The thread about expressing popular opinions is a rather interesting exercise. It's actually a lot more common to have threads on unpopular opinions that one holds, so to have a twist on the age-old concept would really be an exercise in second-guessing any popular opinion that one also holds. Like for example, the opinion that Charles Martinet is a perfect fit for Mario, that's something that I can get behind. Even if there are some opinions that I don't share within that thread, like the fact that I consider Paper Mario: Colour Splash to be the peak manual design, I can still acknowledge that Wario's manuals are fun.
Strangely, it's rather difficult for me to mention any popular opinion, because I have a frequent belief that my opinions are generally unpopular. Like for example: preferring Daisy over Peach? Doubt that's popular. Considers Miis to be a great addition to the Mario games? I don't really see this opinion mentioned much (it still exists, I need to point out). Considers NDcube to be a worthy successor to the Mario Party series? The opposite is the more common opinion. Considers Daisy and Waluigi to be an important part of the Mario group? Given how the opinion for them to be shunned is more commonly expressed, I need to have empiric evidence in the form of a poll to be convinced otherwise. I guess it's easier when you check if an opinion is mentioned a lot, but since I have some that are not very common, it's assumed to be unpopular. That's why the only opinion that I could churn out so far is relatively benign.
It would probably make sense to put this opinion in that thread, but I think that it's a better fit here because I don't want to ruin the general sense of fun that the thread is currently having, compared to my somewhat boring opinions.
You know how the person who is in charge of Supper Mario Broth would remove or replace any content that is deemed to be easily misconstrued? One example is the observation on how Wario's nose is not pink in WarioWare Gold during the Wario Deluxe ending, but the original had Young Cricket grabbing Wario by the butt, and that could be interpreted wrongly. The replacement is basically the scene before Young Cricket came into the picture, removing the suggestion of suggestiveness entirely. (Source: https://twitter.com/mariobrothblog/status/1067115340470149120)
I can relate to the embarrassment of this fellow and the feeling of personal failing, since I too would feel like I did something wrong if somebody took what I said with the unintended meaning. I do not know if people see this tendency to thank or apologise as a mere quirk, but this is the thing that I really loved, not only for the politeness but also because this type of behaviour speaks to me in an intimate way.
Sometimes I would chance upon a post where someone would complain about the hate that their favourite character receives. Take this post for example, mentioning about how the hatred of Rosalina gets the goat of the topic creator. From my perspective, the reaction is overblown because well, is there really a campaign to encourage others to hate Rosalina? Besides, as far as Mario characters go, Rosalina is one of the more loved ones, which I attributed it to having more character than the average Mario character, her majestic and doll-like design, and having significant appearances in the Super Mario games. The same can really be said for several other characters like Peach, Luigi, Wario, or even Bowser, who generally have a great reputation among fans that I can't really see eye-to-eye when someone thinks their character is in danger merely because of a difference in opinion. I can understand why they felt that way though, since they are likely more sensitive towards the suggestion that their favourite characters are not perfectly loved. As a matter of fact, Mario is one such fellow: he is practically the prime target for being slandered as sin incarnate and it's not helped by how popular these theories are.
Now this would be contradictory towards the opinion I mentioned earlier, but if someone says how Daisy and Waluigi are generally hated, I think that made more sense that saying that Luigi of all characters is disrespected (he's actually significantly more respected than Mario himself: the Mario Awards proved this), and I can more or less emphasised that opinion instead of something like "I am in shambles that someone dare to hate Peach!". It's mainly because I noticed how much condemnation ("they have no character!") and dismissal (e.g. "they are roster filler!") those two get, with the common excuse that they are prominently in spin-offs, which is an opinion that is unfortunately relatively prevalent (for the record, their continued presence is one reason I liked them, and in Waluigi's case, he's a much more genuine underdog compared to Luigi). I would love to be proven wrong, but it might have to take years or even decades for this stigma to wane off.
