Super Mario Galaxy 2

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Your argument is flawed. Super Mario Galaxy is the highest rated game in 12 years, and people wanted more of it, so giving us that rather than making us wait an entire console generation for a new installment doesn't seem too evil, and I fail to see how having a game with double the stars of the last game is phoning it in. Also, SMB 2 wasn't not released in America because it was too similar to SMB 1, it wasn't released in America because it was too hard.

I'd give them Ninja Gaiden or Battle Toads... Throw them into the deep end... SINK OR MOTHERF- Wait I doubt that would actually work. Something like that would more than likely put them off gaming. Mmmm what about Viva Pinate?. The game is for kids yes, so the game is pretty much made to introduce new players. Every thing is made pretty easy for you and your constantly informed on how to play.

Portal would also be a good game to give to a new player. The game is puzzle based and in the first few levels it's impossible to die or lose, the game has decent enough difficulty curve where in the new gamer can learn to play and it never gets so mind numbingly hard as to turn a player off playing.

On the subject on good games for beginners, I had some success teaching my girlfriend about gaming by working up from the Lego games. The Lego series has stories that most people already know and understand, simple mechanics, and they're co-op, so I could play with her. Plus, the mechanics and controls are pretty indicative of gaming as a whole, they aren't as specific to the game as with casual titles like 2D puzzle games or the like. You're actually moving and jumping a 3D avatar.

So, that's what has worked for me to introduce non-gamers to the mechanics, anyway.

LBP is a great starter. It's how I got my fiancÚ to really start playing. Then we went back and forth with good ol side scrolling fighting games, such as Double Dragon and Castle Crashers. The next step was Diablo 2 and stupid WoW, then I was able to get her into Borderlands, which surprisingly enough, is a good start with FPS training.

Also, very good point with MG2. I'm actually sick of every single Nintendo rehashes. Mario, Link, ect.. Just give me something new and fresh please.

At least they had the curtsy to put the drawn out tutorial on a separate disc, unlike the first boot up of Red Steel 2 that has to be one of the most demeaning insulting tutorial of the lot, being borderline "but the only plug in the only socket".

My main issue with SMG2 is the critical reception. Sure it's still the same quality entertainment but the first game was original, thus made it fit for praise. The sequel however is an extended retread that while still worthy of high praise, NOT the same as the first... which it has, if not more so.

Decabo:
Your argument is flawed. Super Mario Galaxy is the highest rated game in 12 years, and people wanted more of it, so giving us that rather than making us wait an entire console generation for a new installment doesn't seem too evil, and I fail to see how having a game with double the stars of the last game is phoning it in. Also, SMB 2 wasn't not released in America because it was too similar to SMB 1, it wasn't released in America because it was too hard.

But did people really say they wanted more OF THE SAME or more GREAT NEW IDEAS 3D Super Mario can produce? Their next non Galaxy game will no doubt ably be much better and warranted.

Anyway, games aren't not released in America for being hard anymore.

Ewoc:
LBP is a great starter. It's how I got my fiancÚ to really start playing. Then we went back and forth with good ol side scrolling fighting games, such as Double Dragon and Castle Crashers. The next step was Diablo 2 and stupid WoW, then I was able to get her into Borderlands, which surprisingly enough, is a good start with FPS training.

Borderlands? A coventional run and gun style would be more simple than RPG-esque micromanagement.

I regularly play LBP with visitors who are non-gamers but want to play something. It's intuitive and adorable, and very, VERY hard to get stressed about, so it's always good fun.

But if I was feeling harsh...probably X-COM...bwhahahahahahaaa

Little Big Planet is a good choice for platformers. Being an indie freak, I would have said Braid, but it's pretty much the same either way. (LBP is about as 3D as a pop up book).

