Super Mario 3D World Features

It was always going to be Sony and Microsoft's year. When the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 launched in November, it wasn't just the climax of a publicity roadshow that stretched back to February - a roadshow that was at times messy and scandalous, as well as entertaining and exhilarating. It goes back to a time when all we had were codenames like Orbis and Durango, accompanied by whispered speculation. It stretches back even before then, too.

There's a room within EAD Tokyo's offices where the employees working on new 3D Mario games stick Post-It notes of ideas on the walls. Only about one in every 50 makes it into the games, claims producer Koichi Hayashida, but I strongly suspect that there were a few empty walls by the end of development on Super Mario 3D World. Every level is a non-stop bombardment of stuff, with familiar concepts and enemies used in fresh and exciting ways, and brand new ingredients liberally sprinkled on top.

Regarded by many as one of the finest games of 2013, Super Mario 3D World serves to remind us of a day when console games were released as complete, polished products free of day-one patches and DLC. It also marks Nintendo's first full 3D Mario outing on an HD console, finally allowing the series aesthetic to break free of its standard-definition shackles. We already know the game itself lives up to expectations, but the technology behind 3D World plays a critical role in that success.

FeatureTouring the World with Miyamoto

Nintendo's finest designers guide us around Super Mario 3D World.

Super Mario video games have always rewarded curiosity. It is perhaps this trait that Shigeru Miyamoto's series - now close to 30 years old - has valued in its players above all others, a tribute perhaps, to the designer's oft-repeated childhood experience of clutching a lantern in order to explore the local caves on the outskirts of Sonobe, the small Japanese town in which he grew up. It's also a trait that Miyamoto has seemingly passed on to his junior staff at Nintendo EAD Tokyo, within whose secretive, never-exposed walls some of the greatest video games of the past decade have been built.

FeatureSuper Mario 3D World: More than a feline

After a disappointing debut, can 3D World turn it round?

Nintendo's 3D Mario games are rare and precious things, carefully crafted as showcases for the platforms they were released on. Everyone remembers their first steps across the lawns of Princess Peach's Castle, or the first time they explored the gravity-defying underside of a Mario Galaxy planetoid. Even the hub world of Nintendo's under-appreciated Mario Sunshine, the sun-bleached stone plazas and loose sewer covers of Isle Delfino rattling beneath Mario's shoes, has burnt itself into our collective consciousness.

FeatureNintendo retreats into its shell at E3

The games are fun, of course - but you can't answer crisis with paralysis.

Nintendo's retreat from the very public PR war of the E3 press conferences turned out to be a more literal one than we might have thought. This morning in Los Angeles, the company replaced its traditional stage show first with its Nintendo Direct live stream and then by inviting press to its stand before the show floor opened to play six key Wii U titles and meet their creators.