Thinking about it after my latest thread about Rosalina, I must say that it's a blessing in disguise that Super Mario Land's characters retained their original names in Japanese. They do sound foreign, but that also means that Daisy's name did not change. I have to imagine that if the names were allowed to change, the English might have already attempted to change Daisy's name to Toadstool (similar to SEGA of America's half-hearted attempts to pretend that Sally Acorn is in Sonic CD, despite the sprite clearly showing Amy Rose).
A random thought came to me: What would happen if Tingle wears the Majora's Mask? What kind of powers would manifest out of Tingle when he has it? It's an interesting idea but I can't find any discussion on it from Google.
If you read this sentence, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
If you want to understand why I bring this up, this is a description I see being used for some of the Dr. Mario games, and I even see it on Wario's Woods' article. As a puzzle aficionado, it's extremely inaccurate, so that's why I am looking at the layman and see if it's just as inaccurate for this type of assumption.
Recently, Koopa con Carne was asking me about my Popular Opinions thread, and that got me thinking of posting one of my existing polls on Reddit to see how it fared. Specifically, it's on the r/Mario subreddit because that's where the Mario fans generally are. I wanted to post about Mario vs. Luigi, but there was already a recent poll so it would not be useful to post that. Instead, I posted about "What is the opinion on the traditional plot of Bowser kidnapping Peach?"
Here's the poll distribution on Super Mario Boards:
But this is what it looks like on Reddit (link). Note the reduced amount of options: Reddit only allows for a maximum of six options, but for this poll in particular, it worked out in its favour because the previous iteration clearly had one too many options.
With more votes, the popular opinion clearly has a different distribution, although some things remain the same, like how a minority is OK with the idea of Peach being kidnapped but not by Bowser. In any case, despite the poll lasting for fewer days (2 days only), it accrued a lot of votes, and the majority of them are on the first day, meaning that 2 days is a good benchmark for each of these polls.
It certainly sounds like an interesting topic to analyse for the 'Shroom if there are enough polls created, although maybe not because it would step on the toes of the actual Poll Committee's analyses.
One of the things I find fascinating about character designs is if a female character is not very immediately identified as a female character. To explain a bit on what I am talking about, take Minnie Mouse for example: you can tell that she is a female mouse because she has eyelashes, wears high heels and always wear dresses. A similar reason cove be given to Princess Peach, except she has long hair and her default colour is pink (a stereotypically female colour).
Forgive me for delving into the territory of comic strips for a moment, but it is essential for me to do so because this is where my first observation is made.
Take the character of Broom-Hilda. This is what she looks like:
For a long time, I have never assumed that Broom-Hilda would be a lady (she is after all, a witch), and despite the fact that she has a flower on her hat, she never exhibited too much girly stereotypes until I heard how she is voiced in the cartoons, where it was only then I know that Broom-Hilda is supposed to be a woman. Because of how unlikely Hilda is portrayed as saintly (again, she is a witch), it is honestly a bit refreshing that this is truly a female cartoon character without being overly overt in character design.
And then, there's Preteena, who once again, despite the main character's name Teena, never struck me as a girl until she started wearing certain clothes or swimsuits. The same goes with her friend Stick, whose real name I didn't know until later (it's Sabra Naomi Klein).
For reference, Teena is the leftmost one, and Stick is the second-from-left. (The rest of the characters are Gordo, Teena's childhood friend; Augustus, known as Goose, is Gordo's friend; Jeri, Teena's sister who is most definitely easily identified as a lady)
My final example is the character from Brenda Starr:
Unfortunately I cannot find the character as portrayed by June Brigman (the first time I noticed this character's design), so here's one that's portrayed in a Dick Tracy comic strip. Anyway, with a name like Hank O'Hair and the way this character dresses, one would easily mistake her as a male character. But nope, this is actually a lady, and was like this all the way from the beginning of the character's introduction. Similar to the previous example, it's only when I noticed the character in a swimsuit and the fact that she wears a skirt (comic strips don't tend to show a character's full body when unnecessary), it was like a revelation.