I think it matters more which genre you want to introduce the gamer to. I mean, Little Big Planet isn't going to be much help if the new guy wants to try a first person shooter afterwards. I guess something by Valve would be good for that. Maybe Left For Dead because of the coop element. RPGs would be even tougher to transition to considering how unintuitive they can be to the uninitiated, but maybe a Zelda. They have some of the equipping and quest aspects without being too overwhelming, but it isn't all that good of an example.

Anyway, about the review. Since the game itself was pretty much the same as Mario Galaxy + a few extra maps, Yahtzee's right to be generally mad, but I had a ton of fun with the game anyway. As map packs posing as games go, you could do way worse than Galaxy 2.

Great input Yahtzee, I too remember reading "SMG is a casual game" and thinking how stupid that was. LBP is indeed a good game for beginners, but those damn floaty controls make me want to break the controller in half.

I actually got some of my more "casual" friends into gaming with Braid - the audio/visuals are beautiful, the controls are simple and responsive, it has that "simple to pick up, difficult to master" vibe going on and it actually requires some genuine thought to succeed. And like Portal, it's not long enough to overstay its welcome.

Though obviously it takes "different strokes" to get people into gaming; sometimes a good round of Mario Party is all a person needs.

sketchesofpayne:
Real-Time Strategy games got many a player into gaming. Warcraft 2 and Starcraft for instance. Also, most MMOs work, as they let you move around in 3D without any complex movements needed. Just walk from point A to B.

But yes, Little Big Planet is a great first game, especially with the co-op aspect.

I always thought MMOs would scare someone off. They are terribly complex with all the skills, stats, gear, acronyms, quests, etc. I love MMOs, but I would never give one to a first time gamer. I know it can be hard to look at an MMO you've been playing for years and think the UI is hard to grasp, but try showing the UI to a brand new player, and they will be intimidated. I remember taking a break from LOTRO for a couple months and it took me around a week to remember where everything was and what it did.
RTS's might work, but those can also be complex for someone new to it. Maybe something like the old Age of Empires might work, then starcraft, etc.
EDIT: Plants vs. zombies could be a great introduction to the mechanics of strategy games and has a nice difficulty curve...
If I was to start someone with an RPG, it would be chrono trigger. Automatic leveling, gear is basic (more attack than previous-equip) and the difficulty curve and story is pretty solid.
A platformer such as New super mario Bros (one player of course) might be a bit better than LBP in terms of a first game. Start with this so they learn how to jump with precision, and how to kill a basic enemy. Then, introduce LBP with the grab mechanic, enemies that are harder to kill, and multiple planes.
EDIT: forgot action games. Zelda would be a nice simple one (maybe wind waker or phantom hourglass) that could gradually teach fighting mechanics, blocking, boss strategies, adapting to new items and the like.

I didn't start out with Mario (well I did, but it was Prince of Persia first - and Tomb Raider) so new gamers should start out with some actually challenging shit too.
It's sink or swim, you know.

For a first time gamer, where I was trying to push the "Games are Art" argument, I would suggest: Half Life.

Yes, the first one.

The game has an involving story and steady increases in difficulty as the levels progress. Furthermore, it compels the player to find inventive solutions to confrontations instead of simply spray and pray. Set on easy it would challenge the new gamer while giving them levels that teach, lead and mesmerize instead of punish.

Once they have played that I would move them on to Half Life 2 to show how the story and the characters evolved along with the technology.

A more contemporary suggestion would be Portal. Dark, engaging wit. Intriguing story. Very little gunplay.

These are not games that said reviewer could look at and dismiss immediately as childish. Anything cartoony like Little Big Planet and Mario would be thrown out as a kids toy, thus ineligible as art.

On a side note, all of this points out the Achilles Heel of the Games as Art argument. Art, in its base form, (paintings, sculpture, and music), is accessible to all. No experience or special equipment is required (with the exception of a radio). You just sit and enjoy on your own level. Games demand a level of investment of time and energy which the uninitiated may not wish to put forth.

