The Magic of Nintendo


By: Eric Flapjack Ashley (@flapjackashley)

I was originally planning on this being a review of Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch, but I’ve actually only played about two hours of the game. That leaves many hours left for the game to dazzle me, so I cannot do a full review at this time. But what I can do is talk about one thing that Odyssey has reminded me of: that, if done correctly, Nintendo games are magic.

Being a Nintendo Nerd

People will often ask me why, as an adult male, do I love Nintendo. The company has made its fair share of mistakes in the past, most notably seeming to lose its way during the Wii and Wii U era. And they paid the price as the latter console ended up being the worst selling home platform in the company’s history, selling around a tenth of what the Wii did before it.

Being a Nintendo Nerd isn’t always easy. Nintendo fans are often overlooked as not being “hardcore,” liking “baby games,” and – in recent console cycles – always getting left out of the major multi-platform games like Madden and Destiny. And when you basically only have Nintendo making games for your system, you go through droughts with zero games, and the Wii U suffered through many of them. When you sit around and see everyone else get the big games and you are stuck with amiibo Festival, it is easy to forget why you like Nintendo in the first place.

An Odyssey Worth Taking

One thing that Nintendo has done this generation cycle is speak to its fans. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a love letter to its fan base, and ended up being a wonderfully reviewed game. The game was so good that the success of the Nintendo Switch could be solely placed on it’s shoulders for the first couple of months.

But Super Mario Odyssey is something else.

Being the first true must-have Switch-exclusive game, Odyssey is magical right from the opening cinematic sequence. And it only gets better from there. Taking a risk on the franchise that your company is known for is always risky, and its initial reveal was met with some skeptical fans; it is tough to have fans who want something different from your games, but not too different, and, from what I’ve played of it so far, Odyssey delivers.

The gameplay of throwing a cap on something and “capturing” it, meaning you play as Mario but temporarily occupying said object or enemy, is revolutionary. But more than that, it is just flat-out fun. It is fun to play, fun to control, fun to look at, and fun to talk about.

Super Mario Odyssey reminds me of why I love Nintendo. Video games are meant to be fun, and while I am not saying that games like Call of Duty or Halo are not fun, there is just something magical about a well made Mario game. With its callbacks to past games like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, Odyssey takes the best of the franchise and expands on it without relying solely on nostalgia for its mileage. Even just an hour into it, I have smiled more at this game than I have in any game in the past four years.

The Nintendo Difference

Odyssey highlights the very best that Nintendo does. And when Nintendo is on top of their game, they are extremely hard to top. The pick-up-and-play nature of their top franchises like Mario, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., and Splatoon emphasize fun over anything else. It says something when you can boot up a game, lose all track of time, and realize that it is now suddenly five hours later.

With 7.3 million units sold since launch, made even more impressive since it doesn’t yet include a holiday season, the Switch is making it good to be a Nintendo Nerd again. Having two major Game of the Year contenders in your console’s first year is quite an amazing feat. The Nintendo magic is back, and Super Mario Odyssey will help lead the charge for months to come.

What About You?

Are you a displaced Nintendo fan who left big N’s side in recent years? Are you one who has stuck by them through the thick and thin? Or are you a new fan that Nintendo has captured the imagination of due to its unique hardware and focus on fun? Let’s talk about it, because it is finally good to be a Nintendo fan again.

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