To cap all of this off, this one will be from an animated series instead of yet another comic strip. Here is a recent example (to my knowledge) on a character design that I didn't know is supposed to be female, but I liked that it's not so overtly female:
It's not immediately apparent, but the only one in this family of dogs that is a male is the father, which is naturally the largest one (the blue one with black on his head). The others are actually female dogs. Note that I have not heard what they sound like, but I heard of this as an example of a refreshing female character design and I agree that it is.
To make this short, while it's still practical to have female character designs that can be easily be identifiable, it's also great to have female character designs that are not easily "womanly" at first glance because I doubt that every women (or animal for that matter) looks so sexual, and in fact constantly stereotyping them is perhaps not a good thing.
What are some other examples of female characters that are not immediately apparent that they are female?
Something that fascinated me is listening to slowed down music. If the theme is really great, it is a way of slowly digesting the theme to better appreciate it. Especially if the theme did not stutter, which would ruin it. This is akin to chewing quality food slowly to savour the taste of it.
Here's one example, which is one of my favourite music from the first Smash Bros., the training theme:
Something I've noticed about Jim Davis is that at the end of speech/thought bubbles in his comics, he never uses a period. However, he will use one between sentences in the same bubble and all other punctuation is the same. It's just something funny I noticed that he's super consistent with
Sometimes I wonder how one would react if Luigi still looks like Mario except with different clothes, yet has the same Luigi voice as now.
What I mean is, if Luigi still looks like this (with Luigi's normal clothes colours, of course) and still sounds like Luigi, would that be surreal? I don't think there are any simulated videos that explored this possibility.
Hello, it's-a me, Mario! And today's episode is brought to you by...
Burning DK Sports Drink! Take a sip out of these tutti-frutti babies and your energy levels will go so over-the-top, it makes you wanna go ape! Wahoo! And now, it's time for Marioware Incorporated Mega Microgames-es, Hoo-hoo!
(Inspired by Charles Martinet's performances in Runner 3)
I remembered how in a chat for Discord, it was mentioned that the WarioWare cast are more interesting and are overall treated better than Waluigi. I am not saying this to disagree with it, but to mainly say that I conceded to it because there is some truth to it (and also because I am weak at disagreements). Perhaps it can even be extended that WarioWare's characters are overall treated better than most Mario characters, and I daresay they are treated like royalty by the developers.
For one, every major character in the series never truly got abandoned, because for every new game the existing characters are brought back to join the fun, and this extends to the characters introduced in the newest games. For example, there's Young Cricket who's introduced in Smooth Moves? He's still around even to this day. There is, moreover, the voice-acting treatment given to the characters that gave them unique voice lines that you will never see in the Mario characters anymore. Daisy was never given unique lines any longer, but the entire WarioWare character get a lot of it and it's likely a trend to come. Every character is also given unique expressions like how they are rendered in a realistic art style (e.g. Game & Wario's "title screens") or the fact that they can do all sorts of weird things that the Mario character would never really do.
I acknowledge that while Waluigi has merchandise associated with him (e.g. plushies and amiibo), unique 3D renders that includes one sticking his tongue out to a rose, occasional acknowledgements on social media outside the the promotion of a game that he's involved in, and appearances in many games outside his debut series Tennis, but I can't help but feel that WarioWare's cast are much better treated than the Mario characters.
Recently I've watched a retrospective on ShiftyLook, which is an initiative from Namco to promote their lesser-known series to a new audience. Although Namco do indeed have the more well-known brands like Pac-Man and Tekken, this initiative seems to focus more on works that have potential to be revived. Some of the IPs that were included are definitely pretty obscure such as Golly Ghost. Overall though, I commend Namco for the handling of this initiative because it made good use of the obscure series, and there's the fact that the professionals who worked on it were paid well, which leads to a few successes like Bravoman and Wonder Momo. Even then, its misdirected marketing meant that it had a short life. Link to the video in question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw1ifbOvb2w
One thing that was brought up in the video was how Namco was the second-most noted game company to reference their past a lot, with the first (and only briefly mentioned) being Nintendo. That is what my post is going to be about: how Nintendo references their past rather frequently. It doesn't take long to see how Nintendo does it, such as the time when they talked about the Nintendo Switch back in January 2017 when they reference their past hardware in terms of combining the strengths of each into one system, and then that's not even going into how deep into the history of Nintendo the Smash series goes into (since Melee). Namco may do all these Easter egg references even as early as 1980 (Galaga ship in Pac-man), but I felt that Nintendo does it more meaningfully within the games. So going back to Namco, the fact that they extended their initiative outside of games and to hire outsiders (from game development) puts them at an advantage.
