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    jp's Super Mario Sunshine (GC)

    [October 18, 2006 10:46:33 PM]

    I finished it!
    But man did I suffer....greatly. There are more than a handful of levels that are REALLY annoyingly hard. One misstep and...whooof...start over. Sometimes, it isn't even a misstep, just plain bad luck!

    Oh well, it was kind of fun, I have to admit.

    72 shines!

    Here's a few notes on some things I hadn't talked about before:

    1. Towards the end of the game you get introduced two 2 new nozzles... they are pretty much useless. You basically want to use them, when you're supposed to use them. Very high on the novelty factor, not so high on the cool new additions to gameplay.

    2. Also towards the end you get to ride Yoshi! Really cool...but also pretty useless. It's even a bit of a drag 'cause you have to get a certain kind of fruit, take it to the Yoshi egg..and then ride it around. If you land in water..bye, bye Yoshi. If you take too long...bye bye Yoshi (Yoshi spits fruit juice, which is slowly depleted, when it runs out Yoshi disappears). It almosts seems not worth the effort, really. (I neve figured out what the different fruit do, in addition to changing the color of the Yoshi you get to ride)

    Sigh or happy? I'm not sure...
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    [October 18, 2006 02:42:37 PM]
    I think I've earned more than 60 shines, though I don't really care about that anymore. I should, but I don't.

    You see, I sort of cheated and took a look at Gamefaqs. I wanted to see how many shines I needed before unlocking the next area. (which, in my case happens to be the final boss fight). Big mistake. Unlike all the other areas of the game, the final one isn't unlocked by reaching a certain number of shines. It's unlocked by getting the 7th shine on each of the areas.

    That sucks.

    I felt like I was being cheated! Here I was trying to go after some cool/rare/obscure shines, when in the end it doesn't make any difference!


    Now I'm trying to finish this as quickly as possible...
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    [October 9, 2006 10:36:11 AM]
    I'm up to 45 shines and feeling very good about some of the more difficult ones!
    I was able to get most of the last ten shines in a new area that I had unlocked a while back even though I hadn't realized it. This is actually a bit of a blemish on the games design..

    More than a few sessions ago there appeared a column of colored light. I knew that it was important (because the camera focuses on that area when you load up) and I had tried a lot of different things to see how I would get to that area including jumping, stomping, etc.

    So I "cheated" and went online to see what was going on. It turns out I was supposed to stand in the light, look up and then stare at the sun... like I was going to figure that out by myself. In fact, even knowing that I had to do that, I had to spend a little time before I realized WHERE you had to look in order for the new area to load up.

    Once I "figured" it out, I remembered that the same idea was present in Mario 64 DS which I finished playing not too long ago. I think I figured that one out by myself...but it was definitely different because I remember there was a voice that said something like "up here", hinting at the fact that you had to look up.

    This actually got me thinking about what it means for a game to homage another. A lot of people talk about how there is little innovation, sequelitis, etc. so I was wondering how do you distinguish something that was ripped off versus something that is an homage? Is the column of light in Mario Sunshine an homage to the similar shaft of light in Mario 64?

    I don't think I have an answer yet, but it's definitely food for thought.
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    [September 25, 2006 09:44:57 AM]
    I've earned 35 shines and progress is definitely slowing down. Things are getting much harder! In fact, last night there was one particular challenge where the hard part wasn't meeting the objective necesarry for the shine to appear. The hard part was actually getting to the place where the shine appeared! (It's the Runaway ferris wheel episode in Pinna park)

    I wanted to add another comment to what I was thinking about in my last post. Yes, this game definitely goes for challenge segmentation because there are even some "special" episodes that take place in special locations that are completely unrelated, and un-connected to everything else. All you have to do is get to the end (where the shine is)! (which is much harder than it sounds because these episodes are REAL challenges of your hand-eye coordination skills and failure means losing a life.
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    [September 21, 2006 09:26:33 AM]
    I've just re-read my prior entries for this game and I can't believe it's been more than two years since I last played this?!?!

    A few days ago I started playing this game again, this time in the comfort of my home rather than the experimental game lab. I'm surprised by how much I remember from two years ago and how annoying some of the controls still are. (for me). Yeah, aiming the water cannon still causes trouble...

    However, I have noticed that playing Mario 64DS has given me a new perspective on this game: I now understand the segmentation of gameplay used in this game! The way Mario 64DS works is that there is a central area (a castle and small surrounding area) from which you can reach other areas. Everytime you enter a sub-area, there is a particular objective for that subarea. Once you complete it, you are kicked out of the sub-area with your reward (a star). When you re-enter that sub-area you are assigned a new objective, and so and so forth until you have completed all the objectives for that sub-area. Occasionally, you can complete an objective out of order, but this is a rarity. In Mario 64DS, certain areas of the central castle are locked until you have obtained enough stars. New areas of the castle gain you access to new sub-areas where you can earn more stars necessary to unlock new areas, etc.

    What's nice about this form of segmentation, from the player perspective, is that you don't have to complete EVERYTHING in order to progress. As long as you're earning enough stars to unlock new areas, you're ok...and there is some leeway as to which stars you earn and where. At any moment in time you can probably pick from about 4-5 different sub-areas to go to.

