Nintendo confirms new easy mode for extra casual gaming

You don't need your brother to get you past the tricky bit of a videogame any more...

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Everyone complains that the Wii isn’t a video game system for the hardcore. It doesn’t render 3-D polygons and doesn’t boast a raft of first-person shooters. What it does offer is fun in spades, and to ensure that people continue to have fun with the Wii, Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto has confirmed that New Super Mario Bros. Wii will allow users to skip past the hard parts.

No, really. Here’s a quote from an interview/write up at USA Today :

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“In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, if a player is experiencing an area of difficulty, this will allow them to clear troubled areas and take over when they’re ready,” confirmed Miyamoto, through his translator. “And yes, we’re looking into this for future games, too,” Miyamoto says.

I can hear the howling of the purists already. While the game might guide you through a difficult passage, you don’t actually have to use the feature, do you? No. So don’t let it bother you.

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I see this as merely the natural extension of a phenomenon that’s been around as long as video games. Someone, usually a child, can get to a certain part and progress no further. In my case, it was the super-long jump in World 8.2 on the first Super Mario Brothers for Nintendo. When I’d get to that point, what would I do? Hand the controller off to my father, who’d promptly make the jump for me. I know I’m not the only one who has done this; in an episode of Futurama, Fry says his brother always killed the last guy in Space Invaders for him.

There’s always going to be a headbutting point in any game that some people just cannot get past that will ruin the game for them. Why should it? How many otherwise wonderful games have been ruined by one gimmicky section that you just couldn’t get past without tearing your hair out in frustration? I know when I hit a stumbling block and it takes me ages to get past it, it kind of ruins the game for me. A few tries is fine, but a few hours of failing just does me right in.

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I might not use it now, but if I was a kid? There’s no doubt about it. Does it take away from the legitimacy of the achievement of finishing the game? A little bit, but most kids don’t pay any mind to that sort of thing anyway. 

If it leads to a more challenging game overall, then it’s a brilliant idea. Accessible for all, but truly challenging for those who want it is a good new direction for Nintendo to go in. Gamers want a challenge, but kids and casuals drive the Wii’s business. This way, everyone gets what they want.