How Super Mario 3D Land Saved The 3DS


The 3DS is 7 years old. Just absorb that thought for a second. Man, I remember when the first 3DS came out
in 2011, I was just entering secondary school! Now I’m in my second year of college and
the thing is still alive and kicking! Well…depending on whose perspective it’s
from. Despite not reaching the extreme levels of
sales its predecessor once had, over the past 7 years, the 3DS has still managed to develop
what is arguably Nintendo’s most impressive handheld lineup. From action games and platformers to RPGs
and simulators, there was practically no genre that evaded the 3DS’ grasp. Add to that a robust indie lineup, Virtual
Console and social features and you have one of Nintendo’s best handheld systems to date. And then, there was the 3D effect. Remember when it was the 3DS’s main selling
point when it first came out? Yeah, that was a thing that existed. When the 3DS was first revealed in 2010,
3D technology was practically the gimmick of the year. Many companies tried to capitalize on the
3D hype train that Avatar set in motion during the previous year by bringing in 3D televisions
that are totally the next mainstream thing because you can finally bring this immersive
experience into your own living room! Well, we all know how that turned out but
back then Nintendo was also thinking of having a slice of the three-dimensional pie. But did you see those glasses? They’re clunky, uncomfortable and sooooo
2000s. So the folks over at Nintendo devised a secret
weapon: the parallax barrier. I’m gonna spare you the technical babble
but it was pretty much a layer on top of an LCD that split the image into two, with one
for each eye, allowing for a 3D display without any special glasses. Because basically, the screen IS the glasses! I mean it’s no hologram or anything, but
it was a very convincing effect. When the 3DS was first revealed as a handheld
with glasses-free 3D graphics, people were definitely intrigued! If the 3DS was your first experience with
glasses-free 3D, it was probably the most mind-blowing thing ever. I remember when I was in a game store seeing
some guy getting his brand new 3DS set up so I snuck in, took a look at the AR Games
logo spinning on the Home Menu and just went WHAAAAAAAAA I got my first 3DS in July 2011 alongside
Pilotwings Resort. I still treasure it deeply, but man
has it seen better days I really need to get your Circle Pad replaced what even is this. I was completely fine with flying a plane,
shooting faces and fighting virtual dragons on my 3DS for nearly 4 months, but at that
time, there wasn’t really much content in the 3DS’s initial library. I mean, let’s take a look at the first-party games
Nintendo chose to launch the 3DS with. yeah that’s it I mean, sure, they’re not bad games (Pilotwings
especially), but as launch titles they weren’t exactly on the same level as the pick-up-and-play
multiplayer appeal of Wii Sports or the grand scope of Breath of the Wild. They’re more or less just small fun distractions/tech
demos of the 3D technology of the 3DS because that was the main selling point at the time. Personally I’m fine with having smaller
games like these as launch titles, but in reality, it just didn’t entice enough people
people to buy a 3DS at launch. Also, if you’ve tried some early 3DS
games at some point, the 3D effect was usually really uncomfortable. Okay, a lot of people find the 3D uncomfortable
but 3DS games in 2011 were especially guilty because the 3D effect was often way too intense. In Pilotwings, for example, the background
extends far into the depths of the screen, making it harder to focus on different objects. And you had to keep your head stable while
looking at the screen or you would get ghosting in your images, causing further headaches. Nowadays, the New 3DS models have head-tracking
functions for the 3D effect which makes them easier to view, but back in 2011, the 3D effect
wasn’t sitting well with a lot of people. Anyway, back to the games. Suffice to say, Nintendo’s offerings were
barebones, and even on the third-party side of things, the most well-received game was
a port of Super Street Fighter IV. So, a mediocre launch lineup for a system
that cost 250 US dollars at launch. That will surely turn out just fine. 3DS sales plummeted after its first couple
of weeks on the market, and not helping things was Nintendo’s two big releases in the next
few months: 3D versions of Star Fox 64 and The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. Fantastic N64 remasters, sure, but that’s
