It's a deceptive little thing, this game-card.
"Game-card". Feh. It's been hard for Nintendo. Tech lingo's shifted into a language they've often had difficulty speaking - certainly in the years since the curtain fell on Yoshi's Island, the last true Mario game of the type we're addressing. The good thing is they're catching up though. They've done their language tapes. The last few months have been virtually poetic - even if Reggie Fils-Aime sometimes gives the impression of speaking in tongues.
By that token, then, you might argue that New Super Mario Bros. is a bit of an anomaly. Scratch the surface and it looks and feels like an old Mario game. Go outside and poke it with a shovel and it's like a geological cross-section of nuance ripped from the swing-ropes, bounce-pads, wall-jumps and graphic procedures of a decade of furrowed pretenders. Old words in a new mouth.