Throwback Thursday: Super Mario Galaxy – An Odyssey Among The Stars
On November 12, 2007, Super Mario Galaxy was released for the Wii. The game brought our favorite Italian plumber to the far reaches of space to once again save Princess Peach from the Koopa King Bowser. Nintendo’s fresh Mario entry would flip the series’ previous gameplay conventions upside down (literally), creating one of the most unique and celebrated platformers in recent history.
Initial ideas for Super Mario Galaxy originated from Super Mario 128, an unmade Mario project that featured a slew of innovative gameplay mechanics. One of the more interesting of the bunch was the concept of spherical-based platforming, an idea Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto thought would be well-suited for a new main series Mario title. After a few months of rough prototyping, it seemed the best application for this planet-like mechanic would be an outer space setting, with the concept of gravity playing a major role.
Concerns soon arose about whether platforming on a spherical surface would even be possible, with many within the development team skeptical of whether the flashy mechanic could warrant a full game. However, as the project progressed, the team became increasingly excited, realizing the game’s unique potential. One of the main priorities of Galaxy‘s development was to create a fun and engaging atmosphere so that it could appeal to both avid gamers and those with little experience.
The composer of Super Mario Galaxy, Mahito Yokota, had originally composed music akin the series’ familiar tropical percussion style, but when submitting the tracks to Nintendo, they were rejected for sounding too bubbly and childlike. Initially confused by the decision, Yokota made the connection that Mario’s character was supposed to be “cool,” rather than “cute.” On Yokota’s second attempt, he approached the music as an epic space adventure, adopting a full 50-person orchestra to give the soundtrack a big cinematic sound.
Super Mario Galaxy revolves around the titular Mario as he celebrates the centennial Star Festival with Princess Peach. As the villain tends to do, Bowser invades the event and kidnaps Peach with the aid of a new flying saucer spaceship. All seems lost for Mario until a cosmic being named Rosalina reveals herself and informs Mario that Bowser is also responsible for stealing the numerous Power Stars. This sets Mario on a journey to collect the scattered stars and once again rescue Peach from the clutches of the Koopa King.
Progress is made in Super Mario Galaxy by collecting Power Stars and opening access to new galaxies, leading up to an eventual confrontation with Bowser. When navigating the game’s planetoid platforms, Mario’s controls will shift with each object’s gravitational force, allowing for walking upside-down or orbiting around in space. After acquiring a set amount of stars, players can utilize Rosalina’s Comet Observatory to move between the game’s forty-two total galaxies.
Helping Mario on his stellar quest are seven power-ups which grant him various temporary abilities. The Bee Mushroom transform Mario into a Bee, allowing limited flight and access to otherwise obstructed areas. Another mushroom gives Mario the powers of a ghostly Boo, able to travel through objects and float through the air. More power-ups include the Fire and Ice Flowers, the Rainbow Star, and the Spring Mushroom, the latter of which gives Mario the power to bounce extremely high into the air.
Upon release, Super Mario Galaxy received high praise for its space-themed gameplay, music, and overall design, being hailed as one of the best games ever made. The widespread love for the title would lead to a follow-up adventure in 2010, where Mario would be reunited with his dinosaur pal Yoshi. Mahito Yokota would continue composing music for the mainline Mario games and several of its spin-offs, most recently contributing to 2017’s Super Mario Odyssey.
What’s your opinion of Super Mario Galaxy? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter to be informed of the latest gaming and entertainment news 24 hours a day! Also, be on the lookout for the next Throwback Thursday where we’ll highlight yet another title from gaming past. For entries from previous weeks, check out these next few links below:
Eric Hall850 Posts
Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his weekly "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at games of the past.