Super Mario 3D All Stars Benny Kong

It’s Mario Time – Super Mario 3D All-Stars Announcement Time

It has been rumored for quite some time over the course of 2020: A notorious Super Mario 3D Collection will hit the Nintendo Switch. Obviously one of the worst kept secrets in Nintendo’s video gaming year 2020 so far!

First brought to light by VGC back in March 2020 and eventually announced by Nintendo during a dedicated Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct on September 3, 2020, we finally know the what, and the when: The long-rumoured Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection will be available for Nintendo Switch, September 18, 2020.

Cued in by a “It’s a me, Mario”, the Super Mario 3D All-Stars announcement trailer answered some essential questions on the contents of this collection.

Get Ready for Mario’s 35th anniversary with Super Mario 3D All-Stars for Nintendo Switch!

First things first – what can we expect? The collection will include optimized versions of following classic 3D platformers:

  • Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64, 1996): improved picture resolution, 4:3 visuals (720p docked and portable)
  • Super Mario Sunshine (GameCube, 2002): higher-resolution, 16:9 visuals (1080p docked, 720p portable)
  • Super Mario Galaxy (Wii, 2007): 16:9 visuals, 1080p docked, 720p portable.

All 3 iconic games will feature Joy-Con controls as well as Pro Controller support. The bundle will also contain an in-game music player mode that allows you to listen to a catalogue of 175 timeless Super Mario tunes.

It’s feels super-right to finally have these three Mario titles from three different console generations bundled up for Nintendo Switch:

Interestingly it seems that Nintendo never revealed a blockbuster game with such a short notice: Based on the day of the announcement, Super Mario 3D All-Stars* will hit physical and digital shelves only 15 (fifteen) days later. And another super important fact:

The collection will be available as a limited-run retail edition and a digital version that will be only on sale until March 2021. This limited-time only aspect caused a lot of polarization among both players and collectors and will be discussed later on in this article.

No Love for Super Mario Galaxy 2?

Since the idea of a Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection first leaked, the aspect whether Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be part of the collection or not was speculated heavily. As we know now, at the time of writing, the Wii game from 2010 will not be included in this Nintendo Switch 35th Anniversary celebration edition. This is surprising, since for many players, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is considered better than its predecessor, Super Mario Galaxy:

One leading opinion for Super Mario Galaxy 2 as the better overall game is that the level design is by far more creative, there are more stars to be found, it’s the longer game and Yoshi makes his debut in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and introduces new gameplay mechanics. As I actually haven’t played Super Mario Galaxy 2 myself yet (but I have it in my Wii collection), I can’t take any side here.

So why is Nintendo excluding Super Mario Galaxy 2 from Super Mario 3D All-Stars? And more interestingly: Why hasn’t Nintendo even mentioned the Wii game in their entire Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct? Everybody that doesn’t know better, could claim Super Mario Galaxy 2 doesn’t even exist.

For sure, Big N doesn’t need to justify their decision why not re-releasing a certain game, but gives us players and collectors certainly room to speculate now.

Looking at the commercial side, Super Mario Galaxy 2 hasn’t sold that well as Super Mario Galaxy did (7.41 Mio. units vs 12.8 Mio.). But Super Mario Galaxy 2 outperformed Super Mario Sunshine regarding sales units (6.28 Mio.). This could be based on the fact that the Wii has a much bigger installation base than the GameCube has. Nevertheless, I don’t think that Nintendo’s decision to not include Super Mario Galaxy 2 in the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection was a sales-driven one. To me it seems that Nintendo may have further plans with Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Maybe there is a new Super Mario Galaxy 3 in development, and to market this release most efficiently, we will get a separate Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 collection to create momentum? Or we might even get an entire Super Mario Galaxy collection, including Super Mario Galaxy 1 -3? Or maybe more realistically – but still wishful thinking: There are still a lot of ideas that haven’t been used for Super Mario Galaxy 2 and we will get a Super Mario Galaxy 2 – The Lost Galaxies release?

I’d love all of that! But I honestly wouldn’t appreciate when the only reason why Super Mario Galaxy 2 is not on the Super Mario 3D All-Stars cartridge is that Nintendo can release the title separately later on. For sure Nintendo could have ran into some development delay and haven’t managed to finish the Super Mario Galaxy 2 remaster to be ready for the 35th Anniversary collection.

Or Nintendo simply didn’t want to flood the market with too many Super Mario releases and overwhelm players with too many options? But when, when not during the Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary celebrations?

