By MELISSA PILEIRO
Video games, whether you play them or not, are a staple of American culture. Even non-gamers can recognize characters like Pac-Man, Zelda, and Donkey Kong. However, none of them are as well-known or loved as everyone’s favorite plumber, Mario.
It might be because the Mario series has been one of the longest lasting—Super Mario Bros. first debuted for the Nintendo NES in 1985, and has produced nearly a dozen games since. Beyond its prominence, though, the simple controls coupled with tricky levels are what make the games so much fun.
At the end of 2007, Nintendo released Super Mario Galaxy for its wildly popular Wii system. Fortunately for gamers, Galaxy isn’t your typical Mario game. Once again, Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser, but this time they take to the skies in a huge way. With the help of a new ally named Rosalina, Mario travels through 45 different galaxies in search of the princess, with other puzzles and challenges to complete along the way.
What makes Galaxy unique from its predecessors is the role of gravity in gameplay. Rather than just moving in one direction like in the original games, or even on one planet, each level finds Mario moving from planet to planet. Each planet has its own gravity, and Mario needs to navigate its surface while occasionally walking sideways or upside down, all while dodging enemies. It might sound complicated, but with so many galaxies to explore, there’s plenty of time to get adjusted (take this from someone who is, admittedly, an amateur gamer). Other new features include power-ups that let Mario walk on water and lava, disappear, crawl up and walk through walls, and even fly.
The appeal in this game is that while it has all of the classic elements players have come to expect from the Mario series, it’s different enough to be both interesting and exciting, which is a must. There are plenty of extra lives and checkpoints to make the game forgiving, but its challenges give even the best gamer something to think about. Combine all of that with the game’s numerous awards (including Game of the Year 2007 from multiple publications) and positive reviews, and Super Mario Galaxy is definitely worth getting into.