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Nintendo has big plans for Super Mario Bros' 35th anniversary

It's looking like Mario fans are gonna have a pretty good year. VGC is reporting that Nintendo plans to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. in a big way. Though Nintendo has refused to officially comment (so far), VGC has learned from some inside sources that Nintendo will be remastering and re-releasing some classic entries from the Super Mario series for the Nintendo Switch. 

Among the titles being remastered are Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. According to VGC's source, these rereleases will be "treated as a special anniversary collection of games, rather than standard digital ports." This sounds like it could be this generation's answer to the SNES classic Super Mario All-Stars, which collected updated versions of all of the mainline Super Mario Bros. titles up to that point.

These are fantastic choices on the part of Nintendo, considering what huge deals each game became when they were released. For instance, Super Mario 64 was a launch title for the Nintendo 64 and it revolutionized the way people thought about the series and how Nintendo would approach making just about every Super Mario game that followed. It's still considered to be not only a highlight of the franchise, but one of the best video games of all time.

In 2016, Venture Beat said of Super Mario 64, "It's hard to imagine what the industry would be like if it didn't exist. Super Mario 64 not only redefined the platforming genre; it gave developers a blueprint to follow for every 3D game that would come after it. It was also a commercial success, selling over 11 million copies."

Super Mario Sunshine is an odd outlier in the series, since it featured gameplay that was drastically different from what many players were used to with previous installments. It mixed the platforming of the earlier games with a fun new mechanic that saw Mario cleaning up a tropical island with a water-spraying backpack. As a result, it didn't catch on immediately with gamers like many other entries in the series. In recent years, it's received something of a reappraisal, making it ripe for a high profile re-release like this.

As Wired said of Super Mario Sunshine on its 15th anniversary, "It's as bold, colourful, joyously inventive, and fiendishly challenging as any great entry in the series, with beautifully realised worlds to explore, hundreds of secrets to uncover, and endlessly reflective of Nintendo's trademark charm."

Super Mario Galaxy was seen by many as a return to form, while also an installment that expanded upon some of the weirder ideas from Super Mario Sunshine. The game has received particular praise for its art direction. Caty McCarthy of USgamer wrote, "Super Mario Galaxy is a delight to explore over its many hours because no land is too daunting or large, and they all feel uniform in their focus. No two galaxies look the same, but you wouldn't gaze at them and think they were plucked from another game in the slightest either." In other words, it's a game that already looks amazing, so we should be extra excited to see a remastered version.

Also reportedly in the pipeline (no pun intended) is a new release of the Wii U's Super Mario 3D World. This new version will include updated content and some brand new levels, bringing this somewhat underplayed game to a whole new audience.

There are other surprises that Nintendo reportedly has in store for gamers as part of this big anniversary celebration, including the possibility of a new Paper Mario installment. The mind reels at what else could be in store. Heck, can we get an official release that "Director's Cut" of the much-maligned Super Mario Bros. movie that was discovered a little while back? This sure seems like the year to start throwing stuff like that at the wall. There's a fan for just about every facet of the Super Mario franchise, no matter how bizarre.

It's no surprise that Nintendo may want to go all-out in its celebration of all things Super Mario. In fact, this is similar to how Sega has been celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. In addition to the hit movie and the re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Switch, Sega has been hinting that there will be plenty of new projects and announcements to excite fans over the course of the year.

We'll be sure to keep an eye out for more info regarding Mario's 35th anniversary and any new titles that may be announced.