Super Mario Galaxy
|Super Mario Galaxy|
Official box art
|Developer(s)||Nintendo EAD Tokyo|
|Release date(s)||JP November 1, 2007
AU November 29, 2007
Super Mario Galaxy (Japanese: スーパーマリオギャラクシー Hepburn: Sūpā Mario Gyarakushī?) is a 3D platform game developed by Nintendo EAD Tokyo and published by Nintendo for the Wii. It was released in most regions in November 2007, and is the third 3D original platformer in the Super Mario series after Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. The game follows the protagonist, Mario, on a quest to rescue Princess Peach and save the universe from the game's primary antagonist, Bowser. Levels are galaxies filled with minor planets and worlds, while gameplay is updated with gravity effects and new power-ups.
Super Mario Galaxy was first shown at E3 2006 and enjoyed a high level of pre-release awareness. The game was an overwhelming critical and commercial success, having been hailed by several gaming websites as one of the best video games of all time, and has won a BAFTA. GameRankings lists the game as the highest reviewed game of all time. The game is the eighth best selling Wii game worldwide with sales of 12.22 million, as well as the best selling 3D entry in the Super Mario series. The sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2, was announced at E3 2009, and was first released in May 2010. Galaxy was re-released as a Nintendo Selects title in 2011.
Premise and setting
Super Mario Galaxy is set in outer space, where Mario travels from galaxy to galaxy in order to collect Power Stars, which are earned by completing levels in galaxies or defeating enemies. Each galaxy contains a number of planets and other space matter for the player to explore. The game uses a new physics system that allows for a unique feature: each celestial object has its own gravitational force, allowing the player to completely circumnavigate rounded or irregular planetoids, walking sideways or upside down. The player can usually jump from one independent object and fall towards another one nearby. Though the main gameplay is in 3D, there are several areas in the game in which the player's movements are restricted to a 2-dimensional plane, an element reminiscent of 2D Mario games.
The game's main hub is the Comet Observatory, a spaceship which contains six themed domes that provide access to the forty-two galaxies available in the game. Five of the domes end with a boss level in which the object is to defeat Bowser or Bowser Jr., which then allows the player to access the next dome. When the player first begins the game, access is available to only a few galaxies. However, as more Power Stars are collected, more galaxies become available to the player. When 120 Power Stars are collected, the player gains the ability to play through the game again as Mario's twin brother Luigi. Gameplay is slightly different while playing as Luigi, as some obstacles can be harder or easier to overcome due to Luigi's higher running speed and lower traction. Once 120 Power Stars are collected with both characters, the player is rewarded one additional challenge for Mario and Luigi to complete, as well as two commemorative pictures that can be sent to the Wii Message Board upon each brother completing the challenge.
The player's character is controlled via the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. While most of Mario's abilities are taken directly from Super Mario 64, such as the long jump, wall jumps, and a variety of somersaults, Mario is given new moves that take advantage of the Wii Remote's pointer and motion sensing. The most basic feature is the Star Pointer, which appears on-screen (as long as the remote is pointed at the screen) for the entire game and both marks the position of, and is controlled by, the Wii Remote. First and foremost, the Star Pointer is used to pick up special konpeito-shaped objects called "Star Bits", which are then shot to stun enemies, manipulate obstacles, or feed Hungry Lumas. Secondly, the pointer can latch onto small blue objects called "Pull Stars" that gradually pull Mario through space. Thirdly, if the player becomes encased in a floating bubble, the Star Pointer is used to blow air at it in order to influence the direction and speed it moves. At one point, the pointer can be used to clear snow. Luigi controls identically to Mario, but he has both better jumping abilities and less traction, making some areas either less or more challenging when playing through the game the second time.
The player gains a new ability early in the game, known as the "Spin" technique, which has previously appeared in varying forms since Super Mario Bros. 3. In Super Mario Galaxy, the Spin is primarily used for melee attacks, as it can stun enemies and shatter objects, and is used to trigger special propellers called "Sling Stars" or "Launch Stars" that launch Mario across large distances through space. The Spin is also used for climbing vines, ice-skating, unscrewing bolts, and for activating several power-ups. Other Wii Remote functions are available for smaller quests, such as surfing aboard a manta ray or balancing atop a large ball and rolling it through an obstacle course.
