During Nintendo's press conference, the company said Shigeru Miyamoto had been struggling to move Mario into the fourth dimension. The fourth dimension had nothing to do with sci-fi technology, though -- the fourth dimension was multiplayer, which debuted in New Super Mario Bros. for Wii.
Multiplayer is a component Miyamoto has been attempting to integrate into new Mario games for a long, long time, the creator admitted during a private press conference with journalists following the close of the first day of E3.
"With pretty much every Mario project I've worked on," he said, "we usually start out with some Mario experiment with multiplayer."
In every other instance, however, multiplayer was been to the side, with the focus returning to what both players and developers were used to: single-player. New Super Mario Bros. marks the introduction of competitive and cooperative multiplayer to the Mario universe, not counting Super Mario Galaxy's ability to allow a second Wiimote to collect star bits while another player controls Mario.
One reason multiplayer hasn't been part of Mario before was simply due to hardware limitations. Wii's hardware, however, allowed Miyamoto to make sure the game world had enough items and enemies on screen at once, in addition to incorporating a camera that could dynamically move around the environment, in order to ensure all players know what they're doing at all times.
I haven't had a chance to check out New Super Mario Bros. on the E3 show floor yet, but the idea of a brand-new, side-scrolling Mario is already enough for me. And while I'm sure multiplayer will be fun, I wonder how single-player will hold up.