The fact is you have to want to enjoy games to see their true potential. Otherwise you won't play them long enough to see all they offer. It is like trying to explain the wonders of literature to a 40 year old illiterate.

To us, these games are art.

To those of Ebert's generation, they are childish wastes of time.

Attitudes will change, but we will only see the affects of this in generations after ours.

If Ebert actually plays SoTC, I'll shit a brick. If he doesn't get the art of it, I'll throw the brick at him.

You want a game that's artistically different and interesting, that pushes the "games as art" envelope and is STILL easy for a newbie to play?
My vote is on the ORIGINAL Katamari Damacy!
It's bright, HUGE, shows interesting new ideas, most importantly it's FUN. Even my non-gamer wife picks it up from time to time. The controls are pretty intuitive too, anyone who can understand the control structure of a bobcat, crane, or other piece of construction machinery can jump on board without too much trouble.... just don't show them Beautiful Katamari, no one needs to play that frustrating crock of shit.

What about Bioshock? I mean, the game is beautiful, you can't really die for most of it. I found the game to be more fun than most FPS games besides the Deus Ex games... It has an interesting pseudo philosophical point... For a newbie to video games to show that video games can be art yet playable. It is also a pretty mainstream game as well.

BTW, years ago I rented Half Life 2 on the xbox and found it to be boring as hell. Linear ass levels and mandatory vehicle sections. I don't think I even got far enough to get the stupid gravity gun... The game just sucked to me so much... Or maybe the port was just bad... But considering I have played a fair amount of games at the time (even though I still suck at them even now), the game just doesn't appeal to me.. So, I just can't see how it would appeal to a newbie.

Yet, Deus Ex was a crappy port on the PS2 and still a great game, great enough that I ended up eventually buying it on the PC...

Aw poor LBP D:

It is a good suggestion though, i got a lot of my family playing it. Even my little brother that can't usually manage anything beyond Club Penguin.

It has some good user made stuff but it's not much use without a friend to show you around. Wouldn't really expect any new gamers to go digging through community levels to find the best stuff.

Sinclose:
That was constructive. Seriously, IMO this article is worth more than the review. This time, at least.

Afreed. I honestly think this is almost un-yahtzee-ish.

And the view on LBP is, well, refreshing to say the least.

boredpulmonologist:

I guess something by Valve would be good for that. Maybe Left For Dead because of the coop element. RPGs would be even tougher to transition to considering how unintuitive they can be to the uninitiated, but maybe a Zelda. They have some of the equipping and quest aspects without being too overwhelming, but it isn't all that good of an example.

OK, Left for Dead is not a good idea for beginners. They don't really have time to learn how to move and look around because if they are distracted they DIE. Plus, a newbie wouldn't fit with L4D because (more than likely) if the zombies start closing in, s/he will run. And then get killed by being separated.
A better intro to FPS would probably be Portal. They make sure you have time to learn the mechanics of each new piece before moving on, and there is time to move and look around without being killed. There aren't many enemies in the beginning so the player can get used to controls before being shot at by turrets. The single weapon (portal gun) eliminates the confusion that can come in other FPS (switch to flame weapon on bug, then switch to sniper to take out the flying unit, then switch to rifle for that one charging, then to shotgun for close range can get confusing). Also it introduces one to puzzle games, and the humor would keep one entertained. Portal 2 should have co-op, an added bonus.
With RPGs, Chrono Trigger could be fun (nice and turn based, good difficulty curve, interesting story, memorable characters) the leveling up is pretty basic, and the combat system would introduce the new player to deeper and deeper mechanics.
the Zelda recommendation is another good one.

Nintendo spent heaps of money and years of time developing Super Mario Galaxy. They had created an original engine from the ground up. Then, they spent time making amazing and creative worlds for that engine. Mario Galaxy 2 is letting them get more out of that amazing engine. Level designers get to push the boundaries of their creative minds and the game is harder and geared towards more hardcore players. Yes, it is more of Super Mario Galaxy... ITS SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2!!! Jeez.

