Category Archives: Essay

Super Mario 3D All-Stars – A Mediocre Collection of Great Games

It’s finally time. In September of this year, Nintendo released a highly-rumored anniversary collection, Super Mario 3D All-Stars, which consists of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. We’ve taken a look at all three of these games, how they’ve held up over the years, and what playing them might be like in 2020. Now it’s time for our most negative article yet: a review of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection. Not the games contained — the collection of those games.

On the whole, I think the collection is fine, but even then, I’m being a bit generous. We’re all well aware of the whole “limited-time release” controversy, and we’ll be talking about that later on. Super Mario 3D All-Stars is currently retailing for $60 – the norm for most Switch games – and we’re also going to talk about why I don’t think the price is entirely fair. We’ve got quite a bit of ground to cover, so let’s get started!

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Super Mario 64 – An Aging Classic

A few months back, we reviewed Super Mario Galaxy. A few weeks back, we reviewed Super Mario Sunshine. And now it’s finally time to review the final piece of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection: Super Mario 64! This game’s got a lot of history. It first released in 1996 for the Nintendo 64, and set many an important milestone for 3D platformers. It’s been showing its age for a long time, though, and I personally believe the 3D All-Stars version shows said age most prominently.

Before we begin, I’d like to acknowledge Super Mario 64’s place in history. It was a huge step forward, and the developers’ innovations set the standard for decades to come. But it isn’t 1996 anymore; it’s 2020, so I have to take a look at Super Mario 64 from a 2020 perspective. And if there’s one thing we know about 2020 perspectives, it’s that they’re usually negative. No worries, though — we’re going to balance positive and negative and take a complete look at the game that started it all! (And by all, I mean “the 3D Super Mario games.)

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Pokémon Sword & Shield: The Crown Tundra – A Marked Improvement

We’ve all heard (or experienced) how middling and divisive Pokémon Sword and Shield’s base game is. Enough of that. Its second (and supposedly final) expansion, The Crown Tundra, was recently released! As you can imagine, it adds the titular Crown Tundra – a large, mostly-snowy valley with mountains and caves – to the bottom portion of the Galar map. The DLC promises fun multiplayer co-op, lots and lots of Legendary Pokémon, and a large new world to explore. Does it deliver on that promise? Actually, it kind of does! Today, we’re going to discuss The Crown Tundra in greater depth and why I think it’s breathed new life into Sword and Shield.

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Super Mario Sunshine – The Overlooked Middle Entry

We’ve been really busy fleshing out our amiibo training guides, so it’s been a whole month since we’ve typed up an unrelated essay! Back in September, we covered the Super Mario 3D All-Stars version of Super Mario Galaxy. Now we’re moving backwards a step and covering Super Mario Sunshine on Nintendo Switch! Out of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy, Sunshine is the one I’ve personally had less experience with. I owned it as a kid on the Wii, but never made the connection that you needed a Gamecube Memory Card to save progress. As you might expect, I didn’t get very far!

You often hear about 64 and Galaxy, but you hear about Sunshine much less — in my experience, at least. Still, going into Sunshine mostly blind was really interesting. The game has sort of a bizarre essence about it, and it’s one I don’t think the Super Mario series has been able to fully capture since. Sure, smacking question mark blocks and stomping enemies is bizarre, but Sunshine’s overall aesthetic takes it to a new level.

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The problem with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s Pichu amiibo

It’s been quite a while since we’ve had one of these posts! Lame titles aside, these are my long-form essays on specific Figure Player characters. Back in March, I attempted to explain to readers that Ness is a beatable FP, and in May of last year, I wrote a thousand-word rant on the Ice Climbers amiibo. This time, we’re talking about Pichu! Now, I get the feeling that quite a few of you out there have Pichu’s amiibo, especially compared to the Ness and Ice Climbers amiibo, which weren’t released quite as recently. So hopefully this is relevant to more of you!

The three FPs I’ve worked with most in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are Ness, the Ice Climbers, and Pichu. In that order. Luckily, Ness has worked out pretty well for me! But I can’t say the same about the other two, because they’ve both at one point been considered among the worst in the game. So, what’s Pichu’s problem, then? Isn’t it top-tier in competitive Smash Bros.? All of the answers and more (maybe) in today’s post!

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