Power-ups and lives
Up until the release of its sequel, Super Mario Galaxy featured the most power-ups and transformations of any 3D Mario game. Nine power-ups supply Mario with a special costume that grants him new abilities. For example, special Mushrooms bestow the player with a Bee, Boo, or Spring Suit. The Bee Suit allows Mario to temporarily hover through the air, climb special walls, and walk on clouds and flowers; the Boo Suit allows him to float through the air, as well as become transparent and move through certain obstacles; and the Spring Suit allows him to jump to high areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. The Fire Flower, which allows Mario to throw fireballs, makes its 3D debut, and the Ice Flower lets Mario create hexagonal tiles of ice to cover any liquid surface he walks on and allows him to skate across water and lava. The Rainbow Star grants Mario invincibility, allowing him to destroy any enemies that he touches, jump higher and run faster. The Red Star, which is an optional power-up only accessible after completing a certain mission, allows him to fly.
Mario's health consists of a three-piece power meter, which is depleted by contact with enemies and hazards. When swimming underwater, Mario has an air supply meter, which quickly depletes his main power meter if it runs out. Mario's health can be restored by collecting coins and his air supply by touching bubbles or coins. When the power meter becomes empty, the player loses a life and must go back to a predetermined checkpoint. The power meter can be temporarily expanded to six units through the use of a Life Mushroom, with the maximum health returning to three units if the overall health falls to three units from enemy or hazard contact or if Mario suffers instant death. Instant death can occur by being swallowed by quicksand or dark matter; falling into bottomless pits, which either consist of black holes or leaving a planet's gravitational pull and falling into space; getting crushed between objects; losing a race against a non-player character; or other special challenges. The player can obtain extra lives by collecting 1-Up Mushrooms, 50 Coins without losing a life, or 50 Star Bits. Blue Hungry Lumas (known as "Luma Shops") can also exchange 30 Star Bits for a 1-Up Mushroom or Life Mushroom in certain galaxies, usually before battling a boss.
Super Mario Galaxy has a co-operative two-player option called "Co-Star Mode", in which one player controls Mario and a Star Pointer while the other uses only the Wii Remote to control a second Star Pointer on-screen to gather Star Bits and shoot them at enemies. Additionally, the second player can make Mario jump, or the height of Mario's jump can be increased if the first and second player press the A button at the same moment. The second player can also prevent some enemies from moving by aiming the pointer star at them and holding the A button.
Shortly after Mario is invited to the centennial Star Festival by Princess Peach to celebrate the comet that passes overhead, Bowser invades the Mushroom Kingdom with a surprise attack in a fleet of airships. Summoning a gigantic flying saucer, Peach's entire castle is removed from its foundations and is lifted into outer space. After an unsuccessful rescue attempt, Mario is catapulted onto a small planet by one of Bowser's minions. On the planet, he meets an enchantress named Rosalina and her companions, the Lumas. Rosalina is a watcher of the stars, who uses the Comet Observatory to travel across the universe. However, Bowser has stolen all of the Power Stars that act as the Observatory's power source, rendering it immobile. Bestowed with the power to travel through space through one of the Lumas, Mario sets off on a journey across the universe to reclaim the Power Stars and restore power to Rosalina's observatory.
Upon collecting enough Power Stars, the Comet Observatory regains the power to transform into a comet, and flies to the center of the universe, where Bowser is holding Peach captive. Confronting Bowser, Mario learns that Bowser's plan is to rule the entire universe with Peach at his side, using a newly constructed sun of his own via the power of the Grand Stars. Mario manages to defeat Bowser and free Peach; however, in doing so, Bowser's sun collapses into itself, becoming a supermassive black hole that begins consuming everything nearby. All of Rosalina's Lumas jump into the black hole to destroy it, but sacrifice themselves in the process. The black hole collapses into a singularity and explodes in a supernova. Rosalina appears to Mario as a giantess, stating that dying stars are later reborn as new stars. Mario awakens in the restored Mushroom Kingdom, full with all of the creatures he had met in the galaxies, alongside Peach and Bowser, celebrating the new galaxy that has emerged in the skies.
