Nintendo came out swinging during today’s Nintendo Direct announcement alongside E3 2013, despite not having a large-scale press conference at the worldwide gaming event now taking place in Los Angeles. While the company has an area for players to check out some of its new and upcoming titles, Nintendo has otherwise separated itself from the large staged events that many companies are known to set up. Instead, the gaming giant opted for smaller events and controlled previews of its upcoming titles. This year, Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 took most of the attention — at least until Super Smash Bros. was revealed.

With the latest addition to the Super Mario franchise, Nintendo once again focused on creating a unique experience. Opening up the palette to four-player 3D gameplay, the game has ventured into new territory for the series, albeit while still playing it safe. Developed by the same core team responsible for Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS, as well as the Super Mario Galaxy series, Super Mario 3D World does seem to stay within the realm of absolute certainty for the company, who is known for taking caution with their IPs.

Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 E3 Trailers

Fortunately, players are still getting the kind of Mario gameplay with which they are familiar, but with the addition of Peach and Toad as playable characters; new level mechanics for players to interact with; and unique power-ups, such as a cat suit, which allows players to climb various surfaces. While four-player gameplay is nothing new for the series, stretching as far back as Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES, the combination of this gameplay and three-dimensional freedom is largely new, and will allow for cooperative and competitive play alike.

More than 20 years after its debut on the Super Nintendo, the Mario Kart series has also received an exciting upgrade for the Wii U. Mario Kart 8 is — you guessed it — the eighth in the beloved series, and hopes to push boundaries with its mind-boggling tracks and exciting online multiplayer action with Miiverse integration.

After skipping an iteration since Mario Kart Wii, motorbikes have returned in Mario Kart 8, joining hand gliders and underwater vehicles. Gravity is also a very important factor in the game,  allowing players to race in different and unique ways throughout each track. Clinging to walls, jumping onto ceilings and shifting gravity itself will be an exciting new feature, unique to Mario Kart 8.

Ranters, what do you think? Are you excited to jump into the next generation of Mario games for the Wii U?

Super Mario 3D World is set to release in December for the Wii U, and Mario Kart 8 races onto the scene in Spring 2014, also for the Wii U.

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