Reading a topic on Super Mario Sunshine, it saddens me to think that the GameCube’s entire life cycle was spent with only one Mario game, and not even a particularly good one at that.

Not to say Sunshine is all bad. It’s a pretty good platformer, though my interest waned long before I could finish it. But as a Mario platformer? Consensus by most seems to say that it failed to maintain the standard.

And IMO, Mario has a standard to him that people nearly universally agree the games are good, with some odd people shooting down weird things like the story. Sunshine didn’t really have that.

Now, we’re quickly approaching the dawn of a new system, and all we have to show for this generation with a Mario game is Sunshine.

NES had three games. SNES two, if you count Yoshi’s Island. N64, just one. A bothersome trend. Especially if one chooses to count GBA as having zero, since those were all ports/remakes.

What’s stranger is that Zelda’s titles per system keep INcreasing. Even Metroid kicked Mario’s ass for original titles this generation.

“Has the world gone topsy-turvy?!”

And if you count the Dreamcast as current-generation, and Shadow as a Sonic game, then that’s 4 titles right there… even though debates of quality may well continue until the end of time.

Now, the way I’ve heard it, it seems that the fabled “Super Mario 128″(ridiculous title notwithstanding) was going to be a GameCube title, but may have been moved to the Revolution. Partly because the Cube was the first Nintendo system to launch without Mario(second, if you count Virtual Boy and disclude Mario Tennis), and they say that Nintendo won’t be taking that chance again.

Now, not suggesting that they start to milk the franchise or anything, but if Zelda can pull this off, I see no reason Mario should not be able to do the same. Ditto Metroid. Not suggesting one per year, like some heroes in blue often manage to maintain with questionable results, but more than one per generation would be nice again.

The GameCube was a good system. It’s a shame it’s also going to be left as the one system where Mario essentially stumbled, if not failed outright. I think that the GameCube’s legacy will probably lay more in the hands of Zelda and Metroid, with Mario side-games… well, on the side.

Of course, there’s also Smash Bros., but not counting that since it’s more “Nintendo” in general than Mario, title notwithstanding.

With any luck, the theme of Sunshine and all of these sports and parties will prove to be an ironic parallel years down the line, the generation Mario took a vacation of sorts, ready to come back fresh for the next system to rise.

One can only hope, anyway.

LBD “Nytetrayn”

(and no, I didn’t forget Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, but that’s not traditional Mario any more than Tennis was, so nyeh.)