Super Mario Run is disappointing

The very first time I ever played a video-game was at a very early age. It was at my cousin’s house on their Atari 2600 console. After that the next time was years later at my childhood friend’s house. It was the first time I had seen him in years. We were both at that perfect age for the then boom of video-games. I will never forget the experience. We played Super Mario Bros on his NES system all day!

I was instantly in love with the game. It was my first time but my friend had been playing it for way longer. He whizzed through levels and jumped down warp pipes to different worlds in a pixelated flurry faster than I could keep up. Then he handed me the controller and just watched me go to town as a noob. It was the best feeling in the world for me because I spent the entire afternoon playing. First we played the 2 player mode for awhile but the game didn’t hold any surprises for my friend anymore. He wanted to change to a different game but I was having too much fun. After that it wasn’t for another couple years before I would have enough money to buy my own NES, I bought it used. There weren’t enough hours in the day for me after I got it home. I sat there finally able to play Super Mario Bros to my heart’s content. I have owned many consoles since then, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, N64, Turbo Gfx, Playstation, XBox, PS2, Wii, PS3. All while building a gaming computer and playing titles like Need for Speed, COD and GTA.

I own an iPhone and an iPad. Like many other people the dream of playing Super Mario Bros on my iOS devices has always been there. When Super Mario Run was announced for the iPhone I couldn’t help but smile. Since then the things I’ve been hearing about the game make me feel like it’s shaping up to be a disappointment to me. I’ve played endless runners on iOS before, Jetpack Joyride, Temple Run, etc. I don’t really like the concept personally because it doesn’t really have an ending. A way to beat the level and move on to a more challenging level. Instead it just keeps going and going and going and going until you die. When I heard that Super Mario Run was going to be an endless runner I was disappointed. All the excitement I had while waiting for the game is now pretty much gone. I was ready to pay for the game without any hesitation but now I’m not quite sure I’ll pay $10 for it.

The joy of Super Mario Bros for me was all in discovering this new world. Finding out that jumping into the air at the middle off two bushes on the first level. An invisible block would give me a mushroom or fire power. Timing a jump right would let me run on the top of the screen. Taking me to warp pipes and letting me jump to different worlds. In an endless runner these kind of discoveries aren’t possible. There isn’t freedom in the movement of the character that enables the player to discover. The pace is much faster and the player’s control much more simplified to me. It rushes the player and takes away the sort of enjoyment I remember. Perhaps the game will appeal to a different audience. People who have never played Super Mario Bros. Who have only played and/or love endless runners. Myself, I’m disappointed in what it could have been.

If Nintendo actually took the time to do something different. If they had developed a Super Mario game that used levels. A game that like the original let players move around and discover the environment without being hurried toward the end. I would have been all in on it. If they made a D-pad controller for the iPhone to control the Mario game again I would have been all in on it. I’ve been searching everywhere for the Nintendo Classic ready to buy in a heartbeat. But I understand they wanted to create a casual game anyone could play anywhere. I’ll relent the controller to that point. However creating a different type of gameplay instead of going with what is the norm would have been a game changer.

Finally discovering that the game requires a constant internet connection really nailed it for me. I hate games that require an internet connection to be played. Perhaps for those with unlimited monthly data plans that’s not a problem. I guess I’m in the minority but with a 5GB data plan I’m only going to be able to play the game when I’m home on Wifi.

Update

I wrote this before the game was out in the app store. I’ve finally had a chance to play the game and can say with certainty I am disappointed. I’m disappointed in Nintendo for being lazy in the creation of this game. I say they were lazy because it is obvious they could have done something new with the controls. The gameplay and graphics are great. But then I miss a block or special coin and the inability to go back for it is frustrating! I can play the game with one hand as is made a big deal of in the game. What that means to me is Nintendo could have done without the endless runner aspect and put a D-pad on the left. The fact that I can tap the screen to jump and shoot fireballs with my right thumb means that I could then use my left thumb on the virtual D-pad to push Mario forward or backward. The time limit would have been enough to keep users from sitting around. Using that as an excuse to make the game an endless runner is not good enough to me.

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