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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Classic 2D Events at the Olympics Are Of No Interest

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Super Mario Bros. 8-Bit Sprites are ugly.

A month ago, I dedicated an article showing the latest footage of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which showcased Lord Bowser trouncing Mario at a variety of sports. In that article, I wrote,
“As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing inspiring about the sporting events’ gameplay, sound design (or music), and especially not the graphics.”

Nintendo wanted to contradict my last statement about graphics, so they released this trailer that reveals “Classic 2D Events”, claiming to “take the series to a new dimension with 10 classic 2D events starring your favorite characters[.]”

I object to this characterisation.

First of all, if you're already in three dimensions, two dimensions isn't new. 3D is inclusive of 2D. It's 2D + 1 additional D. It's already there. Not new.

Second of all, if my favourite character wasn't in Super Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog but they are in the game's other modes, say it's Yoshi or Waluigi, then they don't appear to be eligible to exist in the Classic 2D Events.

Third of all, it's an embarrassment that they're using Super Mario Bros. sprites. Not only does this limit who can appear, but there is no additional animation created for these sprites. It's like something I'd make when attempting to develop a quick Flash game, since some sprites never have any animations in their original appearances. (Evident if you look at Princess Peach.)

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 2D Classic Events Princess Peach suplex wrestling sprite
Wait, Shy Guy is in the background? He wasn't in Super Mario Bros. That's also not what he looks like in Super Mario Bros. 2.
Is that a custom sprite? Why does the audience member get a custom sprite but the playable characters don't get any custom animations?

The 16-bit sprites from Sonic the Hedgehog actually look appealing and competent here, especially when compared with the 8-bit Super Mario Bros. sprites that just reek of laziness.

What or who does this appeal to?

Either way... these graphics are still not inspiring. Quite the opposite.

This image was briefly in the trailer before it went all 8-bit. Bowser riding a dark mare is pretty inspiring, at least in concept.
Soon he'll be the protagonist of the Breath of the Wild sequel.

Are you a fan of 1980s graphics much more than Ludwig is? He doesn't understand how it has a place in a game with 2020 in the name. Do you? If so, leave a comment with your thoughts!

Ludwig also wouldn't advocate for 8-bit Super Mario Bros. 3 sprites OR 16-bit Super Mario World sprites, since he doesn't like his own portrayals.
Ludwig gets his own official 8-bit Super Mario Bros. sprite later on.


  1. Is Nintendo allergic to using 16 bit Sprites that isn't for a Mario Maker game?

    1. Uhhhhhhh well... yes.

      Well they made that terrible F-Zero SNES Mute City stage in Smash 3DS and then brought it over to Ultimate for some reason.

      Though I bet if F-Zero was on NES they'd do that instead.


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