario and his pals speaking. Speech can work fine in some cases in games but while people don't always like the now standard Rare method of having sound effects or noises double for speech I think it keeps your mind alive trying to think of their voice yourself. Just interpretation. Another thing I would like to see not change with the move to a larger medium is the music... I sincerely hope that Nintendo generally sticks with excellent MIDI tunes so that it can have those moodier transitions from being in a bright place to being in a dark dungeon. If nothing else the extra capacity and power should allow a wider variety of voices to use with the MIDI so I think doing things old-style this way won't sound much worse in quality overall but should still let the mood of the music change seamlessly with what you're seeing on the screen, all of which increases the immersive experience.

Gameplay: First thing is first... BRING BACK THE SUITS! I want that wacky frog suit, I want the raccoon suit, and I want that beetle shell suit that also lets you throw hammers. Also being back all of the terrific mini-bosses in so many different environs like the whole Koopa family you had to combat in past Mario games. Also, take a hint from your buddies at Rare and shoot for a wide variety of influences when it comes to puzzles ranging from those requiring dexterity, to those using music, to almost anything you can conceive. Finally... SECRETS! Dangit, I want those difficult things like the keys back that are relatively optional and a pain in the ass to find/accomplish... things that open up alternative stages (ala Mario World)... things that let the hardcore gamers chew on something extra spicy while still allowing the novices to blow through without a care in the world.

Multi-player: Well, other than incorporating some wild mini-games into things I wouldn't worry much in this area... other than when alternating with a friend Mario games have always been a solitary experience... Mario doesn't need multi-player and honestly it would just be slowed down and provided an added opportunity to disappoint given any specific features that made people think of it as a multi-player title. Let Mario and company stick to what they do best.

In the end I'd say let Mario continue to defy traditional expectations and marketing predictions. He is an enigma... a character concept so ridiculous and impossible to identify with (a fat Italian plumber who goes through utter hell to save a Princess, who will only bake him a cake or maybe give him a kiss, from a big dragon-like beast called Bowser) and yet none of that matters... Mario rocks. Let's hope Nintendo is able to keep him quirky while still satisfying people so completely that they forget how 'kiddie' he may look.

Kosta Andreadis

Mario is synonymous with Nintendo, I think I can go as far as to say that they have become one and the same. Each new console begins its life with Mario and the beloved world that Miyamoto has created, and the Dolphin will not be an exception. Mario is not merely a game, to many it is a symbol of dreams and creativity, Miyamoto's humble creation of a plump Italian plumber and his exploits have won over millions of fans and garnered himself in history as one of videogames true innovators and masters. On the NES he showed us the glory of 2D platformers, on the SNES we saw that genre mastered. On the N64 we saw true 3D gaming with Mario 64, and how fun and brilliant it could be. For Mario's next installment on the Dolphin what will we see? Well I'm sure the final product will surpass my vision of the game, but I'll say it anyway.

Graphics: With the obvious restrictions that the N64 has in terms of graphical power by today's standards, I believe Mario for the Dolphin will be a true visual experience as much as it will be in terms of gameplay. I'm sure we'll see facial expressions on Mario, and Luigi, motion captured realistic movement. Huge 3D worlds, but easily navigated and action packed. Realistic environments that you can see into the horizon mixed with a cartoony overtone of colorful and richly animated characters, which will have various levels of intelligence. I could go on, but I'll leave it there...

Sound: With the DVD medium, Konji Kondo will find no restrictions in the wonderful and familiar musical accompaniments that the next Mario will have. Mario and Luigi and all the other main players will be voice acted to bring an element of suspense and emotion to Mario, all presented in surround sound. If nothing else the next Mario will be the best aural (not oral!) game of the series.

Gameplay: This is where the game really shines, I expect the next Mario to be THE 3D platformer. What I'd like to see is the return of the suits from Super Mario 3(including the frog suit), and of course the reunion of Mario and Yoshi. Also as all 3D platformers after Mario 64 copied its star collection of gameplay, ie Banjo Kazooie and DK64 aswell as crappy Playstation imitations, maybe the next Mario will opt for something entirely different. What it could be I don't know, maybe the level advancement of old? I'm not sure.

Co-operative gameplay will most likely return, and even an on-line strategy where two people can play together co-operatively over the internet, instead of a lame deathmatch style mode.

Whatever the outcome of the next Mario, I think it will surpass our dreams and expectations of the game. Come on, this is Miyamoto and Nintendo we're talking about.

Kevin Ries

As I look back at my old friend Mario, I can't help but think all the things he's done. He's been a super hero, referee, doctor, board game piece, bunny, tennis player, plumber, kart racer, monkey killer, baby, raccoon, movie star, fighter, pinball paddle, time traveler, professional bomber, teacher, frog, face on Mt. Rushmore, statue, painter, chef, crowd member, gambler, bike rider… Uh, did I miss anything? I'm sure I did. Anyway, hopefully you get my point. Mario is as popular as pants in this world.

As far as the first Mario game on Dolphin (I'll call it Mario X), the first thing I would look for is old school games. With a 2+ GIG DVD disc, I'm sure they can squeeze some classics in there, just to make it that much more worth it.

