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.


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!

GoNintendo Thought: Would you rather another Super Mario Odyssey or Super Mario Galaxy?

This is a Thought I've been wanting to write for awhile now, but I've been a bit worried about putting it together and sharing. I don't want to ruffle any features, but hopefully it'll lead to good discussion!


I think we can all agree that Mario has had the most impressive run in video games as far as quality is concerned. Mainline Mario games are always top notch. There have been so many entries, and there really isn't a bad one in the bunch. There might be absolutely fantastic entries and really great ones, but it would be tough to find people who believe certain installments to be bad, or flat out terrible.

Keeping up that quality over all these years hasn't been easy, that's for sure. Nintendo is always breaking down not only what makes Mario fun, but what new mechanics they can introduce without having a game not feel like a Mario title anymore. It's an insanely delicate balancing act, but somehow the Big N keeps managing to pull it off. The team behind these games knows what makes Mario tick, and they have a passion for the series like none other.

Now even though there are tons of stellar entries in the Mario franchise, people certainly have their favorites. There will be Mario games people can put above a pedestal above all others, and some games that people will easily place a bit lower down on their list. Again, that doesn't mean the games are bad by any means. They just have a few elements that push them up or down an overall list.

For a lot of players, there are two entries in the Mario franchise that really showcase what Nintendo can do when they're at the top of their Mario game. Those would be Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Odyssey. Both games managed to maintain the classic Mario feel while putting their own spin on tried-and-true mechanics, and also breaking new ground for the series. Each entry has been a phenomenal success in terms of critical praise and consumer support, so there's no denying Odyssey and Galaxy are definitely among the best of the best.

That brings us to a very important question. If you were only going to get a sequel to one of these games, or you could have your pick of which game would get a sequel first, which would you choose?

I'll share my answer, but I need to clarify something first. I really do adore Super Mario Odyssey. I find it to be one of the best Mario games out there. Everything from visuals to level building is really impressive, and the sense of scale for the adventure is pretty fantastic. It also includes an insane level of charm across every area, character, and interaction. Super Mario Odyssey made Mario feel more alive than ever before, at least in my opinion.

With that said, the question isn't all that hard for me. While I love Super Mario Odyssey, I was/am completely blown away by Super Mario Galaxy. If I were asked what my favorite Mario games were, my top two would be Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, and their places could be interchangeable. For me, those games marked an unbelievably high point for the Mario series, and brought in a revolution like none other.

There's just something so magical about the Galaxy games. Exploring hugely detailed, open-ended environments in Odyssey was wonderful, but I just don't think it compares to flipping and flying around planets in Galaxy. The feeling of soaring through the air, collecting Star Bits, and playing with gravity were all extremely new elements for a Mario game. Plus, the way they were used in combination was supremely addictive. Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 were just pure, unadulterated fun for me.

I also happen to think that the music in both Galaxy 1 and 2 is quite a good deal beyond the score for Super Mario Odyssey. There are a handful of great tunes in Odyssey, but overall, I was a bit let down by some of the tracks. The good ones are REALLY good, but the ones that didn't do anything for me came across as a bit ho-hum and uninspired. Not bad, but not memorable or engaging.

The soundtracks for Galaxy legitimately brought me to tears in some parts. They felt so new for a Mario series, and so extremely epic. They heightened the experience of flying through space and walking upside-down on platforms, planets, and perches. I still regularly listen to the soundtracks for both of those games, but I only listen to a handful of tunes from Super Mario Odyssey, and not nearly as often as Galaxy.

While I do think Odyssey is a great game, my pick goes with Galaxy without question. I would love a Galaxy 3, which I know isn't quite fair, as there's only been one Odyssey so far. I certainly wouldn't be upset if another Odyssey were announced, but I'd be over the moon hearing Galaxy 3 was on the way.

Which series gets your nod for a sequel? Which one do you want to see makes its way back on Switch, and why?

Fan-made Super Mario Galaxy 2 mod adds in new levels and more

Something has to fill the Mario void between now and Super Mario Odyssey. If you need that platforming fix like I do, perhaps Neo Mario Galaxy is right up your alley? A fan-made round of content for Super Mario Galaxy 2, Neo Mario Galaxy adds in new stages and more.


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