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August-September 2000

9/26/00
    Some sad news today for Mario fans: Paper Mario has been delayed to a Winter 2001 release. The game would be ready on time, but is being delayed for "marketing/retail reasons" a nintendo spokesperson said. I guess we'll just have to be patient.

    Also, I forgot to mention the Mario Tennis commercials that have been showing up on TV recently. There are two I'm aware of. The first one features two preppy country club guys walking out of a tennis game. They're subtly mocking this "one guy" who they beat badly behind his back. When they reach their car, it is a flaming, dismantled wreck. "Bummer" one of the guys says. The moral? According to the commercial "It's not smart to get Bowser mad". The commercial then proceeds to show some gameplay action to a voice over. The second, more disgusting commerical is a similar scene, although it features a water fountain hooked up to the output pipe from an outhouse. The water coming out is green, and the preppy remarksthat it's "tasty" (or something to that effect). This commerical teaches us that "Plumbers are bad losers," according to the announcer. Not the best Mario ads I've seen, but they seem to be doin their job; Mario Tennis has been the top selling US video game for two weeks straight now.

9/6/00
    It's finally happened Nintnedo's Space World show has come and gone. You've probably already heard that we didn't get the playable Mario demo for GameCube. (formerly Dolphin) We did however, get quite a few impressive tech demos, and one very cool playable Game Boy Advance. I won't bother putting up screens and movies of these... you can find them yourselves at Nintendo.com.

     First up is the impressive, 6-minute "Mario 128 demo" shown at the pre-show introduction. The demo starts with a 2D, SMB Mario running out and being transfromed into 3D cubes on a flat field. From there a 700-polygon Mario appears (the same model used in SM64, BTW) and starts picking up the boxes. In each box is a new Mario which also picks up and plays with the boxes until 128 Mario's are on the screen walking, running, and manipulating boxes! Eventually the Marios start rolling each other around and even off the edge of the play area. The most exciting thing about this demo is that it only uses 1/3rd of the GameCube's processing power. While this wasn't indicative of any new game, it was still very exciting to see, and also shows that Mario is most definitely the symbol of Nintendo.

    Next was a short bit of video flashed on the screen dubbed "Luigi's Mansion" by the press. In it, Luigi is seen running away from ghosts, sliding down a bannister, and generally being frightened. He is modelled in extreme detail, complete with knocking knees and chattering teeth. This demo should make Luigi fans happy, as he seems to be getting center stage (although this may or may not turn into an actual game). Rumor has it that this demo was a glimpse at the "more mature" Mario Miyamato hinted at. Only time will tell.

    Mario also showed up in a playable Game Boy Advance title: Mario Kart Advance. People who got a hands on test described it as a cross between SMK and MK64. The graphics are a lot smoother than in SMK, and look better (because you have the whole screen instead of half). Items from MK64 make their way into the game, and though it still looks rough at 30% complete, it's sure to be a marquee game for the systems launch when it's done.

    Getting less attention at the show was Mario Party 3. The last of the N64 Mario Party's will have 10 new boards and 70 new mini-games, some of which seem to be much more complex than before, including a Tetris Attack style game. There will be more items this time around, and some sort of helper that follows you around. Look for it early next year.

    The other bit of big news around the Mario world is the release of Mario Tennis on August 28th. As per usual, it's time for Kyle's Kommentary:: After getting the game today and playing it for about 6 hours (with and without friends) I have to heavily endorse this game. It's easy enough to pick up in a few minutes, but hard enough to keep you playing for a few weeks, and fun too! The multiplayer mode is the best part, and will be sure to cause much yelling ans creaming among you and your friends. For more information check out SMBHQ'S Mario Tennis page. You can also check out MarioTennis.com for the official Nintendo Ring Tournament and a Mario Tennis web browser skin.

8/11/00
    Well, Nintendo's big Space World show is coming in less than 2 weeks in Japan, and Nintendo is starting to leak some info. about the games that will be show in there. Included in this list of games are Mario Party 3 and Mario Kart Advance. Recently, Nintendo released some screen shots of these games on their web site.

The only information we have about Mario Kart Advance is from this screenshot. First off, the graphics look comparable to the SNES version of the game, which is good. Secondly, we can see the 3-shell and spiny shell items in the shot, so we know they'll be in the game. Third, Mario Wario and Bowser are in the shot, so they should all be in the final version. Mario Party 3 will reportedly have 70 new mini-games and revamped version of old one and two player games as well. Of course we'll have more info. on both these games after the show on August 24th.

    For all of you who thought Mario's fame was waning in the wake of Pikachu and his ilk, heres a few tidbits from Japan to change your mind. First is the placement of the recently released Mario Tennis at the top of last months Japanese sales charts. The new Mario sports game even beat out the highly anticipated Final Fantasy 9 for the top spot. Obviously, Mario still carries some weight in Japan. In other news, respected Japanese magazine Famitsu recently gave the upcoming Paper Mario Story a gold rating, getting three 8's and one 9 (out of ten) from it's 4 reviewers. Obviously rumors of the game being "too kiddy" were exagerated and the Mario RPG sequel should be great for gamers of any age.

8/1/00
    It's been announced that Mario Party 3 and a previously unheard of Mario Kart Advance will be shown in playable form at Nintendo's Space World show later in August. Mario Party 3 will be on Nintendo 64, and Mario Kart Advance will be shown for Nintendo new Game Boy Advance system, showing that Nintendo intends to feature their main mascot promnently on this new handheld. This news comes courtesy of Japanese magazine Famitsu, which didn't mention any playable Dolphin games at the show. Will we get a chance to play Mario's new Dolhpin game at Space World. It's likely... but not confirmed. More as it happens.



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