Super Mario Galaxy as a Standalone Series

Without doubt both the original Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel are two of the greatest games of all time. Aggregated review scores for both games are on par with Ocarina of Time, and sales don’t disagree. What is most telling is our reaction to the games as fans, and that doesn’t disappoint at letting us know just how widely loved the Galaxy games are.

Personally the games have had a very strong impact on me. When I first played Galaxy they gave me a sense of awe and amazement which I think is fair to say I hadn’t experienced since Ocarina of Time. And now, each replay of the games sees the return of those feelings and a great sense of nostalgia. Most importantly, on repeat playthroughs the games continue to amaze.

Even with the options to collect all of the stars as Luigi, and the Green Star Challenge in Galaxy 2, the games can’t keep us going forever. There is heaps to do, and it sure is enjoyable enough by far to make you want to do it all over again. I always get a sense of satisfaction when the credits on a game role, but the galaxy games have also given me another feeling. You could call it hope, or you could call it fear. Hope that we haven’t seen the last of Galaxy, and fear that we have. Could we ever see more Galaxy games? Is it possible for the series to come into its own and separate of the Super Mario series?

Currently the Mario franchise has literally hundreds of games. There are spin-offs in abundance like Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games or Mario Sports Mix. Then there are all of the reputable series which come under the Mario banner like Mario Kart, Super Mario Bros., Paper Mario, and of course the most recognized and renown of them all, “Super Mario”.

The Super Mario series is the standout of the Mario franchise. It begun with Super Mario 64, one of the greatest and most revolutionary games to date. It was followed by Super Mario Sunshine, which is considered the flop of the series, but is still a quality game. It just didn’t live up to its predecessor. That’s why when Super Mario Galaxy came it was heralded as the true sequel to Super Mario 64, in a similar way to how many say Twilight Princess is Ocarina of Time’s true sequel. They were what people had been waiting for, or at least, the first game to live up to the expectations of the original in the wider public’s opinion.

With the success of Super Mario Galaxy, Nintendo promptly created the sequel and released it to further success. Now the Super Mario Series takes a turn away from Galaxy, even away from home consoles, to the Nintendo 3DS. Later this year we will experience Super Mario 3D, which is said to be a cross between Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 64. Honestly, it looks more like the child of Super Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros. Wii from what we saw at E3 this year.

There is no doubt that Super Mario 3D will be released to acclaim and that we will enjoy the gaming experience. The Super Mario Series does that as Mario’s flagship series. It will be everything we’ve come to know and expect from an entry to the Super Mario series. At least 120 mini puzzles spread out over a number of levels where we collect Power Stars, or Shine Sprites as the case was with Super Mario Sunshine. Regardless, Super Mario 3D will not be a new Galaxy game.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

As far as we know that it stands at the moment, Mario Galaxy is done and dusted. It is a completed mini-series within a larger series. Just like the Four Swords arc constitutes three games of the Zelda series, Mario Galaxy is two of the four installments to the Super Mario Series. Now although Galaxy has all of the characteristics of Super Mario games, it is also much more.

So much more in fact, that I believe Mario Galaxy should separate itself from the Super Mario Series. “Super Mario Galaxy” should no longer be just a subsidiary, but the name of its own independent series. Super Mario can continue as it is into 3D and beyond and Galaxy can come in to its own. Galaxy has enough to do it.

The whole setting and premise for the Galaxy games is enough for a series. There is the whole universe to explore. Infinite amounts of galaxies. There are star bits, launch stars, pull stars, power stars, Lumas, comets, cosmic clones, unique power ups, and so much more that sets Galaxy apart. Let’s not forget Rosalina and the easily recognized soundtrack. All of these give Galaxy an identity separate to, and even superior to, the other Super Mario titles.

When you consider the gameplay of Super Mario Galaxy and its puzzles, it is a proven formula for success. Endless amounts of puzzles can be created around the premise of Mario galaxy. There can be no shortage of ideas. As for storyline – I’d argue Galaxy has the best of all Mario Games, although not as intensive as the Paper Mario Series and its chapter by chapter approach. According to Rosalina the cycle repeats over and over, so both that and the simpler option of more direct sequels allow for plenty more installments.

Let’s be honest though, Nintendo has never let storyline get in the way of the gaming experience. They could ultimately be fairly creative in the storyline department, or even drop it back to the stock-standard Peach bakes Mario a cake, but is kidnapped by Bowser. So long as the Galaxy style elements and puzzles remain, all is good. The good thing is Nintendo knows all of this. They know that if they continued Galaxy as a standalone series it would be the most highly rated series ever. Eventually it may even become the most sold. More importantly, Nintendo know it would make gamers happy.

At the moment it appears as if Nintendo is moving on with Super Mario. Respectably, they acknowledge that two games is the logical amount before it seems like they are clinging to their own success and refusing to move on with the series. This is the exact reason why a Super Mario Galaxy series could work as opposed to just a new Galaxy game. Nintendo has demonstrated an ability to move on. They are taking the series a new direction in Super Mario 3D. But what if Galaxy was to separate itself from that? While super Mario continues, so could Galaxy. First a trilogy and then beyond.

The potential is there and I don’t doubt that the thought is also there at Nintendo. Whether they think of it from the angle of business and profit, or providing the best gaming experience, a Mario Galaxy series would do both for Nintendo. I can imagine the reaction to Super Mario Galaxy 3’s announcement at E3. It would be the first moment to rival the reveal of Twilight Princess. It would do fans a great service.

The only reason against it is the notion of wanting to move on, but if Galaxy were to become a series it would still innovate and remain unique into the future. Of all the insane hopes that we have as Nintendo fans, more Mario Galaxy is not an absurd one. The thought rests dormant at Nintendo, but could very easily awaken. It does not take much to imagine the potential of a Galaxy game on Wii U, I just hope that this potential is fully realized by Nintendo, sooner rather than later.

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