2D still knows how to break bricks

2D still knows how to break bricks

He is small, stocky in red clothes, and breaks bricks while jumping. Super Mario is back. Six months after the movie was released to its glory, the hero returns to his first love: video games. And it’s not just a video game: a good old-fashioned, 2D platformer, where the character moves from left to right. Simple and basic, says OrelSan, who is a Super Mario fan himself, like any self-respecting teenager.

The image is taken from the game “Super Mario Wonder”, which was released in October 2023 by Nintendo – Nintendo

Of course, this Super Mario Wonder is Full of new things : New transformations (the elephant in particular…), the possibility of playing new characters (including Daisy and Carotene), the discovery of a new environment (the Flower Kingdom instead of the traditional Mushroom Kingdom…)… However, this return to the dimension The duo smacks of the Super Mario of yesteryear.

Between 2D and 3D, step by step

However, according to Florent Goerges, author of the book Nintendo history And at publisher Omaké Books, this 2D Super Mario game isn’t particularly nostalgic: “Historically, all old video game licenses belong to 2D games… For Nintendo, creating a 2D Super Mario episode isn’t necessarily “As a tribute to the past, but rather as a tribute to the past.” How the future of the license is written: Nintendo needs to alternate the 2D and 3D loops to avoid fatigue among players, so that the loops aren’t too similar. As the production date for a new Super Mario game approaches – and I’m talking about actual Super Mario episodes, not the side games – it takes 5 years. So, between two 2D Super Marios, 10 years pass. We have time to forget what it was like…”

The image is taken from the game “Super Mario Wonder,” released in October 2023 by Nintendo
The image is taken from the game “Super Mario Wonder”, which was released in October 2023 by Nintendo – Nintendo

Moreover, today, and more broadly, the dual dimension is no longer consistent with the past. “There was a time when 3D was supposed to replace everything and become the only standard. At that time, 2D became ‘retro’. But today, 2D has become… a bit of a classic. 2D and 3D coexist among video game productions.” »

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A new golden age of 2D

this Super Mario Wonder The apartment thus completes a decade of 2D rehabilitation. With the advent of 3D, coupled with the PS3 generation of consoles, 2D became a playing field for independent studios. The trend of retro gaming and the arrival of consoles Connected It has created a breath of fresh air for light 2D gaming. The creativity of these games means just that 2D is great again. Today, a 2D Super Mario game is no longer viewed as an easier game to produce than a 3D game.

“The dimension and artistic ambition of the game are not at stake there, well not only,” analyzes Elodie Vavasseur, narrative design consultant for various game studios. It all depends on the story we want to tell, and the feeling we want to give players. Personally, I like when the Wow effect lasts more than a few seconds, and I like it when you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a tornado of unexpected visual effects at the same time as your character. This is possible in 2D mode as well… I remember the Super Mario levels that suddenly It happens under the ocean Or in the stars, which is incredible. »

Five star level fun

If 2D games still reassure some old gamers (like 44, like the author of this article…) for whom 3D games give them migraines, different types of gamers no longer see 2D games as necessarily easier. “Super Mario will never be played the same way between a novice and a gamer,” explains Florent Goerges. Average player or unofficial You will just finish the levels and have fun that way. While the player will not be satisfied until he completes all the challenges and collects all the stars scattered throughout the game.

The image is taken from the game “Super Mario Wonder,” released in October 2023 by Nintendo
The image is taken from the game “Super Mario Wonder”, which was released in October 2023 by Nintendo – Nintendo

Once again, 2D and 3D are no longer synonymous with easy and difficult. It all depends on the way of playingPlayability. “There’s really no story in Super Mario. Nintendo has some kind of lore that tries to keep the Mario world somewhat cohesive, but the stories always take a back seat: saving the princess, or Luigi, or the Mushroom Kingdom. Bowser is always the bad guy… What matters in Super Mario is the fun provided by the gameplay: traps, settings, graphics, Mario’s transformations, his possible actions… This is where innovation comes into play. »

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Reassuring journey

However, Jeff Ryan, author Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America, believes that 2D still imprints a special feeling on players unconsciously. “The world of Super Mario is designed to be reassuring, charming, comforting, with its gentle mountains, its smiling clouds… The bad guys are turtles and mushrooms, and even the ghosts are cute: there is no danger.” 2D, progressing from left to right, reinforces this impression of being in a world in which we control on him. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lose, or that the game is always easy. It just puts the players in a frame of mind. »

On the other hand, for Florent Gorges, this feeling of being on familiar territory comes not from the number of dimensions but from a set of details, such as music or visual elements, that are repeated from one game to the next. “Nintendo made a mistake once Super Mario Sunshine, Three-dimensional. The game was very difficult because you had to do many things at once. They went back to the “you run, you jump” mechanic and everything has been going great ever since. » With this recipe, Super Mario should be breaking bricks for a long time to come.

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