Monday, August 20, 2007

Super Mario Galaxy Looking Pretty Damned Good

If I do say so myself. I try not to get caught up in hype, because it seems that, for much of the time, that's all the videogame industry is. Hype. Like greedy children who pester Santa for more presents, more presents, more presents - all the while ignoring the closet full of crap you've already got. I don't think our grandparents' generation, the one that survived the Great Depression and World War II, should feel any sympathy with us spoiled little suckers.


In any case, I wanted to post along the latest batch of screens from Super Mario Galaxy for the Nintendo Wii, which is still scheduled for a late 2007 release. As with all things Miyamoto, don't be surprised if there are delays, but for now, all expectations are that Mario will appear in time for Christmas.

These are some terrific screenshots. The Wii gets kicked around for its horsepower woes, in comparison to XBox 360 and Playstation 3, like such a silly, childish argument ever holds any water anymore. We're far from the old days of Atari and Intellivision graphics. That said, the Wii needs some top-quality games that really demonstrate its punch, that really show something new and vibrant, above what was seen on GameCube. Mario Galaxy certainly achieves that. This is a terrific example of color saturation and detail, adding just the right amount of sugar to the standard Nintendo landscape.

I find myself really looking forward to this game. Super Mario Sunshine, for whatever reasons, is seen as a mild disappointment in the eyes of fans, particularly after what was billed as The Greatest Videogame Of All Time - Super Mario 64. Unfair, perhaps? Sure. But, still, I've never really found myself feeling that compulsion to give that game a try. I've never really identified why, but it lacked that immediate hook that all the great Mario games have. I'd still be happy trolling around with Mario 64 any day. Sunshine? Eh.

But Galaxy has the hook. Oh, boy, does it ever. This is something I'm eager to try out. It looks fun and inventive and colorful and mysterious, the way that all those old NES games were back in my childhood. And, for once, somebody actually got the graphics right. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm sick to death at what passes for videogame graphics today. It's all plastic dolls and cheap wallpaper sets, and everything looks depressingly the same. Mario Galaxy looks different, vibrant and alive. And, needless to say, it promises to hurl the whole notion of the 3D game on its head.

I don't know if it will prove popular with the newly-found casual gamer, the way that Wii Sports and Nintendogs and Brain Age have done. But I think this could be the Wii's killer ap with the traditional, hardcore gamer. The ones who have played through all the Super Mario games backwards and forewords.

Enjoy the screenshots, courtesy of JeuxFrance.

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