“Double game” is what I started calling the phenomenon Super Mario Galaxy introduced me to after the game’s credits rolled. By now, everyone and their Mario brother should know that Galaxy treated players to a post-game romp as the younger, greener Mario sibling with an upped difficulty and Luigi-specific jump/run mechanics. For Luigi fans such as myself it was a spectacular treat, but more importantly, it extended the life of an already lengthy game in a way I had never really experienced before. “Replay value” took on a whole new meaning.
I was used to getting every Star, Shine Sprite, or Star Coin in the main game, then replaying levels as necessary to get whatever I’d missed. Enter “Super Luigi Galaxy” which doubled and then some the game’s lifespan with enough variety to keep a gamer coming back for more – the “double game,” which I think deserves a title all its own. This is no mere post-game multiplayer or tying up loose ends. It’s not a boss arena or a challenge room, and it’s not World 9 – it’s the entire game twisted into something different. Mario’s certainly not the only one to do this, either. It is, sadly, one of the few Nintendo franchises I’ve seen blatantly include a “double game,” though. Donkey Kong and Kirby are the only other ones that comes to mind when I think about this kind of experience. DKC Returns includes a Mirror Mode with clear rewards for completing mirrored stages, and many Kirby games feature the famous “Meta Knight Mode” of some kind. I guess Metroid’s “Hard Modes” could also count on a certain level.
The idea that a game’s life could essentially be doubled introduced itself to me with Mario Galaxy. I’m not saying it’s the first game to ever pull something as major as this to extend its life. It is, however, what prompted me to begin looking beyond every new release’s “post-game” and seek that ever-elusive “double game” where things once familiar seem as strangers all over again.
Which games do you think deserve a “double game,” and how do you think it would be best implemented?