The concept for Super Mario Galaxy's gameplay originated from ideas taken from Super Mario 128, a tech demo shown at Nintendo Space World in 2000 to exemplify the processing power of the Nintendo GameCube. The demo's director (and director of Super Mario Galaxy), Yoshiaki Koizumi, desired that one of the demo's distinguishing features, spherical-based platforms, would be used in a future game, but was held back in belief that such a feat would be "impossible for technical reasons". Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto suggested to work on the next large-scale Mario game after Nintendo EAD Tokyo finished development on Donkey Kong Jungle Beat in late 2004, pushing for the spherical platform concept to be realized. A prototype of the game's physics system took three months to build, where it was decided that the game's use of spherical platforms would best be suited to planetoids in an outer space environment, with the concept of gravity as a major feature. During development, the designers would often exchange ideas with Miyamoto from his office in Kyoto, where he would make suggestions to the game design. The game's script was written by Takayuki Ikkaku, though Koizumi was heavily involved in the creation of the story.
The idea for Mario to have a "spin" attack came during the early stages of development, when it was decided that jumping on enemies on a spherical map would be difficult for some players. Initially the "spin" was activated via rotation of the Nunchuk's control stick, but after motion sensing was confirmed to be implemented in the Wii Remote, the "spin" was changed to be activated through shaking the controller. Koizumi suggested that Mario's life meter should have a maximum capacity of three instead of eight, but at the same time more 1-Up Mushrooms would be placed in the game and checkpoints would be added, in order to balance the game's difficulty. Satoru Iwata noted "the fact that the intensity factor changes according to whether the life meter is set to 3 or 8 is representative of the things that players do not notice that actually change the gameplay dramatically."
It was first hinted by Takashi Tezuka, Nintendo's analysis and development's general manager, that multiplayer was going to be co-op in an interview with gaming site IGN. Two-player functionality was later confirmed, along with reports of the team experimenting with new ways to use the Wii Remote so that one player can control Mario while the other aids him, backed up by suggestions by Miyamoto that the second player could have the ability to affect Mario's progress. It was later revealed at Nintendo's E3 2007 that the co-op mode was permanently implemented into the game and could be accessed at any time.
In an after-hours press event at E3 2006 in May, Miyamoto stated: "I don't want to promise anything yet. But if it's not a launch title it will definitely be there within the first six months". Nintendo of America's President Reggie Fils-Aime later stated in a November 27, 2006 interview with cable TV network MTV that the game was expected to be released sometime up to Christmas 2007. Near the end of Miyamoto's keynote presentation at the 2007 Game Developers Conference in March, he further confirmed: "You'll be able to play Super Mario Galaxy this year".  At Nintendo's E3 2007 conference, it was confirmed that Super Mario Galaxy would be released in North America on November 12, 2007, and it was revealed during Leipzig Games Convention in August that it would be released in Europe four days later. In North America, certain retailers had given out a free limited edition coin for preordering the game. Some retailers had delayed it until November 13, 2007, such as GameStop in North America, and some retailers had delayed the release until November 14, 2007. Equally, certain UK retailers shipped the game a day earlier than the European release date.
|Super Mario Galaxy: Original Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by Mahito Yokota and Koji Kondo, performed by the Mario Galaxy Orchestra|
January 24, 2008(Japan)
|Genre||Video game soundtrack|
|Length||1:07:05 (Original Edition)
2:09:54 (Platinum Edition)
During development, Mahito Yokota, who was in charge of the musical direction, originally wanted Super Mario Galaxy to have a Latin American style of music and even had 28 tracks in that style completed for the game. The reason for this was that Latin American percussion instruments had been used in previous Mario games, such as steelpans, bongo drums, and congas. For Super Mario Galaxy's theme, Yokota used Latin American instruments and a synthesizer to create science fiction sounds. The composition was approved by Yoshiaki Koizumi, the game's designer, but when he presented it to Koji Kondo, he told him that his composition was no good. According to Yokota, he always had an image that Mario was for children, causing him to create cute music that would appeal to children. Three months later, Yokota presented three different styles of music to Shigeru Miyamoto. One piece had an orchestral sound, one was a mix of orchestral music and pop music, and the last was pop music. Miyamoto chose the orchestral piece, which was written by Kondo. From then on, the game's soundtrack was composed for a 50-player symphony orchestra. Kondo composed four pieces for the game ("Egg Planet", which plays in the Good Egg Galaxy, and the three "Rosalina in the Observatory" pieces, which play in the Comet Observatory at different points within the game), while Yokota composed the rest. The composers asked the orchestra to play at different tempos in order to perfectly synchronize with the rest of Mario's movement. They also stated that even the sound effects fit into the musical score if the player listens carefully.
