Nintendo has been having an amazing year thus far. The Switch has sold like hotcakes, the SNES Classic disappeared as quickly as it came, and a handful of critically acclaimed titles have all contributed to Nintendo’s renaissance. Even with all this momentum the Big N still has one more thing up its sleeve: Super Mario Odyssey. We’ve all seen the new capture ability along with the quirky things that shake up the Mario formula, but at its core, Super Mario Odyssey embodies an old ad campaign and spirit that defines us all as gamers. By asking one simple question. Who are you?
It’s a basic philosophical question that was the premise of Nintendo ads in the early 2000s. If you watch a few of them, you will see that they feature people doing mundane things, but inside they embody a warrior, bounty hunter, hero, and more. Nintendo has always asked this question, and now Super Mario Odyssey has come full circle by personifying that sentiment.
Odyssey is already being considered the best Mario game since Super Mario 64 if not better. I believe this is due to the aforementioned question. The capture ability and the many hats Mario literally wears let you explore this more than any previous Nintendo title. At first glance, the new mechanic and costumes are simply there for aesthetic charm and a new way to solve puzzles. But these concepts go beyond mere gameplay.
Mario acquires different hats from his rich franchise history, and they usually let you blend in with whatever Kingdom you’re currently exploring. You also have the option to stand out and wear whatever costume you’ve unlocked that you’re feeling. If you’re the thuggish, ruggish type you can tote a nice pinstriped suit (minus the Tommy gun). You can be athletic, retro, modern, and even play the game in a wedding dress. Throughout the game, you will walk a literal mile in other people shoes, and when you’re not doing that Mario will be walking a mile in yours, no matter how you identify yourself.
Again Super Mario Odyssey is letting you explore ‘who are you?’ in a subtle and impactful way. There are games that let you customize your character with great detail. We have all tried our best to make an exact digital copy of ourselves or the image of who we wanted ourselves to be. But these were just carbon copies and avatars only meant to be vehicles in which to explore the world. Odyssey is asking you to explore who you are while at the same time explore who others are. It’s a game about discovery, about the world, the people in it, and ultimately who you are in it.
With the game’s release, it’s time to capture friends and foes alike in what will undoubtedly be one of the best gaming experience of 2017. Hopefully a child, or adult, will get to experience the joy of finding out who they truly are through the magic that is gaming. At the end of the day, all that matters is: Who are you?