While many games reach global audiences, there are also many that don’t get that far. In this article we delve into three games from the US that never made it to the UK.
Game One: Mario Super Sluggers (2008)
As everyone’s favourite platforming plumber, it’s not surprising that Mario has been the star of numerous comical and fantastical Nintendo developed sports games, with his chums coming along for the ride as well. Mario Super Sluggers, from 2008, was a US-only Wii sequel to a 2005 GameCube baseball title known as Mario Superstar Baseball (which incidentally did make it to the UK). Sluggers got plenty of fairly positive reviews and is hugely Mario-esque, so it looks light hearted, charming, characterful, and up to the typical Nintendo software standards.
What about the gameplay? Simply put, it’s baseball. While not quite aiming for a 100% accurate replication of the sport itself, Mario Super Sluggers is still instantly recognisable in what it tries to emulate – just with Mushroom Kingdom characters, themes, quirks and zaniness thrown in. There are even several control options on offer to suit different player preferences and multiple modes. VGChartz data shows this 2008 video game scored over 2.3 million sales in the US alongside Japan, which is far from a poor performance. I got the impression from seeing the gameplay that this is one title that Mario fans of all ages could really find rewarding.
With the evergreen Mario branding, huge Wii sales numbers, and Wii Sports being a top notch showcase for sports gaming on the Wii to so many people, could there have been a sizable European market for Mario Super Sluggers? Perhaps. Maybe there was a concern that the game wouldn’t hit a home run with audiences in parts of the world where baseball isn’t a major sporting fixture. Ah, well. At least plenty of other Mario titles have come to this neck of the woods in the years since.