Monday, July 10, 2017

Mario Spin-Offs: My Ideal Roster

Disclaimer: I originally started this article months ago and have struggled to finish it until recently.  Since then, a lot has changed, and new information has come to light.  I've tried to change what I've written accordingly, but if some spots sound weird or outdated here and there, well, there's your reason.  Apologizes in advance if any of this is confusing.

So I'm playing Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64 on my Wii U's Virtual Console, and I thought to myself, "There's a nice selection of characters in this game, for its time anyway...  Why can't all Mario spin-offs have rosters like this?" See, it feels like lately Nintendo's been throwing in random "new" characters to their spin-offs while neglecting old favorites; Mario Kart 8 and even it's Deluxe Switch counterpart are the most recent and notorious example. It makes me wonder who decides these things and why they thought people would want to play as Baby Rosalina or Pink Gold Peach of all things... And it's a good thing Link was originally bundled with Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach as DLC for the former, otherwise I would seriously question who at Nintendo thought people would pay extra money for such uninspired characters...

So with that in mind, if I was working at Nintendo, and I was head of whatever group decides what characters should be in a Mario spin-off, who would I pick? Now, obviously, there are some factors that affect who gets chosen or not; some characters are not adequately build for certain spin-off, such as being too big or too small.  Of course, the Mario series has always been fickle when it comes to that sort of thing, but that doesn't mean there are still some unspoken rules for some spin-offs.  Mario Party, for example, is a series where Bowser will never be one of the main playable characters, given that his whole thing in those games is to mess things up for the actual players.  If he IS playable in Mario Party, it's through a special mode or mini-game like in Mario Party 10.  There's also the size of the roster, you can only have so many characters before things start to get overwhelming.  The exception is Mario Baseball games which are build around having lots of characters to build 9-player teams out of (incidentally, I REALLY hope we get a dedicated Mario Baseball game for the Switch, the one on the 3DS game Mario Sports Superstars just feels REALLY lackluster).

So that being said, the characters and roster ideas I mention are going to be games like Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, that kind of thing.  This will be broken down into 5 sections: "Gold Standard", "Other Favorites", "Playable Generics",
"Potential Newcomers", and "Pipe Dreams", and I'll explain what they mean as I go.  Also, this will only pertain to Mario characters, no other Nintendo characters or third/fourth party characters allowed on this list, otherwise this could go on forever.  With all that out of the way, click the break to see what characters I'd have in my ideal Mario spin-off!