all they were, N64 games that most people have probably played before. And over on the eShop you had OOH SNAP URBAN CHAMPION IN 3D BABY Oh and by the way does anyone remember Freakyforms? Yeah that was a thing that existed. Basically, for several months, people looked
at the 3DS’ price point and lineup and went ‘Ehh, I’ll wait and see if it’s really
worth it’, which seemed to signify the start of the well-known death spiral. No customers due to a lack of games, no developer
support due to a lack of customers, and no games due to a lack of developers. And late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was
NOT going to let that happen. The 3DS still had potential, and he knew Nintendo
had to crank out quality software FAST. But first: BOOM. A gigantic price cut from $250 to $170. Don’t worry early adopters, you guys get
GBA games that will never be released on the 3DS ever again. And then, at E3 that year, bang. Just great original games one after the other. Mario Kart 7. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. Kid Icarus Uprising. Paper Mario Sticker Star! okay maybe not that one But spearheading all of this fantastic software
was Super Mario 3D Land, the key title that would finally reverse the 3DS’s fate. At first glance it might seem kinda weird. The last 3D Mario game at that point was Super
Mario Galaxy 2, one of the most critically acclaimed 3D Mario games to date. Was it really wise to follow that masterpiece
up with a watered-down, point-A-to-point-B 3D platformer? Well turns out, less is more in this case. Continuing Iwata’s Blue Ocean strategy which
attempted to capture casual non-gamers into gaming, the development team of 3D Land focused
on a single keyword when planning the game. ‘Reset’. Sure, you could just put Mario Galaxy on a
3DS and call it a day but Nintendo knew that this would result in a clash against the 3DS’
intended audience. 3D Mario games have gotten bigger and more
complex over the years, but it has also become somewhat overwhelming for casual players. Say what you what about the New Super Mario
Bros. series, but they always sell like hotcakes because to the majority of players 2D Mario
is the type of Mario game they’re most familiar with. For them, dipping their toes into a 3D Mario
game after playing 2D games for so long would probably feel something like– “Huh, A DVD for beginners? I know how a Mario game works, I don’t need
tha— Woah wait what is this gravity thing oh god
it feels so weird He can spin enemies now? Oh god how do you jump past these it’s so
hard You can do a long jump by what? Crouch and jump that’s not a long jump what
is this– There’s MOTION CONTROLS?! Ah dangit stop falling off the edge all the
time Wait what are these bosses How do you kill these bosses oh god help me
what do I do what do I do what do I do” So the development team decided to go back
to basics and make a 3D Mario game that can serve as an introduction for casual players
to get accustomed to controlling Mario in a 3D space. As they said, if Galaxy 2 was like a luxurious
imperial feast, then 3D Land is like a hamburger. A lighter meal that you can just gobble down. Almost every recognizable aspect of mainline
Mario games is back in 3D Land. Mario stomps on enemies, gets mushrooms and
flowers from blocks, and grabs the flagpole at the end of each level. As Miyamoto says, it’s a 3D Mario game that
plays like a 2D Mario game. Run and jump, get to the goal, simple as that. No scouring big worlds fulfilling tons of
mission objectives for collectibles. At least for now. The power-ups help ease the difficulty for
new players as well, especially the Tanooki Suit, with its floating ability making platforming
a total breeze, and the Invincibility Leaf and P-Wing which are pretty self-explanatory. And if you’re a more skilled player, you
can utilize advanced moves like the Rolling Long Jump or combining Wall Jumps with Flutter
Kicks to get to hidden areas or blaze through levels. And the post-game challenges with Cosmic
Clones, speedrun challenges and what not? Mmmm. ‘s good. Look at it. ‘s good In fact, with its level-based structure and
densely packed stages, 3D Land is just a great game to blast through and replay in general,
which totally fits the 3DS’ pick-up-and-play nature. I played it so much that it’s fun for me
to just hop into a level and get into the rhythm of where I should go and when. Even its sequel, 3D World on the Wii U, didn’t
quite have the same feeling for me, as all the levels are much more expansive to accommodate
multiplayer, which makes playing them alone feel…empty. Overall, in terms of game design, Super Mario
3D Land pretty much has something for everyone, being both accessible to casual players, as
