Super Mario Galaxy 2

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For the first time, I must completely disagree with Yahtzee. He is absolutely and utterly wrong:

I'm a pretty quick learner when it comes to knew games, but damn, I just couldn't do it... I couldn't do it!

*curls up and cries*

My recommended games would be LittleBigPlanet, Halo, and Assassin's Creed 2. With AC2 being the one I would introduce later.

The controls are relatively easy compared to other games, and they all pretty much weave tutorials into the narrative to a point, so it's possible to not even realize you're in the middle of a tutorial until later (except LBP). The Halo games in particular have a tendency to give the player a lot of enemy-free space to just get used to the controls. Finally, each one caters to a different flavor of gaming, while not quite being mutually exclusive.

LittleBigPlanet has 2D platforming, and shooting. Basic stealth in Metal Gear pack.
Halo has 3D shooting, with a dash of stealth and platforming.
Assassin's Creed has 3D platforming and stealth, with some very minor "shooting."

They're also games I personally enjoy, so it wouldn't quite look like I'm emasculating the newbie. LBP and Halo also have the added bonus of being co-op, so I could, like Yahtzee said, play the role of the "active teacher" and/or respawn point.

(By the way, when I bring up Halo, I specifically mean the campaign. Throwing someone into the online multiplayer space with no prior experience is just cruel.)

As an aside, this was an excellent article, Yahtzee. Well thought out.


I thought the reason we got that whole reskinned Doki Doki Panic was because the original SMB2 was brutally hard, and NoA thought that us Americans were all a bunch of doughy wimps.
At least that's what I believed...

Likewise, that's the first I heard of the idea of them thinking people wouldn't buy something so similar. The number of iterations of other titles back then wasn't anywhere near as bad as now, but I know there were a lot of popular titles with slight upgrades in their sequels.

However, Super Mario Brothers 2 was known for being brutally hard. That reputation still survives. And that's always the reason I've seen for reskinning Doki Doki Panic.

Ignoring the argument of "casual" versus "non casual," I dislike this concept of "It's for everyone" being an excuse for various creative problems. It's possible to make a game creative and fun while not excluding people. I don't think there are many games that will literally captivate everyone, but "accessible" and "youth friendly" doesn't have to translate to "handicapped" or "stupid." You're not going to merge the shooter crowd and the Wii Fit crowd, but most gamers aren't extremists.

Thank you! It's nice to see that somebody shares my opinion on the series, and my disappointment with Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Sure, a lot of people say that the Super Mario series has been recycling itself for a very long time; but that doesn't mean that each game is the same. Just because the plot is simple, saving that Princess every other day, does not mean that the path to get to the castle that does, in fact, contain a Princess, is the same.
I don't want to mindlessly parrot your article, but I will say something about the plot that I think you might have missed (or simply not bothered with.)
Take a look at 28 Days later, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012. While all of the movies are different, they all have the same basic plot: There is some serious shit going on where the protagonists are, and they have to be somewhere else. The rest of the movie is about them trying to leave. While these are all the same movie on paper, 28 Days Later involves repeated zombie attacks, The Day After Tomorrow deals with the environment bitch slapping humanity in the face, and 28 Days Later is filled with enough bullshit science to inspire even more fear in an even more bullshit event. (Ahem.)
My point is that each though the plot is the same in each, the way that the events are laid out are completely different. So calling each Mario game the same is equally ridiculous. Sure the plot is the same, but the methods in which you do it are totally different. Compare the first game, where you had to take down each one of Bowser's castles in succession in order to save Peach, verses Super Mario 64, where infiltrating his paintings in order to achieve stars is the primary goal.
This is the only console Mario game in which there was almost zero major innovations, and the one time that I have ever been truly upset at Nintendo.
Hats off to you, Yahtzee, and keep up your good work!


It somewhat surprises me the you are defending to a certain degree the Mario games.
But it's OK, I guess, I was never a fan of console games nor any Mario games, so I do not really care.

My question is what you said in the original SMG review if I'm not mistaken, what is Mario going to evolve into now? I mean, it has all the bases covered already.

oooo i have and idea!


Mario goes back in time to defeat Bowser before he can do anything bad and has to play through 3d versions of some of his old games, at least at first, then once he suceeds he creates a time paradox that destroys the universe and... then.... something....

Nice idea, but that would be the only thing new, a story. No new gameplay mechanics, no new cake, just the story.

Totally agree on LBP. Started my six-year-old gamer prodigy - I mean, niece on 3D environment avatar control with that one; still one of her favorites. And god it is FUN when she figures out how to break the game in the level editor mode. (Note: the most used item is Rockets. I love she's already developed a Mad Scientist laugh at this early age.)

