Super Mario Galaxy arrived today and it's interesting to see Nintendo kept the nice cover that secretly spells out, "U R MR GAY" (notice where the sparkles are). I never would have noticed if none of the regular news blogs and forums I read didn't point it out. The graphics designer must have been bored and, I wonder what the person who discovered the message was doing when he found the message? Observant or just bored too?
Needless to say, I was still eager to play the game. I slipped in the disc into my console but just like Metroid Prime 3, I had to perform a mini update before the game would run. I never noticed it before but, both Metroid and Mario Galaxy has this red warning message at the back of the box that says, "Unauthorised technical modifications to your Wii console may render this game unplayable." As if the warning before firmware updates wasn't enough but I guess these two games did cause problems.
So evidently, Nintendo is trying to discourage pirates by using small, incremental updates to the Wii but, it hasn't been good enough so far. It didn't take long before the people responsible for the mod chips managed to make a quick firmware update to bypass the protection again.
Saying that however, if they keep coming up with new ways to detect the modded consoles and they take more than a week to crack then, it might just be enough to deter people from pirating. You should have seen how many "How do I get this to work?" or "Is there a fix yet?" posts there were in the scene forums.
There are people worried that Nintendo will end up releasing an update that will "brick" (i.e. render unusable) their console but, I don't think they'll go that far. What could happen is an update might contain code that clashes with the mod chips but not written with that intention. If something like that was to happen then, the liability would be with the people who modded their Wiis with unauthorised software / hardware and not Nintendo. Pretty much like what's been happening with the iPhone hacks and updates. In this case, Nintendo is already being nice by giving people a warning on their games.
Anyway, back to the game. As if Metroid wasn't eye candy enough on the Wii, Mario Galaxy looks even better! Difference is I hardly notice the loading times! The opening artwork reminded me of Yoshi's Island with its crayon-like rendering. It was kind of odd seeing Princess Peach return to the damsel-in-distress mode after seeing what she was capable of in Paper Mario.
After playing for a few hours, I have to agree with others that said this felt like Mario 64 but that's a good thing. I would also say Nintendo's taken 3D platformers to the next level too because as you travel through the galaxy levels in the game, a lot of the time there's no "up" direction. You can run around planets and other 3D objects upside-down and the camera won't re-orient itself so, most of the time you'll see Mario standing with his head pointing in all directions. Not only that, the analogue stick also changes accordingly thus when you first start out, it takes a while to get used to the game orientation but it's very fun leaping from place to place! And funnily enough, I didn't get one bit of motion sickness the whole time unlike with Elebits!
Main levels have been pretty easy so far but the optional side levels have been fairly challenging. Throw in some extra "modes" such as time and one hit death limits and it becomes even more challenging!
This game should keep me occupied for some time while I try to collect all the stars.