well as being fun and rewarding to fully complete for the pros. And you can still see this design philosophy
in future games. Even in Mario Odyssey where the collectathon
structure returns, jumps are de-emphasized in favor of throwing your cap on literally
everything, and things like easy Power Moons and Assist Mode are there to help new players
get through the main game more easily. And uh, yeah, I think I’m done here. That’s why 3D Land did so well on the 3DS. What? Oh right! The 3D. It was in the name of the game and I still
forgot about it right. Super Mario 3D Land is one of the very few
3DS games I know of that utilizes the 3D effect to a genius degree by integrating it directly
into the gameplay. Nintendo acknowledged that judging distance
in a 3D platformer is often a challenge to some people even with a drop shadow as assistance,
so using 3D ended up actually improving the player experience, rather than being something
that the player will turn on, say ‘oh it looks cool’, then turn it off again. But there are even more intricate design choices
in the 3D effect beyond just making judging distances easier. Remember the issues I mentioned with an intense
3D effect in early 3DS games? Nintendo was finally aware of those issues
and talked about how they tried to make the 3D effect in 3D Land as natural as possible
in a 2012 GDC talk. And it all revolves around a concept known
as the reference plane. To put it simply, the reference plane is the
level of 3D depth at the surface of the screen, of which there would be barely any. Nothing pops out, nothing pops in, and so
images located on the reference plane tend to be the clearest and mostly free of any
ghosting effects from tilting the screen. So, if most of what the player sees was placed
right on the reference plane, they could avoid extremely intense 3D effects. The development team actually learned this from
Miyamoto showing them gameplay of another title: which was also in development at the same time. Miyamoto played the prototypes of Mario Kart
7 and 3D Land and noticed Mario Kart 7 looked less blurry. That’s because in that game, the player’s
kart was located on the reference plane, so it wouldn’t get blurry easily even with
subtle movements of the player’s head. Also, there were other rules in place to avoid
things like platforms or coins randomly popping out of the screen and disorienting the player’s
vision. The camera is usually fixed and cannot be
freely rotated, so that other objects wouldn’t get in the camera’s way. The range of the 3D depth effect was also
significantly shortened, so that it wouldn’t put as much of a strain on the player’s
eyes. You can still see these design decisions in
later 3DS games, and it goes to show that implementing a comfortable use of 3D graphics
goes beyond just enabling a ‘turn on 3D’ option. Also, major bonus points to the 3D illusion
bonus areas, they might be a tad too gimmicky but they’re still pretty awesome. Anyway, that’s what I felt were the ingredients
that led to Super Mario 3D Land becoming the definitive killer app for the 3DS: a casual-friendly
approach to 3D Mario with a fantastic implementation of the 3DS’ gimmick. Nintendo advertised the heck out of the game,
placing a huge playground with demo stations right in the middle of Times Square, even
giving out mushroom pizzas and selling the game early exclusively at the event. This nostalgia bomb certainly worked as 3D
Land became the fastest selling portable Mario game up to that point after it launched. And of course, games like Mario Kart, Pokémon
and many more continued to push the 3DS towards old and new players alike, cementing the 3DS
as a platform not only defined by its gimmick, but also its diverse library of games. So even if you mostly played your 3DS games
with the 3D graphics off because they’re uncomfortable or whatever, I think it’s
good to take some time and appreciate the work Nintendo put into designing some of their
games to take full advantage of 3D, and how they’ve refined it over the 3DS’ life,
practically averting its fate in the process. While 3D is no longer the primary focus of
the 3DS as seen with the slowly dropping support for it, I still think that the feature has
some merit to it, and games like Super Mario 3D Land just go to show that designing specifically
for 3D graphics can make them a bit more than just pretty eye candy. Wow, this video is finally done. If you didn’t realize, this video was stuck
in limbo for like 9 months, so uh, I’m glad that it’s done, thank you for watching, and especially to my Patreon supporters
that you can see on-screen right now. And as for me, I’m just gonna…leave.

