by Kyle Viveiros
This is an article I wrote back in January. My original plan was for this to be a regular article, but I ended up turning it into a feature over on the YouTube channel instead. Since we’re working on adding text based articles to the site, I thought it’d be a good idea to reshare this.
Forgive me Video Game Father, for I have sinned. I have never been a fan of the mainline Mario games. Countless times over the years I would see the trailer for a new Mario game, get excited for it, receive it as a gift with a new console for Christmas, and then end up dropping it after making it about a third of the way through. Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, New Super Mario Bros., even both Super Mario Galaxy games; none of them did anything for me. I always liked the Mario Kart games, Super Smash Bros. games, and I even enjoyed a Mario Party every now and then, but never any of the platforming Mario games. Perhaps this was my fault for not being a huge fan of platformers to begin with. Maybe my expectations were too high. I could have just been a dumb kid and not understood how these games were supposed to be played. More than likely, it was all three of these things. That being said, I still always understood and appreciated the importance of Mario in the gaming industry.
So when I started seeing trailers and previews of Super Mario Odyssey, you can understand why I approached it with some skepticism. “What exactly is this game going to do that will change my preconceived notions of what Mario games are?” “All of these art styles between worlds don’t seem very cohesive.” “WHAT THE HELL IS MARIO DOING TO THAT FROG?!” But I knew the only way I would know for sure if I liked it would be once I got my hands on it.
Dec. 25, 2017, much to my surprise, I receive a Nintendo Switch and a copy of Super Mario Odyssey from my parents for Christmas. It was finally time for me to pass judgment on the latest entry in one of the most historic video game franchises of all time. I’ve been unable to put it down in the week since I started playing. Even though it’s still the same old, tired story of Bowser stealing Peach and Mario having to save her, the gameplay is so fresh and innovative that you ignore the generic story. Mario’s Capture mechanic is such a wonderfully weird new thing that makes this game feel amazing. The feeling of possessing a Chain Chomp to break down a wall, or taking over a Bullet Bill to get to a previously unreachable area gave me that sensation that I’ve been searching for in a Mario game for my entire life. I finally understand what the hype is about.
I’ve never been one to try and obsessively collect every little thing a game has to offer, but Super Mario Odyssey is making me reconsider that stance. As of writing this, I have over 260 Power Moons, and I’m still planning on going back to collect the rest of the over 900 Power Moons, as well as the rest of the purple coins. Even if most others feel like this is just a return to form for Mario games, Super Mario Odyssey will always feel different for me. It will always be the game that helped me finally discover my love for the Mario franchise.