The official soundtrack was released on January 24, 2008. It was initially an exclusive to Club Nintendo subscribers in Japan, although as of November 2008 both versions of the soundtrack are available from Club Nintendo of Europe. The soundtrack was released in two versions: the Original Soundtrack, which only contains 28 tracks from the game, and the Platinum Edition, which contains an additional 53 tracks on a second disc for a grand total of 81 tracks. The soundtrack has won numerous critic awards, such as "Best Design in Audio" from the U.K.'s Edge Magazine.
Reception and legacy
Super Mario Galaxy received commercial success and universal critical acclaim upon release. By March 2014, Nintendo had sold 12.22 million copies of the game worldwide, making it the third best-selling non-bundled Wii game and the eighth best-selling Nintendo-published game for the Wii. Super Mario Galaxy is the all-time highest-rated game with at least ten reviews on the review aggregator website GameRankings. The game is also the sixth highest rated game of all-time on Metacritic.
Super Mario Galaxy was met with virtually unanimous critical acclaim. GamePro stated that the title "raises the bar in terms of what can be achieved on the Wii." IGN called Super Mario Galaxy "Wii's best game, and an absolute must-own experience", and "one of the greatest platformers ever played." GameSpot praised its gameplay and level design stating: "if ever there were a must-own Wii game, Super Mario Galaxy is it." Game Revolution noted the variety of gameplay, reliable camera angles and easy to use controls. Computer and Video Games called it a "worthy successor" to Super Mario 64, and states "...Galaxy's real success is in its ability to surprise, which it does consistently from start to finish. Just when you think Nintendo's out of ideas you're blasted off to another world that's even crazier and more creative than the last." Game Informer regards it as the best Mario game since Super Mario Bros., saying "innovates in a genre that we had thought we had seen everything from, and in doing so delivers some of the most entertaining gameplay to date."
Reviewers have expressed minor complaints with certain aspects of the game. GameSpot editor Alex Navarro found one of the powerups, the spring suit, difficult to control at times. Matt Casamassina of IGN noted that the auto-camera "works well most of the time", but occasionally "stumbles".
Awards and nominations
Towards the end of 2007, Super Mario Galaxy was named Game of the Year by IGN, GameSpot, Nintendo Power, GameTrailers, Edge and Yahoo! Games. On February 7, 2008, the game received the "Adventure Game of the Year" award from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences at the Interactive Achievement Awards. The game placed third in Official Nintendo Magazine's "100 greatest Nintendo games of all time". On March 10, 2009, the game won the "Game of the Year" award at the 5th British Academy Video Games Awards. Guinness World Records ranked Super Mario Galaxy 29th in their list of top 50 console games of all time based on initial impact and lasting legacy. In 2009, Super Mario Galaxy was named the number one Wii game by IGN. Nintendo Power also voted in its August 2008 issue that Super Mario Galaxy was the best game for the Wii; it was also the only Mario game to get a top spot on the list, as well as the only game to be unanimously voted for the top position. Moreover, Super Mario Galaxy was named the Nintendo game of the decade (2000–2009) by both Nintendo Power and Official Nintendo Magazine. Nintendo Power also ranked it as their favourite Mario game ever in issue 278 and in their final issue named it the third greatest video game in Nintendo's history. It was also named by Eurogamer and IGN as the Game of the Generation.
In the 1,000th issue of the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Miyamoto stated his interest in making a sequel to Super Mario Galaxy. Producer Yoshiaki Koizumi said in an interview with gaming site GameSpot that there is a "really high chance" several power-ups and suits that did not make it into Super Mario Galaxy would be used in the sequel.
The sequel – Super Mario Galaxy 2 – was announced at E3 2009 during the Nintendo conference. It was released on May 23, 2010 in North America, May 27, 2010 in Japan and June 11, 2010 in Europe. The sequel has been met with extremely positive reception, and some reviewers have claimed that it is even better than its predecessor.
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- Official website
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|Awards and achievements|
|BAVGA Award for Best Game
Batman: Arkham Asylum