In this episode of the Longest Rainy Sunday, we bring our listeners to Super Mario Odyssey, which on one hand connects people’s childhood memories and emotions, but also extends horizons to the future modern world. In our podcast, we mainly analyze the elements that remained the same in Super Mario Odyssey when comparing it with previous versions in the series and the elements that become new in this newest version. Finally, we connect that with our current social and pandemic time, illustrating how Super Mario Odyssey is related to people’s daily lives under such a unique circumstance.
Welcome to the Longest Rainy Sunday! Since the earliest era of video games, there has always been a universally adored constant: Japan’s most famous Italian plumber – Mario. No matter the technology, gamers across the world have flocked to purchase and play a wide variety of games that feature Nintendo’s posterboy: the basic Mario platformer, Super Mario 64, Super Smash Bros, Super Mario Galaxy, or even the recent Switch-based Super Mario Odyssey. What makes these games so endearing? What can one learn from playing the various games? Lets find out.
I am nowhere near an expert on the Super Mario Brothers games but this brand new world record speedrun of SMB3 in 3 minutes is both confusing and fascinating. Before last month, the record speed run of SMB3 was about 11 minutes, but Zikubi cut the time down by 75% by actively reprogramming the game as he played it in order to open a wormhole to the ending.
In an explanation of a much earlier speed run record the blogger Kottke explains the beauty he sees in such pursuits:
In the video analysis of this speedrun, if you forget the video game part of it and all the negative connotations you might have about that, you get to see the collective effort of thousands of people over more than three decades who have studied a thing right down to the bare metal so that one person, standing on the shoulders of giants in a near-perfect performance, can do something no one has ever done before. Progress and understanding by groups of people happens exactly like this in manufacturing, art, science, engineering, design, social science, literature, and every other collective human endeavor…it’s what humans do. But since playing sports and video games is such a universal experience and you get to see it all happening right on the screen in front of you, it’s perhaps easier to grok SMB speedrun innovations more quickly than, say, how assembly line manufacturing has improved since 2000, recent innovations in art, how we got from the flip phone to iPhone X in only 10 years, or how CRISPR happened.