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3DS to Have 3D and 2D Mario Games

Miyamoto discusses possibilities for Mario sequels on 3DS.

Above: Super Paper Mario 3DS. Nintendo has yet to announce a Mario platformer for the 3DS.

Nintendo has been releasing two general lines of Mario games over the past generation: 3D games along the lines of Super Mario Galaxy and 2D games along the lines of New Super Mario Bros. The latter type sells far better.

So what do these sales trends mean for a 3DS version of Mario? During a Q&A session at Nintendo's earnings briefing last week, investors asked Shigeru Miyamoto to comment on just that.

Miyamoto first explained the general merits and demerits of 3D (the current polygon-based 3D). 3D visuals give players a greater sense of being part of the action and gives more freedom and choice, said Miyamoto. At the same time, some are turned off from 3D games because they appear too complex.

"When Super Mario became Mario 64, the range of players narrowed greatly," Miyamoto admitted. While he feels that Nintendo's developers were able to make use of the strong points of 3D to deliver new game experiences, they were also advancing work on games that, while 3D, can be played by everyone. This resulted in Super Mario Galaxy. Even this doesn't solve the dilemmas, though, so they also made the New Super Mario Bros. series.

Turning to 3DS, Miyamoto said, "When asked 'what will we do on 3DS,' the answer is, of course, we'll make both. They both have their own appeal."

He outlined how the 3DS's 3D display effects could help both types of Mario.

For the 3D type of Mario game -- and this includes Zelda, he said -- it can be difficult to perceive depth, for example if you multiple floors stacked up on top of one another. However, if you have a similar situation on the 3DS with the 3D effect turned on, you can more clearly see what's closer to you.

The 3DS's 3D effect also "gives a great feeling of existence to Mario, Link and others," said Miyamoto. He feels that this is important for his games, as they're made with character "weight" in mind -- that is, making the player feel like the character has weight in its movement.

For 2D Mario games, Miyamoto pointed out that we already see depth-based effects in many of the games. For example, a Wiggler (Hana-chan in Japanese) or Bullet Bill (Killer in Japanese) will fly at the the screen from afar. "It's difficult to tell when they will hit the player, so we were only able to use these lightly. However, we'll be able to use this type of thing quite a bit on the 3DS."

Following Miyamoto's response, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said, "You went more in-depth than I'd been expected. This is the first I've heard of this." Miyamoto joked, "No good? Don't tell any game magazine people."

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