100 comments

  • Olafimihan Akinwunmi

    I think paper Mario sticker is a great game

    Reply
  • MrOrangeCloud

    Got a 36min ad of Nintendo direct

    Reply
  • LifeSaber

    I got freakyforums via club Nintendo. They removed a feature though. Dungeons.

    Reply
  • Leausic

    Back when i had a DS
    i got to the special world in 3D land and one day my dog ate the cartridge and i was so sad

    Reply
  • Birds Rule

    Am I the only one to never turn off the 3D mode?

    Reply
  • Eric_T123

    the 2ds kinda saved the 3ds… Right???

    Reply
  • bo jackson

    i hated sticker star, thank you for insulting it.

    Reply
  • TD_Kyle

    Not gonna lie, Freakyforms was a masterpiece of a game!

    Reply
  • Cherry Row

    I bought a 3DS in 2018 just because it was the nintendog’s & cats version and I like the pink color; I’ve never cared about the actual 3D lol

    Reply
  • MATTHEW HERNANDEZ

    Real reason because it was awesome

    Reply
  • CubicTimez

    How this video saved this channel

    Reply
  • Naam Loos

    Cries in 2ds

    Reply
  • Revolsin

    Man that was a really damn long intro

    Reply
  • Ethan Wyatt

    I love the 3DS.

    Reply
  • FilFee

    1:17 I still have a 3D TV… didn't use the 3D in the last 4 years…

    Reply
  • Enroaching Entei

    Memories.. 3:17 Like if you ever had this / remember this game

    Reply
  • Okami

    Yeah no

    Reply
  • AntiqueAshes

    I got a 3ds when it came out, but one of my eyes doesn't half work, so the 3d didnt do anything.

    Reply
  • Pemze

    I'll be honest, I REALLY dislike this game! I'm not a fan of the camera angles and I find it incredibly difficult

    Reply
  • ͔

    0:48 can anyone explain why a 3DS flopping is cute to me?

    Reply
  • WonderingWater

    0:49 when ds haves a seizure

    Reply
  • Noob Animation

    The 3d could be good for watching movies in movies theater becuase glasses

    Reply
  • Kyubeyz _

    “It’s a 3d Mario game that plays like a 2d Mario game.”
    I laughed at that.

    Reply
  • Kikster

    I remember getting my first 3ds when i was 7 my real dad came to visit (never came back) i got the blue verison i played Mario 3d land, lego batman 1, 2 , and one very scary game. Then my 6 year old auntie took it to school and it got stolen. I got 2ds i played mario kart 7 and lego star wars then i broke my screen. Then i got a new 3ds xl for my 11th birthday i played Pokemon sun and moon, pokemon sapphire, X , red for 500+ hours then it got lost. i got a switch and waiting for pokemon sword and sheild

    Reply
  • The FrostBite Lion

    Wish I got the 3ds when it came out 4 exclusive games cough cough kirby amazing mirror

    Reply
  • TeknosQuet

    The 3D option always messed with my eyes, no matter what level it was on on the slider thing.

    Reply
  • GamingKing2436

    I had a 3ds with Mario kart 7. My dad exploded it bc it was supposed to be in 110v charge and he put it in 220v

    Reply
  • Ramon Aviles

    I have Mario 3D land and is an ok Game i yust guet bord of It afther i beated the game

    Reply
  • Poor chicken

    You can watch 3d videos on YouTube with the new 3ds

    Reply
  • CM64

    Sticker Star is a decent game.

    Fight me.

    Reply
  • Dr. Stealth

    Free DS but in 2019, April Fools Day

    Reply
  • Eryk Steele

    Actually Ocarina of Time was why I bought my 3DS… and Pokemon Moon.

    Reply
  • Berkeley Creager

    How did it save the 3DS when it was the launch title?