This article suprised me. When I saw the video for SMG2, it sounded to me like Yahtzee didn't like it because he was one of those retards who automatically dismissed older franchises for relying on nostalga. Turns out I was completely wrong, and he has roughly the same attitude about the Mario series as I do and just didn't like this paticular Mario because it barely innovated anything compared to the rest of the series. Almost makes me feel bad for sending him anthrax mail.

I'm going to respectfully disagree with this one, because while I do agree with innovation being a positive thing, I also do not think it's nessicary to re-invent the wheel.

Simply put I'm disagreeing with you (Yahtzee) in part because I have agreed with other criticism that you have made about stupid ideas and people say "creating a helicopter out of baguets" [SP].

Like the turn based RPG that you hate, I think that the platformer is a pretty sound form of entertainment as it is and works well. People still enjoy them irregardless of what those who DON'T enjoy them try and broadcast, and it only makes sense for them to be updated technologically but fundementally unchanged.

In the specific case of "Super Mario Galaxy 2" the game went over really well, and people enjoyed those mechanics a lot. As such Nintendo released more of the same right afterwards. Simnply put they created a true sequel as opposed to an entirely new mario game. The very title with the '2' at an end pretty much tells you it's pretty much like the first one. In fact radically changing game series as you add more numbers to the end is NOT what sequels are supposed to be about. If your going to fundementally alter game play and the style using the same characters and/or setting that is what spin offs or whole new product lines are for.

Most of the Mario games with new innovations have not been direct sequels. "Sunshine", "Dr. Mario", etc... they aren't just like "Super Mario Brothers 39" but rather very specific franchises that happen to feature the same basic character and cartoony art/writing style.

Indeed, it could be argued that this is one of the few Mario games to actually have a direct sequel in quite a while, and arguably by being almost identical to the first one it's kind of unique. It marks one of the few times where a given take on a Mario game has been successful enough for they to release more of the same... more levels so to speak.

I guess you could say that "Mario Galaxy 2" is sort of like Super Mario Brothers 2/The Lost Levels... more levels like the ones from the first game for those who loved it.

That said I'm not a big platformer fan, and don't play Mario games as a general rule. These are no exception. I am simply talking about the principle here. I don't think there is anything wrong with a direct sequel that is this similar to the first if the first one was good enough that people really want it/more levels. I fail to see why those people should be begrudged this or the company shouldn't produce it if it's what the audience are asking for.

LBP sounds about right for it. I think Portal Might be pretty good as well- The first levels are pretty much padded cells for a new player to make his first pitfalls. Even failing the first timed challenges doesn't incur the death penalty if I remember correctly, and as for the ambassador element- well, it's Portal.

Aura Guardian:
And if every Mario hater wants Mario to change. Think about it...Look what happened to Sonic.

And now everyone wants the old Sonic games back. Gamers are impossible to please.

YogIdo:
I think Portal Might be pretty good as well-

See, I thought that as well, and then I started my dad off on it and he couldn't find his way around. Even with me directing him, all of Portal's walls look the same and it's all indoors, so for a brand new gamer that hasn't played a game since Galaga, it is actually quite challenging.

I've never been as big of a fan of the lego games, but for a first-time gamer, they'd be good i think. They have the slower pace that lets you get a handle on things.

And for SMG2, they should have named it SMG1.5 and everyone would shut up and enjoy :)

I agree with pretty much everyone when they say Portal's a good way to introduce FPS controls. However, to everyone saying Bioshock, Half-Life 2, etc., those games might not be hard to us, but they're incredibly hard for a newbie. Hell, I've been playing games my entire life, and when I tried playing Half-Life 2 for the first time (it was my first FPS) I couldn't get very far. We're used to using two analogue sticks at the same time, but it's really a hard skill to learn.

