Super Mario Overkill: Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Mario?

Super Mario 3D Land is less than a year old, and Nintendo has already announced another Mario title for 3DS, New Super Mario Bros. 2, set to launch in North America this August. Keep in mind this is in addition to Paper Mario 3DS, which may arrive sometime late 2012, early 2013. Of course, there's also Mario Tennis Open, due out end of May. Hell, Mario Kart 7 was last December.

Don't get me wrong. I love Mario games just as much as the next Nintendo fan. They've always been a treat, the type of experiences I happily get lost within for several hours. At the same time, previous games were carefully spaced apart to generate hype and frenzied anticipation. That said, is there such a thing as too much Mario?

Look at Call of Duty. Over the past few years, Activision's first-person shooting series has dominated the industry, yet this week, we learned that sales of Modern Warfare 3 are behind its predecessor, Black Ops. Thing is, this is an IP that sees one release each year, along with DLC. Now here comes Nintendo with perhaps three Mario titles for 2012 and last holiday's games still fresh on our minds.

Of course, the big N has plenty of history to point to, with several Mario titles selling upwards of 10 million copies. The original New Super Mario Bros. for DS sold over 26 million. These days, publishers are lucky if their games sell a million.

While on the subject of DS, how does Pokemon Black & White 2 get announced for DS, but New Super Mario Bros. 2 is on 3DS? Explain how that makes sense.

Bottom line, Mario adventures have always been worth the wait, and I fear Nintendo may overexpose its prize plumber, where instead of selling 10-plus million copies each, the number dips to nine, then eight, then five.

Or maybe they continue to sell at a clip of 20 million. Perhaps, more than any IP, Mario retains his charm, which has helped make the little guy a global phenomenon for more than 25 years.

Either way, it's abundantly clear that Nintendo aims to destroy PlayStation Vita, and the lineup of Mario games alone has to make Sony nervous. I know Vita is still relatively young, but if Sony doesn't have a knockout E3 in June, I don't see its handheld competing with 3DS longterm.