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Maybe it has something to do with my soul being slightly twisted, but when I watch a movie or play a video game, my brain rattles off an endless stream of nonsense questions about the subject matter I'm consuming.
Super Mario Odyssey is no exception. We're talking about a video game in which Mario seizes control of a frog's faculties within ten minutes of pressing "Start." Of course my brain-goblin elbows my mind the whole time I'm playing and whispers, "Hey. None of this makes any sense on any level. Hey. I have questions about Mario's world. Hey."
Amongst other things, I wonder:
"Why does Bowser suddenly care so much about holy matrimony?"
Whether you're a fan of the ancient "Bowser kidnaps Peach" plot driving most Mario games, or whether you're stone-cold bored of it, it doesn't matter: It's not going anywhere. Bowser's going to keep on plucking Peach off the ground like a ripe vegetable for years to come.
I've accepted this ritual as fact of life. What I want to know is, why's he suddenly so hell-bent on getting married? The plot for Odyssey is all about following the Big Man while he secures items to legitimize his union with Peach. Oh, now it's an issue, Bowser? Are you worried Rosalina might bring her wrath down on a union that's steeped in sin? I guess I don't blame you.
"Why aren't the Koopalings organizing Bowser's wedding for him?"
The Koopalings pursue us like phantoms in 2D Mario games, but they're no-shows in 3D Mario titles. They're used to carrying out Bowser's schemes with aplomb. Surely, they'd add a lot of flair to a wedding. I can visualize Wendy O constructing each centerpiece with love and care, then cackling when the flowers within burst open, release poison spores, and asphyxiate all the guests.
"Why are the Broodals—a bunch of wedding planners—doing wetwork for Bowser?"
Man, I hope the Broodals get a piece of the spotlight in the next Mario & Luigi and / or Paper Mario game. These sinister bunny siblings are hired by Bowser to organize his wedding and whack Mario. I've heard of businesses with double specialities, but holy hell. There is so much incredible story potential here, and playing Mario & Luigi + Bowser's Minions has reminded me Nintendo's clever writing can turn a lowly Goomba into a lovable hero. Writing the Broodals as villains with starkly conflicting interests would be a snap.
"Why are there only Shiba Inu in every Kingdom?"
I'm not anti-Shibe. Some of my favorite dogs are Shibes. I just think it's disappointing Mario visits a Mexican-inspired Kingdom and doesn't meet a Xoloitzcuintli.
"Why is New Donk City's architecture and population so bizarre?"
I touched on New Donk City's unorthodox infrastructure and grey, conformist population following E3 2017, and I don't feel like many of my questions have been answered since completing Mario Odyssey. I have nothing against you guys, New Donkers—you're all very nice people—but y'all weird.
"Why are boxers so expensive?"
Boxers are one of the most expensive "costumes" in Mario Odyssey. They're your only ticket to seeing Mario's nipples, so if that's your jam, don't get stingy. What bothers me is, boxers are ground zero for body hygiene. Expensive boxers mean boxers probably don't get replaced very often in the Mario Odyssey universe. Friggin' ew. What's the story on this filthy boxer racket you're running, Crazy Cap?
"Why doesn't Cappy retain his custom cap form when he captures an enemy?"
Super Mario Odyssey doesn't skimp on visual details, so allow me to sound like a whiny, petulant child for a second: I'm disappointed Cappy doesn't retain the shape of any custom hat Mario is wearing when he captures a foe. i.e. if Mario is wearing a cowboy hat when he captures something, Cappy will revert into a red Mario cap with eyes. Shoot. I wanted to "place" a tiny cowboy hat on the T-Rex.
"Who goes around putting little hats on enemies with no arms, like Goombas?"
While we're talking about tiny hats: How do limbless Mario enemies put on their hats? I've seen Goombas wearing chef caps, top hats, and chapeaus clearly inspired by Pauline's look. Are they born with these head coverings? Are they sacred? Can they be re-applied once they're knocked off? I suppose I ought to ask myself how Goombella holds up her book in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.
"Where's the bathroom on the Odyssey?"
"Grow up, Nadia!" OK, but listen. When I read Ramona the Pest as a kid, I nodded in agreement when Ramona asked her teacher how the character in a storybook went to the bathroom if he was, as the narrative describes, "Busy digging all day and night." And don't feed me anything like "Mario characters don't go to the washroom." Not long ago, I re-experienced the scene in Mario & Luigi wherein Professor E Gadd drinks some bad coffee and desperately asks for a toilet.
As it so happens, the coffee shop that poisoned E Gadd didn't have washrooms. So I guess bathrooms … just aren't a priority for Nintendo characters, Mario included? Or Mario just sits on the rail of the Odyssey when nature calls? Attention denizens of the Luncheon Kingdom: If you don't clear your picnic tables as soon as a hat-shaped shadow crosses over the sun, you're gonna have a bad time.
"When Mario captures a creature's mind, does he see their memories, fears, and anxieties every single time?"
When Mario captures his first creature—a wee frog—we see a brief sequence where he kind of shuffles through the frog's thoughts and memories. I understand Nintendo can't show the sequence every single time for brevity's sake, but I still wonder if it happens. Before you can share the taxi cab's power, Mario, you must share its pain.