My Thoughts on the Limited Run Aspect

Another controversial aspect is Nintendo’s limited-run policy on this release: As we learnt, Super Mario 3D All-Stars will only be on sale from September 18, 2020 until March 2021, physically and digitally. The physical boxed version is a limited run print that can be bought as long as supply lasts, whereas the digital version will be removed from point of sale at the end of March 2021. These practices arouse a lot of question marks among the Nintendo community, but is not completely new:

In 2010, Nintendo released the Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary collection for Wii. The compilation contained the four classic Super Mario Bros. games from the NES area, combined together with a booklet detailing the history of the series and an audio soundtrack of the platforming games of the Mario series.

But the interesting part of the story is that the collection was a limited run as well: Despite the “Limited Edition” aspect, Nintendo issued re-prints of the Wii retail version under the Nintendo Selects label in 2016. However, this 2016 re-release did not contain any bonus material though. So can we maybe expect that Nintendo will also be doing a re-run of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection at some point? Time will tell.

So what the physical limited print is concerned that’s not completely new. But today we are also talking about a delisting of the digital version of Super Mario 3D All-Stars at the end of March 2021, which is being criticized a lot. In general one could argue that special anniversary collections are quite common in all industries – may it be music albums, clothing, cologne, or even cars. All kinds of brands are bundling up certain goodies to celebrate a variety of occasions, and customers can benefit from these special offers. Are these certain purchase opportunities extended, special collections are usually not purchasable in the way they used to be in this special timeframe. One was lucky to snag this limited edition, whereas others were missing out (and are complaining now).

Although we are mainly talking about physical goods here, I think honestly, that this also can apply to digital goods: 

Nintendo is giving us a window to buy a special product to celebrate Mario’s 35th Anniversary – so should I still be able to buy this dedicated 35th Anniversary product in 2023, when Mario celebrates his 38th birthday? Maybe there will be even a better product out in three years?

The fact that Nintendo is releasing three iconic platformers in one collection at a fair price, should be considered as a gift – and not being taken for granted. All three games could be also released individually at a later stage, but that’s usually not that handy from a customer standpoint as having the games bundled up in one collection. We don’t know what plans Nintendo has for all of these three games in the future. But one’s for certain: Nintendo needs to protect their titles’ individual value, their Intellectual Property (IP), and not dilute the value by having too many releases out there. The argument that Super Mario Sunshine sees its first digital re-release since the GameCube release in 2002, supports this value protection approach.

Nintendo is entertaining us with Mario games since 1985 and provides us with tons of hours of gameplay – but Nintendo is also running a successful business that needs to be sustainable. And protecting the business’ IP by carefully balancing the amount of re-releases per title, is an essential aspect and understandable approach in my mind.  

My Verdict on this 3 in 1 Collection

I think it’s great to finally have these three iconic 3D platformers with Super Mario 3D All-Stars on one cartridge – or available as one download. And that’s why I also pre-ordered a physical copy (actually even two physical copies for collecting purposes), and given the limited nature of this release, I even consider buying the digital version. 

Since I only 100%’ed Super Mario 64 so far and never finished Super Mario Sunshine or Super Mario Galaxy, I’m really looking forward to revisiting these games on Nintendo Switch. My plan is to play them all in chronological order to witness the evolution of Mario’s 3D adventures at best.

As Super Mario 64 is one of my favorite games of all time, I can’t wait to play it on Nintendo Switch – despite the fact that I beat it a couple of times on my Nintendo 64, and completed the game even on the Wii U back in 2016. Nintendo also released a digital version of Super Mario Galaxy for Wii U in 2015, but since you were required to play the game with Wii Remote and Nunchuk, I never purchased that version digitally for Wii U. The motion controls aspect was actually the reason why I was never that much into that classic game from 2007. So I’m really excited to dig into the game – playing with my Pro Controller. What Super Mario Sunshine is concerned, this is the very first time that we will get a ported version of the GameCube platformer – what may explain the hype on this release. And also my hype – as the Benny Kong guy, that never finished the game back in 2002.  

But there are also some downsides of Super Mario 3D All-Stars:

As highlighted earlier, there are a lot of criticisms that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is not part of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection – and I’m honestly disappointed here as well. The fact that the platformer is missing may be due to several reasons, but there are even some scenarios, which will make it up to us. So even though Super Mario Galaxy 2 is not included in the 35th Anniversary collection, doesn’t mean necessary that the game will not be released on Nintendo Switch at some point. 

Another downside of this Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection we are getting for Nintendo Switch is the aspect that the package only contains optimized versions of the games. At the time of writing we don’t know exactly if Nintendo has some surprises planned since we only know the trailer so far, but currently we are promised higher resolutions and an optimized gameplay experience for Nintendo Switch.