Be careful because I tried the same thing with my 7 year-old niece (now ten) and she ended up beating me in Wii bowling, and that was the last time she received any gaming tips from me.

GLo Jones:
For the first time, I must completely disagree with Yahtzee. He is absolutely and utterly wrong:

I'm a pretty quick learner when it comes to knew games, but damn, I just couldn't do it... I couldn't do it!

*curls up and cries*

Ha! Took me over 300 tries to do it, but I did get 3 stars in all of em'.


1) Yahtzee found the game disappointing because it's more of the same.
2) Others are saying more of the same isn't always a bad thing.

Both are absolutely well founded and reasonable opinions. I can't see anyone making compelling arguments against either... you either wanted more Galaxy or a new Mario game. Agree to disagree already.

hmmm,ironically i would recommend super mario world to newbies but just because it was the game that introduced me to gaming,along with sonic 2.But if I had to follow the recomendations yahtzee made,i'd think Portal.I mean,it starts really easy,but it gets progressively harder (too hard by the end),the controls are simple if you compare it to other games,the mechanics are simple yet creative and it's short,the graphics are ok and finally because it's short,so people won't get bored too quick.

Puddle Jumper:
Actually, that's exactly what I would do. Shove a classic controller in their paws and put them in front of a classic game to understand some of the basics of gaming like how to use a controller ... and that you have to press start ...

"Start" just might be the most direct command button on any controller. It's like F1 in most programs, only even more direct.

I recall cutting my gaming teeth on the original Zelda, which, without a guide, gamefaqs, or previous knowledge, is a total bitch to get through (I imagine that the linearity of the second title was a response to address the confusion following the first game. The second quest in Zelda 1 is infuriatingly close to impossible to finish based on what you know from the instructions alone).

Today though, we have "casual" games and "hardcore" games of varying flavors and creeds.
Perhaps that is why we have so many shooters today; the FPS is the first "hardcore genre" a casual player is likely to stumble into. Sort of how there were not nearly as many players of the original Halo as there were Halo 2 players (based on online anyway and yes, I am painfully aware of the Broadband Availability issue back in 2002), despite Halo being a massive commercial success.

Portal would, I think, be a good starting point for new gamers. You need to learn how to move, look, and shoot. That's all the controller mechanics you have to keep in mind. The main complications in that game are the puzzle designs, but they start off fairly simple and go through a smooth difficulty curve before they start to get frustrating. Good intro to navigating in a 3D environment.

Just don't start them off with CoD or something like that. Was playing it with my cousins and my dad walked in and started playing. He was okay, but he didn't like the fact that you push the analog stick forward to look down (we turned on look inversion for him and he still didn't quite get it). He doesn't seem to get moving and aiming at the same time. Was kinda embarrassing to watch. Then we gave him a shotgun and he did alright.

Personally as a first time gaming experience I would recommend a whole slew of games for the Nintendo DS. Handhelds are a great way to get people used to the idea of gaming controls, themes, structure, etc.

Their size and simplified games and controls make for a perfect introduction, and the variety of games and low price (especially for the DS that plays GB and GBA titles) are appealing to non-gamers. They also offer plenty of challenging games so there's room for an upgrade.

To be honest, what's the point of discussing an 'introduction' game? For us who care, who have already played a myriad of games, why should we bother with figuring out what to show to a new-timer? As Yahtzee himself has said, gaming needs to evolve. We've gone from the processor competition, graphics competition, and all three consoles out are fairly stable in their markets and niches.

See, the thing that worries me here is that someone will likely start trying to make introduction games. Useful, perhaps, but I believe that gaming as a whole needs to evolve, new ideas constantly tried and tested. If we allow gaming to simply stagnate with casual games (not so bad in themselves, but they're rarely much different from one to the next) and the complete halt Galaxy 2 represents, why will anyone bother with innovation? Why will companies fund something new and dangerous when we're just willing to buy the same crap again and again? On that, my friends, I leave you.

Actually Yahtzee if I were to introduce a newbie to gaming I probably would start them off on one of the original 3 Mario titles. I wouldn't want to rush them into 3D gaming right away, after all you have to walk before you can run. Once they had the hang of 2D then maybe I'd move them on to 3D.

