Luke Owen with a stern warning about Super Mario Odyssey…
Many of us were taken by surprise with the Super Mario Odyssey reveal trailer, which showed everyone’s favourite plumber sporting a sentient hat with its own personality. How would this new gameplay mechanic effect the game, what new features would Nintendo be adding to the long-running Super Mario franchise? Well, the latest gameplay trailer shown at E3 (which featured the most toe-tapping theme tune of all-time) showed us what we can expect from the hotly-anticipated Super Mario Odyssey.
If you’ve not seen it, the new gameplay mechanic for Super Mario Odyssey sees Mario wearing this seemingly charming hat that has the power to take over the life of whomever it touches. Mario can throw the hat at a Goomba, and now he is the Goomba. Want to be a car? Not a problem for Mario’s hat. How about a T-rex? Not a T-rex, surely? Oh you Bet-lzer. Throw your hat at the formerly extinct creature and it will sport a humours fluffy mustache, with its mind completely under your control.
Oh sorry, did I say *your* control? I of course mean The Hat’s control.
You see this Hat isn’t quite as charming as many believe it is. The fantastic theme tune is just a distraction to the truth. Nintendo are trying to blind you with nostalgia by having Pauline sing the song and dressing Mario up in classic costumes from yesteryear like Mario’s Picross and NES Open Tournament Golf. Who do you think you’re trying to fool Nintendo? With your bright, colourful exterior. You didn’t think we’d notice it’s dank, dark interior did you?
Who is this sentient Hat?
Where did it come from?
Who created it?
What’s it’s mission?
Has Mario always owned this Hat since Donkey Kong? Is it the same Hat he was wearing while saving Princess Toadstool in 1985? What about when he was facing off against the Koopa Cousins in Super Mario World? Is The Hat a creation of Super Mario himself, the same way Dr. Light created Mega Man to help him fight against Dr. Wily? Is Super Mario actually a mis-understood Frankenstein madman? And if not, then who was Mario before The Hat took over his being?
Was he just a simple New York plumber going about his business? Trying to make ends meet to pay the rent and support his family when he stumbled upon this bizarre Hat? If so, what happened to the family and life Mario left back in New York to become a human puppet for The Hat’s desires to rid The Mushroom Kingdom of evil? All these years, we’ve never been playing as Mario jumping on Bowser, we’ve been The Hat controlling this empty vessel, like in The Faculty. Perhaps Valve and Sierra were trying to warn about this impending doom with Half-Life. Those crabs were an allegory for The Hat’s powers.
Maybe, just maybe, Mario died trying to save Princess Anne from Donkey Kong and The Hat raised him from the grave with the power of mushrooms and 1-ups. Ever think about that?
What about Luigi? Is he also possessed, but by a different Hat? And if he’s just wearing a regular green hat, then does he know his brother is a meat mannequin? A pawn in a much larger game? Does Princess Peach know she’s going to bed with a lifeless sack, a brain-dead marionette? Did Bob Hoskins know his video game counterpart was nothing more than a comatose stooge?
Perhaps the scarier thought is: What is The Hat’s ultimate goal? Is he trying to rid the world of Bowser because ol’ fire breath is the the only threat to his complete domination? Is Bowser actually the good guy in all this, trying to destroy this evil entity to give The Mushroom Kingdom a new prosperous life free of hat-based tyranny?
I’m sure Super Mario Odyssey will be a fun game with the usual Nintendo charm, but just give this whole scenario a second thought the next time you watch the trailer. After all, The Hat is watching you – just look into his eyes – and you could be his next target. HE’S HERE ALREADY! YOU’RE NEXT! YOU’RE NEXT! There’s an old saying that goes, ‘If the shoe fits, wear it.’ But be careful. If you happen to find a red hat with come-to-bed eyes, made to order in the old country, be very careful. You might walk right into…
The Twilight Zone Super Mario Odyssey…
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth, the co-host of the Flickering Myth Podcast and the author of Lights, Camera, GAME OVER!: How Video Game Movies Get Made (which you can pre-order from Amazon UK and Amazon US). You can follow him on Twitter @ThisisLukeOwen.