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New Super Mario Bros. Wii: Save Concerns

I never finished either New Super Mario Bros. (DS) or Super Mario Galaxy (Wii). Both came with extreme excitement and anticipation on my end, but something about them just didn’t click with me. I may not be able to put my finger on it with Galaxy, but the DS game? I can tell you exactly what it was and why that caused me to never finish the game, despite starting it up twice:

The save system.

For those who don’t know, you cannot save whenever you want in New Super Mario Bros. You can save when you clear a castle (mid-stage or end-boss), just like you were able to in Super Mario World. If you want to save at any other point in the game, you had to spend special coins that you collected throughout regular gameplay; three of these coins were hidden away in each stage. Despite this actually being an expansion on the save system from World, this was a major deterrent to completion (and even overall enjoyment) for me. From my perspective, if I am playing a portable game, I do not necessarily know how long I have to play before I need to do something else. The whole point is that the game is portable and can conform to my busy schedule. If I have to schedule my saving around the game rather than myself, I should just be at home playing a console game. It did not even matter that I always had plenty of coins to spare, and was probably coming up on a castle, anyway… it was the principle of the matter, to me.

This is what concerns and intrigues me about New Super Mario Bros. Wii. If you take a look at the E3 trailer, you can clearly see Mario collecting what appears to be large coins, and a special slot on the left that fills up as you collect these three coins:

nsmbwii_coins

My question to myself is this: if it was so much of a problem on DS, will the (apparent, but not confirmed) same save system in the new console version provide the same frustration? Or, like the older versions, will the fact that it is on a console with (presumably) more time to dedicate to it end up with it not even mattering?

How about you all? Did the DS version’s save system drive you away, or did it not even matter? Any concerns or thoughts about the new one?

11 Comments

  1. While I didn’t particularly enjoy the save system of NSMB, the fact that I primarily play hand held games in the car, sitting around at home, or before I go to bed (the joys of being a kid, I guess) meant that it didn’t really ruin the game for me.

    For me, the awkward, floaty controls were what prevented my completion of the game.

  2. Is it really that big a deal to not be able to save any time in a Mario game? The levels are so short! If you have to restart one, it’s not a big deal. If it were some other kind of game, like an FPS or an RPG, then yes, you definitely need to be able to save at any time.

    What next? Are you going to complain that you can’t save in the middle of a Wario-Ware microgame? I agree that saving needs to be easy, but there’s a limit.

  3. You’re right that it’s not a huge concern to be able to save at any time in a Mario game. Thinking back to the jump from the NES games over to “All-Stars” on the SNES and how novel it was to be able to save progress, of course it comes off as a little snotty and whiny.

    Perhaps it was the end of too many lunch breaks and not being near a convenient save point. Perhaps it was being spoiled by other DS games that allowed instantaneous saving.

    Perhaps it’s the collect-fest that the Mario series has turned into, though. I think that’s my main concern; if I’ve collected a coin once, it’s slightly annoying that if I can’t save I have to go back and do it again. The sense of accomplishment of having obtained a coin from a tough jump or such… well, lightning only strikes once for me, in that respect.

  4. it was annoying at first, but I just sped though the game by using the cannons, and form there I just played normally and calmly being able to save when ever I wanted

  5. The NSMB save system was certainly wonky, but after you beat the game, as Rod said, you can save at any time. Before that though, like in mario world you could save at a castle or mid castle. Being allowed to go back to level 1 and just do tha tmid castle was my save trick until I beat the game, much as the first ghost house was my save place in SMW. For a handheld this was certainly annoying.

    But for a console game, thats not such a big deal to me.

    You really should try Galaxy and NSMB again sometime, they were easily two of the best games in recent times for me.

  6. Lance Freeman

    June 4, 2009 at 9:25 am

    THAT’S what those coins were for? Huh, I never knew that. Thanks.

  7. TriforceCaptre

    June 4, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    I honestly don’t even remember that whole coin based save system…huh, weird.
    Anyway, it wouldn’t have been an issue either way since I primarily play hand helds at home (weird right?). In fact, I do this almost primarily for the very reason you have concerns with, that being saving. I don’t want to be in the middle of a boss battle or dungeon or what have you in a game and suddenly feel rushed and anxious because I have to do something else.
    Portable is great for something like say, Tetris or similar quick play games, but for longer games like a Zelda or Final Fantasy, etc, I really would just rather relax with it at home.
    Games are stressful enough as they are without the real life clock pushing me along.

  8. Admittedly, I have yet to play NSMB, but in general I’m actually a lot more lenient towards wonky save systems in a portable than in a console game. Why? Because both of the major portable consoles this generation have standby mode. If I’m in a situation where I cannot save, but I have to step away from the game for an extensive period of time, I just close my DS/flick the power switch on my PSP. I think this is part of the reason I’ve found myself playing portable games far more lately. It’s just really convenient to have a way to stop playing at any time without worrying about saving.

  9. Honestly, I thought those big coins were just to unlock certain toad houses and shortcuts on the map. I had no idea that they could also be used for saving. Originally, I got through the game in around a month, so saving in the middle of a stage wasn’t all that big of a concern for me, anyway. If anything things like save points like they had in SMB World were sometimes more of an annoyance than anything else. For example, if I got a particularly difficult to get Dragon Coin, got to the save point and exited out, I’d have to go ahead and re-collect that same coin even though I got to the save point.

    I can get how saving (or lack of it) can be a problem, but really, Mike… it’s Mario. Saving between such short stages should be good enough.

  10. Well, in NewSuperMarioBros. for the DS, you could simply fold the screen, and it goes into Power-Save-Mode, so the Save-Problem isn’t that big on the mobile system.
    Also, for your Information, if you play through the game once, you’ll get a Save-Function added to your Pause-Menu.
    However, I actually disliked this annoying Save-System.
    However, I think, these Coins in NSMBWii will only get reduced to that Toll-Fee-Paying, as a Save-System like in NSMB would actually be too annoying for 4 Players.

  11. Great post. I am glad I am not the only person frustrated by games like this. Some of us are adults with lives. Why should we be punished because we cannot set everything else in life aside so we can play Mario (or other games) for extended periods to get to where we can save the game. Anyone who defends games not letting you save anywhere these days is a loser without a life, period.

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