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10 Years Later: Captain N's Thoughts on: Super Mario Galaxy 2

On 05/23/2020 at 11:59 PM by Captain N

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Hello everyone, how are you?

Today I'm here to talk about a very special game. 10 years ago today we saw the release of one of the most unexpected sequels, a game that I never saw coming, a game had I had no idea I wanted but knew I had to play at any cost once I saw it. A game that hold a special place in my heart and is the reason I am still alive today. That game is known as Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

                             The Mario Galaxy Orchestra really outdid themselves here

Super Mario Galaxy 2 officially 10 years old now and with that I wanted to write down my thoughts as I look back at the game 10 years later. As with any game with an anniversary, I like to use these posts to give my thoughts and share my memories on a game be it 5, 10, 15, or 20 years old. So as long I have played said game. For those who are new, the orange text are links and I will have a song playing while you read this so adjust your volume accordingly. And if you would like to read my thoughts on Super Mario Galaxy, here you go. So with that out of the way let's get ready to explore more of the universe with Super Mario Galaxy 2...

I unfortunately remember it well like it was yesterday. It was the year was 2009 and as many of you have seen, throughout the years I have mentioned or referenced 2009 and how it was a really horrible year for me. Simply put, it was the worst year of my entire life. I have seen my fare share of really horrible spots in my life, but this one takes the whole cake. Funny how I'm mentioning cake, more on that later on.

It's really hard writing this part but I feel like I have to because it it ties to this whole game. I was hospitalized in 2009 for almost a year. It was awful. Every single day of my life that year was painful. Doctors would come in day in and day out and they would tell me that everything was going to be fine. I always got a number of tests done. Some normal ones to some really painful ones. I couldn't do anything but endure. They would tell me what they were gonna do and how many months it would take till I might finally be better The truth is I was dying. I just didn't know it yet. I was almost always in pain. I could barely walk, and I knew that I was getting weaker with every passing day. I would wake up really late and sleep really early so days could pass by faster. I have developed a sense that I know when someone is nearby or in my room when I'm alseep thanks to the nurses coming in at random times of the night. I have no idea whether that is a good thing or a bad thing but I can still tell when someone is around me when I'm sleeping.

Yet I smiled. I was always positive and optimistic whenever something was going to happen. I became the favorite patient of various nurses because I was always nice to everyone and never complained when I had to take medication. A number of nurses told me that many patients my age were the complete opposite of me and that I was a breath of fresh air for them. I remember this one nurse was coming on to me. She once got way too close when she was taking my temperature. Many nurses and doctors always told me how someone like me ended up here and that life can be cruel and unfair. Thing is I had to be strong and endure everything that was thrown at me for the sake of my family and it can be hard to do so when you're in this situation. But endure I did.

It was around the last few days of May and I was allowed to go home. I still wasn't better, in fact I felt really worse than before but the hospital allowed me to go home. The doctors said that maybe some change of scenery might do me good and so I can rest in my own bed. I wasn't aware that they let you go home like this. I was losing my will to live, it looked like I was never going to be able to get better anytime soon, or ever. I was thinking I was better off dead than continue living my life attached to machines or whatever. It was June 2 and it was time for Nintendo's E3 Press Conference, remember those? My brothers and I were watching it and they showed off a number of new games. A new Metroid game! Which turned out to be a disappointment later on. A new 2D Mario with local mp! I saw something that they haven't figured out how to bring Mario into 4D yet. And then they ended their conference with something I never would have expected and would be a huge turning point for me...


                                     This trailer gave me hope when I had none left

I cried tears of joy as soon as I saw that trailer, I was taken by surprise. I was so happy, it had been ages since I knew what happiness felt like. I then knew that I had to get better, or to at least live long enough to see the release of this game no matter what. Not only that but to hold it in my hands and to play it all the way through. It gave me a reason to hold on a bit longer. Thing is, I know what I was going through wasn't going to be easy to overcome. A lot of people have died from this so how can I survive and get better when many people before me have not? I then said to at least let me live long enough to play the game all the way through to then end and 100% it. After that if it is my time to go then so be it. I just want to play this game before that happens.

I got better in late 2009, around October and I was recovering for those last remaining months till early 2010 when I finally got my strength back. My reflexes with a controller weren't quite at 100% yet but I could still manage. I was patiently waiting for the release of SMG2. Till then I was playing another game that got remade that I found aout in 2009 that was the second game I knew I had to play before I died. May 23rd eventually came and I went to pick up my copy of the game at Target. I got a $5 giftcard that had SMG2 printed on the front, I still have it. I also picked up the latest issue of Nintendo Power at the time and inside it had another game that caught my eye. I was super excited to finally try out the game I waited for. I was wondering if it was as good as the first game. Was it better or as good as the first game?

