Friday, 31 October 2008

Super Mario Underwater: The Critical Reception

So Wilftonville leaked the pitch for Nintendo's new game "Super Mario Underwater" on Monday. I'm writing this before the post which announces this leak, but I'm certain that the response was overwhelming and that hundreds - nay, thousands - of people commented with their thoughts on the strength of the pitch, and that argument and debate developed from it. We promised that we'd send someone to the future to find out how the World responded when the game was finally released, and were sent back a Wikipedia transcript. Interestingly, the transcript had already begun changing when we recieved it. Here it is:


Super Mario Underwater was commercially very successful; in part due to the popular American advertising campaign which features Michael Phelps losing a race to Mario over 100 metres. It has been reported that the game was especially popular in countries like Denmark and Bangladesh, where the general public of said countries bought the game in order to get in last-minute practise before global warming flooded their homes. The game was highly praised by the press, who called it “a… Mario game” and said that “it features… Mario.” The Times were especially impressed, calling it “Mario.” It did not win any awards.

Critical Reception:

The game was widely unpopular with critics on a general scale. Most criticised the decision to take the most disliked aspect of every Mario game made up to this point (the swimming levels) and create a game around it as “idiotic”. “Nintendo’s decision to make Mario swim so slowly is the icing on a highly acidic cake” noted IGN, who generally disparaged the game-play for being slow and meaningless. Nintendo Power said that “Giving Mario only eight minutes of airtime means the player has to play in four-minute sections: four minutes playing, and four minutes retracing their steps. It’s just not good enough.”

The plot came in for criticism, with many wondering how the frogs would be able to drink roughly 1/12 of all the water in one go without any severe consequences to their central nervous system. “Mario is sent on time-consuming side-missions underwater when he could have gone straight to Bowser from the beginning” complained Edge, who were vocally angry about many different parts of the game, including the seemingly random decision to force Mario on so many different sub-quests. “Finding power stars is one thing, but cufflinks? No matter how powerful they are, there is no man alive who can make a search for cufflinks interesting.”

Whilst the graphics were praised for being pretty, and the water effects were “well realised”, critics leaped upon the decision to make the game more realistic by having the peat and soil cloud up the water so that Mario cannot see more than three metres ahead. “It slows up the game even further, to the point where I would commend anyone who has the patience to complete the damn thing. And then, having commended them, I would have to shoot them for being a danger to the human race,” said Official Nintendo Magazine of this realism.

Shigeru Miyamoto, whose idea ‘Super Mario Laser Banjo’ had been passed over in favour of the project, held a press conference and announced that he would never let anyone else touch his creations ever again.


After spoilers for the premise of the game were leaked onto the internet via low-level “comedy” blog Wilftonville in 2008, Nintendo scrapped their plans for Super Mario Underwater. This effectively rewrote history and created a time paradox. Shigeru Miyamoto, who invented the time-travel aspects of ‘The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time’ as well as the Mario series, was said to be thrilled by this meta development.

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