== Nixon Computer ==

GAME CLEAR No. 165 -- Super Mario Bros. Wonder

video games game clear nintendo mario switch

Super Mario Bros. Wonder (2023, Switch)

Developer: Nintendo EPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Clear Date: 3/31/24


Why should I care?
This is the best 2D Mario game in over 30 years and a contender for the best ever.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the kind of mega hit game from a mega hit franchise for which a review by me – especially a positive review – feels particularly pointless. This game sold a zillion copies, I’m sure, and I seriously doubt there’s many people out there who haven’t pretty much decided where they stand on this series at this point.

What I think is cool is that we actually exist again in a moment in which Nintendo saw fit to release a real, high-effort 2D Mario platformer. I like that.

As someone whose sort of stock answer to “what is the greatest game of all-time?” is Super Mario World, though, playing through this has been a source of some introspection. As much as I was constantly having fun with Super Mario Bros. Wonder, and for all the ways it’s bigger and more of a audiovisual and gameplay marvel than Super Mario World, I’m still disinclined to call it better than its 1990 predecessor.


Is it some strict reverence to that which came before? Am I giving World credit for innovation where I’m only giving Wonder credit for iteration? Or, instead, is Wonder a lot of fun to look at and play, but ultimately feels like cheap heat compared to the raw tightness of control and level design of World?

I don’t know. Obviously formative media will always be just completely unpryably embedded in our hearts, but I’ll be damned if I can argue why Wonder isn’t the best 2D Mario game on the merits. It could never hope to hit the same as World did when I was 14 or whatever, but then am I sure I’d feel so positively about World if I only finally got around to it now?

Is perceived media quality truly so fickle? Is there a point to this fucking blog?

Yeah. Sometimes I’ll play something like Devil May Cry 3 to remind me why I still keep seeking out games I haven’t played. That’s right. I am still capable of having that feeling that I’ve played something truly special.