I'm not a Mario kid, I'm a Sonic kid. I was brought up on hours upon upon hours of Sonic and Tails and Knuckles (and fucking Shadow, for our sins) and that was my bread and butter. Of course, I also side-eyed friends with SNES and GameBoys and wished I had the ability to play Mario games too.
I picked up my Switch in August and after a few weeks of only Sonic Mania, it was joined by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Then, the big one dropped - my first launch day game purchase since Mass Effect 3 - Super Mario Odyssey.
I adored Mario Galaxy and Mario 64, and this was tipped to be quite like that. What I didn't expect was it to work it's way almost to the top of the all-time list I have in my head (and that I posted on here, of course).
Super Mario Odyssey has so much going for it, and so much that I love about video games, it feels like it was perfectly distilled for my own veins and should have been injected directly into my bloodstream. I love the cartoony but solid graphics, the leading gameplay that teaches you how to play through positive reinforcement, not constantly failure. I loved the level design, the music, the over wolrd layout, and the fact that it let me actually beat the game without too much of a struggle, before opening up another 20 hours of gameplay.
If I was to have to convince someone that games are positive and an artform, Mario would be a good shout - it looks incredible, plays honestly, and doesn't feature a lot of the bad things that make most recent big titles abject failures in my eyes, turning themselves into jobs or worse, addictions, for the benefit of the companies. If you're not aware of what I mean, hold on - I have a few thoughts that should coalesce as a blog post in the future.
Mario had be gasp in joy, angry with frustration. and laugh out loud at moments almost everytime I plugged the game in. The levels were so cleverly built and designed that I found new things to attempt to do each time I went back, and normally when I thought I could do something I could do it - and be rewarded for my efforts.
And that is why I think I love games. I find that games need to give back to me what I put in - a story, or moments of joy, but it has to be something more than just ridiculously difficult bullshit that is "rewarded" with a small thing - Mario was bursting with moments that would have made the all-time list, and they are all contained inside one of the best looking and most wonderful gaming experiences I have ever played through. 40 hours of gameplay later and the only reason I haven't gone back any more... well, there are two of them - Rocket League and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, both of which deserve blog posts themselves.
Mario reminded me why the Switch was a great purchase. It is just wonderful, in every minute, and I can't wait to share it with Joni when she grows as it's perfect for that.