When the Nintendo Wii was released, everyone flocked to it and wanted to get their hands on it to try out the new motion controllers and see this crazy new Nintendo console that was sweeping the country. Gamers high and low wanted to see what this game system was all about, and why it was reaching out to such a broad audience and consumer base like not video game system ever before had done, as people who had never picked up a game controller, much less liked video games, were clamoring for the Wii. Needless to say, it was a transcendent fixture in gaming history, reaching out and bringing a wide range of people together for the sake of video games.
Once the shine and mass hysteria wore off a bit, through, the true gaming audience began to sit back and pick the system apart, pointing out all the things perceived to be wrong with it as an attempt to knock it back a peg or two, in hopes of fighting the good fight for one of the other systems, Xbox 360 or PS3. The thing is, Nintendo never set out to create a machine like Sony or Microsoft. They wanted to develop something that would bring people together, encourage family time and overall just give players the ability to have fun, without the stress and pressure of online gaming or competitive fanboyisms.
Because of this route, however, Nintendo did deliver a system that was technically under-powered compared to the "competition," and many games that were released for the system looked and played like hot garbage, as they were merely attempts to be cash cows and take advantage of the over saturated market and create cheap, gimmicky motion controlled games to trick the average consumers who were new to the marketplace to giving them money, hoping they wouldn't notice the difference between quality games and "shovelware" games.
These shovelware games completely ruined the imagine for Nintendo among the "hardcore" fans, and they constantly used the poor quality and horrible graphics as proof of how under-powered the Wii was in the current landscape of games. Nintendo never really stood up and stopped the flow of crappy games from hitting store shelves, all but making the "Nintendo Seal of Quality" from back in the day meaningless now.
Despite Nintendo taking a quiet stance on what third party games were being released for their system, they finally took a stand against people criticizing them and their "little system that could." They finally proved, once and for all, exactly what the Wii was capable of from a graphics and technical standpoint, when they released the mind-blowing, incredible Mario game known as Super Mario Galaxy.
When this game was announced and shown off for the first time, people were blown away. Mario is space? At first, the notion seemed crazy, but in actuality, having the freedom of space actually allowed the franchise to open up and grow, giving the developers a chance to try new and creative ideas that just wouldn't or couldn't work in the already established Mario universe. Possibilities are endless up in space, and because of that, Mario was set free to explore levels and worlds like never before.
The game physics are intense and always changing, from planet to planet, which keeps the game and the idea of being in space from ever feeling repetitive or boring. You're able to control Mario in ways you had only dreamed of before, and in some circumstances, ways you couldn't have dreamed up in a million years. Bee Suit Mario, anyone? The way that Galaxy plays was refreshing and fun, never feeling like a gimmick.
Game play was a huge part of Galaxy, but whenever the game is brought up and I'm forced to think about it, I always revert back to just how gorgeous this game is. I understand that so many games these days, especially for the new systems, are gorgeous and great looking, but what Nintendo did with Mario Galaxy were things hardly ever seen in games, especially Nintendo games, even more especially, Mario games. Most of the beauty doesn't come from the big, fantastic looking worlds, planets and moons, ore the enemies that inhabit them, but rather the smaller details in the game. The shimmer of far off galaxies and stars, the space dust left behind in trails as you fly through space, the delicate touches of texture on things you're not used to seeing texture on.
I could gush for thousands and thousands of words about how amazing this game looks, but really, I could never do it justice. It's so breathtaking when you see it first hand, especially when you look over and see that little machine that no one imagined could do anything remarkable running this game, which received perfect scores left and right by critics, and is still near the top of the list for Metacritic as one of the best, highest rated games of all time. Talk about making a statement, Nintendo. Silence can be powerful when used correctly, I suppose.
Just because Nintendo finally took a stand against the nay-sayers, doesn't mean they would change their ways completely, as keeping the industry guessing and catching them off guard is something they will always do, I would bet. Their follow up to Galaxy is not eh