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a sequel to Super Mario Galaxy and the game starts off like nearly every Mario game: Mario gets an invitation from Princess Peach to come over to the castle for some cake and thus Mario goes on his way. Mario meets up with a familiar friend from the previous game, who seems like it's lost but immediately takes a shine to Mario. Mario eventually arrives at the castle only to find out that Bowser has crashed the party. Of course. Except this time Bowser is kaiju-sized and he kidnaps Peach (again) so she can bake him a cake and he takes her to the far reaches of the universe. Again. It's up to Mario to explore the unknown and rescue the Princess once again. One thing I do like about this is that the intro of the game looks just like a story book. Another thing I love about it is that it starts you off in 2D but then it cleverly transitions into 3D later on showing you the 2 different ways you'll be playing right off the bat.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

                                          Have fun with the Princess then! Wait...

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is pretty much similar to its predecessor in terms of controls and mechanics. If you've played the previous game then you'll know what to expect and if you're like me and liked the controls then you'll feel right at home. However there are some new mechanics that are introduced in the game via the new power-ups they added. New to the game is the Cloud Flower which allows Mario to create his own platforms so now the tables have turned and you're in control. You can only do it 3 times though. The Rock Mushroom turns Mario into Rock Mario and he can turn into a bolder to roll over enemies and knock over certain obstacles. And finally the Spin Drill in which Mario can drill through to a planet. Oh and Luigi is here too and yes you can play as him.

But the biggest addition to the game and my personal favorite is Yoshi. Yes Yoshi is back and like Mario he can use new power-ups too. In a way Yoshi is a power-up that can power-up using a power-up. Try saying that 5 times really fast. I really love the way Yoshi controls here, the last 3D Mario game he was playable in was Sunshine but I feel that maybe he felt a bit clunky in that game, well at least coming back to it after this game. He controls so much better here.

Gone from the game is the Comet Observatory and it is replaced with the Starship Mario, which is a planet/ship in the shape of Mario's head. The Observatory from SMG1 served as the hubworld for the game, the Starship in SMG2 serves the same purpose. Only difference is the size, it's much smaller than the Observatory but I don't think that's a bad thing. It has its own charm to it with little details and secrets. Certain characters you meet will also be present on the ship as you make progress which is really neat.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

                                                  And yet you are still talking to me

Since the Observatory has been replaced, this means that Rosalina and Polari have been replaced too. She's been replaced by none other than Lubba, who looks like a cross between Patrick Star and Grimace. He serves as Starship Mario's mechanic and the leader of a group of Lumas who work on the Starship and you'll be seeing him. A lot. A problem I feel that many people have with him is that he talks way too much. Like he always tells you what's going on or what to do, which wouldn't be a bad thing if he said this every now and then. The he tells you to take a break if you're playing way too much. Or if your batteries are low. He reminds me of a certain character from a certain game that released the following year. Yeah no. He's not the worst character ever but I definitely feel like he is/was a poor replacement for Rosalina and Polari.

New to this game is the inclusion of a world map. World Maps aren't new to Mario and have mostly been seen in 2D Mario games but this time they decided to take this approach here. In the Observatory you had these domes that allowed you to access the levels from certain star systems. They got rid of that here and while I do miss the domes because it felt like we were looking out into the vastness of space, it feels much more faster and streamlined here  You just pick a world here and select a level from said world and you immediately launch into the galaxy.

But now let's get on to the best part about the game and that are the new galaxies you'll be exploring. The galaxies in the first world serve as more of a tutorial to get you familiar with the controls and mechanics. I feel like that was cleverly done since more often than not the tutorial is right in your face and whatnot in other games whereas here you learn as you play through those first levels. They went all out with the levels here, these are some of the most insane levels yet. Some are so vibrant and colorful while others have you go into the dark cornes of space and each galaxy never feels the same. The later levels get more elaborate with some really great platforming segments but they never get to the point that they are too hard to take on. Some levels even have the Super Guide that you might be familiar from other Nintendo games to help you out. However there is one world you might have trouble in if you aren't skilled.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

           Laugh it up now but you're gonna be turned into a Mario Kart course later on

There are various bosses in the game too and some are really massive that tower over Mario. Bosses in Mario games have never been really hard or challenging because of obvious weakspots you need to exploit or sometimes you just have to stomp on them, but they have always been fun and that is still true here. I wonder where does Bowser find these guys and why do they take orders from him when some of these bosses are bigger than he is? Well except in this game but still. What does he promise them? Money? Power? A celebratory burrito? A cake from Peach? And if they take down Mario then what? Does Bowser personally congradulate them? Or does he get angry that he wanted to do it himself? We'll never know.

