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GoNintendo Thought: Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 Switch ports would pose an interesting Wii Remote problem

What's the point?

Day two of this work week and we're sticking with the Mario theme. There's a topic I've been pondering with ports of Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, and now's the perfect time to discuss it! As always, thanks for reading.

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The Switch's Joy-Con can do lots of things the Wii's Wii Remote couldn't. There's NFC tech inside, it has HD rumble for a more immersive experience, there's an IR camera for unique tracking opportunities, and so on. The Wii Remote also had motion controls, but there's no doubt the tech inside the Joy-Con is much more capable of a sophisticated gesture-controlled experience. By and large, the Joy-Con is on-par, if not better than almost everything the Wii Remote had. It's the almost that has me worried.

The one thing the Wii Remote has on the Joy-Con is its IR pointer. A ton of games on the Wii used the IR pointer for menus, game input, and more. Super Mario Galaxy happens to be one of those games. There are a number of menus that you can interact by pointing at your TV screen and lining up the pointer icon. On top of that, the IR pointer was used for pointing at/interacting with elements during gameplay as well. Those are the areas that I'm worried about if Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 were to come to Switch.

Making menus work without a Wii Remote pointer is no trouble at all. If memory serves me right, both Galaxy games already let you scroll through menus with the joystick anyway. It's the gameplay areas where IR pointing was necessary, and I don't recall there being another way to manipulate things. Granted, I am an old man and I might be forgetting a few alternate control methods, but I'm pretty sure some areas in both games would need considerable tweaking.

The most obvious change would have to come with collecting certain star bits. In Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, you'll find star bits scattered all over levels. Instead of having to run over and grab them all, you could simply point the Wii Remote at the TV screen and "touch" them with your pointer to collect them. Not only did this make it easy to collect star bits that were both near and far in a level, it was fun to grab them as well! Finding every last star bit in an area and seeing them zip all the way over to Mario, no matter how far away they were, became like a mini-game in and of itself.

You could also use the IR pointer to fire off star bits at enemies. This would be great if you were running into trouble with some baddies, as you could stun them for a moment or two. If you were about to take a hit from an enemy, you might be able to save yourself the damage by shooting out a star bit at exactly the right spot. A second player could also come in with a Wii Remote and grab enemies to mess with them, providing another way for you to maneuver around levels without as much worry.

A specific IR Pointer action in Super Mario Galaxy 2 was tied to Yoshi's tongue. While most Mario games have you hit one button for a canned Yoshi's tongue action, Super Mario Galaxy 2 let you point to shoot Yoshi's tongue anywhere you wanted. The tongue would twist and shift to reach its destination, adding in a whole new layer of enjoyment. You could certainly take things back to how they were in previous Mario games, or perhaps add some other way of targeting, but I doubt any of it would feel as fun or engaging as the Wii Remote pointer method.

Outside of those features, there were other superfluous uses of the IR pointer. There were Pull Stars you would point/click to pull Mario through space, bubbles for Mario to travel in that were blown around based on where your pointer was, and Sling Pods that would let you pull back and whip Mario into the unknown. While these gameplay features were certainly made more fun and novel by using the Wii Remote pointer, mapping them to traditional controls wouldn't be any issue at all, and you'd most likely retain a similar level of fun.

I just keep circling back to the star bit collection/firing aspect, though. I don't see a good way for that to be remedied. Super Mario Galaxy made its way to the Nvidia Shield, and it let you control the on-screen pointer with the second joystick. As you might guess, that was a clunky solution at best. It barely got the job done, but doesn't measure up to the Wii Remote pointer in any way, shape, or form. If anything, it went to show just how integral the Wii Remote was to a big part of Super Mario Galaxy's experience.

Furthermore, if you're playing Super Mario Galaxy 1 or 2 on Switch in handheld mode, I would imagine the only options for star bit collecting would be the second joystick or touch screen. We already know how the second joystick implementation works out, which would make the touch screen option the better of the two. That still wouldn't be ideal though, as your hand would have to obscure a large part of the action during gameplay. That's not to mention the clunky nature of constantly having to take one hand off the Switch in order to drag/poke/prod your finger on the screen. Again, it doesn't sound like a great solution, but I'll take that over the second joystick approach.