I honestly also thought that we will get proper remastered versions, such as Activision’s Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy* or Spyro Reignited Trilogy* which are actually remaked versions – often also categorized as remasters. But to me, we have to differentiate between a remaster, which is usually just some (quick) fixes and improvements of the resolution, e.g. HD coat of paint, additions of new effects, improved interfaces etc, or a full remake. The amount of work for a remake is considerably higher, since in Activision’s case, the games were built from the scratch using a different engine, what’s the reason why the Crash or Spyro Trilogy versions are absolutely stunning and provide a gorgeous visual improved experience, as you can see below:  

Honestly I also wished that at least Super Mario 64 will be a remake, instead of only applying resolution updates and releasing it as a remaster – what is basically an enhanced port. It’d have been so amazing to see new assets such textures for walls or the grass, as Nintendo demonstrated already in the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey:

Wouldn’t this be wonderful? I was really hopeful that Super Mario 64 will be a remake, giving the gratitude of this game – and the occasion, as it’s Mario’s 35th Anniversary. And! Nintendo is not new to remakes! Nintendo also remade the Super Mario Bros. series from the NES and bundled them into a Super Mario All-Stars collection for the Super NES in 1993. 

Not only had every game in Super Mario All-Stars been remade; brand new and totally redrawn graphics utilizing the rich colour palette of the Super Nintendo, Nintendo also added the western release of the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, presented here as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, to the collection.

That’s exactly what most of us also wished for Super Mario 3D All-Stars for Nintendo Switch: Getting a remake with some gameplay goodies, such as additional playable content, instead of an optimized remaster with a music player.

So what about you? Are you happy with Super Mario 3D All-Stars? Have you pre-ordered already? Which game will you be playing first? Let me know in the comments section!

* Affiliate link: In case you haven’t bought Super Mario 3D All-Stars yet or just you would like to support the blog, using my affiliate links for Amazon or PlayAsia would mean a galaxy to me. Not to get rich, just to get the blog going. Thank you for your support!

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Welcome to Benny Kong’s World

Hi – nice to meet you and welcome to Benny Kong’s World.

My name is Ben, currently living in Berlin, passionate Nintendo gamer and collector.

While being active on Twitter or Instagram with my dedicated @Bennykong64 accounts (that I set up to fully concentrate on Nintendo topics), I felt that I would like to create my #AllNintendo content in a way, that I can structure and control better. And most importantly: To preserve my content in a format, that is easier accessible for anybody.

Too often I was searching all over the place for a certain post because I intended to have a quick look at it or to follow up on it. So why not publishing content that is relevant to me – on my own website?

With Benny Kong, I’m inviting you to join me on my personal Nintendo journey:

I will share with you which Nintendo Switch physical releases or retro games I add to my physical collection (plus last generation games such as for the Wii or Wii U). I will also post what I think about certain games in the review section and hope to inspire you with my upcoming planned Nintendo Switch purchases that I put on my personal Switch shopping list -the #SwitchList. Additionally I would like to talk with you in about all kind of Nintendo topics in in my blog section: BK’s Thoughts.

It All Started With the Game Boy

As I like to say: It all started with the Game Boy, the Nintendo Switch makes me play and collect like a kid again.

Some day back in my early days when I was in kindergarten or when I started to study in elementary school – but for sure in the very early 90s – the Game Boy was omnipresent. Launched in Europe in September 1990, many of the cool kids had it: It was the super hot gadget in the schoolyard or on the playground, and one of my very best friends, Marco (who used to live in the apartment below ours), had one too. And it’s getting even better:

Marco’s family had a Nintendo Entertainment System that was set up in the living room as well! This is where you could find Marco and me precisely almost every day after school – playing Super Mario Bros., Tetris, Donkey Kong or Nintendo World Cup. Fun times, right Marco?

I cannot exactly remember the occasion, but recall the pre-condition: My parents wanted me to be a straight A student in elementary school first, before they were about to give green light for buying me a Nintendo handheld:

My sister and me – the Game Boy is not far.

My motivation was a high and at some point I could call myself a lucky Game Boy owner too. Finally. Oh boy, was I happy!  

Me and my Game Boy! Everywhere I’d go, my Game Boy was with me. And it was so great lending games to friends.

My very first handheld game was either Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge or The Smurfs. Some of my favorite games to play were Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins and Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3.

I also had a-multiple-games-on-one-cart-collection: It contained basically every major release such as Super Mario Land or Kirby’s Dream Land, booting up from one notorious cart. It came without any box or manual, so I actually never knew, where my parents did get me this game from ….