As for Mario Galaxy 2, yeah I suppose it was a bit of a cop-out. I guess after all these years we've come to expect quite a bit from one of gaming's biggest icons. But you know what? It kept me entertained. Sure it was kinda odd that everybody seemed to have developed selective amnesia and had completely forgotten about the first Mario Galaxy game. Come to think about it, I'm pretty sure the centennial star festival was the opening event of the first game too, so either 100 years have passed since the first game or something screwy is going on (or both). But again you know what? It's a Mario game, I don't think your supposed to but that much thought into it. All you really need to know is that Bowser has kidnapped the Princess again and that you (as Mario) have to go rescue her. ...again. I mean you've got a brain-dead monarch ruling a kingdom of mushroom people, and said monarch is continually kidnapped by a giant mutant turtle and the only ones around to save her are a pair of plumbers. If you've already accepted that, and if you're a fan you have, then you should pretty much be able to accept anything else they could possibly through at you. I know I can.
Although I do think Bowser needs a new scheme, the save the Princess mechanic is starting to loose believability, even by Mario standards. ...but I suppose young and new fans wouldn't notice.

That last line was hilarious.

I think I'd recommend Super Mario 64 as a nice jumping off point. The first couple levels are pretty easy, and the starting level in particular is great for just running around and getting the hang of things. Here are a few skills you can learn from just messing around in the starting level (Bomb-Omb Battlefield) while a more experienced player yells button commands at you as the need arises:

-Wrestling with a finicky camera until you finally get a viewpoint that's almost not crap. This is a skill you will use for your entire 3D gaming life, across multiple genres.
-Judging distances in virtual 3D space by punching, jumping on and kicking Goombas. Goombas are pathetically weak in Mario 64 UNLESS you are terrible at judging distances (when they run at you), in which case they pose a slight threat.
-Dealing with inertia. Mario jumps much less far when jumping from a standstill, his running speed builds gradually and many of his moves change based on your current movement speed.
-Jump basics. Most other platformers, from Banjo to Ratchet to Jak, have copied the Super Mario 3D basic jumps. They are:
-The High Jump
-The Long Jump
-The Wall Jump
-The Butt Stomp
Subsequent platformers also ripped off the Banjo-Kazooie "Hover Jump" as well, but since Mario 64 doesn't have such a move, well... It's not a huge deal.

Yahtzee mentioned that Super Mario 64 hasn't aged well, but in my opinion the level design is superior to Sunshine and the difficulty curve is pretty balanced. To me, those are more important than graphics or some minor control issues. Eh, echoing Yahtzee, learning to deal with floaty controls is important because they're freaking ubiquitous.

Oh, I'd like to point out this is for introducing a new gamer to 3D platforming specifically. If it was gaming in general, I'd pick something like Donkey Kong or Mario World, THEN move into Mario 64. Then again, I'm not sure somebody needs to learn 2D gaming to move on to 3D.

Perhaps it is because I don't really care much about nintendo, but the doki doki thing, I felt you really were showing off your gamer balls. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate it.

I guess for me, getting into gaming is hard, but the problem facing gaming is similar to those facing movies in many ways - it is expensive to make a game, and there needs to be a compelling case that there is money to be made before a game will be made.

Ive had Wolfenstein 3D on Can I play, Daddy? work for this purpose. Simple controls, hitting targets only requires facing the enemy's direction while firing, secret areas find.. it's been good for a starter.

For 3D platforming i'd go with Whiplash since it's fairly simple at the start and the humor might help keep their interest for awhile.. maybe until the waste area.

i got started with games like Kid Kool, Metroid, SMB, and Zelda on NES. but i didnt get good at them until i got to Sonic 2 and Talespin on Genesis, both of which are co-op and i'd recommend them as training aids for non-gamers.

I'd honestly suggest Bioshock. It has a great art style, wonderful score, a decent difficulty curve, the learning curve is not hard, and the game is relatively easy, even on hard, so it won't drive anyone away. The mechanics of everything works wonderfully, and most importantly, it exemplifies innovation in a subgenre that has a lot of difficulty in really innovating, the first person shooter. The objective in those games will always be the same, go there and shoot that, but Bioshock presents it in such a brilliant way. Definitely a recommendation.

To be honest, what's the point of discussing an 'introduction' game? For us who care, who have already played a myriad of games, why should we bother with figuring out what to show to a new-timer? As Yahtzee himself has said, gaming needs to evolve. We've gone from the processor competition, graphics competition, and all three consoles out are fairly stable in their markets and niches.

See, the thing that worries me here is that someone will likely start trying to make introduction games. Useful, perhaps, but I believe that gaming as a whole needs to evolve, new ideas constantly tried and tested. If we allow gaming to simply stagnate with casual games (not so bad in themselves, but they're rarely much different from one to the next) and the complete halt Galaxy 2 represents, why will anyone bother with innovation? Why will companies fund something new and dangerous when we're just willing to buy the same crap again and again? On that, my friends, I leave you.

