Games Inbox: 90s Super Mario movie vs. 2023, Dreams confusion, and 30 days to Tears Of The Kingdom

Super Mario Bros. movie poster
Does it do anything better than the new one? (pic: Disney)

The Wednesday letters page is upset games were ignored at Star Wars Celebration, as one reader sort of enjoys Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey.

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Bob vs. Chris
Along with seemingly the rest of the world, I have now seen The Super Mario Bros. Movie and my opinion is what I think aligns with quite a few people: it’s not a very good movie but it is a pretty entertaining celebration of the games. Remove the licensed music, which was horribly out of place, and I’d probably recommend it unequivocally to any fan.

However, my friend, who admittedly is a bit of a contrarian, insists that the 90s movie is better. His argument is that at least the Bob Hoskins version is an actual movie, with a plot and characters and motivations. He also points out how it reinterprets Mario concepts for a live action universe and is, in its way, more faithful than it’s given credit for.

There I can see his point. It’s not an unambitious movie, it’s just a really weird and non-entertaining one. His point is that the new movie is basically so similar to the games that it doesn’t add anything new itself. It’s closer to a Let’s Play than a real movie. Again, he has a point, but at the end of the day I was much more entertained by the new movie than the old, and I think that’s all that matters.

Just impacted on the surface
Like many Star Wars fans I’m still not really sure if I am actually a fan or not, as the quality of the shows and other things swings from terrible to amazing even in the same series. I did pay attention to the recent Star Wars Celebration though and was very disappointed at the lack of game news.

They had the Star Wars Jedi: Survivor actor on stage but there was no panel for it or any other game, almost as if they were purposefully leaving them out. I really though this was when they’d announce some of Respawn’s other games, or maybe reveal what Ubisoft’s is, but no.

Now I don’t know when they’ll announce them, except maybe this time next year? They could be at Microsoft’s event in June, or maybe The Game Awards in December, but surely now was the moment. It’s been so long since we’ve had anything since straight action games and even with the ones we don’t know about I bet none are a role-playing game. Or at least nothing more than an action role-player.

The fourth dimension
I went with my family to watch The Super Mario Bros. Movie yesterday and I have to say that we all loved it. It helped that we booked it at a 4DX screen at Cineworld, which made the experience really fun. In fact, I’d have to say that it really transformed the experience for this movie. Moving seats simulate movement as well as lights and rumbles, made it feel like we part of the movie and was a logical step from playing the game with vibrating controllers.

With regards to the reviews stating that there is no plot, well isn’t that the point? I didn’t expect more than Bowser causing a nuisance and I think that Miyamoto knew that the essence of the movie should deliver something similar to the games. I think the movie would have suffered if they had tried to add in more character building and a deeper plot.

Overall, it was a really fun 90 minutes and, in my opinion, far better than the Bob Hoskins original. Both my kids (nine and six) enjoyed it as much as a Pixar/Disney animation and that probably says it all.
Dj Kj

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Family entertainment
I really enjoyed your feature on the Super Mario Bros. movie on Monday. It was insightful and definitely had my brain thinking what might come next for the moustachioed plumbers from Brooklyn.

I went to see it on the day of release because I’m just that much of a child in my head, I couldn’t wait any longer.

Although it’s not the best movie I’ve ever seen in my life it certainly is a far cry away from being the dud some critics seem to want to paint it as. I also thought the voice acting was fine in it too.

What it was however was good clean Mario/Nintendo fun and my children seemed to enjoy it immensely.

I don’t know if anyone else got this impression, but I felt Nintendo had a massive stranglehold on the way the story was told and its portrayal of its characters. With them being so precious about their properties and all that.

It almost felt like Illumination where always edging on the side of caution, so as to not upset the Japanese giants and, from what I hear, for good or for bad Nintendo can be a very stubborn company to work with.

I’m surprised that Jack Black even managed to get that excellent song to make the final cut. As regardless of its excellent soundtrack, it is not a musical.

Boy, would I have liked to have been in that room when they were pitching that idea to Nintendo.

Bowser doing an almost Elton John style performance on a piano as a love letter to Princess Peach, oh and by the way Jack Black is going to write and perform it?

My guess is Illumination just went ahead and did it and then showcased it to Nintendo, because I just can’t imagine the idea of it getting the nod from them otherwise.

If that is the case then it shows what Illumination Studios are capable of when they’re let off the chain.

Let’s hope with the success of the first movie Nintendo might be a bit more trusting with its characters in someone else’s hands.

That’s assuming my intuitions are correct, of course.

Anyway, it’s a good clean Nintendo romp of a movie and certainly worth taking your kids to see at the theatres.
freeway 77

Strange Dreams
Until this day I have never heard of Dreams. I had no idea it existed and, as you said, I imagine most people didn’t either. What a weird waste of time for all concerned. Why does Sony get like this with some of its products? It’s like the PlayStation VR2 where it seems like someone high up ordered it made but nobody else thought it was a good idea, so they just let it die.

The PS Vita was the same. I get the feeling that some people at PlayStation don’t like doing anything that isn’t a straight game or is hardware that isn’t a console, and it’s weird that they’ve been like this for so long. Anyway, I think I’ll give Dreams a try now, it seems really interesting.

