Reviews

Super Mario All-Stars: 25th Anniversary Edition

Were the Wii not already a throwback machine, Super Mario All-Stars: 25th Anniversary Edition would be a welcome addition to a downtrodden game catalog.


Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary Edition

Platform: Nintendo Wii
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1-2
Release Date: 2010-12-12
URL

Almost every Christmas when my brother and I flock to our parents’ house, we spend at least a few hours in the basement playing Virtual Console games on my Wii. We fool around with Ice Hockey, Double Dribble, and invariably, we’ll take turns speed running through the original Super Mario Bros. It’s not that it’s a competition of who can beat the game faster or the thrill of beating a new game but that Super Mario Bros. is timeless, the kind of game that lacks a plot and doesn’t concern itself with graphics. It doesn’t age and as a simple but difficult platformer has inherent replay value.

As such, Nintendo’s Virtual Console was a stroke of genius -- allow nostalgic gamers the ability to purchase and download this and any other array of classic games. It’s essentially the business model that the Nintendo Wii was built on: nostalgia. Super Mario All-Stars: 25th Anniversary Edition is redundant then. The game, which features the same four releases as the original Super Mario All-Stars on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System -- Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario Bros. 3 -- serves little or no purpose.

Were the Wii not already a throwback machine, Super Mario All-Stars: 25th Anniversary Edition would be a welcome addition to a downtrodden game catalog. But since each of the four games on the disc have been available on the Virtual Console for months -- years even -- the game is explicitly a cash grab for Nintendo.

Like the original Super Mario All-Stars, the early releases in the series all received graphical upgrades. These changes make little or no difference to the gameplay, however, and are at best inconsequential. At worst, they’re damaging to the legacy of the original games. The games also offer the ability to save your progress at any point and continue ad nauseum should you die in the various pitfalls of the Mushroom Kingdom. The only real additions to the game are a two player battle mode -- basically similar in style to the original Mario Bros. -- as well as an expanded game booklet that gives provides in depth storylines for each game and descriptions of various power ups and enemies.

With the availability of the four games on the Virtual Console, there’s very little to recommend Super Mario All-Stars: 25th Anniversary Edition. If you haven’t already downloaded each of these classics through your Wii, shame on you. If you have, there’s nothing on Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary Edition that would warrant the purchase of an entirely new game.

3

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image