The music is some of the best in the series, each track matches the theme and atmosphere of each galaxy so well. I'm really glad that they used orchestrated music once again, honestly if the levels didn't end up being as good as the ones in the first game then I would say the music would make up for it. Koji Kondo and the Mario Galaxy Orchestra have really outdone themselves as they made new music as well as remixes of some of the most well known tunes in the series. When I saw certain levels and then heard the music I just cried tears of joy because I grew up with the songs and now they are back and beautifully remixed. I feel like this is their best work yet and shows that Koji is a master of his craft. Simply put this music is music to your ears.

There's also a 2 player co-op mode too It's asically like the one from the very first game but it's so much better here Player 2 assumes the role of an orange Luma and player 2 can collect Starbits and coins. Plus you can also stun enemies and even momentarily stop platforms too. It's so much better than the one from the first game because the second player can get more involved here too and they can have more fun as well.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 

                                       Using Yoshi was such a blast in this galaxy

Final Thoughts: If you told me in 2008 that Super Mario Galaxy was getting a sequel, then I probably wouldn't have believed it. Remember Super Mario Galaxy DS? When I first played through the first Galaxy I loved the game so much that I thought it was pretty much perfect. They took everything from the series at that point and they perfected the formula. I never would have imagined that they would ever make a sequel, it never even crossed my mind. Well a sequel was never in the cards for them since their original idea was just a harder version of Super Mario Galaxy. But they made it a full-fledged sequel since they had a lot of leftover ideas that they didn't use and they added more and more things to the game that they decided to make it onto a new game, rather than an enhanced version like their original plan. I'm glad that they went with a new game rather than their original idea.

Going through the game was quite the journey. Every galaxy I went through brought a smile to my face with the beautiful music playing in those levels. I remember when I first heard the song from Hightails Falls Galaxy, I immediately knew where that was from. They couldn't have picked a better song for it as it matches the level so well. There was Tall Trun Galaxy which has a big slide in it and I thought "the Slide song from Super Mario 64 would be perfect for this level." And wouldn't you know it, they freaking used it! But one of my favorite memories was when I visited a certain galaxy. I saw it on the world map and thought it looked familiar. It couldn't be, could it? I selected it eager to see it for myself and as I landed I couldn't believe what I was seeing and as soon as I heard the song I thought no way, they did it. I cried right there, it was such a beautiful level and all my childhood memories of playing Super Mario 64 came back. It was wonderful.

The thing I love about these games is the way they are structured. The games are linear but I feel like the 3D Mario formula works better this way. For example whenever you enter a world in Mario 64 or in Sunshine, you select the Star or Shine Sprite you wanna go after. The game drops you in and you have to find and obtain that collectible which involves going through the level you are in. Thing is I have pretty much already seen everything the level has to offer on my way to collect a Star. Super Mario Odyssey is guilty of this too. The levels in Odyssey are really big but once I have explored the entire level I pretty much have seen everything it has to offer. That's not the main problem with that game though.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

                                 This was the biggest surprise in terms of levels here.

Don't get me wrong, I love Odyssey a lot that it's currently my favorite Switch game at the moment but I never ran into this problem with either Galaxy game. With Galaxy 1 and 2 I never did the same thing twice and even though I went through the same level multiple times for different stars I never saw the same thing twice as well. Every level in the Galaxy games offered a new challenge, they always threw something new at you. The games are linear yes, but they offer enough for you to explore that most levels even offer different paths to hidden stars too if you were willing to take time to explore a different area which I really loved.

The start of that decade started with a big bang with SMG2 and since then no game has topped it. It's still the highest rated game on Metacritic and no game has mananged to top it since then till then of the decade. No game from from Nintendo or from any other company has been able to top it. The same goes for me. I've played a lot of games following its release, a lot of good ones at that. But no game has overtaken the game for me from the 2010-2019 decade. But which do I like more? That is a tough question. Sometimes my mind says the first game, but at others it says this one. Here is the thing, the first one had the biggest impact, it was so new and mysterious at the time and it nailed that feeling of loneliness and isolation in space that you are exploring the unknown. And the dark story it had hidden. For me it changed the game how I think about games.

Galaxy 2 on the other hand is a fun adventure through the universe again and the plot takes a backseat in this game, it's much more basic which isn't a bad thing. SMG2 is what I consider the perfect sequel and what every sequel should be. I always thought Super Mario Galaxy was pretty much perfect, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 took everything from the first game and improved upon it in every single way possible and even added so much more. It proves that more of the same isn't a bad thing, but I personally think it largely depends on the game. So to answer your question here, each game does something better than the other but I love them both equally because I consider them as this one big cohesive experience or adventure like no other.

