E3 2011: Super Mario 3DS

The new Super Mario for 3DS is a defining game for the platform and helps sell how 3D can not only enhance, but be a vital part of, gameplay.

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QUICKTAKE: 3DS has been home to a number of heavy-hitters from Nintendo's pantheon of franchises. But, it's been missing the most important one of them all: Mario. The new Super Mario game for 3DS, developed by the same team responsible for Super Mario Galaxy, is a defining game for the platform and helps sell how 3D can not only enhance, but be a vital part of, gameplay. THE DEMO: There are four small levels playable in the E3 demo. Each of the levels takes advantage of 3D in different ways, thanks to some very clever camera work. One level in particular stunned: a Mario Bros. 3-inspired warship with spiked pistons that literally jump out of the screen. I had access to the Fire Suit, but I ended up playing almost exclusively with the Tanooki suit. But, can you blame me? DETAILS: Every Mario game makes references to the classics before it. Super Mario is no different, taking many elements from Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario 64. The Tanooki suit is an obvious throwback to the classic NES game, while the overall look is reminiscent of the N64 launch title. But while Super Mario is rooted in nostalgia, there are many subtle tweaks that make it feel like an entirely new experience. The controls, for example, are much slower than in previous Mario games. Mario feels less nimble in this version: you'll have to hold down a button to run, you'll have to charge a backflip, and even your long jump just doesn't go as far. I'm not entirely sure why these changes were made, and they're not for the better or worse.

This is far more compelling in 3D.

What really sets Super Mario apart is how it takes advantage of the 3D screen. There's countless "wow" moments that really sold me on 3D. What drives the experience is an optimized placement of the camera. The default view is set very low, to make Mario appear as if he's in a 2D platformer. Because of the low angle of the camera, you can clearly make out depth and judge what's in the distance. Many items and routes will be hidden behind other objects, and turning on the 3D makes a significant difference in your ability to make jumps and find those hidden items. The 3D effect becomes even more pronounced when the game switches to a top-down perspective. Seeing Mario literally jump out of the screen is very fun. And once again, the game plays with multiple layers and depth in order to create an experience that I haven't seen before. Like Galaxy before it, Super Mario is a champion of clever level design. Of course, if you're in the small (but still sizable) group of people that simply can't see 3D images (like Johnny Depp), Super Mario's cleverness will be entirely lost on you. In fact, given how much of the game relies on 3D, you might not be able to play it all. Watch the Shacknews E3 2011 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. You can also subscribe to it with your favorite RSS reader.
From The Chatty
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    June 8, 2011 5:45 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, E3 2011: Super Mario 3DS.

    The new Super Mario for 3DS is a defining game for the platform and helps sell how 3D can not only enhance, but be a vital part of, gameplay.

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      June 8, 2011 5:56 PM

      Man I want this game - but I don't know about the 3DS price and as soon as I buy it they'll come out with an awesome 3DS lite.

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      June 8, 2011 5:59 PM

      For 3DS owners there's a very sharp 3D trailer for this in the shop now. Looks great.

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        June 8, 2011 6:03 PM

        I ordered my 3DS, yo

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        June 8, 2011 6:08 PM

        Yeah there are a bunch! The only real way to see the game in action, it looks amazing!

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        June 8, 2011 7:58 PM

        Aw damn thanks for the tip, looks like there are multiple 3D trailers.

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          June 9, 2011 3:13 AM

          Yeah, I've been downloading them all morning (germany time) and they are awesome! I'm loving the new store so far.

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        June 9, 2011 10:52 AM

        I especially enjoyed the 3D trailers for StarFox, Luigi's Mansion and Kid Icarus.

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      June 8, 2011 6:46 PM

      can u imagine those jagged edges coming at you in 3D!?!?!

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        June 8, 2011 7:16 PM

        You don't even notice the jaggies in person... It has a higher pixel density than the PSP...