Easter 1995

I can remember it as it was yesterday: My sister and I were Easter egg hunting in our flat (it must have rained that day) and we found something very special hidden in a gap below the living room cupboard:

My sister and I celebrated proudly with a photo our Easter gift from 1995.

A Super Nintendo Entertainment System. What a surprise! The SNES was bundled with Super Mario World. And a Super Game Boy that let me play my Game Boy games on the big screen. What an innovation!

The SNES is still one of my favorite Nintendo home consoles of all times and Super Mario World a game that I have finished several times – of course by finding all 96 exits.

Some of my all time classics for the system are titles such as Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island or International Superstar Soccer Deluxe.

The Golden Era

Memorizing growing up both as a kid and teenager with Nintendo consoles, I think I had the most fun with Nintendo video games back in the Nintendo 64 era. I consider the Nintendo 64 era as the golden era, as it was a time period for me personally, in which I could enjoy Nintendo games on a different and maybe even more intensive level:

On top of an unbelievable and game changing catalogue of video games such as Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Banjo-Kazooie or Donkey Kong 64, I was now able to inform myself independently about releases in magazines, buy more and more games from my own pocket money or had the opportunity to get superb Nintendo promotional material on VHS such as:



Who did not use exactly these video cassettes to show parents and grandparents which games are on their wishlist for an upcoming birthday or holiday season?

Due to nostalgic reasons, I’m showcasing the promotional material that was tailored for the German market since I cannot be that certain, which tapes were used as giveaways for other markets such as the US or the UK.

The Nintendo 64 was launched in Europe on March 1, 1997 and luckily I had one close friend that did get the console for his birthday in the launch month. This provided me with the opportunity to already play a bit and to join the new dimension of fun.

Myself, I had to wait a bit longer as my birthday is in October. The first game I got was International Superstar Soccer 64.


For Christmas my parents (oh I mean Santa Claus) surprised my sister and me with Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64. What a holiday season! Christmas 1998, I found The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time under the Christmas tree: My very first Zelda title and a milestone in the entire video game history – until now. And just one year later, Christmas 1999, I was very happy to unwrap a present that contained Donkey Kong 64, which is still to date one of my favorite games of all times.

Fast Forward to March 3, 2017

Also the upcoming three other Nintendo home consoles found their way in my home. I bought the GameCube in 2002, just some months after the launch. In order to have them on launch day, I pre-ordered the Wii and the Wii U. All three consoles provided me with countless hours of fun, endless single-player adventures and challenges, and last but not least: Dozens of sleepless nights when friends stayed over to play some great multi-player titles (Red shell!).

Understandable that as I did get older, the time spent in front of a video game console may have gotten less and less from console generation to generation – but March 3, 2017 changed everything:

The Nintendo Switch Makes Me PLAY Like a Kid Again

My friend Philipp and me, celebrating the Nintendo Switch launch weekend in Berlin. In case you interested in, I recently wrote up a little story on this personal anecdote and shared it on Instagram.





Yes, the Nintendo Switch brought me emotionally right back to the start where my Nintendo journey did begin:

Back to the time, where I did hold my friend’s Game Boy in my hands for the very first time. Just before I was about to get my very own handheld. Back to the time where I spotted the NES in Marco’s parents living room or when my sister & I found the SNES that our parents did hide for Easter.

The Nintendo Switch brought back the same magic that I felt when playing for the very time Super Mario 64 at my friend’s house. As I headed for the very first time for the Great Plateau in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild, I suddenly felt the same joy playing a videogame that I last felt back in the golden Nintendo 64 era. The Nintendo Switch brought all that back!

The same magic from back in the day, over 20 years later, that I feel now almost on a daily basis when switching on my Nintendo Switch. Watching the “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017-Trailer” still gives me goosebumps:



Being simply amazed and overwhelmed by the smooth gameplay and the size of a Super Mario Odyssey and recognizing so many similarities to one of my favorite games of all time: Super Mario 64.

Re-visiting the “Super Mario Odyssey – Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer” fulfills me everytime with the warm feeling that an unbelieving adventure is waiting for me – an adventure around the world, just like in 1997:


The Nintendo Switch Makes Me COLLECT Like a Kid Again

Back in the day, growing up with Nintendo, I knew that inserting a physical game cart into my Nintendo console was actually the only way to play the game. Today, I still opt-in for the physical release – knowing that there might be a cheaper and more convenient way to play a game: Digitally, by making a purchase via the eShop.