    Reply
  • weegee

    finally somebody who is still knows of this games existence

    Reply
  • Salt

    So… The blandest, most repetitive game in history, kept the 3ds from dying? That… Isn't very beleivable.

    Reply
  • Weeb Trash That Everyone Hates.

    I Love The Quiet Super Mario 3D Land!

    Reply
  • UndertakerU2ber

    "How Super Mario 3D Land (And a Price Cut) Saved The 3DS"

    Reply
  • SSS Gaming

    ps vita could also be saved but fucking $ony

    Reply
  • SuperSans64

    Who else watched this on the 3ds

    Reply
  • Theraderman 14

    Hello

    Reply
  • Roman Rojas

    shut up sticker star was great.

    Reply
  • Aof2009

    I love 3D land but I am looking for the lost cartridge. 🙁

    Reply
  • FLOWRIDER0

    Smb 3d makes my eyes bleed. Its the only game that does that to me

    Reply
  • uwu uwu

    So you need a new circle pad… be happy you have one ,_, i ruined mine with smash uwu

    Reply
  • Yeetus Deletus

    NO ONE INSULTS STICKERSTAR!

    Reply
  • natsuki

    I think a GBA (even though it's old) slot on a new 3ds/2ds/XL would be great

    Reply
  • 15mice

    I grew up in the DS era with New Super Mario Bros (1) being the first mario game I owned. I managed to get a 3DS only a few months after its release with the huge price drop and I still play it. 3D Land was the first mario game I ever fully completed and it definitely helped my transition into odyssey which is very confusing and I keep falling off the edge and the switch has much more sensitive controls than the 3DS but we're learning slowly. However I still love them both! I still buy games on 3DS as you can usually get them second hand and much cheaper than switch games

    Reply
  • b oi

    My calculations tell me ur 13 years old

    Reply
  • Lolcat

    3d land was the first 3ds game I actually bought. Besides that I was playing puzzle bobble since I got it

    Reply
  • Dorrivix

    didn't rayman 3D release the day before the 3DS?

    Reply
  • The Two Sisters!

    The same age as me……

    Reply
  • MustachePhoenix

    $250 at launch. Costs about $50 now.

    Reply
  • runforitman

    I find their 3D remasters have a lot of stereo window violation
    It happens a lot in the n64 legend of zeldas

    Reply
  • Super Baum

    Until now
    I thought i Imaged Freaky Forms. While Tripping

    Reply
  • Peanut Butter

    This was my first Mario 3D game I always played 2D Mario games

    Reply
  • AJ the anime gamer

    I know it's still early but good bye 3ds we will miss you 😩

    Reply
  • Jake Johnson

    Originally the Gamecube was going to be a 3d console but Nintendo didn't make it 3d because 3d screens back then were really expensive.

    Reply
  • Saoodisticall

    I acc remember having fun on freakyforms

    Reply
  • Anti Riku

    god, that accent though

    Reply
  • N/A Entertainment

    Am I the only one who likes sticker star?

    Reply
  • Julien Spicuzzo

    Freaky forms was MY SHIT

    Reply
  • NorthieK Animations

    i got my 3ds in the day of 6 of august and its still working
    i got 3 gmes

    super mario 3d land
    bejeweld 3d
    spongebob antlantis pants

    Reply
  • Chrishermor10

    Idk why but I find this funny 0:49

    Reply
  • AJ Hamster summoner

    I had the new 2ds xl love it

    Reply
  • Zeadogs

    Super Mario 3D land is one of my favourite games. I have so many good memories with it and it's my favourite Mario game, (beside Odyssey and Mario and Luigi Bowser's inside story.)

    Reply
  • SuperShit

    Dont forget old DS games

    Reply
  • TobyDoge Musics

    I remember when bowser destroyed Reggie.

    Reply
  • Esak

    I’m my opinion Luigi’s mansion dark moon was the reason I started loving Nintendo 1000 time more than I did in the first place

    Reply
  • Can we get 5k subs with no Videos

    Is it just me or do I keep getting the fucking train ads

    Reply
  • LordLenni

    Fight mii,

    Wii will meet at the park.

