With 1.1+ million sales and a beautiful 97 on Metacritic, it is obvious people love the Mario games online. Some have compared it to the quality level of the original Mario Bros. (relative to the quality of other games at the time), and while I cannot see the industry undergoing a renaissance due to one amazing game, I could see the potential for changes in the industry.
The original reception for the Nintendo switch was excited but skeptical. The platform had so little in the way of first parties, in the beginning. Upon its release, it only contained Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at its sole launch title. That skepticism was met with a steady stream of solid first parties like Splatoon 2 and Arms throughout the year and was finished off with Mario Odyssey. The final release was especially well done, showing that Nintendo has the skill to make an entire year filled with acclaimed games, and end the year on a huge note with the positive reception of Mario games online. This has proven yet again that Nintendo is able to break the mold of standard consoles in favor of trying something new and will succeed at doing that. It is no secret that Nintendo was dissatisfied with the lukewarm reception the WII-U received, but with a new success under their belt, their confidence in new ideas can be seen anew.
The industry has also been proven wrong yet again through Nintendo and everyone’s favorite capped crusader. With AAA game publishers scrambling to see who can be the greediest through microtransaction and loot boxes in a game that already sets you back $60. Enter Mario Odyssey, a game that launched for $60 and that is it. Filled with collectibles and costumes that you purchase in-game, rather than some twisted lottery. The game has sold phenomenally and it shows that you don’t have to go for every greed tactic possible to at least break even. This idea has been well known by the general gaming crowd, but it seems the industry needed to be reminded of this once more.
Mario could also be revitalizing the platformer industry while yet again raising the bar for quality. We have not seen much in the way of high-quality platformers recently, and when something like Mario odyssey comes along, 3D platformers specifically are back in the public eye. Innovation has always been a specialty of Nintendo, and we can surely see amazing new ideas from platformers in the future. Things like the 3D to 2D sections, getting collectibles like the moons for completing fun challenges or objectives, and even things like the possession mechanic can almost surely be seen copied or improved upon by other developers. I am personally a huge fan of both 2D and 3D platformers and am excited to see if Mario causes a revival of the genre.
While a fantastic game, Mario Odyssey isn’t a godsend that has arrived to cleanse the gaming industry. But with high-quality gameplay and plenty of heart, charm, and great business tactics it can hopefully be the game we need. The reception for Mario games online has been palpable, and hopefully this positivity can continue throughout the switch.