Nintendo’s plumber mascot has become as well known for its multiplayer outings as mario party and Mario Kart as he is known for his platform adventures. An interesting side of Super Mario franchise is its line of games based on real-world sports. Some mario sports games are only tangentially linked by including characters from the Mushroom Kingdom, as was the case with 1987s NES Open Tournament Golf. However, Mario Strikers: Battle League is a great example of how this brand can enhance traditional sports.
Mario and his friends have played all sorts of sports over the decades, the most recurring series being tennis and golf. A handful of mario baseball games released in the mid-2000s and Square Enix Mario Hoops 3 on 3 brought residents of the Mushroom Kingdom to the basketball court alongside Final Fantasy characters (Mario and Luigi also appear in the GameCube port of NBA Street V3). Activities such as volleyball and horse-riding also feature in “mixed sports” games, not to mention the long history of Mario&Sonic Olympic titles. However, football based on Next Level Games Mario Strikers adds a special twist to this subgenre that could be harnessed to create Mario’s take on an American football league.
Technically speaking, the Mario Strikers the series is considered an overseas “soccer” match; his last named entry Mario Strikers: Battle League Football in Europe. American football is an entirely different beast from what those in the United States call “football”, however, and at the time of this writing, there is no mario football game – but not for lack of trying. In 2007, Retro Studios president Michael Kelbaugh told Game Developer that Retro canceled four concurrent projects once it had worked on Metroid Prime began. One of these projects was NFL retro football for GameCube, which former Retro Studios programmer Jason Hughes said was meant to be a mario-themed title with a younger demographic in a 2004 Nsidr interview. Nintendo wanted the team to target a mature audience instead.
It’s not the only one mario sports match canceled before seeing the light of day. While working to free Mario Strikers loaded in 2007, Next Level Games hoped it could follow up with a similar hyper-violent volleyball game called Super Mario Spikes with elements of professional wrestling. Spikes was never greenlit by Nintendo due to its more violent bent, but with Mario Strikers: Battle League bringing its fan-favorite series back to life, there could be a perfect opportunity to combine these canceled pitches for a football simulator of the appropriate intensity.
The heritage of Mario sports games is varied, with the RPG style of Camelot mario golf games on handheld consoles are a prime example of out-of-this-world projects in Nintendo’s catalog. However, Mario Strikers is arguably one of the franchise’s most unique series for giving its cast more angular, intense designs and a propensity for kicking themselves into electric fences – a far cry from the typically brand image. family.
American football is a contact sport that could really sell a similar level of violence if Next Level Games took on the project. Like football based Strikers series, instant gameplay could come down to swapping between different units as team captains like Mario or support toads rush the football closer to their opponents’ end zone. A mario the football game could balance hyper-tuned contact sport tackling with more silly character abilities. For example, Yoshi could jump while floating, or Luigi could use his Poltergust to catch a kickoff before it goes too far. battle leagueThe Hyper Strike mechanic could also transform into players aiming for field goals.
Nintendo could definitely sanitize the sport to release a safe and colorful American football game akin to Mario The Aces of Tennis and Mario Golf: Super Rush on Switch. However, EA’s continued success Madden NFL franchise shows there’s an audience for mature sports games, as Nintendo hoped it could hit with it NFL retro football on GameCube (even if this title has never had the chance to prove itself). Now would be a good time to try given Mario Strikers: Battle League has revived interest – although Nintendo is expected to avoid its current pattern of post-launch updates for sports games.
Mario Strikers: Battle League is now available for Nintendo Switch.
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