Do you know what I did a couple of weeks back? I bought the new LCD soundsystem album. Then do you know what I did? I played Super Mario 64 – you might remember that a couple of months ago I managed to get my retro console working again and after that I was attached to it permanently for a good few weeks. It was time to unleash Mario:
I’m so sad I can even tell which level this is from that slightly awkward angle: this is Dire Dire Docks, where you have to get this star in order to unlock the second Bowser level, Bowser In The Fire Sea. Needless to say, I completed the game promptly. I turned Bowser into the mega-star and freed Princess Peach from his evil mitts (although I actually feel really sorry for Bowser in this one because he’s sooooo cute!). Why did I drag LCD Soundsystem into this? Well funnily enough I listened to it while playing the game and the retro synth sounds made the perfect soundtrack to the game. Weird, huh?
Anyway, you must be wondering why I’m talking about any of this, right? Well surely it’s obvious! The much-anticipated release of Super Mario Galaxy 2!
Fun yet probably pointless factoid: this is the first ever direct sequel to a Mario game. Apparently creator Shigeru Miyamoto (who was also the mastermind behind the Legend of Zelda games) thought it was the right time to bring out a direct sequel because he had a whole bunch of ideas left over from the original Super Mario Galaxy that he thought were good enough to use in another game. Usually when ideas are left out it’s because they’re just not that good but apparently this sequel is perfect in every way: a techniclour dreamworld that will infuriate and delight at the same time. Just like all of the classic Mario games then!
This one re-introduces Yoshi the dinosaur into the frame to give Mario new abilities. Here’s what I think: every time a character in a franchise gets “new abilities” it can only mean one thing. A good few hours of getting mad and saying “Why won’t you do it? I’m telling you to go that way and you’ve done the opposite thing!” When I first played Super Mario 64 I was young. Pretty young. And I was tormented by how complicated its platform-style levels were. For me the slower-paced and laid-back “Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” was a heck of a lot easier.
But now I’m all grown up and can fly through 64 without batting an eyelid (years of experience!) I feel I could take Mario and Yoshi on. And win. Eventually. To be honest there’s not enough truly challenging games out there anymore: whenever I think something will test my skill I end up disappointed. But my love-hate relationship with Mario shouldn’t let me down: I will prevail!