Back when I first played New Super Mario Bros. on the DS in 2006, the idea of playing a new, 2D-platformer Mario Bros. was pretty damn cool. While the rest of the gaming world continued to move in 3D, Nintendo looked to its roots to bring forth a new Mario game for its handheld. 2D Platforming was going to make a comeback, and the advent of XBLA, PSN, WiiWare/eShop, and Steam helped facilitate that comeback. The indie dev scene mostly used 2D platforming as their go-to style for their games, adding new wrinkles into the mix. Some told a story about heartache using a time travel mechanic. Another used ultra-difficulty to tear out our hair. Most recently, the clone of Mario made a name for itself with a “twist” mechanic in its new game.
And so I look at Nintendo and its New Super Mario Bros. series. Nintendo has chosen this series as their platform for some of their experiments. With these experiments, the good ones would be carried over into future, non-Mario games. So what have they done so far, and what can they do in the future?