It's Me, Mario!: The elder statesman of video games gets the 3-D treatment | Film Events | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Screen » Film Events

It's Me, Mario!: The elder statesman of video games gets the 3-D treatment

Everyone's favorite plumber is back with another dimension.



The two-dimensional world of classic Mario is the perfect place for 3-D. The ground stretches out flat and even. Hills climb upward like staircases. Cliffs and ledges are square, tidy drops that descend forever into nowhere. Overhead, the flat blue sky is interrupted by clouds so solid that Mario can run across them like fluffy white tabletops. The colors are primary and flat, as though they had been filled in by someone using a small box of crayons, and the sunlight shines brightly from overhead.

Super Mario 3D Land looks like a storybook, and the 3-D effect provided by the Nintendo 3DS turns it into a pop-up book. Mario has been moving around in three dimensions since the advent of 3-D modeling. But I haven't been able to see him and his world in 3-D until now. Instead of the free-flowing landscapes of Super Mario 64 or Mario Sunshine, however, Nintendo has elected for Mario to make his 3D-display debut in game that resembles the classic Super Mario Bros. The simple landscape, with its flat contours and staggered layers, is an ideal match for the 3DS's diorama-like display, where things don't reach out as much as they recede into the distance.

This straightforward special effect brings a wrinkle to the basic side-scrolling Mario challenge. Until now, Mario's enemies have mainly confronted him head-on, like the cranky-looking mushrooms that scuffle toward him, or the sofa-sized bullets that cruise through the air. Other threats have always come from above and below, such as the giant blocks that rise and fall, blocking his pathway with rhythmic thwomps.

But now that I can perceive distance in the background, Mario's threats can also attack him from the side as he runs left-to right. The pointed ends of giant spiked battering rams rush forward, their momentum made clear by their growing approach in 3-D. Spiked balls on chains swing in and out of the screen as Mario dashes beneath them. These aren't new obstacles - they just threaten Mario from a new direction.


The precision required to make Mario run and jump across his obstacle course has often left my palms sweaty as I try to keep the little plumber from plummeting to his doom. But now that I can see how far he might fall, the threat is extra exhilarating. Even more exciting are the levels in which Mario must willingly dive through the air as I guide him, looking over his shoulder as he base-jumps hundreds of feet to land precisely on a waiting cloud, mushroom or enemy.


I've never been able to sit still while controlling Mario. During particularly tense moments I find myself leaning in the direction I want him to move, or my hands shudder when I want him to make a trickily timed jump. Unfortunately, the 3-D effect turns into blurry double vision if the 3DS isn't held perfectly straight a certain distance from my eyes. This means that every time Mario gets into a difficult situation, I lose my clear view of him if I allow myself to be caught up in the game's excitement.


Super Mario 3D Land adds a new dimension to a classic challenge.

Super Mario 3D Land

4 Stars

Rated Everyone; Nintendo 3DS

About The Author

Speaking of Game On

Add a comment

More by Source Weekly

Latest in Film Events