Best of 2011 Honorable Mention: Super Mario 3D Land

The 2011 Shacknews 'Game of the Year' awards begin today with our list of honorable mentions. These titles didn't quite crack our overall top five, but deserve your attention.


It's easy to forget that the original DS drew as much criticism as the 3DS did earlier this year. Nintendo's bulky dual-screen stylus-controlled system had little to convince us that the death of the Game Boy Advance was warranted, and that the DS would be the future of handheld gaming. A terribly-controlled Mario 64 port and ill-advised Metroid FPS game didn't win over critics, either. But then, Nintendo surprised us with Nintendogs, Brain Age, Elite Beat Agents, and other brilliant "made for DS" games. Super Mario 3D Land is the first game on the 3DS that had us thinking "hey, this 3D gimmick might be pretty good."

Nintendo's talented Tokyo team worked their Galaxy-inspired magic once again, playing with perspective in truly unique ways. The impeccable level designs of 3D Land remind us why Mario games are always a blast to play. Whether you're running towards Bowser and Bullet Bills fly towards the screen, or you're jumping through a maze of pipes, 3D Land always looks and feels fresh. The top-down Zelda-inspired level is one of the most clever homages ever seen in any video game, and offers a better 3D Zelda experience than the re-purposed Ocarina of Time.

Super Mario 3D Land was one of the few games on the 3DS where we'd want to push the 3D slider to "on." Sure, there might be a 3D-induced migraine afterwards, but like after an all-night bender, we'd say it was totally worth it.

The Shacknews 2011 Game of the Year awards are based on a weighted scoring system between all staff writers and editors. Throughout the week we'll be revealing our 'Honorable Mentions,' which include the titles that did not quite make our overall 'Top Five Games of the Year.' The Shacknews 'Game of the Year 2011 Award' will be revealed on January 20.

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 12, 2012 12:00 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Best of 2011 Honorable Mention: Super Mario 3D Land.

    The 2011 Shacknews 'Game of the Year' awards begin today with our list of honorable mentions. These titles didn't quite crack our overall top five, but deserve your attention.

    • reply
      January 12, 2012 12:52 PM

      I find it kind of depressing that so far 2 of your "honorable mentions" have been nintendo doing what nintendo does best, rehashing the same idea for decades. Way to reward inventive thinking, Shack.

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 12:57 PM

        I think that says more about other developers than Nintendo or the editors choices.

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 1:07 PM

        Nintendo doing what Nintendo does best usually means they're making yet another great game. Yes, unimaginative, but people still want those experiences.

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 1:11 PM

        The only reason they're not in the top 5 is because they've been rehashed so many times.

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 1:17 PM

        Have you played Mario 3D Land? It may be "another Mario game," but it's far from being a rehash. I wish more platformers would be as clever as this game!

        Speaking of Nintendo rehashes, you won't see Mario Kart 7 on this list, though.

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 1:22 PM

        The fact that they sell so much means that people want them. If Nintendo didn't keep rehashing Zelda, Mario, Mario Kart and Smash Bros there would be a large void in my life that not even repeated Elder Scrolls rehashes can fill.

        Only Nintendo can pull off those 4 games so perfectly. They're like a genre of their own; no clones of those games even compare. At the end of the day, regardless of what FPS you're playing (especially when it's in the same game engine) you're essentially just walking from point A to point B shooting everything on the way, and there's hundreds of them every year. There's only one Smash Bros game ever few years and there is no substitute. Same with Elder Scrolls.

        • reply
          January 12, 2012 1:33 PM

          It does really annoy me that people slate Nintendo when they release the first Zelda game, a type of game that no other adventure game can even come close to comparing to in quality or direction, in 5 years and people go "What a rehash", even though they add gyroscopic controls, an inventory storage system, material collection, crafting upgrades, potion upgrading, a central overworld hub, new storyline, new items, a new direction and just enough of core Zelda gameplay for it to still feel like a Zelda game, and people slate it.

          Meanwhile the 20th release in the 9 year old Battlefield series comes out and everyone rushes to sing songs of its praise. Protip: Battlefield SP plays just like every CoD game and every MoH game and every BoB game.

          • reply
            January 12, 2012 2:06 PM

            Remind me what BoB is please?

            • reply
              January 12, 2012 2:11 PM

              I actually meant Brothers in Arms (I was foolishly thinking Band of Brothers).

          • reply
            January 12, 2012 4:33 PM

            Darksiders had a significant resemblance to Zelda in terms of gameplay, and was really quite good.

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 2:07 PM


      • reply
        January 12, 2012 2:09 PM

        What I find depressing is that 3 of the four games announced so far are ones that I haven't even played. Probably won't ever play them either as I don't own a 3DS or Wii

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 2:48 PM

        How many excellent 3D games have you played in your life? I'd bet you 'none' before a month or two ago.

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 4:26 PM

        Yeah, because MW17 and Halo23 are FRESH!

    • reply
      January 12, 2012 2:40 PM

      mario kart 7 kicks ass, but the 3d is not required for the game, it just makes it better to look at

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 4:31 PM

        I'm pretty sure that Nintendo requires 3DS games be playable without enabling the 3D slider.

        • reply
          January 12, 2012 5:56 PM

          3d land is kind of difficult to play if you turn off the 3d, you can set it to min if you need to.

    • reply
      January 12, 2012 4:24 PM

      Wow, not even this made the top 5? That is disappointing. Super Mario 3D Land is freaking amazing, and probably the best handheld game I have ever played. It borrows a lot from Galaxy 1 and 2, but it does a great job of being its own game, and the 3D effects in the boss battles are just so much fun.

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 5:24 PM

        6 left. I'm gonna bet on it going something like this: Skyrim, Dark Souls, Portal 2, Bastion, Batman: AC, and the sixth.... hmm Deus Ex? Maybe Uncharted? Rayman? I don't know. That one is up for grabs.

        And not in that order. Who knows.

    • reply
      January 12, 2012 4:29 PM

      "Best" ... you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Hello, Meet Lola