Over the course of the Holiday season, here at Ready Player Gone we will be bringing you a feature article each day – with a break on every 6th day – in the lead-up to Christmas. Our posts will be split into one of five themes throughout the event and there may even be a competition or two. Today the theme is, Christmas Couch Co-Op. Christmas is a time with family and friends which is a great time to settle disputes while having a bit of fun playing these couch co-op titles. All of these titles will be from the kings of this genre Nintendo, and today I will be taking a look at New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe. For the full RPG Christmas line-up, click here!
Remember when you were a kid with your Nintendo DS on Christmas? I do. I was either trawling my way through the Sinnoh region on Pokemon, blitzing through Rainbow Road on Mario Kart or, like many, playing through New Super Mario Bros. My family had this weekly routine where after a long week of working, we would go down to the local social club. My parents would play bingo with their friends, and I got to spend time with my friends whose parents liked to do the same. They were simpler times, and to this day some of my best and worst times were in that social club. My highlight of it all though had to be that all of us children all owned a DS. We would link up (totally different meaning today) and settle in for a few hours of gaming, supplemented with cans of cola and packs of Quavers – as I said it was a simpler time.
One of our favourite games had to be New Super Mario Bros. Playing this game cooperatively and competitively at the same time was energising – “I will stand on his head to reach the top of the flag pole,” became my mantra. Going back to that game today is still very possible, but why do that? With the advances in gaming we can enjoy the best version of the New Super Mario Bros formula again on the Nintendo Switch. New Super Mario Bros U: Deluxe is a collection of two games from the Wii U that couldn’t quite save the console. It includes: New Super Mario Bros U and New Super Luigi U – the latter of which is intended to be a more difficult entry in the series.
Christmas is all about time with friends and family. A time to eat, give gifts, fall out, laugh, make up and play games (and not just of the video variety). When me and my wife go to stay with her family, there’s no doubt we will be play some Wii Party or Queen Singstar. Although, when considering the king of couch co-op, Mario will always reign supreme. New Super Mario Bros U: Deluxe is – to put it simply – the ultimate 2D Mario experience. You will not find a more complete version. Sure, some would argue Super Mario Maker 2 has it all, but that game relies on the community to be a good title, this game doesn’t have to.
If you have access to an extra pair of Joy-Cons or a controller or two, you open up the opportunity to compete within your family. Even if you only have one controller (which seems unlikely as the Switch ships with two Joy-Cons), you could always do time trials against one another. You could all play through the game as it is originally intended or – which I’m sure many will do – compete in a battle-mode. Got a bone to pick with your brother over the last Yorkshire Pudding? Battle-mode it is. Let’s not forget as well, the game doesn’t need to stop during the Queens speech (shame on you if it doesn’t), just take the switch out of the dock and play against one another in portable mode. Sure, you might get clapped by your mother for not respecting the Queen (Sorry, Liz), but sometimes the score must be settled. Some would say Christmas is all about community (they are wrong, it’s all about the turkey and roasties), well couch co-op games were the definition of community for gamers pre-online. I still remember playing Goldeneye 64 with a few friends when I was younger. There is no reason why couch co-op doesn’t have a place over Christmas, in fact for me it is one of the only times of year it happens. Sad really.
Another great thing about this game too is that it launched at a lower price than most first-party Nintendo titles. Maybe because in a similar vein to Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, they acknowledge it isn’t a new game. If anything however, they definitely could have justified a higher price – it is two games after all.
Picture this as well. It is the late evening on Christmas. Family starting to head home, they’ve had enough of being beaten in the coin battles on Mario. Grandad has had one too many glasses of red, and Dad is in a comatose state after the phrase; “just one more roast potato for me, and one for the dog.” Mum’s bin bag is full of wrapping paper, maybe it is time to turn in for the night. But the game doesn’t end there. New Super Mario Bros U: Deluxe won’t go away for another year like Queen Singstar and Wii Party. You still have two massive games in that collection waiting for you to play more in your own time. What a Christmas.
Still to this day I reminisce of the days where I would go to the social club with my parents. Fuel up on cola and quavers, sit down at the end of the skittles alley, Mario in hand. Game on.
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