Happy Mario Day, apparently, with a whole feast of Mario-related announcements from Nintendo to celebrate the 35th anniversary — oh, Jesus — of plumbing, jumping, and antagonizing turtles. (Complicating things further, Baby Mario turned 25 last month; it is not necessary to contemplate whether wearing diapers at this age makes the character an ABDL.)
To mark the occasion, Nintendo has revealed a slew of new games, toys, and accessories. Too much, really, if we’re being honest. But this is excellent news for anyone who dreams of living an all-Mario lifestyle, like they’re perpetually stuck in a 7-year-old’s themed birthday party in 1989. Or, alternately, for anyone who just enjoys really great games (and a few so-so ones).
The coolest announcement today was the unveiling of Mario Kart Live, which allows you to create a virtual racetrack in your home, then use your Switch to race physical toy cars around the track. The cars are outfitted with cameras, so you can control them from what is basically a Lakitu’s POV. It’s so egregiously silly I can’t stop thinking about it, so well done Nintendo on infiltrating my brain. If we're going to be stuck at home, might as well turn home into a videogame.
The remaining reveals are a bit less groundbreaking — they’re largely ways for Nintendo to make you buy games you’ve already bought many times over the last thirty years. Super Mario All Stars will be available to buy today; that’s the compilation of the first three NES Mario games, plus the Lost Levels that were released in Japan.
Then on September 18, Mario 3D All Stars will go on sale, bundling together Super Mario 64, Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. Galaxy is one of the best platformers ever made, so it’s worth a re-visit; and of course there’s never a wrong time to remember why you loved Mario 64 so much, and what made Sunshine so … ah … let’s call it “quixotic.” Weirdly, this bundle will only be available through the end of March 2021.
Super Mario 35 comes out on October 1, and it’s sort of a Mario battle royale — like Tetris 99 or Fall Guys, but with Super Mario Bros. You play the familiar old NES game at the same time as 34 other players, and you can all throw obstacles at each other like it’s a multiplayer game of Dr. Mario. I guess the thing about this one that intrigues me most is how much it reminds me of other games.
Then in November, Nintendo is hoping you’ll put a new commemorative Game & Watch onto your holiday wishlist. It’s a cute little handheld doodad that plays the original NES game. Not sure that’s worth $50 but hey it’s your money.
And in 2021, we’ve got a real mystery on our hands. Nintendo will re-release Super Mario 3D World, which is an excellent game, plus something called Bowser’s Fury about which we know nothing aside from it being cat-themed. Look, all I’m saying about this one is that it’s one letter off of Bowser’s Furry, so do with that what you will.
There’s also a handful of other goofy tie-ins; Animal Crossing will be getting some Mario furniture, Super Mario Maker 2 is getting a new course; they’re hosting a Mario-themed Splatfest in January. And if you buy a certain combination of games and do some free marketing on Nintendo’s behalf, you have a chance to get some cute collectible pins in the mail — not really worth it in my opinion, but then again, making a little mustache man hop on turtles isn’t exactly productive either and yet we’ve been keeping him at it for 35 years. Here's to 35 more!