Now let's get down to the game itself. Graphically, prepare to be stunned. This game without a doubt will amaze you. What I hope for is a life-like environment, but with classic character design. If they change the way Mario looks, that would be like taking the pockets out of pants. It wouldn't look or feel right controlling someone that looks human. Save that for Shenmue. Keep all characters the same, but make everything else life-like (not REAL, just real looking). Lastly, we should take a look at Super Mario 64 and see what that has left us. Take graphical ideas and concepts from that game (the pyramid is an excellent example), and input them into the ideas for Mario X.

Play control could be improved from Mario 64. Obviously, Mario 64 was Nintendo's first plunge into the true 3D world, and it's bound to have errors. I say, make the movement of Mario more like Link in Zelda:OOT, where Link is easier to control and judge. More attack buttons would be nice. The camera should be less complicated… The Banjo-Kazooie camera was much better than the one in Mario 64.

As for gameplay, BRING BACK MARIO 3! Powerups everywhere you turn, and about 50 more in reserve. Enemies are EVERYWHERE. If one thing bothered me in Mario 64, it would be the lack of enemies (and the damage they gave you). If you ask me, Nintendo has lightened up on the difficulty a lot. Just look at Zelda:OOT. You get ran over by an infernal dinosaur and loose half a heart. Powerups were needed very much in Mario 64. Mario was the same 99.6% of the game. Caps were scarce, and that's really all you got. Bring back the fireballs! Bring back the raccoon suit! And for God's sake, bring back the hammer brother's suit!

I was happy with the levels in Mario 64. I especially liked the haunted house and the pyramid. Of course, there's plenty of room for improvement. Connect the levels like in Zelda:OOT. Give each level a theme and supporting characters, like in Banjo-Kazooie. Give more level objectives like in JFG or Goldeneye. Maybe after you beat a level, you have to complete world 4-3 in Mario 1 to get a star. I just want Nintendo to go crazy and mix things up.

Now for the icing on the cake, CHARACTERS. Bring them ALL back. Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Wario Booster (perhaps Bowser, Wario and Booster could team up), Toad, Yoshi, all those little Koopa bastards (you know, Wendy, and… uh…), hell even Donkey Kong… Get my drift? The more, the better. Which leads to my next point…

Multiplayer! I have no idea how this would be done, but you could have an online battle with all your favorite Mario X characters in your favorite Mario X levels. That's all I got there… Leave the rest to good old Nintendo.

And now the candles on the cake, the elusive GBA. Minigames are an obvious feature, but I was thinking of a level designer you can use with the GBA to create your own environments, and upload them for others to use. The GBA will use polygons, so this would be a good chance to use them.

WHEW. Well, sound good to you? I hope so, my fingers hurt.

Mike "Rampage" Revier

Mario is a game which we will never forget. It is the most popular game collection in the industry. We were introduced to Mario and Luigi in Super Mario Brothers for the NES. Since then the game franchise has gotten more popular then ever. Now the next-generation is dawning upon us. What will we expect...how about the most brilliant pieces of work that Miyamoto has ever created. It will go beyond our dreams and exceed our expectations...

Characters: Not so simple, we have been introduced to so many characters in the Mario franchise that there will be a lot of characters. Of course, Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool will in the game. The boss: well we can always say that it is bowser. But the way things are now I think that we will introduced to a bigger more fierce creature is probable.

Name: Probably Super Mario 2000 or Super Mario 128 or 256.

Level Design: Nintendo has been known to make newer and more complex levels of Mario games. In NES you just kept on going and couldn't go back and in Super Mario World that all changed. In Super Mario 64, there were so many complex designs and we able to go through vast 3D worlds. Now in the dawning of the next-generation things will be different. They will make things probably 4D( the forth dimension is presumed to be time if you didn't know). Over time things will change in the 3D world like trees will grow and die off and the seasons will change. And the world might actually live up to it's name, Super Mario WORLD. We will probably be able to go through an entire plant because of the DVD medium.

Online Capabilities: Well I really don't think that Nintendo will make a Deathmatch for the Mario characters, they have already stopped the "gun-games" for the 64 because they are violent. Mario Party was different, you just duked it out with your friends and it was fun and it did not include killing. Well what will this game be able to do? Well you can probably trade game saves. Also you may be able to do a two-player game in which you and the other player beat a level together.

Graphics: Well how could you put it? The dolphin uses DVD and is probably going to be 256-bits of power. You would see detailed expressions on the characters faces. And when you would see a pool of water, it would look like a pool of water. Heh. Well what else could I come up with. Anyways you would see things in a far off distance and you wouldn't see a part of the game suddenly disappear for a second which mean if you have ever played Tomb Raider you would know what I am talking about.

Gameplay: I would say about 100 hours to beat it. Miyamoto wants to keep us busy until to unfolds the next thing up his sleeves. I would like to have the way they did in super Mario 64 in the camera angles. would like to have the control as Jet Force Gemini. And the sound...well I would like to have it from Squaresoft.

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