This is why I would be very interested to see what would result in this type of initiative if Nintendo makes it happen. It's true that Nintendo is a more traditional type of company whereas Namco is more open, but there are some Nintendo IPs that I can see people having fun playing with, in a creative sense. Like for example, I'm sure Ice Climber will be in demand thanks to Smash Bros shoring up its popularity, but some less popular IPs would be much preferred, like I guess Doshin the Giant or Sushi Striker. I guess Nintendo is not really in a position to accept a unique angle for their IPs, especially because they would prefer to build on what has worked. Actually I wouldn't mind it if they do want people to present their well-known IPs in a different light.
Maybe if Nintendo isn't really open to the idea, I guess SEGA might be up next, since their smaller IPs (of which they have an abundance of) have a loyal following, so maybe the fans could come up with creative ways to present them.
Game series where the first game is the one with the most sales is pretty fascinating. The fact that the first game sold the best indeed demonstrated the viability to turn a single game into a series, which I think it's fair, but usually future games improved on the first game so one might think that they are deserving of higher sales but that is surprisingly not the case. It's as if the first game has never really been outdone.
An example of where the first game had the most sales is the Kirby series. At around 5 million, Kirby's first game on the Game Boy made a huge impact, while the next-best selling game is Kirby Star Allies, which is a distant second since the difference is about 2 million. Another example of a game series where sales of the first game is the highest is the Wario games, where not even the WarioWare games beaten out the first Wario Land on the Game Boy, though in Wario's case, having Mario in the title does that. Even Dr. Mario had never achieved the success his first games (on Game Boy and NES) achieved, since future games didn't reach a million.
Contrast this with some series where it wasn't the first game that got the most sales: Super Mario Bros. might be considered the first game for the series but it was not the first Mario game (remember that Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. preceded it), and even some of Mario's spin-offs managed to beat the first game in their respective series in sales, such as Mario Kart, Mario Party and Luigi's Mansion. A few other examples of game series that fit this criteria include Final Fantasy, Animal Crossing and The Legend of Zelda. These games have later iterations that improved from what their predecessors offered that made them a more valued package, plus there are other factors such as platform reach or mainstream popularity.
I do not know what the reason the first game didn't get beat, but I think one reason is due to how similar later games ended up in which didn't properly justify getting it after the first game. Take Dr. Mario for example, the core gameplay is practically unchanged which meant that Miracle Cure for example isn't really much different or improved from the first Dr. Mario, whereas Puyo Puyo exploded in popularity because a simple mechanic in its second game practically changed the core gameplay that made it engaging competitively. In Kirby's case, I have to imagine the lustre of a game that beginners can complete had waned off since there are many other options for casual players since the first game.
Are there any other examples of game series where the first game sold the best?
There seems a particular policy from the creators that can be a point of contention from fans, and that would be "mandates". The existence of mandates is reasonable from the perspective of a creator so that a creation isn't wholly mishandled. Like for example, Mario has a set of guidelines on his character in order to represent the creator's intentions better, such as the fact that he is loyal. I do think that even with the existence of mandates, it would only be a point of (the aforementioned) contention when fans felt that it interfered with a creation they liked.
In Mario's case, the mandates became a sour subject when it was discovered that Paper Mario cannot have the same types of concepts introduced in the first few games, or that original characters cannot be introduced in spin-offs any longer save for rare cases. In days past Mario was allowed to be more liberal in interpreting the characters, most notably the Mario Strikers series and to a lesser extent the Camelot games. I doubt that fans would complain about mandates if a creation is perceived as healthy, so for example, there may not be complaints about any possible mandates in the Kirby series.
