Do the Old Games Hold Up?: Looking into Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Emily Bush

Arts & Lifestyle Editor

Meant to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Mario, this game has three of the greatest Mario games of all time and their soundtracks bundled into one cartridge. Photo credit: Nintendo.com

On Sept. 18, 2020, Nintendo released a response to the 35th anniversary of the Super Mario franchise, a Nintendo Switch port of three 3D Mario games: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. A port is simply a game originally released for one system and releasing it for another; 64 was released on Nintendo 64, Sunshine on GameCube, and Galaxy on Wii. All of these


games were a major part of my and many other gamers’ childhoods, and seeing them again and being able to play them as an adult is a wonderful experience.


Something I thought about during my time waiting for release was whether or not these classic games held up in accordance to 2021 standards. I also reminded myself of Super Mario Odyssey, the latest in the franchise to be anything like these games, so I used this as a comparison point as I played through a bit of each of the three games.


These games all have the same plot as any other Mario game: Princess Peach gets kidnapped by King Bowser, and you (Mario) must save her by traversing different “worlds” and eventually defeating the terrible Koopa King. However, each of these games differs in mechanics. 64 is the simplest because it was the first 3D Mario platformer. Sunshine introduces the F.L.U.D.D., a device that turns water into a weapon of mass destruction for Mario to use to his advantage. Lastly, Galaxy takes Mario into the vastness of space and brings new power-ups and creative worlds to explore. All of these games have you collecting different versions of Stars (Super Stars, Shine Sprites, and Power Stars in 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy respectively) in order to progress and win the game.


I played all three of these games with the wireless GameCube controller made specifically for the Switch, and the first thing I noticed was the intuitive nature of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. Of course, Super Mario Sunshine would be intuitively mapped to the GameCube controller because that was the console it was originally released on. Super Mario 64 felt extremely similar to Sunshine in terms of its controls, speed, and the different jumps you can execute.


However, Super Mario Galaxy felt like it had a much greater divide because of its added mechanic of motion controls and point-and-play. A big aspect of the game is shaking the controller in order to spin attack and point it at the screen to collect Starbits. This is hard to do with the controller I used and the Pro Controller as well, but you can easily avoid the confusion by using the Joycons similar to how the Wii Remote and Nunchucks worked in the original game.


The Joycons come with every Switch system, while I own the GameCube controller for easier gripping and for that nostalgia factor. Photo by Emily Bush.

All in all, this is a wonderful set of games that any Mario fan should have in their collection. Compared to Odyssey, they hold up really well against the modern standards and control quite similarly, so if you’re a fan of Odyssey or any modern platformers, consider going back to the classics for a slight change of pace. The game also has a menu to play any song from the soundtrack that you like, and I find myself listening to the Sunshine playlist longer than I have played Galaxy.


This game will only be available until Mar. 31, 2021 if you get the digital copy, or until supplies last if you get the physical copy of the game in order to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Super Mario as a whole for a limited time, sort of like what Nintendo did for past anniversaries with themed consoles that are now unavailable.

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