Nintendo made their first digital games on a home gaming console accessible via the Virtual Console for the Wii. The lineup consisted of 17 titles and was available directly at launch of the Wii, in November (NA) and December (EU) in 2016.

Talking on the pro & cons of physical and digital games, on real ownership of games or what happens to the digital library when servers of a platform will be shutdown, is actually content for an entire separate BK’s Thoughts blogpost and won’t be discussed here.

For now, I’d like to illustrate briefly why the Nintendo Switch makes me collect like a kid again.

The answer on this might be very simple:

Because I feel exactly the same appreciation for both the game box and the cart that I felt when I was a kid. This unique feeling of owning exactly this game when having it for the very first time in your hands. This game is mine now: I can lend it to my friend Marco and get a game from him in return. Or the feeling that I had as a teenager when I wanted to play a new game, but had to sell an old one in the first place.

You treated your games with respect, stored them properly in your shelf or commode. When you were surprised with a game as a gift for your birthday or Christmas, the precious game was passed-through all the hands of family members and guests. And you had the feeling that you did get really something special. It was a present that you could touch. Now I’m making these presents mostly to myself – and even on a more frequent basis as back in the day. But the magic still feels the same. I’ll take my time to check the front and back cover as well as the cart – and if we are lucky: There is even some interior art and a manual.

Both the interior art and a manual, that is especially something that we do not find regularly in the box when opening a 3rd party release. But luckily independent publishers of limited print games got us covered here.


A colorful manual is the perfect homage to physical games from back in the day. Limited print releases are the perfect collectors item in your Nintendo Switch physical collection. But here comes maybe the coolest reason why the Nintendo Switch makes me collect like a kid again:

Since Nintendo Switch game carts are not region locked, you can import Switch games from anywhere in the world and add a physical, playable copy to your shelf, although the game was never released in your region. This is such a game changer comparing to collecting Wii, Wii U or retro Nintendo games. You might import games that are not available in your region, but as long as you do not have the appropriate PAL or NTSC console, you are not be able to play the game.

What a great decision from Nintendo to make the Nintendo Switch a region free console. Thank you, Big N!
 

Anytime. Anywhere.

Playing on the go, while driving home for #SwitchMas via train.

One of the best features of Nintendo’s latest system, on top of an unbelievable good library of games that put a smile on your face (or even tears of joy when hearing the Donkey Kong 64 Isle Theme being remastered in Mario & Rabbids Kingdom Battle – Donkey Kong Adventure)  is the mobility aspect:

Having the opportunity to play your games seamless when traveling via plane or train or taking your Switch with you when going on vacations, resonates a lot with my lifestyle.

Anytime, anywhere – bravo, Nintendo.

The Nintendo Switch Makes Me Wanting to CREATE Content (Like Never Before)

But not only playing wonderful blockbuster video games where and when you want to (or can) made me falling in love with the Nintendo Switch: The hybrid console made me developing a much deeper interest for the video game industry as a whole.

Nowadays, platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or Discord (just to mention a few) give you the possibility to exchange with like-minded people, to be engaged in communities, and to be directly in contact with developers, publishers or distributors of the games you love.

You as the gamer, and we as a community, we do have a voice. We can stream our feedback directly to the creators of the titles we love and the video gaming industry is listening, is open minded to learn what we think. Do do we complain about certain bugs? Are we excited for certain releases? Would we like to see a physical release of a certain game?

If you are engaged on aforementioned platforms, then you may have stumbled across open threads with industry players, in which you were asked to share your favorite title from the respective inquirer or which title you would like to see a physical release for.

Such a wonderful exchange that I experienced in particular over the past six months on Twitter as BennyKong64, made me thinking, how I may capture my Nintendo Switch moments at best:

How can I give back to the community in a way, that other gamers and collectors can benefit from? How can I provide to the video game producing industry an exposure to showcase their content? Content, that I happen to love?

All the information on new physical releases, exclusive region releases, limited print copies, knowledge about games I would have slept on or that I never heard about, Kickstarter campaigns, predicting and speculating together what games might be revealed at an upcoming Nintendo Direct, sharing opinions about patches, DLC’s, the completeness of games on the cart (#CompleteOnCart) , reviews, or just talking about retro games and memorizing the old days, motivated me in my wish to preserve a friction of this content and make it accessible – just a click away via my own website: Benny Kong.

Welcome to Benny Kong’s World!

Yours,

PS: I hope Benny Kong will contribute to the Nintendo community and you may find it helpful. When you want to reach out to me, just use the comments section below or contact me directly on Twitter or Instagram via my @BennyKong64 handle.