    Reply
  • Tesco Express

    I Have Nintendo Dogs..FOR DS! 😀

    Reply
  • Laggianput 1

    I lost my 8 year old cart of 3d land recently😓

    Reply
  • Eli Lemke

    You know what would've saved 3ds.

    A 3d port of Street fighter 3rd strike

    Reply
  • Ham Khan

    4:32 when a deluxe version of a game is so bad it lets you hack your 3ds

    Reply
  • Mig 28

    I need to vent:

    It irks me so freaking much that beings with binocular vision call 3D a gimmick.

    3D isn't supposed to give you a wife. It isn't meant to make you the king of the hill.

    Just like higher resolution, it's nice to see. It's freaking immersive when done right!

    Reply
  • Mig 28

    6:38 is what got me to subscribe

    And I expect more of this!

    Reply
  • Bob A Linx

    I LOVE Freakyforms!

    Reply
  • A Fat Penguin

    i actually really like freakyforms

    pls no hate ;((((

    Reply
  • RicardoGutigamer

    i still have an old nintendo 3ds

    Reply
  • Trust -

    I used to love freaky forms

    Reply
  • Ramon Caballero

    Freaky forms was cool

    Reply
  • Robd collector

    …2019 and just bought my first 3ds…its awesome!!!!

    Reply
  • zuek

    Tiny correction, Nintendo had been working on 3D tech since… well, the virtual boy. They just never gave up.

    Reply
  • Squi D

    It’s been that long already ¿

    Reply
  • Creeper aww man

    What about the 2DS

    Reply
  • Generated Egg // Yoshi AUTTP AKKTK ATPTS ARQZZZFF

    3D Land >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 3D World IMO. 3D World just feels kinda barren with singleplayer, and you can play 3D Land anywhere lol.

    Reply
  • Jayce

    That's true. In the beginning, 3DS was not offering much but what happened after approx. 2 years?! Kaboooom 😀

    Reply
  • eridion kiorai

    If Wii U price dropped to 240$ and release mario 3d land for Wii U wil succses

    Reply
  • Ash Rahman

    I love the 3ds family, I know that most people want it to die but there are some spinoffs on this little handheld!

    Reply
  • ArtMasterFrylock

    The 3D in the 3DS is amazing and I miss it. I never had issues with the 3D. My first 3DS game was Super Mario 3D Land. I got Rayman 3D and turned the slider down, easy fix for the intense 3D.
    Also Sticker Star is underrated and its tiring to hear people take a jab at it everytime it gets mentioned.

    Reply
  • David Leanos

    the first 3d i used is a book it came with the glasses and it was 3d alright

    Reply
  • Viktor Chmiel

    I always keep the 3D mode on because I feel like I'm missing out without it, plus I just plain like it.

    Reply
  • cleavage Rip 1st channel

    Nintendo: hey, wanna see me turn a 3D game into a shitty 2D platformer?
    zip-lash happens
    Wanna see me do it again?
    gets not pikmin 4

    Reply
  • n

    I swear, if you make me listen to the 3D Land theme again I will go fucking livid

    Reply
  • Treven Flynn

    What a terrible opinion

    Reply
  • Ham Khan

    4:32 when your deluxe version of a game is so bad it lets you hack your 3DS

    Reply
  • raiden stark

    I only bought my 3ds for super smash bros and kid icarus

    Reply
  • AsrielAdam

    I thought that I was the only one that remembered and liked Mario 3D world

    Reply
  • Dylan St Julien

    Brooooo. Just say your T's, it's not that hard.

    Reply
  • David Cortés DaFailboatFan

    3ds 3d is actually really good if your eyes dont decide to commit self-delete when seeing it. It’s also a LOT better in the new 3DS as i know people who cannot stand the 3d on the old 3ds but can use it on the new 3ds just fine.

    Reply

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