Enlarge / “May you be as joyful as a Mario in boxer shorts and an oversized boxing glove hat” -Ancient proverb
A few weeks ago, I got dragged down a rabbit-hole discussion of what defines a “core” Mario game. One proposed definition relied on Mario trying to reach an explicit “goal point” or exit at the end of the level.
While a core Mario game could have secondary goals (like collecting red coins or one-ups) and while there might be multiple exits in a single level, getting from the start to the end has always been a defining characteristic of his adventures.

Even more open 3D games like Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy have retained this model to some extent, ending with a run through the level and putting Mario back to the start after he collects a star (or “shine”).
By this strict definition, Super Mario Odyssey can’t really be considered a core Mario game at all.

The game’s wide-open “Kingdoms” don’t have any set end points, instead they exist more as spaces to run and jump around at your leisure. When you stumble on one of the many power moons that are Mario’s most explicit goals within these levels, the exploring continues on from that same point after a short animation. On top of that, you only need to collect a small handful of these available moons before you’re allowed to move on to the next Kingdom (and back) at your leisure.
Read 26 remaining paragraphs

Leave a Reply