⚡ Caution ⚡ – This post contains spoilers for the beginnings of Super Mario Odyssey. Some people like going into games knowing as little as possible (like me) so just thought I’d give you fair warning!
Wannabe Writer’s Note: This first impressions article was originally posted on my old website on October 31, 2017, shortly after the game’s launch. Enjoy my cranky-ass past self’s unedited ramblings!
All aboard the freaking hype train, I mean… Bowser Controlled Airship Thingy! Like almost everyone else lucky enough to own a Switch, I picked up a shiny new copy of Super Mario Odyssey on Friday. Unlike everyone else, I played it for about an hour and had to stop because I was… I was… well, I was bored out of my damn mind. There, I said it! What the hell is wrong with me? I have no idea… but I’ve been in a persistent bad mood lately, and Mario failed to pull me into his latest Bowser-bashing adventure. Do I hate it? No, not at all. It just didn’t click with me right away, and it sucks being the outcast, let me tell you. Anyway, I like it. I guess I just don’t like-like it. Maybe this first impression post will help me figure out why!
Is it the story?
This year I’ve had the pleasure of playing some awesome story-rich games like: Horizon Zero Dawn, Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice, and my latest obsession – Dragon Age Origins. What do these games have in common besides a deep plot? Let’s see. Protagonist wise, Aloy is a bow-wielding badass who’s fighting to determine the fate of life itself. Senua is a Celtic warrior pushing herself through an unimaginable hell on a quest to save the soul of the one she loves. Grey Warden Ellen is the Alistair-loving Archdemon-downing warrior goddess I always wanted to be. In Super Mario Odyssey, I’m the brave manly plumber man on a zany quest to save the pretty princess, again. Bowser cleans himself up good though – that suit is snazzy! Have I been spoiled by all the strong sheroes I’ve met recently?
Nah. This is a Mario game! I was fully expecting Peachy to get grabbed by the determined Koopa King, as always. I rolled my eyes a tad at the whole forced marriage thing, but NO ONE plays Mario for the story. The googly-eyed hat people are cute and all (almost Banjo-Kazooie-ish), but the plot just boils down to silly humor that I wasn’t in the mood for on Friday. I’ve spent more time playing since then and I can now say my cold heart is warming up to the quirky characters and silly story elements. Hey! I’m trying really hard not to be a boring, depressed adult over here… give me some credit, maybe?
Is it the gameplay, then?
The worlds are stunning, there’s so much to collect, you can take control of crazy characters using Mario’s Cappy buddy, amusing things happen a lot, the 2D platforming sections are neat… I was both overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time. Using the T-Rex in the above screenshot as an example, I knew that was going to happen. I tried really, really hard to know as little about this game as possible, but Nintendo let the big dino out of the bag early in a preview. When I came across him in the first world proper, it was very meh moment for me. I know… I don’t understand me either.
So to sum up my gameplay experiences thus far:
All of that seems like it should be really fun. Right? Clearly, there is nothing wrong with the gameplay so why am I finding it all meh? Hm… well, I guess I felt rushed to get through everything and didn’t enjoy living in the experience at the time. Wait a minute!! Why did I feel rushed??
Aha! Social Media is my problem, maybe?
I felt rushed, because as an avid Twitter addict, there were a total of one bajillion and one screenshots of #SuperMarioOdyssey being posted, per minute, on launch day (I may have made that statistic up). These screenshots were of all the cool things people discovered, and the race to get to the fabled New Donk City, ASAP. I get it. I like posting screenshots of cool things too (hell, I’m doing it now in this post), and it makes me all warm and fuzzy whenever people “like” my Tweets. BUT, those screenshots from other excited gamers were ruining the entire game for ME. I don’t want to see what’s ahead because frankly, half the fun is in the exploring it for yourself thing. I didn’t want to shun Twitter completely so I discovered this nifty setting:
With all the Super Mario Odyssey related tweets banished from my feed, I relaxed knowing I wouldn’t be blindsided by pesky spoilers of the cool things I want to discover on my own. The crowd seems to be all “NOW!!” but I want to take my time with the game. After silencing the excited masses, my own enjoyment increased, but it was still not at the hype level is should be…
You know what? It’s-a not Mario, or anyone else. It’s-a me.
Ultimately, I was in a bad mood on Friday, and a cheerful game was having the opposite effect – making me feel more miserable than I already was. Also, seeing how happily everyone else was rushing through Mario just made me realize how much of a sad lonely failure I was/am. And for crying out loud – Wolfenstien II and Assassin’s Creed Origins were released on the same damn day! Yes, I want to freaking play those too, but I don’t have time.
Today’s video game industry is moving too fast for me. I’ve accepted I won’t be able to play everything I want, and I’m focusing on the few games I have time to play. That’s why I’m having a blast slowly inching my way through the Dragon Age series, while writing posts about each step of my adventure. That’s also why I’m going to take my sweet time with Super Mario Odyssey, exploring every nook and cranny along the way. I’m feeling like much less of a bitter bitch now, so I’m starting to appreciate the game more and more. It won’t be long before I love it for being the masterpiece that it is.
I want to collect EVERYTHING, at my own slow pace, and I don’t care how long it takes, or how many other great games I NEED play right now. There’s a list tracking system… my weakness. I’m only in the chilly Sand Kingdom now, so it’s gonna be a long and glorious adventure!
⚡Thanks for reading!⚡