Dramus:
I agree with pretty much everyone when they say Portal's a good way to introduce FPS controls. However, to everyone saying Bioshock, Half-Life 2, etc., those games might not be hard to us, but they're incredibly hard for a newbie. Hell, I've been playing games my entire life, and when I tried playing Half-Life 2 for the first time (it was my first FPS) I couldn't get very far. We're used to using two analogue sticks at the same time, but it's really a hard skill to learn.

You can't bloody die in most of Bioshock, lol. But seriously, I guess I did have a friend of mine who doesn't play that many video games and couldn't at least for the five minutes he played the game get the idea that the right stick turned and the left moved... That is actually a good point, but I think even if it takes a while for someone to get used to the right analogue moving the viewpoint in Bioshock, it is different than other FPS games because of the vita-chambers....

ProfessorLayton:

YogIdo:
I think Portal Might be pretty good as well-

See, I thought that as well, and then I started my dad off on it and he couldn't find his way around. Even with me directing him, all of Portal's walls look the same and it's all indoors, so for a brand new gamer that hasn't played a game since Galaga, it is actually quite challenging.

Portal 2 (when it comes out) might be better then. The environments look different, but the problem is it looks much ,ore difficult. And I can't believe I'm recommending a game no one has really sen to a new player...
Doom could be good. No one could call it art, but it would be a basic FPS. You don't need to worry about looking up, just moving forward. The graphics could annoy people though...

ProfessorLayton:

Aura Guardian:
And if every Mario hater wants Mario to change. Think about it...Look what happened to Sonic.

And now everyone wants the old Sonic games back. Gamers are impossible to please.

Its rather sad. The fans destroyed Sonic. Not Sonic Team. And I love the new/old Sonic Games. I think I'm one of the few that do.

Castle Crashers for a first time gamer? I think LBP would be better, yes, but Castle Crashers has a good art-direction, co-op, decent difficulty curve and use of (kinda) the three dimentions.

uppitycracker:
okay, yahtzee, i've never disagreed with you more than i do now. to say that each new mario game has had significant game play improvements/changes is making you sound like another fanboy trying to reassure himself that he's not exactly just that, a crazed, mouth-foaming fan boy.

Who cares if each sequel isn't the next big thing regarding originality. Every one is just as fun, if not more. They don't change the game completely they just add enough to keep it fresh.

You might not like them but you can't bitch at other people for not having the same opinion as you. Fans have enough to justify liking Mario.

I know there's a bit of annoyance over Galaxy 2. That didn't add too many new mechanics, rather just new levels and new ways to use existing mechanics. I can see why some people wouldn't like it after playing Galaxy 1 i guess. Apparently it did actually start of as just a level pack type thing but they ended up with enough ideas for a full game :p

I really liked it but i don't think i could play Galaxy 1 and 2 back to back D:

Hm, judging by his few Mario game reviews I figured Yahtzee would be one the people crying that mario games never change anything and are made for casuals because the idea is a little childish. Glad to see he's at least got intelligent thought behind his hate.

uppitycracker:
okay, yahtzee, i've never disagreed with you more than i do now. to say that each new mario game has had significant game play improvements/changes is making you sound like another fanboy trying to reassure himself that he's not exactly just that, a crazed, mouth-foaming fan boy. and mario galaxy 2 seems no different to me. the only thing that has significantly improved over the years is the graphics. other than that, we've had one or two things added to each iteration. and this is the exact reason i've grown so bored to tears of them. well, i never did like the 3d ones much anyway (the single handed BIGGEST change to mario, ever, but since then, it's just been that one or two things changing).

Super Mario Bros. -> Super Mario Bros. 3
+Significantly greater level variety and design.
+Different boss battles instead of repeating the same one.
+Map screen.
+Crapload of new costumes, enemies, obstacles etc.