 Super Mario Galaxy 2

                                                       Mario ain't afraid of no Boo

The final galaxy in the game is called Grandmaster Galaxy and the final Power Star is called the Perfect Run. In this final challenge you have to finish the level without getting hit not even once. Mario only has 1HP on his health bar. And there are no checkpoints either. If you get hit once then you obviously lose a life and you'll have to restart the level from the very beginning. Mario could die at any second, which in some way became a metaphor to me because back then I too could have died at any second.

I died a number of times back then, my reflexes still weren't the best but I kept trying. I overcame every challenge the game threw at me and I knew I could do it. I eventually made it to the end and at the end not only was the final Power Star waiting for me, but so was Rosalina herself. It really surprised me and when I talked to her she told me that I overcame all the challenges in the game and she thanked me for everything. In the first game, Rosalina mentions that she will be watching over you the player, at the end of the game. And she came back here to thank you. I feel like in  away she was loking out for me all this time. I stopped right there. I did cry. I couldn't believe it that she thanked me. Having one your favorite video game characters personally thank you after all the hardships you've gone through, both in a game and in real life can really make you emotional. I had finally completed the game 100%, and I suppose in a way that brought closure to that chapter in my life. 

I have always wanted to talk about Super Mario Galaxy 2 ever since I joined 1up back in 2010 and just talk about my experience with the game. I never did, I was an amateur back then and I thought that maybe I just wasn't ready yet. So I worked on this blog since then for years adding to it, tweaking it here and there and now here at Pixlbit I have also finally brought closure to this. Did I do it justice? That's not for me to decide. But I felt like I have said everything I wanted to say about the game and then some. I mentioned a few personal things because it ties with the game. And trust me when I say that I mentioned the "lite" version of what really happened to me. You don't want to know.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

                                       Thank you, it means a lot coming from you

If you couldn't have guess and if you haven't, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is without a doubt my #1 Game of the Decade. So this blog also doubles as that. I'm sure some of you had already deduced what game was going to be #1 since I was writing about my other 29 Games of the Decade. If you haven't already read them, then what are you waiting for? Do go give them a read to see what those games were and which games were close but didn't dethrone SMG2. Some choices might surprise you.

All those years ago I said that I wanted to live, at least live long enough for me to play and complete this game 100%. After that then life was free to take its course if it wanted. 10 years have passed since I first played and I completed SMG2 and I have gone to replay the game and 100% it numerous times since. Yet I'm still here alive and well. But who knows what will happen from here on out. I could die today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. Or 10 years from now or maybe even 50 from now. Maybe I'll never die. You never know. I remember exactly what I said when I first saw the E3 trailer back in 2009. That trailer alone gave me hope when I pretty much had no hope or will to live anymore. The game saved me and was the reason I'm still here today, if it wasn't for that who knows what would of happened. Will there ever be a Super Mario Galaxy 3? I'm optimistic that it will happen and if it does then I am asking once again to live long enough to see and play for it all the way through myself.

I faced a ton of harships and even meeting death face to face. But I told him not today. They say going through this and facing death changes you. I'm still the same person I've always was before and after everything happened. I will never forget those memories for as long as I live since they are a part of me. I have the scar to prove it. But one thing I won't forget is the incredible journey I experienced with this game once I played it. Everything I went through in order to play this game. I would love to say thank you to Super Mario Galaxy 2 for being my light in the darkness and for telling me not to give up despite the odds against me.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

                                                           Thank you old friend...

And that is my thoughts on Super Mario Galaxy 2, 10 Years later. What are your thoughts on the game? I would love to thank each and every one of you for reading all my stuff. For being there at my beginning, middle, and at my end. This will most likely be the very last post I do. I don't know whether I'll be back for more or not, unless those Mario remakes are true or Galaxy 3 ends up being real. Or there's an anniversary I must write about. Anyway, thank you very much, all of you. Thanks for reading and till next time...



Cary Woodham

05/24/2020 at 09:14 AM

I liked Mario Odyssey a lot, but I think I liked Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 just a little more.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

05/24/2020 at 01:58 PM

Thanks for sharing this. It's a heartwarming story. Games can have as big an impact as any other works of art. I hope the rumors are true and nintendo Is going to remaster these by the end of the year. I'd love to play them again. 


05/24/2020 at 09:21 PM

I do want to know, but I won't pry. This game really did save your life. Amazing. It's a great story. 

Mario games are always great, even though I usually bounce off them because I can't do one of their platform stunts somewhere in each game. 

I am curious what Mario game will appear next. I hope you keep blogging. I want to read your reactions to what they do next. 

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