    All of the above explanation helped me make sense of Mario Sunshine, because it uses the same idea EXCEPT for the fact that the actual objectives required aren't made explicit. In other words, I don't know how many "shines" I need before the next level becomes available for me to explore. So, I just go into the sub-areas and complete the objectives there and hope to amass enough shines to unlock the next part of the game.

    The notion of visiting the same area over and over again, figuring out what needed to be done in each, and then meeting that objective is a huge change from all of the 2D Mario games before Mario64. I hadn't realized how significant this difference was until last night:

    2DMario games are segmented spatially: you travel from one area to the next, reaching the end of an area, means you can now proceed with the next.

    3DMario games are segmented by challenge: you visit the same areas, but must face different challenges in each.

    I also think that one of the reasons why 3DMario games are considered as an almost-gold standard for 3D platforming games is because of the changes in the way they segmented the game. Since you play in the same area over and over again, you become familiarized with the area and practice the skills necesarry to traverse it with ease. Basically, the type of segmentation chosen scaffolds player's learning how to navigate within the gameworld.

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    [May 14, 2004 04:47:45 PM]
    After more than 3 months without playing this I finally gave it another go.

    I was, of course, worried about knowing what to do as well as remembering the controls. The "what to do" wasn't that hard since I basically picked an area and worked on getting the shine there. The controls, on the other hand, proved to be more problematic.

    Maybe it was due to the fact that I was trying out a wavebird (wireless) controller, but the controls felt kind of clunky. I had a REALLY hard time getting the water cannon to aim up and the jumping seemed kind of spotty. Fortunately I picked a level that didn't require a lot of jumping and spraying, but nevertheless. I cleared another level, got a shine, and am almost ready for more Sunshine action!

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    [February 11, 2004 12:42:41 PM]
    I played this again last Monday and had a REALLY cool boos fight. Its the one where you find out who "evil Mario" really is. The boss fight basically has you on a roller coaster that runs around a giant fire-breathing-evil-robot. He shoots missiles at you and you can shoot back. I really enjoyed it and was a bit dissappointed when I scored a direct hit and it was all over. It almost makes me want to have lost and tried again. I guess I could go back and play it again, but would it be any fun? (I mean, I won't get a shine or anything...)
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    [February 4, 2004 02:40:00 PM]
    Long time no play on this game. Last Monday I tried it out some more. I was actually giving it a "this is your last chance". Fortunately I was able to advance some in the game (3 more shines!!) as well as learn a "new" move. Why is the double-jump so un-intuitive? Is it just me or does everyone else have a double-jump at the "top" of the first jump? Why does Mario have a double jump at the bottom?! In other words, how come you have to press jump when you are about to land as opposed to then you are about to start falling... grrr... Maybe it all has to do with my not playing Mario64.
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    [January 28, 2004 01:17:44 PM]
    Tried to clear Gelato beach the other day. Again. Still don't know what to do though it seems like the sand castle level (which I haven't been able to pass) is the key. I h ate getting stuck like this, but I haven't really dedicated myself to pass the level either. Oh well.
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    [October 29, 2003 02:48:17 PM]
    I played this a bit more yesterday. It is really fun to be able to look at a faraway place and try to figure out how to get there. In most cases it is possible! The level I played yesterday was ok for exploring but I had NO idea what I was supposed to do. Also, there was a waterpak addition that I have no real idea what it does. This was kind of frustrating since I'm not sure if I've tapped into its potential, if the "powerup" is automatic, or what.

    Slightly confused...
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    [October 23, 2003 09:21:05 PM]
    I've played this twice already in the GameLab. The first time was to get acquainted with the controls (and the water pack) while the second was more serious.

    I must admit that I have somewhat mixed feelings about this game. Of course, its a Miyamoto game... which means that expectations are really high. Visually it is great. There are lots of wonderful little details that are nice to look at and enjoy. When Mario is swimming in the ocean for example. On the downside, aiming the water cannon is (for me) painfully frustrating and I hope that future levels aren't too dependent on speed and accuracy.

    Another minor gripe is regarding the controls. I had to ask someone how to do the down-smash! (I tried a whole bunch of button combinations to no avail) I assumed that the left shoulder (I believe) was always for centering the camera...I guess not.

    I will have to play this game some more until I can pass judgement on it. I've really enjoyed exploring the different areas of the game and reaching hard to reach parts. That's been fun... I hope I don't get too frustrated further down the line.
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    jp's Super Mario Sunshine (GC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 7 October, 2003

    GameLog closed on: Wednesday 18 October, 2006

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    A classic platformer. Nicely intuitive at times and strangely frustrating at others. I love the water pack for flying around, but I hate it for spraying stuff.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See jp's page

    See info on Super Mario Sunshine

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Super Mario Sunshine (GC) by akhera (rating: 5)
    2 : Super Mario Sunshine (GC) by Rhibecka (rating: 4)
    3 : Super Mario Sunshine (GC) by rwcarter (rating: 5)
    4 : Super Mario Sunshine (GC) by szahirieh (rating: 5)


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