Super Mario Bros. 3 -> Super Mario World
+Somewhat better level variety and design, all the secret routes a definite plus.
+Yoshi
+Again, crapload of new enemies and obstacles.
+Improved map screen with secret routes and levels.
-To be fair, less power-ups. :(

Not going to go any further, but... Well, have you seen the Dead Space 2 -trailers (do a double check since you might've thought they were old Dead Space -trailers)? Ever compared Uncharted with Uncharted 2? Metal Gear Solid to Metal Gear Solid 2 and MGS2 to MGS3?

I think Mario wins in improving its gameplay because it actually introduced something new while today most developers usually settle with improving what they have and throwing a couple of unnecessary but mandatory new weapons. I mean, look at MGS4 for example. What the hell do I do with 5 different assault rifles and as many rocket launchers? In a sneaking game!?

I'll counter your recommendation of Little Big Planet with a recommendation of either Lego Star Wars, or Lego Indiana Jones. Both have content that is readily familiar to most people, and the art style never gets in the way of what the game wants to do. They are fun alone, but shine their brightest with a partner in Co-op mode, which as you said was ever important to the learning experience. The games rely on other media for the finer story details, but still convey the basic plot. The mechanics are easy, a nice mix of platforming and beat-'em-up, with a little bit of puzzle solving to help the transition. While in no means are they the most in-depth games, that exact qualification makes them perfect for both the veteran gamer and newbie gamer variety.

Incidentally, the whole reason Nintendo did that whole Doki Doki Panic re-skinning rigmarole was because they didn't think they could get away with releasing a game so similar to the first in non-Japanese countries. Where the hell did the guy who made that decision disappear to? What's changed since then to make the rest of the world as cowed and obedient as your fellow countrymen, Nintendo?

yeah...seriously!

but alas, I have long since retired the Mario (and Legend of Zelda) series in my life. old faves must die eventually...or should anyway (even if, or especially if, I grew up with them)

on second thought...maybe I'll go buy the Paper Mario for the GameCube
(still getting my butt kicked by the SNES Mario games haha...)

Good introductory game: Bioshock on easy.

I think most of everyone who has replied to this is going in the wrong direction. There were a lot of games being recommended, however, I think a 'one game fits all' attitude is completely wrong.

If you really want to start someone on games, you have to know something about them. There's so many different play styles that it would be criminal not to consider it.

For people who like puzzle games:

Puzzle Quest - I can't believe no one has mentioned this game yet. It has some of the most basic game play and it's an rpg. I'll give you maybe it's too casual that it wouldn't get them 'into' gaming, but little steps...

Portal - For sure. Did you ever listen to the commentaries? This game was designed to get people to realized what they're getting into. If it's too hard, then... well, FPS isn't the game for them for the next 20 years.

For people with control problems:

Dungeon Keeper II - One of my all time favorite games ever! (Damn you EA for canceling the franchise!) The tutorial on this game is a hand-walking master piece for new players. "Click here and drag here".

There should also be follow up games that you need to consider. Say they loose interest in the first choice. People are going to gawk at my next recommendation.

Metroid Prime I - So, the first part of the level maybe hard. You get access to all of your stuff, and it might be overwhelming. After you beat the first boss, you lose all of it. Thus your controls are now: Aim, Shoot, Jump and Move. The first areas are very forgiving too. OMG IT'S THE GIANT... beetle? takes 3 hits to kill and does about 2% damage... on noes. Another reason I mention this one is that it has a pretty good difficulty curve. You're never given enemies that you can't defeat. After you beat a hard enemy, then you're given some item that makes the older enemies easy. This also means the games about to throw a harder enemy at you as well. That and this game is visually beautiful to a first timer. Down part is that this game can get a little boring or frustrating when you don't know where the **** to go.

If you think they would be into any rpg style game, then give them one from the Mario RPG line. Maybe not the greatest RPG's (I think they're awesome though) but it's great for a beginner no matter what.

People are going to hate this one too, but, Pokemon, the very first Red or Blue game was an amazing game. Easy to catch on to, plenty of stuff to do, and a clear objective to complete.

Alright, criticize away.

~MasterRahl

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