Back on the docked gameplay side of things, the other control solution is to use the Joy-Con as a 'virtual' IR pointer. Thanks to the advanced tech inside the Joy-Con, it can do a decent job of mapping out where you are in 3D space. It also knows which what you're holding the controller, which can be used to roughly approximate where the tip of the Joy-Con is pointing. It's not a perfect solution, but it's certainly better than what Super Mario Galaxy did on the Nvidia Shield. World of Goo's Switch port utilizes this feature, and it mostly works, but it needs to be recalibrated quite a bit. Whether Nintendo could improve on what Tomorrow Corporation pulled off with their 'virtual' IR pointer remains to be seen.

If Nintendo is indeed bringing either Galaxy game to Switch, they must have found a solution to these issues that they're happy with. I can't imagine they would release ports that are fundamentally broken compared to the original. Whether they've got a virtual IR pointer that doesn't need nearly as much recalibration, or completely reworked star bit mechanics remains to be seen. Perhaps they thought of a completely different solution that I'm not even considering. If anyone can pull something like this off, it's Nintendo.

All I want for Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 ports on Switch would be for the original experience to be as close to intact as possible. Those two games are my favorite Mario titles hands-down, and they were really huge steps for what Mario experiences could offer. Part of that fun and wonder came from the Wii Remote interactions, and I don't want to see that content lost. I'll be hoping Nintendo surprises us with some unique twist or incredible solution to the problem. Whatever they do come up with, I'll certainly give it a try before I make my final call. With all that said though, I'm hanging on to my original copies Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2. The classics never get old!

Comments

Top Rated Comment

Oh you just took me back. The Wiimote Speaker was such a fun little novelty. Best use for me was.in No More Heroes when they used it for messages from Sylvia.

Tue Mar 31 20 08:09am
(Updated 2 times)

I think the gyro should work just fine for it; sure you might have to recalibrate often but that can be as simple as clicking the right stick in.

The main problem would be playing in handheld. No real getting away from using the right stick there without playing in table top mode. Unless they make use of the touch screen which wouldn’t be ideal but it’d be better than nothing.

I'll miss the IR pointer (and the wiimote speaker). I wish the Joycons had it for games like RE4 and TWEWY. I imagine the game will work like the NVidia Shield version of Galaxy.

Oh you just took me back. The Wiimote Speaker was such a fun little novelty. Best use for me was.in No More Heroes when they used it for messages from Sylvia.

I’m sure Nintendo can figure it out if they are re-release the Galaxy games. The pointer, and waggle, didn’t really add to the core gameplay, it was more of a nice-to-have.

I have a feeling there will be some sort of gyro feature to implement this. Maybe pushing and holding the right joystick puts you in a mode where moving the console (in handheld) or joycons around moves a crosshair around the screen to do this. Something like that, but in the end, this is a secondary gameplay element, I never even considered it before now, because I didn't spend too much time collecting the outlying bits. My bigger question is how they're handling a Sunshine port.. one of the biggest reasons I think it has yet to have a remaster of any kind is that no system since the Gamecube has had pressure sensitive L&R triggers. Similar uses like racing games can relegate this kind of control to the right analog stick, but Mario already uses this for camera controls. I'm sure they've figured out their concession for controlling the water pressure in the game, but this is a primary game function, and I'm very interested to find out what they've chosen.

Perhaps they’ll do it like this:

Press L for default/full water pressure
Press ZL for 50% pressure.

My memory of Sunshine is lacking. How often did you need to accurately control the pressure compared to just go full pressure each time?

They have two choices for this.

1. Add in an update that allows support for Wii remotes which is pretty straightforward.

2. Tweak the Joy cons or the controllers to ensure that the experience can be replicated no problem.

And where are you going to plug in your sensor bar?

Dock? You didn't really think Nintendo could make this on handheld didn't you?

Tue Mar 31 20 02:42pm
Rating: 2 (Updated 2 times)

Dock? You didn't really think Nintendo could make this on handheld didn't you?

You do realise the sensor bar didn’t have a USB plug right? It was a proprietary plug and port.

Not so “pretty straightforward” unless they ship an adapter, ship a new USB sensor bar, or ask players to plug in their Wii or Wii U while they play a Switch game. Maybe use the old candle trick on either side of the TV, but then would Nintendo be liable for a house fire?

