Justin’s Words of Wisdom: Don’t Buy Super Mario All-Stars
I know that Eric talked about this around the original release date, but as of March 13, one final run of the Wii version of Super Mario All-Stars will be shipped. In case you forgot (or are too lazy to look at Eric’s link), the $30 package comes with the original All-Stars, a music CD and a small booklet with minimal information about every Mario game in the main series.
Just as Eric did, I bought the title because I like collecting gaming memorabilia like this. The price wasn’t too bad and it would give me an excuse to run through the SNES versions of the originals once again. And here is where I came across my first problem.
It didn’t seem like I was playing at my usual level. While I’m not as skilled as a player you would see recording a speed run video, I consider myself well above average in terms of mastering Mario games. I quickly figured out that there was a small, but noticeable lag. For example, I never have a problem making a quick jump off of an object that only has enough room for one Mario to stand on. After a quick search on the internet, it turns out that the lag is a result from the Wii’s controllers being wireless. It doesn’t matter if you use the Wii remote itself or a Classic Controller attachment of either kind—the delay is there. If you were a Gamecube owner and have one of those controllers lying around, you can play the game without any delay, but using an analogue stick feels very unnatural to me, and don’t even get me started on the d-pad for that controller. I have small hands for a dude, and even I feel like Andre the Giant when I handle that portion of the controller.
If you read Eric’s article, you’ll also notice that he complains that the CD and booklet leave something to be desired, and that Nintendo has put together better packages in the past. I would be willing to forgive Nintendo for their lazy efforts if the port wasn’t so lazy itself. Anyone else remember when Square-Enix ported their SNES Final Fantasy games to the original Playstation? Yay, sound effect lag, frame skipping and absurd saving times! Okay, so those were worse efforts, but I am sadly reminded of them. Then again, at least the ports of Final Fantasy Anthologies and Final Fantasy Chronocles offered extra content.
Nintendo pretty much slapped an All-Stars ROM on a Wii disc. I wouldn’t be surprised if they just had some intern download a ROM and emulator off the internet. You know what this product reminds me of? It’s like Nintendo is that one kid in High School who knew he had quarter of a year to put together his final project, but crammed it all together in the last two nights. It wouldn’t earn him high marks, but he’d at least barely pass the class.
If Nintendo was trying to aim low, even then they still could have done a little better. Personally, I say forget the CD and booklet. If you must include artwork, just keep it on the disc. There would have been more than enough room. You know what have been really cool? Include both the NES and SNES versions of the original series, Super Mario World and Super Mario 64. Yes, you can get most of that on the Wii’s Virtual Console, and it would annoy fans that already downloaded those games for it, but why would Nintendo worry about such a thing? Look at how many times these games have been ported or remade already. If Nintendo REALLY wanted to be cool, offer free Wii Points for those who have already bought the games on the virtual console. Sure, they’d make you register at Club Nintendo for this to work, but the process would be easy. In this scenario they wouldn’t give you enough points to cover all of the purchases, but it still would have been a reasonable compromise, hypothetically speaking, of course.
I know I sound like I may be expecting too much, but Nintendo has proven that it can put out a product with very little effort on their part and still manage to make both themselves and their customers happy. A preorder bonus for reserving The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker was The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time/Master Quest disc. For free, Nintendo gave this away for simply going to a Gamestop and putting at least five dollars down on Windwaker. The master quest portion of the disc contained the original Ocarina of Time, but every dungeon was very creatively remixed.
Speaking of Zelda, are you familiar with the Zelda Collector’s Edition? It has the NES titles, Ocarina and Majora’s Mask on the disc. You may see it at stores that sell used games here and there, and you can find it online for a decent price. When it was first released, you couldn’t buy it in stores. My memory on this is a bit hazy, but I believe all you had to do to earn a free copy of this game was register five first party Nintendo titles on their website. If you owned a Gamecube, it was hard NOT to have five first party games back when this bonus disc dropped.
My point is that Nintendo is more than capable of doing something better when they put together packages like All-Stars. If they wanted to go a half-assed route, fine, but at least make sure the port has no lag and lower the price.
The worst part about this is that the reason why another shipment of this collection is coming is due to fan demand. I feel that if the consumers who demanded this product knew the truth about it, like I do, they would walk away from the deal. I realize at this point I may look like a eccentric person shouting atop of a soap box, but bear in mind that I am usually one to tolerate ports and re-releases. Again, while I would have been upset at the terrible effort in the package, I wouldn’t be so upset of Nintendo at least took the effort to make sure the games were emulated correctly.
This version of All-Stars, appropriately enough, feels like an old plumber who has lost his touch. When you first hired him, he made quality his number one priority. He fixed your problem using very innovative ideas and made sure that you were satisfied with the job before he left. Over time, he became more tired and even more lazy. He used to replace a leaky pipe, but then he realized that customers were just as satisfied by duct tapping the cracks. Now, he comes into your home begrudgingly fixing a botched patch job he installed just a couple of years ago.
Teach Nintendo a lesson. Don’t buy this run of Super Mario All-Stars.