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Round Three


Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Ulti's Analysis[]

Poll 3495
Round Division 1989-1991 Final
Match # 50
Match Date Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
Super Mario Bros. 3 - 32.85%
Final Fantasy IV - 26.52%
Super Mario World - 25.53%
Sonic the Hedgehog - 15.34%
Mario 3 first place (8pts) - 44.47%
Mario 3 second place (4pts) - 15.38%
Mario World second place (8pts) - 24.81%
Mario World first place (4pts) - 13.45%
Super Mario Bros. 3 - 59.85% (22,920)
Super Mario World - 38.26% (14,652)

Mario clearly SFFs Sonic. This is not up for debate. Also not up for debate is Final Fantasy 4's supposed chances to sneak into second place this match. To steal a line from hochi, anyone who thought Final Fantasy 4 could win here should be executed. That is final.

But past this, what an unbelievable development this match was. The 2004 stats are mostly outdated and useless, but Super Mario World and Super Mario Brothers 3 shared a common opponent in Chrono Trigger late in that contest. Based on those results, Mario 3 would score 57% on Mario World. Unless you believe in CT > Mario World SNES SFF, there was no big reason to think Mario World could reverse this trend. It didn't have a great contest in 2004, and it looked like complete crap in the first round of this contest.

Then in one 24 hour period, conventional wisdom turned around and the newer tastes of GameFAQs began to show up. Everything we knew became a lie. Mario 3 struggled with Mario World in the first couple of minutes, and then continued struggling even as it built a lead up. Mario 3 built a lead of only 400 votes overnight, and it was continually stalled and cut the whole way up. Mario 3 was in clear trouble even as its lead peaked, for obvious reasons. Not only was Mario World giving Mario 3 fits, but it was giving Mario 3 fits with two other SNES/Genesis era games in the poll. There were two games to hold Mario World back here, and only the name "Mario" holding Mario 3 back, if that makes sense.

And in the face of this, Mario World was able to peak Mario 3's lead at four hundred votes and begin a comeback attempt before we were even done the overnight vote. If Mario World could pull this off given the other games in the poll, Mario 3 was dead in the water in later rounds. The round following this was an impending Mario 1/Mario 3/Mario World/Zelda 1 match, which was essentially a flip of the current state of affairs -- 3 NES era games to hurt Mario 3 while Mario World is only hurt by its own name. Given the match going on while these revelations popped up, there was nothing at all holding Mario World from overtaking Mario 3 in later rounds.

But before even that, Mario World had a very realistic chance of beating Mario 3 right here, right now, despite having more of a reason to get leeched than Mario 3 in this very poll. Mario World began shaving votes off the lead overnight, and it took holy hell and high water from Mario 3 to hang on. The lead was shaved down to 150 come the morning vote, where Mario 3 was able to make a recovery. Compared to the fits Mario World was giving Mario 3 to this point, Mario 3 won the morning vote and DSV convincingly. It stretched the lead from 150 to 600 before the ASV, where Mario World unleashed one final push.

In less than two hours, Mario World cut the lead down to just below 400 votes. It stalled at this level all the way until the evening and second night votes, where Mario 3 made another recovery and went on to win by 700. But this was a Pyrrhic contest victory if there ever was one, because Mario 3 was clearly and obviously dead in the water from here. Not to sound like a broken record here, but Mario 3 barely escaped with its life with two games leeching its opponent. There was no reason to think Mario World couldn't take down Mario 3 with two games leeching the latter.

Beyond the match itself being good, this was a match symbolizing a paradigm shift on GameFAQs. We've seen this site getting younger slowly over time for a few years, but it really jumps out at you when Mario World competes with Mario 3. It's one thing to see Symphony of the Night, Chrono Trigger, Mega Man or Sonic suffering a years-long weakening -- quite another to see the historic, beloved Mario 3 going through it. This is a game a ton of us grew up on, but it's clearly been knocked down a peg or two. If you look closely at the results of this contest, nearly all the older games seemed weaker than 2004 levels. And if we see another games contest five years from now, we'll see more evidence of a gradual youth movement. Sad but true.

