The Waiting Game Pays Off

Contributed by DJMMT

A couple weeks ago, Nintendo published their latest Nintendo Direct. This was kind of a surprise announcement, but it actually makes perfect sense in the wake of Summer Game Fest. Personally, I really liked this Direct, while also being able to admit that it didn’t feel as huge as past Nintendo presentations we’ve seen. However, this Direct announced multiple noteworthy releases, more than one of which I have already preordered.

While I could talk about the likes of new Pokémon Scarlet/Violet DLC, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, and my disappointment that the next Wario Ware game is focused on physical movement rather than raw skill, I actually want to talk about two specific announcements that I’ve personally been hoping to see for years. So, this post will only be about Super Mario RPG Remake and the Pikmin 1 + 2 Bundle.

I remember being a kid and hearing about Super Mario RPG, or Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars if you want to be formal. Though I had an SNES and loved Mario at the time, I ignored the game. I was only six years old when it first released. At that age, I had absolutely no interest in RPGs. I don’t even think I knew what the term meant yet. The first time I ever played an RPG to completion was Final Fantasy X on the PS2. I still remember being gifted a used copy of Final Fantasy VII on PS1 and immediately giving it to my cousin, who was/is younger than I am. I had absolutely no interest in playing a game with three discs. That was too long of a commitment for me to undertake at that age. While I love RPGs now and play longer games all the time (currently 130 hours in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of Kingdom and still going strong), I still hate seeing games with multiple discs. It immediately puts me off playing them.

Over the years, I have heard countless people sing praises about Super Mario RPG. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to play it, but it just seemed so inconvenient to do all those years later. I actually do still have my SNES. It’s in a box in storage, but it works. But if I wanted to play it on original hardware, which I personally don’t care about, I’d have to fish the console out of storage and find a working cartridge of the game. Because of the insanely overvalued pricing of retro games, that cartridge is currently available used on Amazon for $188! That’s three new AAA Nintendo Switch titles, which are in and of themselves already overpriced a majority of the time. A better, more convenient option to play the game fell into my lap several years ago with the release of the SNES Classic Edition. I love this console, and I’m glad I bought it. I don’t really use it anymore, given all the retro games, not including Super Mario RPG, available on Nintendo Switch Online, but I did beat several classics on it for the first time such as Super Mario Kart, Super Castlevania IV, Super Mario World, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, and Super Metroid. To be clear, this wasn’t the first time I’d ever played most of these games. It was just the first time I actually beat them. However, I never took the time to play Super Mario RPG on this console. I wanted to and always told myself I would. I still have the console set up for this reason. But I just never got around to it. Too backlogged with other titles.

If I’m being honest, the thing that really put me off playing Super Mario RPG for all these years is the graphics. While I can appreciate how they looked for the time they were made in, I’ve always hated them. And I’m not a graphics snob by any means. Just recently, I’ve played and loved games like Dragon Quest I – III and Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. I have no problem with older games, and I don’t need a game to look like God of War: Ragnarök to enjoy it. I just specifically don’t like the original Super Mario RPG graphics for some reason. I have spent years hoping that Nintendo would remake that game so I could play it with better graphics. Finally, they announced a remake. And it looks great! I absolutely love the art style they went with. I literally preordered it two days after watching that Direct. I will finally get to play Super Mario RPG.

These are the types of remakes I support. I’m tired of seeing companies remake games that released when I was already an adult. I’m tired of seeing them remake and remaster games that are literally still sitting on my shelf because they were released 1 -2 gens ago. That is a gross misuse of resources, a waste of time, and a scummy cash grab. They shouldn’t be remaking games that everyone currently gaming has already played or decided they didn’t want to play. They should be remaking games that people missed out on because they were released so long ago that you were too young to have played them. Many Switch owners weren’t even born yet when Super Mario RPG was originally released. Yet it’s highly lauded as a phenomenal game even by today’s standards. That’s the type of game they should be remaking. I applaud Nintendo for this decision, rather than porting over another Wii U game and charging full price for it.

In a similar mode of thinking, I love Pikmin. But I didn’t start with the first game. I remember when the first installment was released on the GameCube. I didn’t understand the appeal at all. To me, it looked like a stupid kids’ game about weird creatures. And I didn’t have any friends playing the game, so I never heard anyone I actually knew and trusted for gaming opinions say it was worth playing. Since this was the time before online demos, I never got to try it. So buying it was completely out of the question. I was very surprised when they released a sequel but, as that was also on the GameCube, it was the same problem as with the first game. I had no way to try it without dropping the cash, which I was absolutely not going to risk at that age. I’m barely willing to buy games without trying them beforehand now.

It wasn’t until 2016 that I got to actually play a Pikmin game. I got it for the Wii U. I can’t remember for sure, but I believe there was a demo of it, which I tried and loved. I’m almost certain that I bought the game in a Black Friday sale. I’ve been a Pikmin fan ever since. I didn’t know if they’d ever make a 4th installment, but I always hoped for one. I’ve had that one preordered for a while now. But I also have wanted to play the first two games for a long time. I was hoping for a “fairly” priced bundle of both games for years. In this latest Direct, that dream came true as well. While they’re not remakes, which I’m fine with, I can now get both Pikmin 1 and 2 together natively on the Switch. If I wasn’t still playing Zelda, I would have bought them as soon as I saw the announcement and tried to finish them both before Pikmin 4 releases. But since I am still playing Zelda, I decided to wait till the bundle is on sale. But what’s important is that my waiting paid off.

I don’t like being inconvenienced to play games. I don’t care about playing games on native hardware. I don’t care about owning physical media at the expense of playing games conveniently. I just want to play the games I want to play, one time, on the hardware I currently own. I had basically resigned myself to never playing Super Mario RPG or Pikmin 1 & 2. Since I don’t subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, I assumed I’d never get to play Pikmin 1 & 2. And since I never really expected a remake of Super Mario RPG, I had accepted that I probably wasn’t going to play that one either. But my patience won out over my interest. Now I get to play all three games on Switch with no hassle.

Really this seems to be the trend in general, now. Regardless of what modern platform you want to play on, every game seems to be being remade, ported, remastered, and often given away for free. Honestly buying games, outside of Nintendo first party titles, almost seems pointless, unless you suffer from FOMO. I’ve always said I wanted to play Alan Wake, but never bought it. Then Epic Games Store gave it for free. Never got around to it; and then they announced a remaster. Didn’t want to buy the remaster, but preferred to play that over the original. Now PlayStation just announced that the remaster will be the PlayStation Plus freebie for July. Just about every PlayStation or PC game I’ve ever purchased since the PS3 has been given away for free at some point on a platform I use. And since I’m always backlogged, I don’t usually mind waiting to play something. Honestly, I don’t really see how any of this is sustainable. In any case, kudos to Nintendo for making it possible for me to play classic games from them in ways that work best for me. Looking at you Advance Wars.

XPG Terrence

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