Oh, Mario. The man of many hats, literally and figuratively. In relation to his platforming games, when he gains a new power, his hat changes along with it. Or does his newly discovered powers happen because of his new hats that he collects, like in Mario 64? Either way, his hats have a direct correlation to his enhanced abilities, thus making his "man of many hats" a necessity more than just a fashion statement.
He's also donned many different hats in the figurative sense, as this blog has shown over the course of this week, by taking on many different roles in multiple different games over the years. His given profession is a plumber, but he has accepted many different jobs and roles throughout his career. I feel like a broken record at this point to be honest, but this was the best set-up I could think of. I mean really, Mario is addicted to sports, and he's actually quite the jock. I already wrote about him using golf as his hobby, but over the years, apparently golf wasn't enough to fulfill his competitive edge.
He has stared in several different sports games since NES Golf, all of which I could have easily wrote about. Well, with the exception of Mario's Tennis on the Virtual Boy, because I've never had the pleasure to own that fantastic piece of Nintendo's history. Regardless, Mario is a stud in all sorts of athletic competition, from soccer, to baseball, to the Olympic sports, both of the summer and winter variety. With that being said, what better way to experience the athlete that is Mario than with a game called Mario Sports Mix?
There isn't a better way. Trust me, I looked.
So when this game came out, I almost fell victim to the "reviews are bad, I shouldn't buy this game despite how excited I am for it" trap that so many gamers out there fall victim to. I had been waiting for Mario Sports Mix to come out for months, along with my buddy, but on the day of it's release, the reviews came out and they were less than stellar. I seriously contemplated passing up on this game, completely ignoring my desires to play it and my gut instincts that I would like it in favor of opinions of other people. While I read and respect reviews all the time, I try not to let scores skew my own opinions, unless of course there are game-breaking things that damper my overall enjoyment of the game With this game, I almost didn't get it. But I had it pre-ordered, I had waited forever for it, and it had Mario's name attached to it.
I just couldn't pass it up. And thankfully, I didn't. And even now, I'm still proud to have it in my collection.
Playing this game with my seven year old today made me realize something crucial. We played Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort as well, for no other reason than he wanted to play them, but while those games were special for the innovative game play, Mario Sports Mix is far different from those games. Those games will forever be fun to play, and while I see where Sports Mix falls short, it's the characters that keep this game relevant and worth playing again.
The Mario franchise can breathe life into any average game, and right away, I noticed how much more my son was engaged in the characters and the universe from which they came, where as the Wii Sports games were purely about the few games he liked from them. He had no attachment to the Mii characters, other than he still thinks its cool to play as himself. But being able to play as Mario or any of his friends? Oh yeah, sign him up for that.
We had fun playing the games, and I enjoyed it more as a father when he said he missed playing the Wii games since he doesn't get to much anymore, but that he was glad he came over to spend time with me since he could play all his favorite games again. For a kid that has been raised to be a FPS kind of gamer, he is still hanging on to his youth and enjoying the simpler, fun games every now and then. He doesn't care about review scores, just like 99.9% of kids out there, as he finds enjoyment in the games he plays, without cynicism or negativity like most reviewers seem to have. Children are pure when it comes to gaming experiences, which is yet another reason to hang on to your childhood innocence as long as possible.
Unless you want to just grow up and be a world-renowned athlete like Mario. In that case, you better get training now.
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