Nintendo officially concluded Mario’s 35th anniversary on 4/1 by cutting off servers to Mario 35, ending the limited time sales on Super Mario 3D All-Stars and the Game and Watch collectors’ item, and ending the mission quest for the Mario 35th anniversary pins. Nintendo had released a 16 minute Mario anniversary Direct back on the actual anniversary day back in September that highlighted all of the events that they were running. Was any of it exciting though?
I bought Mario 3D All-Stars on release day, which is fine game, but nothing special. It was a collection of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. All of these games were emulated, but they didn’t bring in any new features aside from the music gallery, and there were no updated graphics–which seemed lazy. The camera on Mario 64 is a bit of a disaster and could have been updated; Sunshine could have added inverted camera controls (Why do games not offer this?!), and the motion controls in Mario Galaxy were a headache with not having a sensor bar. I’m a big Mario fan, so I was able to get past most of the glaring flaws and was able to enjoy the game a bit, but I couldn’t imagine being impressed by this title as a newcomer to the series or someone who had never played these titles.
The Game and Watch system is also going to leave us as well. This little collectors’ item was a really cool piece of merchandise in my eyes. I have it right on my desk telling me the time while Mario hops around breaking bricks and stomping Goombas. This Game and Watch system also plays the original Super Mario Bros. for NES and Super Mario Bros. 2 (Also known as Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels in the West), and they play extremely well on this system. I even loved the box that it came in!
Super Mario Bros. 35 was a really fun battle royale style game for the Switch, which focused on similar mechanics to the very successful Tetris 99. You would play through Super Mario Bros. stages, sending defeated enemies to opponents stages, while also building up coins and collecting power ups. This was a free game for the Switch that had the servers disconnect on 4/1, which makes absolutely no sense to me. This game was fantastic and had such a great following, why take it away? The bizarre and not so consumer friendly decision to end servers for this game made me a little bitter.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury was also a fixture in the anniversary collection of Mario. This was another port brought to us which released in February of 2021. I was particularly excited for this installment since I was one of the many that passed on the Wii U, which meant I didn’t get a chance to play it. For me, 3DW truly lived up to the hype, and Bowser’s Fury was better than expected. Of course this didn’t come without criticism; most people felt as if Bowser’s Fury was quite limited and felt like a forgotten DLC to Mario Odyssey, which I don’t agree with considering it’s focused on Mario’s 3DW move set.
Mario’s 35th anniversary came and went pretty quickly, and I think the celebration will last in my memory as long as the Mario 3D All-Star Collection stayed on the shelf. Aside from the Game and Watch system, none of the celebration seemed exciting to me and felt a little bit like a lazy cash grab. I would have loved to see something new from Nintendo rather than release port after port. Even though I did love the Game and Watch system and well as Mario 35, I felt that they could have done better.
What are your thoughts on Mario’s 35th anniversary? Let us know in the comment section or on our Discord!