Take my money
A picturesque image. Yet it has the gaming universe rightly gripped tightly. In 2022 a masterpiece was born, from the womb of a renowned fantasy writer and a renowned genius, who elevated FromSoftware to greater heights and the birth of Elden Ring. From the brooding scope of Godrick The Grafted to the cosmic entity known as Starscourge Radahan, It’s a journey that I’ve only just began but a journey that is ripe with limitless exploration and difficult challenge.

A few weeks ago, From announced a new expansion for the title, fluently known as Shadows Of Erdtree. A cryptic image has the Internet in a malevolent trace, as we focus on the mysteries of what is yet to come. I’ve never been so sure of pre-ordering an expansion but I’ll make this exception, because a company such as the one that believes a challenge can be overcome, deserves every cent, nickel, and dime.

If it will match what The Old Hunters, The Ringed City, and The Burnt Ivory King DLC brought us, with that sense of deepened achievement, earnt from every failure, that’s a price I’ll pay with blood and fire.
Shahzaib Sadiq

Don’t play the sequel
Finally got around to playing Hotline Miami and it was every bit as aesthetically and mechanically triumphant as I’d read since its original release in 2012. The gameplay loop of entering a new area and dispatching every white suit-wearing thug (and a few other virulent variants) in the vicinity with increasingly murderous flair is among the most addictive and compelling I’ve ever experienced in a video game.

It’s the meticulousness of the movement, combat mechanics and level design that really propel the game to greatness. Your actions just feel so tight and responsive, and securing victory on some of the tougher chapters after your umpteenth attempt is quite the elating feeling.

You can throw caution to the wind and storm through the areas all guns blazing, and instruments of cutting and bludgeoning tapering the criminal elements. Or approach the danger more furtively and safely, or a mixture of both as the enemy AI is limited in its scope, so as to ensure the potential frustration of the strive is kept at a minimal. And thank god for that because the game can get really quite hard at the later stages!

Anyway, I appreciate how the developers accommodate various styles of play without penalising you for any preference, and even encourage you to experiment and play more recklessly to maximise your score. Verily, Hotmail Miami captures that arcadey, one more go factor with aplomb.

And it’s in the little details like how you can strategically knock down enemies with doors, hurl guns, and other melee weapons to briefly incapacitate the nefarious ranks, shoot enemies through windows, and purposefully discharge firearms to corral unsuspecting goons into a slaughtering zone that enhances the proceedings.

Add to that the sinister and surreal story in the almost Lynchian-like introspective intermissions, stirring 80s synthwave soundscape, and riotous pixel art and you have a remarkably assured and stylish experience. It’s games like this that define what makes indie gaming so special for me.
Galvanized Gamer

30 days
The Zelda Collector’s Edition with bonus items (luggage tag and coin) should be in stock today on the Nintendo store, as well as the new Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom amiibo to pre-order. One month to go to release!

Thank you Ooccoo, for confirming what is included with the collector’s edition.
Andrew J.

Ambitious rubbish
A friend and I, nerds that we are, often tell each other about our escapades in games, and he was regaling me about this game, Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey (it rolls off the tongue). His gameplay stories made it sound interesting enough and it just so happened to be on sale for £10, so I opened the digital wallet and gave it a go.

20-ish hours later I’ve been blown away. And I can’t decide whether it’s in a good way or a bad way. After about 10 hours I read your review and I agree with every word and probably the miserly 4/10 score too… yet… I still find it utterly compelling, and I spend every daydreaming moment in work planning my little tribe’s next escapade in the evening.

The game is repetitive, sort of dull in some respects, it has some obvious flaws design-wise, is abstruse in the extreme, the combat is super limited… yet I have basically become addicted to looking after, and methodically evolving, my lovely little tribe of chimpy people . It’s objectively hard work but I sort of love it.

Unlike your reviewer I have copious guides online to reference and save scum onto a USB between every play session – no permadeath for me, thank you! Now some people may say this is cheating, but if anyone says this to my face I will say, ‘Who the hell are you and how did you know I was playing Ancestors? Besides it’s none of your damn business how I enjoy my games and if Patrice Désilets himself wants to tell me how to play his game, I can assure you he will have some choice words going back his way on some of the bizarre design choices in this brilliant yet rubbish game!’

To be clear I absolutely do not recommend it to any fellow Inboxers. Yet I am still really enjoying it and thoroughly recommend it to my fellow Inboxers.
Henshin Agogo

Inbox also-rans
I was surprised to see this ‘tears’ or ‘tears’ debate arise. I thought Nintendo confirmed to Eurogamer that it was tears as in ‘crying’ just a few days after they announced the title of the game back in September?
Fatys Henrys

GC: Apparently they did, although it’s not clear who exactly answered the question, so we imagine there’s at least a couple of meanings to it.

I’m glad I’m an Amazon delivery driver, at least AI can’t take over my job. My fleshy body is much cheaper than a drone.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox asks the obvious question of the moment: following the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie what other video game would you like to see turned into an animated film?

It doesn’t have to be Nintendo related, or family friendly, and it can be either CGI or hand animated (or stop motion). Most video game movie ideas are based on the idea that the film would be live action but what do you think would work better animated?

Do you think animation is better for video game adaptations in general and when is live action still preferable? What actors would you imagine for the parts and do you think they’d actually do it?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

MORE : Games Inbox: Sony arrogance and the PS5, Call Of Duty sci-fi, and Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom theory

MORE : Games Inbox: The Super Mario Bros. Movie fan reviews, Pokémon CGI movie, and the death of VR

MORE : Weekend Hot Topic: Favourite non-violent video games

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