I picked up Mario and Sonic Olympics. It looked like a cool party game, I’m adding it to Mario Party/Racing and Smash Bros. I know that Nintendo does an amazing job at creating silly, fun to play mini games set in a world which is enchanting.

First Take

I was a little put off by the multiplayer, since that’s what we first got into. The games can be extremely difficult, and do require a certain level of manual dexterity to stretch and press what you’re supposed to be.

However, most of the games have similar mechanics, making playing them simple after you’ve played one.

My kids loved it. My wife hated it because I destroyed her. I enjoyed it because they really nailed the awe of watching Olympic games (on TV, I have no claim on watching them in person).

Story Mode

Then I did story mode when the kids went to bed and the wife fired up Arrow. Which I also love, but I’m on season six, and she’s halfway through two.

Story mode is beyond ridiculous. Mario, Sonic, Bowser, and Dr. Eggman are all trapped in a video game which takes them through the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, while the rest of the crew is trying to get them out in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Despite that, and the horrible dialogue, it’s really cool to see how they put the open world together, the way you travel through it, and the 8-bit games are a lot of fun. It also does a much better job teaching you how to play the events.

The Amazing Games

After playing longer, I got into the sports that I’m really enjoying. I love 8-bit diving. Enjoyed rugby and “football” (soccer to Americans) a ton.

As I play some of the other games more and more, they’re fantastic, as well. There are still a few I loathe (javelin and discus), but overall, the game is a ton of fun, and the kids love it.

An Epiphany about Bowser

As I was playing, though, I had a realization. Bowser is invited to all of these events. He gets in on Mario’s party, racing, and the Olympics. The villains are never told to get lost. Even at the end of Mario Odyssey, Bowser and Mario are pretty jovial with each other.

It dawned on me, as I put the pieces together, that Bowser isn’t a villain! He’s Mario’s best friend.

You know those motivational speakers who tell you who to surround yourself with? Surround yourself with people who want the best for you. The people who push you to be more.

Even in Super Mario, Mario likely would have sat around all day, eating junk food, watching TV, and playing plumber with Princess Peach. Bowser, in kidnapping her, gave Mario a goal. He made Mario work out. He pressed the plumber to be his very best. Otherwise…what would Mario strive for?

It’s turned out to the advantage of everyone in both the Mushroom and Koopa Kingdom when foes appear who are far beyond even Bowser. Instead of The Dude, we have a pretty fit plumber. If only Bowser would have been there to kidnap Jane Foster to motivate Thor.

So the next time you feel the hate toward Bowser, remember, he was just trying to make Mario the best plumber he could be. In return, Mario originally tossed him in a pit of lava. And Bowser got past that.

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