Thursday, October 04, 2007

Super Paper Mario: The Movie

I'm a pretty huge Nintendo fan. Every important innovation in videogame control has come from them - and a few misfires, too, I admit; the overwhelming majority of good games bear their mark, definitely each and every one of the bona-fide triple-A gold class masters - Super Mario 64, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario Kart on the SNES or DS, Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, the gameboy version of Tetris, Donkey Kong... and many more in an undisputable run of greatness. And now, the Wii keeps on delivering incredible game after incredible game - and nothing as wonky, misshaped or imbalanced as Bioshock - which runs out of steam very quickly - or Halo 3 which is about as much fun in single player mode as watching somebody else play Catz (at least in multiplayer it's a bit more fun than playing Catz for yourself, but that's not enough, frankly).

A number of their Mario games form the Super Paper Mario series, a set of adventures with light role playing elements. The premise is simple and charming but gives rise to any number of smart, witty gameplay elements: in these games, Mario is flat as paper, utterly 2-dimensional, but the world he inhabits is 3D. That doesn't mean everything else in the world is 3D - nope, all of the other characters are flat too, and many of the props and items he will come in contact with. It's a brilliant idea, peculiar to videogame logic, and Nintendo have tapped into it so much, and so successfully, for gameplay gold I've been a little taken aback by their wealth of ideas.

And, with a little bit of a rejig, the idea could work very well in cinema too.

At least, that's what I think. And Seth Gordon agrees. He's the director of The King of Kong, the documentary about duelling Donkey Kong supremos. He's already set to turn that into a fiction feature - somewhere after wrapping Four Christmasses and The Only Living Boy in New York, it seems - but beyond this, it turns out he has his sights on Super Paper Mario too.

"I’d love, really love, to adapt Super Paper Mario into a movie, a movie that would constantly switch from 2D to 3D. In five years, 3D cinema is going to be really big. [The King of Kong] was screened for Nintendo, but I haven’t had the chance to speak to anyone over there about it. But I definitely want to have that conversation."

The quote comes from Ignore Magazine's new interview with Gordon, in which he discusses each of the projects mentioned above, as well as revealing a number of DVD extras set for the Kong release:

"The Kong DVD is going to be awesome. We’re going to show more of Doris [Doris Self, an 80-year-old Q*bert master], and we get into Billy’s rival on Pac-Man, Rick Fothergill. And the full version of [Missile Command anthem] Mr. Awesome is on the DVD. We have 23 extras and, like, 95-minutes of extra content. We’ll have side-by-side screens of Billy and Steve reaching the kill screen [last level] of Donkey Kong.”


Anonymous said...

Bioshock - Wonky, Misshaped or Imbalanced

Spoken like your average close minded Nintendo fanboy.

Brendon said...

I loved the first hour or so of Bisoshock, despite the odd bit of complete theft from other games. And then... it started to fall apart.

It was repetitive. A very low number of emenies to deal with, and they were very predictable and delivered with a distrubingly mechanical repetition. And the Ayn Rand business started to show how thin it was.

And then I saw how to kill Big Daddies really easily so that became a chore... as well as revealing some surprisingly shallow AI. That the Little Sisters can be left unharrassed by banks of Splicers shows how badly connected the game engine is to the supposed plot.

There were a few later episodes that improved matters for a while (many of which I played myself through accessing save game slots of people better at FPS games than I, rather than thorugh persisting through the hours of boredom I saw them slog through).

I'd give it a solid 6 out of 10, I think. And that's just not good enough - and without the graphics and sound FX, it'd just be a 5. And that's shameful.

So what's so good about it then?

Matt said...

I do love the innovations on the Wii. I've read that the new Star Wars game in the spring will have lightsaber combat with the Wiimote. Does it get better than that? I'm thinking of buying one for that game, and I don't even play games that often.

Also, Mario Galaxy might just knock everyone's socks off.


Matt said...

What do you think, Brendon? An homage to 2001?

Anonymous said...

I really hope Gordon makes Super Paper Mario, but is he really ready for a 100+ million budget? Good post and the original article is pretty wild too.

Anonymous said...

Wow. It's amazing how often I disagree with your opinions. I will not comment on Halo 3 because I worked on it, and so I would be biased. But to say that Bioshock is a 6 out of 10, smells either of fanboy-ism, or you are just baiting.
The fact that "without graphic and sound FX it would be a 5" is like saying, "well, yeah "chariots of fire" is good, but without the sounds is not as good" and automatically disqualifies you from being taken seriously.


Brendon said...

I didn't say without graphics and sound effects, I said THE graphics and sound effects.

So, like Apocalypse Now for example (which would have suffered had a lesser DP than Storraro or worse sound editor than Murch been responsible for those departments) Bioshock would have much less impact if not, for example, in HD or with such accomplished sound.

Don't disqualify me from being taken seriously because you read the sentance wrong.

And, for the record, I'm not baiting anyone and I rarely, if ever, do, either here or in real life.

Anonymous said...

You didn't say "without without the graphics and sound FX"?Really?

Let me cut and paste your own post, then :

"I'd give it a solid 6 out of 10, I think. And that's just not good enough - and without the graphics and sound FX, it'd just be a 5. "

Let it go, dude. It's ok, you were just wrong for once, it happens.


Brendon said...


Without THE graphics doesn't mean without ANY graphics.

And images are part of a game, right? And can be scored, right? So, THESE graphics are worth 1/10 on the overall score.

Why can't you get a hold of that idea? Please confirm that you can see what I'm saying. I'm finding this frustrating.

Anonymous said...

it's just more fun to play bioshock
in the "normal" mode, than in the "easy" mode.
More enemys, thing aren't that easy.
Keeps the motivation higher...

i love the game 10 points

Dodex said...

I agree Brendan about Bioshock. It got boring pretty quickly and anyway these shooters are getting repetitive. At least on the Wii the remote brings something new to them.

Anonymous said...

So, THESE graphics are worth 1/10 on the overall score.

What a ridiculous statement. As a fan of gaming, I appreciate/own both the 360 and the Wii and I can honestly say that the graphics in BioShock are clearly an 8, while the Wii sacrifices graphics for more family friendly, interactive gaming.

Also, your review of BioShock reeks of:

Brendon said...

yes, they are worth 1/10 on the overall score, not on the graphics-only score. If you say that they are worth 8 on the overall score you are effectively saying that without anything BUT sound and graphics (ie; it's a movie, not a game) that you'd score the game an 8 overall. That's what you said, but it's not what you meant.

Because you misunderstood what I said in the first place.

These graphics add a 1 to the score. At most graphics can only be worth 1.5 out of 10 or so anyway, surely?

And I agree that the Wii offers games that are not only more family friendly but also more interactive. And that's a good thing.

I hadn't seen that review before but it is very different from my point of view. Though it certainly has lots of points that I agree with.

And it was definitely quite funny.

Harmen said...

How the hell is criticizing Bioshock automaticlly fanboy-ism or baiting? I've heard enough people who buy al console's say it wasn't as great as the reviews said it was. I myself quite enjoyed it but so far al the criticsms i've heard are all legit including Brendon's.

Anonymous said...

I found it interesting that in the article you linked (not familar with Ignore Magazine, but very slick web work, kudos) Seth Gordon says The Only Living Boy In New York faces a big casting delay. Sounds like the movie may not pan out for him sitting in the director's chair and that is unfortunate. I was wondering who you thought would be good in the role for Only Living Boy. The magazine suggested Jason Swartzman but I haven't read the script. Any other young actors suitable?

Brendon said...

I'd go with Lou Taylor Pucci, I think.