As Nintendo's famous plumber reaches his 35th birthday, the Japanese gaming giant has dusted off three of his defining achievements in one celebratory package.
Or at least, it should be celebratory. As you may have heard by now, Super Mario 3D All Stars serves up Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy with relatively little pomp and circumstance. The games remain largely unchanged from their original guises, with high-definition resolution and each game's soundtrack the only definable extras. No bespoke graphical upgrades, concept art or developer commentary about the creation of two of the finest games in history and Sunshine - one of Nintendo's most interesting and divisive.
In this age of aging games getting the spit and polish of impressive generational upgrades -Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, even Tony Hawk's Pro Skater- Super Mario 3D All Stars can't help but feel a little perfunctory. Let's say that preserving the games as they are for a new audience on Switch is a fine lesson in gaming history -and heaven knows Mario can provide that- some supporting extras would have gone a long way in making this the celebration it should have been.
Still, let us not underestimate the power of all three of these games finding new admirers. Super Mario 64 may show its age in terms of its blocky N64 visuals, but no other game aside from Mario itself has challenged its mastery of 3D platforming. It was extraordinary back in 1996, translating the portly plumber's side-scrolling escapades to a sprawling adventure through different worlds, tasking you with hunting out different stars with a bevy of inventive challenges.