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          June 9, 2011 3:12 AM

          Yeah, seriously. I just watched the 3d trailer of this game on my 3DS.. which is effectively what the game will look like (but better I'm sure) and the graphics are smooth and really damn good. I know the 3DS isn't up to the level of the Vita.. but it still does a pretty good job. I'm still impressed with it so far.

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      June 8, 2011 6:47 PM

      There are so many reused art assets from the Galaxy games. I'm kind of getting annoyed with how cheap and lazy Nintendo is. :S

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        June 8, 2011 7:05 PM

        their target audience of 12 and under wont notice or care

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        June 9, 2011 5:53 AM

        Because they share an entire universe ?

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        June 9, 2011 6:02 AM

        Meh, it's good game art and there's plenty they can do with it. That being said I hope the first one to show up on the Wii-U is considerably changed.

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        June 9, 2011 10:50 AM

        lol

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      June 8, 2011 7:19 PM

      Finally a 3d Mario game where I won't fall off edges because I miscalculated depth

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        June 8, 2011 7:44 PM

        Finally a 3d Mario game where I won't fall off edge because I miscalculated depth.

        Fixed.

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      June 9, 2011 3:08 AM

      A few quick things:
      -First of all.. I'm pretty sure this is going to be awesome, I can't wait for it
      -I just downloaded the 3d trailer on my 3DS and watched it in 3d and it looks great
      -downloading 3d trailers and basically seeing what the game is going to look like on my 3DS is FREAKING AWESOME!
      -Excitebike is still fun
      -Am I the only one who's eyes kind of bug out when the 3d stuff gets very 'close' to you? It's like my eyes have a hard time focusing on it. I can tell it's coming out of the screen at me but it's kind of hard to see it clearly

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        June 9, 2011 10:34 AM

        I honestly have a hard time settling in with the 3DS, the 3D makes me eyes feel all weird. Like I have to Brink really hard after looking at it for a few minutes. It looks great but it makes me feel weird enough where I've considered selling it.

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      June 9, 2011 5:36 AM

      Look at that screen shot up top, blown up yes but how can Nintendo charge so much for a system that only produces those graphics!!!

      I'll get one when the price is £130

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        June 9, 2011 5:50 AM

        the price for games is what mostly bugs me, I think they day will soon come where its not acceptable for +$20 games anymore on portable systems. Look at the iPad/Phone thats how its done, sub $10 level for almost all games.

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          June 9, 2011 6:04 AM

          Well, once they eliminate cartridges altogether the average price will drop, of that I'm pretty sure. However, the vast majority of iPad/iPhone games suck or are simply a one trick pony, nothing like AAA titles available on platforms designed for gaming.

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            June 9, 2011 6:31 AM

            Why would they drop the price because of elimination of cartridges? They have no reason to lower it as people are already fine paying the higher price.

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              June 9, 2011 9:54 AM

              Perceived value and competition (unless the only way to buy a console game is through the console maker's portal), people are used to paying less for downloaded games, on their phones, on their computers, even on their consoles. Certain IPs will retain their value longer, but overall I expect there to be a price drop.

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          June 9, 2011 6:08 AM

          Now that the 3DS and Vita are selling both retail games and downloadable games, I'd imagine that some of the price stuff will shake out. Games with limited value (i.e. not a new 3D Mario game) can go to the eshop or PSN and live with all the bite sized iOS ports.

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      June 9, 2011 5:57 AM

      ok well damn you nintendo now I have to buy a 3DS.

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      June 9, 2011 6:28 AM

      Yup. Now it's pretty inevitable that I'll get a 3DS. Though I'm going to wait for it to be cheaper and hopefully have better battery life.

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        June 9, 2011 12:07 PM

        I'm guessing a price reduction by Christmas and a DS Light equivalent successor end of summer 2012.

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      June 9, 2011 9:35 AM

      With OoT 3D coming out in a few days, I have to take my coin jar to CoinStar to get an Amazon Gift Card. 3DS and Zelda, here I come!

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      June 9, 2011 10:33 AM

      This looks...........awesome.