In the midst of our own Mario Madness, we’re hearing rumors, whispers, and speculation that the 35th anniversary of Mario is going to be rife with remakes featuring the (canonically speaking) former plumber.
One could be skeptical of such news, as it doesn’t take much effort to set the rumor mills a blaze with promises of new content. Besides, Nintendo, thriving as it is with Animal Crossing keeping everyone sane and occupied, doesn’t have much on its slate for 2020 (yet), and getting people excited over the prospect of a remastered Mario classic is a good way to stay in the conversation. Nintendo is always just one Nintendo Direct away from winning back our hearts. We’re gamers, we’re a critical lot, but we also are a forgiving lot, especially when our favorite games of old get a shiny new coat of paint.
Now, with that being said, I am all about getting more Mario on Switch, but what games are people hoping for the most? Here are some potential candidates.
Super Mario 64
The original 3D Mario. The one that introduced the gaming icon to the world of limited polygons, wonky camera work from Lakitu, and frustrating platforming (usually due to the camera work), could be reborn with lush new visuals, cameras that don’t fight against you, and water levels that you don’t dread having to explore.
Odyssey showed us how water levels can still be slow, glacially-placed experiences when they need to be, and also fast-paced and zippy if given the proper power ups. Integrate some of the boosts from later entries in the series, or create new ones for 64 and you’ve got a remaster that any Mario fan can’t resist.
Perhaps integrate the changes and additions from the excellent Super Mario 64 DS, or even expand upon them. Nintendo is a king of tweaks and gimmicks, and even when they fail, they rarely detract from the overall quality of the game. This classic game, that has indeed aged a bit, is probably the most in need of an upgrade, and has the potential to meet, subvert, and ultimately satiate gamer’s expectations.
Super Mario Sunshine
I always felt Sunshine (while weird and original) lacked something intangible. While I own it, along with a working GameCube, I rarely replay this entry in the mainline Mario series. That’s not to say it’s a bad game, it’s actually quite good, it just didn’t scratch my Mario itch.
Now image a Sunshine with new abilities for your FLUDD device. Perhaps Professor E. Gadd has a shop set up on Delfino Island where you can upgrade your abilities, keep track of your accomplishments, and totally change the way certain parts of the game are played.
While I can experience Sunshine any time I want, if you weren’t around during the GameCube generation, or skipped it, you really have no other way of playing this game. 64 and the Galaxy games got re-released on Virtual Console, but Sunshine never got a Wind Waker remaster, nor did it get ported to the Wii like the Pikmin and Metroid Prime games did.
Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2
Personally, I’d love to see the Galaxy games make their way over, minus the motion controls (or at the very least, heavily toned down). While I actually didn’t find the motion controls bad in those games, I often wonder what it would be like to play them with a controller instead of a Wiimote and Nunchuck.
The original Galaxy could use a fast travel system. While some fans may enjoy having a hub world to wander, I found it a bit tedious going to different locations to play certain levels, especially after Starship Mario in Galaxy 2 streamlined the process. Again, some people didn’t like this approach, and missed the hub world, but I found the “dive in and play” approach to be superior. Perhaps they could merge the two, where you can wander the hub world but still have quick-access to levels the way you could via menus in Super Mario 3D World.
New Super Mario Bros. Series
As our own Sean Mekinda pointed out in his New Super Mario Bros. DS review, these games are both new and old. They do new things with an old format, but don’t exactly revolutionize anything. Plus, with the advent to Mario Maker, user content is king. Do we really need more 2D Mario content? We certainly didn’t need New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe released on Switch. Sure, plenty of people didn’t own a WiiU, but if you’re going to port a WiiU Mario game, there’s really only one choice…
Super Mario 3D World
This game is Mario multiplayer at its best. It gives players a chance to vacillate between helpful buddy and malevolent nuisance at will. It’s an amazing game to play with others. I’m notoriously a lone wolf gamer, but this game is what me and my nephew will play any time he comes over. It’s why my WiiU is still set up to this day, even though some of the games have stopped working (Why, Mario Kart 8, why?). We fight over who gets the high score, who gets to wear the crown, and then—eventually—who can steal the crown from the rightful owner’s head.
I say keep the Miiverse stuff in there as well. I don’t know how exactly it’d be implemented, but keeping the Stamps and the user comments would be a fun way to engage fans and boost interactivity.
And I haven’t even talked about the game itself, which is one of my all time favorite Mario games. The five different characters you can play as (one character is unlockable) all have their trademark moves you know and love. While the graphical upgrade might be slight, it’s still a game that absolutely belongs on the Switch, and the one game out of the batch I’m certain actually will make it.
Rock On, Paper Mario
All this buzz, and a promise of a new Paper Mario in 2020 as well? While the last few entries have been less than stellar, Paper Mario (64) and The Thousand Year Door are legit classics. I even loved the Wii’s Super Paper Mario, although that one was a tad divisive as well.
With so many possibilities on the horizon, it’s easy to get excited for what could come down the pike, or up the pipe (if you can stomach bad puns).
OK, I know it technically already got the remake treatment on the Game Boy Advance, but I’d love to see the SNES classic Super Mario World get some 2020 remastering love. While it might not have been the first game I played on the SNES (that honour went to Street Fighter 2), Super Mario World is the title I think of when remembering the Super Nintendo. I loved every Yoshi-jumping minute of it.
– Dean Reilly
Despite my aversion to rehashing the New Super Mario series, I can absolutely see Super Mario World working as a remake. Mayhaps, make the Yoshi coins more important, have the game keep track of them like Star Coins in NSMB games do. Maybe toss in some couch co-op, extreme challenges, Nabbit levels, and expand on the world map. Could be very interesting.
While we’re on the topic of older Mario games that deserve updates, how about some love for his spin-offs? While there are a whole host of sports and party titles to choose from, I’d like to focus on a series that stars a more twisted version of Mario: The Wario series.
It started off as a spin-off of the Super Mario Land series and eventually became its own unique puzzle platforming thing, with an emphasis on exploration and puzzle solving as opposed to straight up obstacle courses like in the main game. The late 90’s and early 2000’s saw Nintendo at what was arguably their most experimental, which meant that Wario was wonderfully, endearingly, capital W Weird. The Wario Land series is known for relying on his transformations, with all manner of hilarious things happening to him that can be used to traverse the environment, like getting set on fire or turning into a snowman.
For my money, the stellar Game Boy Advance entry Wario Land 4 is the best one, with a nice balance between challenge and frustration. It looks incredible too, serving as an early example of what the Game Boy Advance was capable of. I know the chances are slim, but the Switch has a more diverse library than any other Nintendo system, and I personally think the world is ready to revisit the weirdness of the Super Wario Land series.
– Collin Henderson
I would even go for a Wario Land: Shake It! remake. That was a great entry in the series, and was an unfortunate victim of Wii’s penchant to shoehorn in shaking and waggling of the controller. The entire Wario Land series is—to use a cliche writers like me say—criminally underrated.
So, what Mario game(s) do you want remastered? The ones I mentioned? Handheld Marios? That one where Mario tries to teach typing like he’s Mavis Beacon? Sound off. We’ve got time, kiddos.