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Old 04-30-2009, 01:14 PM   #1
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Cel-Shade Mario?

Back in 2001, one of the biggest controversies in gaming took place. Nintendo decided to mix things up and unleash a doe-eyed Link that looked almost like a 1940's era Disney film (that's a compliment, not a zing) on the unsuspecting attendees of the final Space World conference. We all remember how the fanbase was split. Many thought the visual style was a return to the classic imaginings of the old time installments, while others thought Miyamoto had taken one too many trips to his "garden." Time has since passed, Wind Waker went on to become a classic, dissenters got their own Zelda in the form of Twilight Princess, and everything was good.

Now, I love Wind Waker a lot, but it isn't my favorite Zelda. I enjoyed Twilight Princess a lot more for a myriad of flame-baiting reasons I won't get into here, but the whole escapade got me thinking. Why doesn't Nintendo give Mario a similar makeover? The Zelda franchise seems to get a visual overhaul every few years to help keep things fresh. Mario, on the other hand, has completely stagnated. Historically, Mario went through various changes throughout the years, and each design was always a fresh breath of air, but then we hit 2001 when Mario Party 4 was released. Right after the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl (which featured some of the most popular character models ever until Brawl) Nintendo unleashed a new set of standardized franchise character models that to date (with rare exception), have never been replaced in any 3D Mario platformer.



Take a look at these familiar and famous pieces of Mario artwork and see if you can guess what era, if not what game they hail from almost instantly. Mario's character design almost constantly evolved throughout the years to create a unique identity for each major game.


Now I know that the model hasn't been exactly the same since 2001. Sure, Mario donned short sleeves in Sunshine, and put on the obligatory soccer outfit for Strikers. Paper Mario gave us a heavy departure from the established designs. Brawl also gave Mario a one-shot texture upgrade, but it's still the same basic model that Nintendo just slightly retextured to serve the task at hand. Every other platformer, racer, golf, soccer, tennis, basketball, spin-off has recycled the same assets. Perhaps Nintendo wants Mario to have a unified look, or maybe they're just cheap and don't wish to remodel their characters for every game. I don't know why Nintendo chose this path, but this standardization of character design has caused the individual games to lose their identity. There was a time you could tell what era a Mario game came from just by looking at the character art. "Oh yeah, that's Super Nintendo Mario! Hey, there's the Mario 64 artwork!" Look at any of those pieces of art above and tell me you don't know which one goes to which era or game. Not so much anymore. Now let's try a little test...



Here's three pictures of Mario from three different games in the past ten years that don't have any clear giveaway features like tennis rackets or baseball bats. Tell me honestly in the reader comments if you can tell which specific games these pieces of art hail from (from memory, without running to Google Images to cheat. I know you will because I'd do the same thing). They're all starting to blend together.

I propose a mix-up. Let's cel-shade Mario. The look would suit the Mushroom World brilliantly and would serve as a great way to restore Mario to his classic cartoony form. I don't have the art expertise to draw up an example, but I think you can imagine what I'm talking about. Let's ditch the waxy CGI render look Mario has had for a decade and take the art style of Wind Waker and apply it to Mario's world. Pretty cool to imagine the potential results.

Look at Zelda, or better yet, any brand of comic book superhero in the past century. None of them have ever stuck with the same design throughout the years. Heck, Batman has dozens, but that doesn't stop you from recognizing him the moment you lay eyes on a new design. Batman is Batman, and Mario is Mario. Batman is what, eighty years old now? Clearly a fresh coat of paint every so often can help you go a long way.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-30-2009, 01:26 PM   #2
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Old 04-30-2009, 04:23 PM   #3
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Old 04-30-2009, 04:43 PM   #4
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Old 04-30-2009, 05:53 PM   #5
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Isn't he already Cel-Shaded, kinda?
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:12 PM   #6
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I would love a cel-chaded Mario.
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:24 PM   #7
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Add a little gloss with your imagination then boom Cel-Shaded Mario. Also I wouldn't say he has actually changed appearance, its just Graphical enhancements that has made him look different. Box Art doesn't mean anything as seen below.



If it didn't say Mega Man at the top would you have known(Also if you hadn't read any list of Worst Box Art ever). No it looks like a goofy guy with a pistol in Oz.
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Old 05-01-2009, 04:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirManguydude View Post
Add a little gloss with your imagination then boom Cel-Shaded Mario. Also I wouldn't say he has actually changed appearance, its just Graphical enhancements that has made him look different. Box Art doesn't mean anything as seen below.



If it didn't say Mega Man at the top would you have known(Also if you hadn't read any list of Worst Box Art ever). No it looks like a goofy guy with a pistol in Oz.
What does box art have to do with this?
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:00 PM   #9
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We've already got Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi games. I don't see the point. He doesn't even look realistic in the first place.
Also, the first two images are from Mario Party 6 and Mario Kart Wii. (Can't figure out the third)
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Old 05-01-2009, 08:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alloftheabove View Post
We've already got Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi games. I don't see the point. He doesn't even look realistic in the first place.
Also, the first two images are from Mario Party 6 and Mario Kart Wii. (Can't figure out the third)
I think the author was talking about a 3D Mario game (or a platformer in general), not a 2D game like Paper Mario or the Mario and Luigi games.
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