Match Trends[]


Ngamer's Same Day Analysis[]

Match Prediction[]

Everyone seems really hyped for tonight; I'm even seeing people say this has "match of the season" potential. And I have to... agree! This is one of those extremely rare cases where you've got three games up top that could literally finish in any order- and where that's true NOT because they're all untested lower-midcarders (as we've seen a few times) but rather because two of them are extremely strong and the other is also pretty strong (probably) and in an ideal position. (Oh yeah, and I guess Sonic's hanging around as well. Let's just put that in last but expect that, like MM today, it's not going to utterly fall apart.) Great, now let's move on to

The battle of the Marios! I've seen 3 and World and 64 debated back and forth so many times in stats over the years; great that we finally get to put 2/3rds of that debate to bed once and for all tonight! Now I realize how incredible SMW looked last round, but ehhh, the final percentages there made so little sense that I've got to chalk it up as some kind of weird fluke. We're already seen that in big time Nintendo clashes like this (see: Zelda 1/Mario 1) respect and "iconic" and nostalgia votes play a major role, so give me Mario 3 for the win tonight. I do agree it would make sense for the game to have lost a little of its steam since it 60/40'd World in the last Favorite Mario poll, so something more along the lines of a 56% win seems reasonable here.

Now for the second coolest question... does Mario taking up 50% of the poll result in anti-voting, as apparently happened last round when Final Fantasy took up two spots? I think it might, but I doubt it will be enough! Old school Square just has such a small (but dedicated) fanbase that fracturing it whatsoever is devastating, whereas the voting pool for international superhits like Mario 1/3/W/64 is so huge that even splitting it three ways might not necessarily doom the series to poor performances. And that's a theory that I'm thinking we'll be able to test next round, since I'm going to go ahead and predict a R4 Mario 1/Zelda 1/Mario 3/Mario World clash of the titans!

HOWEVER, I do think that FF will manage to keep this one close- there's just too much working in its favor for it not to, especially with a brand name that powerful urging it on. I'm thinking we'll see something along the lines of FF4 putting on a big time show overnight that has World scared for a while before coming apart at the seams once the sun rises, resulting in a score along the lines of:

  • Super Mario Bros. 3 - 34.13%
  • Super Mario World - 26.02%
  • Final Fantasy IV - 25.73%
  • Sonic the Hedgehog - 14.13%

Yup. Okay M3, show us what you're made of!

Next Day Review[]

Haha, now here's a match that lived up to the hype! Okay, so I was way off in thinking that FF4 could compete for second, but instead we got an even MORE entertaining result - a Mario Smackdown that went right down to the final hours! Sure I mentioned in my preview how 3 had probably lost some steam in the last 5 years, and actually I wouldn't have been surprised by World putting up nearly identical numbers to its older brother in indirect matches, but I'd never have expected World could go blow for blow in a direct battle like this. At least not with 3 sporting that super-iconic, ultra-nostalgic Raccoon Mario yellow boxshot. Well, a hearty note of congrats to World, and the even better thing about this result is that it keeps things extremely interesting for next round as well. Does the presence of a second NES Mario swing the balance in SMW's favor? If the result between the two stays this tight, wouldn't Zelda's only chance be to beat them both (and after the way they destroyed FF, is that even possible)? Now we just need them to edge Zelda and then have the increasingly possible FF7 > Mario 64 result take place and we'd have a chance to settle the Great Mario Debate once and for all!

External Links[]

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2009 Spring Contest Matches

Round One
Tetris > Donkey Kong
MM2 > Pac-Man
SMB > Ninja Gaiden
Zelda 1 > Metroid
Sonic 1 > SFII
SMB3 > Monkey Island
S.Metroid > SMK
Zelda:LttP > DKC
FFVI > Zelda:LA
Sonic 2 > MKII
SM64 > SotN

CT > Yoshi's Island
Pokémon RBY > Zelda:MM
MGS > Pokémon GS
FFVIII > Starcraft
Zelda: OoT > FFIX
Diablo II > Halo
SSBM > Zelda:WW
Oblivion > ToS
MGS3 > WoW
Zelda: TP > Half-Life 2
CoD4 > SMG
MGS4 > Portal
Fallout 3 > Halo 3

Round Two
Tetris > MM2
SMB > Zelda 1
SMB3 > Sonic 1
Zelda:LttP > S.Metroid
FFVI > Zelda:LA
SM64 > CT
MGS > Pokémon RBY
Zelda:OoT > FFVIII
SSBM > Diablo II
MGS3 > Oblivion
Zelda:TP > RE4
MGS4 > Fallout 3

R3 and following
SMB > Zelda 1
Zelda:LttP > FFVI
Zelda:OoT > Pokémon RBY
Zelda:TP > RE4
FFVII > Zelda:LttP
Zelda:OoT > FFX
FFVII > Zelda:LttP
Zelda:OoT > FFX
Zelda:OoT > FFVII (Finals)
Zelda:OoT > FFVII (Bonus)