Where is and what will be the Super Mario Bros Movie tie-in Mario game?
The Super Mario Bros film is fast approaching. In just over 70 days, we’ll all be at the cinemas seeing the first Nintendo movie since the 1990s. This time it’s a Super Mario Bros movie that Nintendo has invested in, contributed to and made on their terms – so they’re going to want to get the most out of it.
We’ve seen the happy meal toys, the actual tie-in toys, and the theme park locations are sure to do something, and the media blitz worldwide will begin in earnest shortly. But what about a game or games?
January is almost gone. Nintendo has Kirby in February, leaving March to The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom in May empty – a spot ripe for a Nintendo Direct and a movie tie-in. So what’s it going to be?
Let’s run through the possibilities.
A brand new 3D Mario game
It has been almost five and half years, or nearly 2000 days, since Super Mario Odyssey was released on the Nintendo Switch. But I hear you, and there was Super Mario 3D Land + Bowser’s Fury, which was at least in part a new game – yes, that’s almost two years ago too.
To be fair to Nintendo, 3D Mario games don’t come along very often – they usually wait until they have a new idea before making a new one (the exception being the gap between Galaxy titles). But we’re due one. The ideas in Bowser’s Fury were clearly a test for a bigger Mario game in the future, a more open and explorative world. Is that the next game? And would it tie in with the movie or be the next 3D Mario game?
A brand new 2D Mario game
If you thought the gap between 3D Mario games was huge, oh well, welcome to 2D town. The last original 2D Mario game, one that you didn’t have to make yourself, was released 3,719 days ago – over ten years ago. After the run of 2D games, we got between the mid-2000s, and since then, it’s been a drought for sure.
(Yes, I am ignoring Super Mario Run here, moving on).
A brand new, 2D HD Mario game would be great. Sure, New Super Mario Bros U was in HD, but it was that “New” look that we’d seen already (outside a few artistic stages), and it was getting old. It’s time for a new, new Mario look – and hey, what do you know, the movie has one!
Should Nintendo take the Mario movie art style back into games? I doubt they would, but it shows there’s space for Mario to look different now. Drop the Bah-bahs too.
A remaster or repackaging of an existing game
Could an existing Super Mario game be given a plus sign and have something else bolted onto it, ala Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury? What games are even left to do that to? This one is unlikely.
At this point I’ll say, can we get a remake of Donkey Kong 94? Thanks for your time.
DLC for existing games
Nintendo loves its evergreen titles, and why wouldn’t they? Almost everything Nintendo makes sells for years, the majority of the time at full price. So why make a new game when you can just push an update to an old one, a game people already have, or that is already on shelves?
Aside from one game, which we can’t talk about because it hurts too much, Nintendo hasn’t had a “live” Mario game. Development teams move, so updates to such old games not in active development is unlikely.
Spin-off or mobile game
If the Super Mario Bros movie is a vehicle to get people to buy into the Nintendo ecosystem, then why not put a game on a phone that everyone already has as starting point?
We’ve established that Nintendo games sell forever, so why not push them to the ones available by making a smaller mobile game? We used to get movie-tie-in games, so why not one now but on a platform that everyone has?
As mentioned, we’ve got toys and Happy Meals, and the media appearances will start soon enough – does Nintendo need to do anything? Is there a need for a game, or will people just go, “Hey Mario, I remember that”, and just buy whatever is on the shelves already?
But then, what would be the point of this article?
Bonus: Bring back Super Mario 35.
Don’t even think about it; do it.