All the while assuming these players even have Wii Remotes....yeah totally straightforward.

His idea is as straightforward as washing a car covered with dry mud using only one cotton swab. Thank you for having the voice of reason within you Smile

socar
Wed Apr 01 20 04:59am
Rating: 1

And why not have a usb sensor? that could actually be the first step for bringing backwards compatibility at least for Wii games.

Great idea. Start producing Wii Remotes again too.
And the Switch Lite? Announce backwards compatibility but not for that large install base.

Stop digging. You had a bad idea.

1. And how does the sensor bar factor into this idea?

2. If it was easy, chances are it would've been done already.

socar
Wed Apr 01 20 05:00am
Rating: 1

1. USB sensor?

2. Its already easy for Nintendo to port GB, GBC, and GBA games on Switch..and yet they still haven't done it. So what's your point?

1 - So it's not so easy. It's a product that needs to be design, approved, manufactured and shipped worldwide. All that for a super low price, because not everyone still has their Wiis in perfect condition, or even the few people that owned a Wii U. And that's not counting those who never owned either system. I mean, that doesn't sound like product of the year material.

2 - Because they don't need to. If they keep adding one system to NSO a year, they will keep the audience in check and people won't quit when it's renewal time because there's something new. If when they started it they gave us all the NES, SNES, N64, GB, GBC and GBA games that had been made available via Virtual Console on day one, what would we have to look forward to? Seriously dude, use the quarantine to go on Coursera and enjoy some business classes Smile

Because they don't need to. If they keep adding one system to NSO a year, they will keep the audience in check and people won't quit when it's renewal time because there's something new. If when they started it they gave us all the NES, SNES, N64, GB, GBC and GBA games that had been made available via Virtual Console on day one, what would we have to look forward to? Seriously dude, use the quarantine to go on Coursera and enjoy some business classes

So it makes sense to release old gen games on different consoles year after year rather than doing them all at once? People already don't like the NSO service and have complained about it so how exactly is the NES and SNES suppose to like make it any better when the majority of them could still be bought through the virtual console?

First of all, people can complain all they want, but if they are still paying for the service they are not incentivising Nintendo to improve it. Why would they put a lot more effort to many minimum returns? By slowly adding things they keep people paying, which is all that matters.

And Virtual Console was great for people to buy the same 10 games or so. There was some variety in the beginning of the Wii era, but by the time it ended, through the Wii U and 3DS, you can check the best selling games and they are always the same. Also, if you notice, service subscriptions are the future and very much our present. Why spend $20 on a movie when you can pay $8 a month and have a bunch more? Why pay $20 for 4 NES games when you can pay that same amount to have that and a bunch more stuff for an entire year?

Because games are different than movies. Movies last for an hour or two so the idea of keeping them isn't worthwhile for many. Games on the other hand are worthwhile because you can play them again and a lot of effort is put to them.

They also function differently. And who is to say Nintendo will not remove the service once the next gen console comes out?

The only reason people are paying for the subscription is for the online and cloud save. So far, Nintendo hasn't made a survey on how many people use the service to play nes and SNES games so that means Nintendo has hardly made anything of worth releasing them on the service.

Games on the other hand are worthwhile because you can play them again and a lot of effort is put to them.
What about the music industry? It fits the same way as the game industry. You can listen to them again and again. Also, for most musicians, a lot of effort was also put into it.
Let's also not forget GamePass. A great implementation by Microsoft and excellent value for money. It's been doing so well that Sony has made changes to PS Now to partially copy it and Ubisoft has implemented a similar yet overpriced service too.

And who is to say Nintendo will not remove the service once the next gen console comes out?

So you'd rather spend hundreds of dollars on a Virtual Console system that is proven to be unreliable and have us repurchase (3DS) or pay an amount for use (Wii U)? Instead of paying $20 a year to have access to the same games? It must be nice to be that rich.

The only reason people are paying for the subscription is for the online and cloud save. So far, Nintendo hasn't made a survey on how many people use the service to play nes and SNES games so that means Nintendo has hardly made anything of worth releasing them on the service.

