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Super Mario Galaxy
In 2007, Super Mario Galaxy was released for the Wii system. It had many similarities to Super Mario 64, stars had to be collected to advance in the game, but the setting was far different. While Mario was attending the Star Festival at the castle, Bowser’s fleet of airships rushed in and lifted the castle out of the ground and flew off into space. Mario was knocked from the castle and was left stranded on a spaceship that used stars to fuel its engine.
Throughout the game, Mario travels to many galaxies as he collects stars to fuel the spaceship and chase after Bowser. Each galaxy has several “planets" that vary in size and shape. Mario can travel from planet to planet by using launch stars that shoot him across space, or by grabbing onto pull stars from a distance using the pointer controlled by the Wii remote. The planets have their own unique gravity fields, and some allow Mario to walk around curved surfaces without falling off. The pointer can be used to collect “star bits", which serves as a type of projectile, and fire them at enemies or other objects. Shaking the Wii remote makes Mario spin, which can help him activate switches, attack enemies, or even start ice skating.
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New Super Mario Bros. Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii was similar to New Super Mario Bros. (for the DS system) in several ways, including 3D objects in a left to right game format and even similar music, but the levels and plot were completely new. Released in 2009, one of the most interesting features of the game was the possibility of simultaneous play for up to four players. Mario, Luigi, and two differently colored Toads could run and jump through the levels at the same time. A few of the power-ups that were introduced included the Propeller Mushroom, giving the player the ability to shoot up into the air as long as they had collected the power-up, and the Penguin suit, which allowed players to slide quickly across ice and swim easily through water.
At the beginning of the game, Peach is kidnapped once again, but Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings carry out the plot in Bowser’s place. Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings appear as bosses throughout the game, and Bowser himself faces you as the final boss. The game was also the first to feature a “Super Guide" which would help players who had difficulty completing levels. The Super Guide was later used in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Donkey Kong Country Returns.
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Super Mario Galaxy 2
The popular Super Mario Galaxy game received a sequel in 2010, also for the Wii system. While the previous game had a hub system similar to Mario 64 to reach new levels, Super Mario Galaxy 2 relied on a world map system. Bowser had kidnapped Peach again, certain that this time Mario would fail in a rescue attempt, due to Bowser’s gigantic size that he had reached from eating power stars. Mario traveled through the new galaxies, collecting stars to advance to the next, and battling Bowser from time to time to get stars from him. Yoshi was reintroduced at several parts of the game, and once again served as Mario’s steed. Yoshi could grab objects with his tongue and even fling himself across areas with special pegs. After completing the game, the universe would unlock a new adventure worth jumping about, Super Mario Galaxy 2 secret stars gave you another 121 challenges to face in the shape of green stars scattered across the galaxies in new locations.
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Other Games and Mario’s Success
Mario’s success in the gaming world has also placed his character in games in other genres. Sports games, role playing games, party games, puzzle games and even learning games have featured Mario characters. Mario has been consistently regarded as one of the most popular video game characters, and Mario games have rated high on best-seller lists. The series has the tradition of being easy to learn and hard to put down, and the challenges in each game will always be fun to replay over and over again. It’s safe to say that no matter how many games in the Mario series are released, the classic games will still hold just as much excitement as they did when they were new, but with more nostalgia when hearing the music again. Thank you Nintendo!
Screenshots, pictures and references: Mario image from Wikipedia, Super Mario entry, courtesy of Benevolinsolence. Super Mario Galaxy 2 image from Super Mario Wiki, Super Mario Galaxy 2 entry, courtesy of SWFlash. References from Wikipedia and author's own experience.