Sonic is another series where mandates are a point of contention, and that is made known due to the comics. Ian Flynn did mention a number of restrictions in the characters, such as Sonic not being able to strongly emote or how certain characters are off-limits (Eggman Nega). In the case of the comics, it can be traced back to a lawsuit by a former writer who was not happy with how a Sonic RPG used concepts that he also used, and the results of the ensuing lawsuits meant that save for the current writers' characters, the previous characters and concepts had to be excised in some way, and a reboot was the perfect setup to start with a clean slate, much to some fans' dismay. The games are affected too, so things that were established can't be used like how the planet had to be referred to as "Sonic's World" when to the West it was known as Mobius (note that it's only named as such in the West). The branding unification in favour of Japan's interpretation of Sonic is not exactly liked by all in the West, since in the West Sonic has a whole lot of interpretations, evidenced by how there are a few wildly different designs for Robotnik.
In my opinion there is a place for mandates because for example, I would never want SuperMarioGlitchy4's interpretation of Mario to be portrayed officially because it betrays the reason I love Mario as a character. On the other hand, the mandates have some disappointments like how Waluigi may not appear officially in a Super Mario title, although in this case, I have a feeling that it's not one mandate that will last forever so it may change.
It just occurred to me that of the Mario series, Dr. Mario has never gotten a full-priced game since Dr. Mario 64. The games that Dr. Mario have gotten since the Nintendo 64 game are either:
Part of a compilation (e.g.: Nintendo Puzzle Collection, Dr. Mario & Puzzle League)
Digital-only game (e.g.: Dr. Mario Online Rx, Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure)
Even the other Mario series have games that are priced higher and have physical games, such as Mario Party, Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, and yes, even the Mario & Sonic games. I think that might be why I was surprised that Dr. Mario got the mobile game treatment two years ago, which I should point out is a pretty appropriate choice given how puzzle games is a good fit for mobile.
But really, I think that perhaps Dr. Mario's traditional aspects are probably not very open to being fully-featured, because it's a rather basic puzzle game. Dr. Mario 64 does well to expand the concept because it has a story mode, 4-player matches, decent new modes and a story mode, which was the last time Dr. Mario got such an expansion. Every other game following it have new features yes, but the new stuff aren't quite grand. Take Dr. Mario Online Rx: it has a couple solid additions being the online gameplay and the Virus Buster mode, but I guess it doesn't do too much to elevate it beyond being digital-only. If I recall correctly, Dr. Mario games generally have a lower value going forward, as Miracle Cure is basically US$10 and is rather light in features (you can't even select the music!).
Mario Party, by comparison, is generally fully-featured, as it comes with enough features that allow it to justify its higher price and existence of a physical game. Like for example, it has several boards, a glut of minigames and new features. And while not everybody thinks it's a positive outcome, it's a series that has a good track record of multi-million sellers, which would explain why there's a subsidiary (ND Cube) that pumps out those games even when the original developer was absorbed (by Konami), but that's because the staff came from that company to continue making party games.
Personally to me, I also think that Dr. Mario games tend to be underwhelming because its single player mode that it's known for is not very engaging in the long term, and its VS tend to be slow until Miracle Cure. Hard drop is added in Online Rx I believe (or is it the DSi follow up?), which helps, but Miracle Cure added power ups to speed up games. But I felt that as an overall package it's not inherently engaging in a way that other Mario games like Kart, Tennis or even Party (locally) tend to be.
So what could be done with Dr. Mario that would qualify as it being a fully-featured game again? I felt that the strengths of every Dr. Mario game so far could be combined. For example, we should be able to choose every music from every game so far including a few new tunes, have a story mode like in 64, a stage mode like in Miracle Cure or World, able to choose our favourite characters like in World, and an engaging VS in World (though maybe that requires rethinking its mechanics). Heck, I wouldn't mind a Puyo Puyo crossover because after all, Tetris + Dr. Mario is there and Puyo Puyo + Tetris is too, so the next logical step is to combine Puyo Puyo and Dr. Mario.
As one of the earliest spin-offs in the Mario franchise, I thought that Dr. Mario deserves something that could be fully-featured.