Speak for yourself. I love playing the NES and SNES offerings. Especially ones I've never played and wouldn't have played if they weren't part of the service such as Ninja Gaiden, Journey to Silius, Super Ghouls n Ghosts, and Pop'n TwinBee (That's at least $26 in the VC system).
And Nintendo has access to our play data. So they know how many hours users are putting into the NES and SNES apps. I wouldn't be surprised if they also knew how much we play each individual game since the app keeps count of that.
I also make use of the online regularly and cloud saves, of course. But what I mostly make use of is the retro game selection.

Does anybody know how these controls work in the Nvidia Shield?
If Nintendo figured out those controls, fine, bring the games back, they were the best 3D Super Mario.
Anyway, I believe the best case scenario would be a Super Mario Galaxy 3.

reynard
Tue Mar 31 20 01:34pm
(Updated 2 times)

The gyro is not good enough, serviceable sometimes maybe, but nothing the Switch can do for aiming is good enough to be considered equal to the IR pointer.

Nintendo should have just made the Switch compatible with Wiimotes. Something like a Mario Galaxy double pack would be a guaranteed million seller and pack-in a wiimote and either a new USB sensor bar or an adapter for the old would negate production cost and guarantee uncompromised games.

I am still extremely salty that this control scheme died with the Wii U. I never got to play a single real HD FPS with these unmatched controls... and I'm dreading an inevitably inferior port of the Metroid Prime series.

The port of the Metroid Prime Trilogy will likely be an improvement over the first two when comparing to the original release. After all, the right analog of the Switch is much better than the C-stick.
As for Prime 3, I agree. But if all three have similar controls, there's plenty of time to get used to it at least.

reynard
Wed Apr 01 20 01:15am
(Updated 1 time)

The problem there is that the ports of MP1 and 2 within the Trilogy release are simply better than the Cube originals due to the implementation of MP3's control system.

Nothing the Switch can do can recreate the comfort and precision of the Wiimote with bounding-box IR pointer aiming based controls. A switch port would be competent and playable if it happens sure, but the controls will simply be inferior.

I see your point. I don't mind because I actually grew tired of the Wiimote + Nunchuk combo. If I can play it with the Pro Controller I'm a happy man. I know I'm not the majority on this, but that's how I fell. Also, I never replayed MP1 or 2 on the Wii because of it, so I don't even know what they fell like with those controls, only MP3

The pointer in Dreams in ps4 works really good you can just adjust the pointer by moving it to the sides of the screen.

Tue Mar 31 20 02:48pm
(Updated 1 time)

They could do the pointer without pointer like Skyward Sword did. That game makes you think it’s using IR but it’s not - all gyro.

The difference between Skyward Sword and Switch is skyward sword does use the ir sensor to recalibrate the pointer, which is why you can't tell but can point off screen.

Does it? Calibration usually meant placing it face down and not necessarily with the IR camera in sight of the sensor bar. Joy-cons are much better than Wii Remote+ anyways so likely not an issue anyways.

Tue Mar 31 20 05:53pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

You are confusing fully re-calibrating the gyroscope to re-calibrating it to remove drift. When you set on the table to re-calibrate, you are resetting where it considers the x y and z axis to be. What the IR sensor is doing is accounting for a slight error that grows overtime which is gyroscopic drift, which is why the Switch games need you to re-calibrate every once and a while. The IR sensor basically used the ir sensor to find the slight offset from where it expects it is, and re centers it. using the same initial axis calibration.

For World of Goo and the other Switch games, you just manually recenter the controller to where you want it to be pointing to the center, press a button, and it resets it to be centered, kind of like how it works when using motion controls in Splatoon 2. Both are re-calibration though, just different levels of it.

The way Tomorrow Corporation did it would honestly work well enough for docked mode, and in portable mode they have access to the touch screen so I don't think there would be any issues just using those to emulate the ir sensors controls.

For how it's used in Galaxy, the gyro pointer is more than sufficient.

I'm hoping they don't charge $60 each for these. They weren't $60 to begin with, but neither was Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and that didn't stop them from bumping up the price of the Switch port.

The only way I'd pay $60 is if they bundled both SMG games together (which is really what they should do).

DKC TF was absolutely $60 at launch, a bunch of other games are just priced too low in America.

The gyro and pointer stuff really didn't add much to those games. Strip it all out. They'd be better games for it.

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