For only your second post, that was downright brilliant. Welcome to The Escapist.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
You, too, can shut your fat fucking face.

Yahtzee should totally go on probation for that.

Also, my introductory game of choice would be Prince Of Persia: Sands of Time. I don't think I even need to give reasons why.

I would recomend the any of the PS1 Spyro games for a new gamer. These were the first games I was able to beat on my own, and the games that got my dad into gaming. I prefered these to Super Mario 64 at the time. Spyro was easier for me to get into because breathing fire on enemies didn't require as much precision as jumping on their heads. In 3D, that was pretty tough for my little 8 year old self. (Also, that chain chomp kind of scared me.) The graphics are dated, but I think they look pretty cool. The musical score by Stewart Copeland compares well with modern games. Also, you get to be a dragon who can skateboard, which is pretty cool.

Most of the games people have mentioned so far I'd rank too difficult for a new player... and I'd strongly disagree with Yahtzee with his choice.

I wouldn't give a completely new person anything harder than the original Tetris... hell I'd probably just give them Tetris and nothing else. Tetris has: basic controls for those who have never touched any, minimal 2D controls, the slowest low levels, the highscore (or rocketship if you know this) being the only goal if it is a goal yet, solid mechanics, the notion that exploits are to be exploited and losing is fun.
I've also never met a human that Tetris can't devour said human's soul if introduced.

You need to introduce a new gamer gradually and work up or you will cripple their growth. You NEED to increase control and game complexity slowly. Let them grasp 2D space before you introduce complex obstacles in it. Give them limited controls in 3D which trick them into thinking they have lots of control (think an old racer without camera controls, Doom or the simplest Wii games) before full 3D space control. I've never met a competent, adaptable gamer that did not start with the basics, regardless of if they realise it is because of them.

Also cram a shit-ton of puzzlers everywhere after Tetris to enhance problem solving, that's always good.

Edit: The largest factor on the speed of all this is the person's flexibility, a child is usually the fastest at adaptation while older people tend to go all: "Spinny fps guy temporarily replacing whoever ran to the bathroom or it might be a dog taped to a controller, we the recievers of free kills will never know".

I actually enjoyed you giving some good press of LittleBigPlanet. Believe it or not it's what I've used since it's release to introduce my little sister to proper gaming. She now is playing Unreal 2004 against mid-level bots. It really is the perfect starting game.

I still really dislike Roger Ebert
I mean, it's not just that I disagree a lot
but his attitude (he's a dinosaur, retire)

You people are all crazy. I'm pretty sure the point of video games is to be fun, and MG2 is more fun than anything I've played in years. What's wrong with you? You're saying they should scrap the entire engine and start anew when they have plenty of uncovered territory in the current layout? Every single star in Galaxy 2 feels fresh and unique. There was never a point where i stopped and said "hmm the overall feel of this game is similar to the prequel." You keep saying games should evolve, but evolution takes time. Mario has just now gotten to the magical point where the mechanics have been polished to the point where Nintendo can simply focus on creative level design, and boy oh boy are they creative. Yes SMG2 IS CREATIVE!! (as you said, Mario is the symbol of N's creativity) even if they didn't spice up the formula to your satisfaction. If you played MG2, you loved it, and if you didn't, something is severely wrong with you. What was the significant evolution between GOW 1 and 2? Halo 1 and 2? Halo 2 and 3? All the GTA's? FF's? In fact, I'd say that by your standards, COD is the same game as Halo.

And besides, there are plenty of never-before-seen-in-a-mario-game gameplay mechanics in Galaxy 2, such as the drill, 3 new yoshi powerups (-1 if u compare the balloon to the balloon P from SMW), 2 fantastic new powerups for mario (which yahtzee completely dismissed despite them being awesome and adding levels of complexity to the game), and several new gravitational patterns.

I just don't understand.....Nobody goes out to buy a video game for the story it tells. (except maybe some final fantasies) Even Heavy Rain, which is basically just a choose your own story book turned into a movie, was largely bought for the new gameplay mechanic; not the story. MARIO IS A PLATFORMER. SMG2 IS THE GREATEST 3D PLATFORMER EVER CREATED. END OF STORY.


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....

I agree that Bioshock is easier and more accessible than lots of other FPSs due to the vita-chambers. However, I think there is a bit of a jump in difficulty when you face your first Big Daddy which might discourage the first-time gamer as they die multiple times trying to kill that behemoth using limited weapons.


