Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Something New

Six months ago, I began a post that I never finished, as school ramped up and my time to tend to this blog disappeared. Until I have time to write my first post in a long time, here's the beginning of that unfinished draft, the promised follow-up to my first post on New Super Mario Bros. Wii:

Very soon I'll have no more challenges to complete in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and realizations like that are always bittersweet. Two nights ago I completed the last level in World 8, having collected every secret coin leading up to that point, which unlocks another eight levels to play. When I'm done with those, I'll have "completed" the game, and won't touch it again until the next time one of my friends sees the distinctive red case on my shelf and asks if they can try it out. When they do, I'm almost certain I'll say yes.
About a week later, I did complete that game - although I can't take all the credit, as I played it from start to finish in cooperation with a rotating cast of friends including my three amazing roommates. Without turning this post into the lengthy review that it was originally intended to be, let me just say that my experience with NSMBW was pure gaming joy the whole way through. The game managed to scratch three strong itches at once:
  1. Nostalgia for my childhood days playing the Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World games with my brother, taking turns but essentially playing together, trying to get past tough levels and find new shortcuts,
  2. Obsessive-compulsive completion checklists, since each level has three hidden coins that somehow convinced me they all NEEDED to be found,
  3. And the joy of cooperative play, especially in a large group. Here I could share those first two aspects of my experience with my friends. Here co-op was not a separate part of the game but had all of the great hooks that the "main game" possessed - every one of my co-adventurers, by the time we were done, were determined to 100% the game, even while fighting over who got the Penguin Suit.
Needless to say few games have ever come close to checking this many boxes for me and there isn't likely to be another for quite a while. But I have to say I'm quite thankful that I had the chance to share that experience with my friends and roommates while the opportunity presented itself. Though six months have past and I'm currently enjoying other games, including Super Mario Galaxy 2, I'm not likely to supplant those memories any time soon.

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