Those curious about the discussed “auto play” in New Super Mario Bros. Wii have a little more to go on. Nintendo’s official UK page provides this tidbit on how it will work:
“… a dynamic help system, which allows you to access a mode showing how a level can be completed if you are stuck. The best thing about this mode is that you are free to jump into the action you’re watching on screen at any time!”
So, one can still reasonably assume that the level can be beaten if the player turns this feature on, something we’re going to question here on MPG.
The Wii is a system trying to draw in a new audience, a fresh set of gamers for the industry to latch onto and market. Why then are we not letting them play the games in the first place? Here is a perfect opportunity, a four-player traditional platforming romp with colorful levels and harmless violence, where an experienced player can help a newcomer.
Instead, the AI is going to do it for them.
How does this teach or help someone grow their skills? It is lazy, failing entirely to deliver the point of gaming. While “challenge” in the modern gaming world is somewhat loose, with re-spawns and infinite lives, New Super Mario has a chance to actually push players into a situation with legitimate challenge.
This is a set of gamers who will never be able to grasp the finer points of level design, presentation, flow, or the skill set necessary for full enjoyment. They’re too busy playing mini-game compilations, and apparently soon enough, they won’t have to actually play those anymore either.