While I disagree about it being the greatest platformer ever. I do agree with the idea that it was the right decision on Nintendo's part to refine and evolve the mechanics of Galaxy.

What the Mario franchise is best at is "fun", changing it up before it stops being fun, evolving what stays fun (such as the Paper Mario games) and appending numbers to what does not radically change for those who want the same fun (such as Super Mario Galaxy 2).

You bought a Mario GALAXY game Yahtzee and you seriously thought it wouldn't involve more Mario and clever GALAXY related stuff?
I'd understand if it was called "Super Mario Not-Galaxy" and you were upset over things not breaking the previous mold but this was "Super Mario Something Number" and will feel like it's predecessor just tighter with safe changes.

Yeah the Mario franchise is fun and all but its always better to expand new ideas(even thought eh Super Mario Sunshine was a bit of a disappointment) but Super Mario Galaxy 2 was the squeal to a great game. It's like a book only so much of the story can be fit in one place with this it was a fine example of that type of scenario. All it brought was slight changes for instance bringing back everyone's favorite green dinosaur Yoshi to the game play.

For Galaxy 2 it didn't really need more tweaking to be better i like the fact they brought back a few maps from past Mario games. So this is more a of here you go play this until we can think of new ideas for a new Mario game. But i like to see them try to beat their idea of space traveling.

*Sheds a few tears* i believed in you yahtzee!!!!

anyways how could anyone here defend Mario he has been in about 81 games so far (guineis book of records) and most of the ones he stars in have been the exact same i (sadly) have new super mario bros and it is the exact same as the original Mario.
"BUT WAIT" YOU CRY!!! "their is a mushroom that makes you slightly bigger then before!!!!" i admit they put an extra five to ten minutes into putting another mushroom in the game but you guys still like him and buy the trash they come out with :(.
if im complaining about one part of the article its because i couldn't read two pages of how great mario is so i gave up

hmmpf......I would either throw gish or World of Goo at a new player. I don't play many 3D platformers so I can't really make a recommendation there, but I guess the cell-shaded comic looking Prince of Persia seems easy enough for a first timer too.

PoP (the cartoony, that is) is also a good choice because you CAN'T DIE. For most experienced gamers it sucks because it's too easy (in my opinion, that is), but for inexperienced gamers this might be a good one to start with.

You see i really don't get this, the fact this is being overlooked so epicly here is Super Mario Galaxy 2 is an extreamly good game. I mean like extreamly good. Does it deserve the metacriritc hype? Proabaly not that's just a load of reveiwers creaming themselves of mario yet again, but they do have a point. More of utter unadulterated awesomeness is still utter unadulterated awesomeness no matter how thick your cynic glasses are.

I say this as someone who thinks modern day nintendo up until this point can go stick it's head in a pig, most of what nintendo does is defended by doe eyed nostalic masses and the banner of "Gaming for all" whilst gaming slowly regresses with the complexity and versitility of a controller replaced by the equivelant of a gaming picture book in motion controls (all they provide is comfrot for those who want to fling their arms about and go "Huur Hurr it moovz"). Im not a fanboy in the nintendo department.

SMG2 May not have a whole bag of new ideas but it's another mario game in one generation, it is essentially SMG part 2 and the creators have repeatedly said so. Most games get away with this shit and are much lower quality.

I read a comment on another forum about how a users girlfriend was able to play god of war 3 because she didn't have to control the camera. The God of War games might be good first choice 3D games.

Eqan Asif:

GLo Jones:
For the first time, I must completely disagree with Yahtzee. He is absolutely and utterly wrong:

I'm a pretty quick learner when it comes to knew games, but damn, I just couldn't do it... I couldn't do it!

*curls up and cries*

Ha! Took me over 300 tries to do it, but I did get 3 stars in all of em'.

Well I bow to your patience sir. I'm nowhere near strong enough to do that. I'd have a breakdown.

Mario 1 -> 2 = More of the same
Mario 3 -> World = More of the same
Mario 64 -> Sunshine = More of the same
Mario Galaxy -> Galaxy 2 = More of the same

Do your damn homework next time Yahtzee, Nintendo have been doing the major revision -> minor tweaks since the very beginning. You could argue that the Rock suit, Yoshi, Cloud suit and revised map are less of a change than the water pack or Yoshi plus revised map but you can't say there's a significant difference.

He is right (like almost always) and for what would be a good game for a first time player... maybe a turn based RPG with a good story and instructions just since it'd be easy to play and get into, of course I can't think of a game that really fits this criteria.

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