“Only one person so far,” said the very nice Nintendo rep, “didn’t change Mario into his swimsuit.”
That didn’t surprise me.
It’s a gorgeous Friday afternoon. I am the last appointment of the day. The last person this nice lady will guide through Super Mario Odyssey. A video game that will almost certainly be ‘brilliant’. Brilliant is a dead word, but it applies. Super Mario Odyssey will sparkle, dazzle, it will shine brightly.
But here I am thinking about nipples. Talking, even, about nipples.
Nipples. Nipples. Nipples.
It makes sense. For the week prior to my 90 minute playthrough of Super Mario Odyssey, my social media life was dominated by a single tweet. A tweet made off-hand after spotting a screenshot posted on Nintendo’s social media accounts.
The image: Mario, mid run, tilted at the angle of someone jogging in gleeful concentric circles. He’s not smiling, but content. Loose. Relaxed. Of course he is. At this exact moment, Mario is chilling at the beach.
And he’s dressed appropriately. He’s wearing a hat, presumably to shelter himself from the sun, he’s wearing swimming shorts in case he wants to cool off in the ocean.
Crucially, he’s shirtless.
And at first this appeared normal. At first this made complete sense. Maybe a rashie would have been more on-brand for Nintendo’s most child-friendly mascot, but sure.
Then my eyes wandered. Then I saw them.
Mario’s nipples. Fuck. This can’t be right? Mario has nipples.
Great, now I know what Mario’s nipples look like.
Great, now I know what Mario's nipples look like. pic.twitter.com/OnZhmL7hNR
— Mark Serrels (@Serrels) September 13, 2017
The above tweet, made in response, went pretty insane. Turns out a lot of people were having feelings about Mario’s nipples and my thoughts resonated. It currently has about 4,500 retweets, 12,000 ‘likes’. Last time I checked over 1.1 million people saw my tweet about Mario’s nipples.
TL;DR, in the week prior to my playthrough of Super Mario Odyssey, Mario’s man-teats were a prominent part of my life.
Which is why this piece of writing doesn’t feature sentences like: “this is the most insane Mario yet” or “Mario is back baby and better than ever”. I’m sure you can get that elsewhere – and guess what, Mario is really fucking good. It’s always really fucking good. This is not a surprise. It is known.
Okay, back to the nipples.
As soon as it was possible to see Mario’s nipples I unleashed them. It’s pretty simple. Super Mario Odyssey has an in-game shop called ‘Crazy Cap’. You select the shorts, you buy the shorts, you wear the shorts and you look at Mario’s nipples.
Which is precisely what I did.
It got me thinking about the nipples. The most common discussion regarding Mario’s topless body was the lack of hair. Considering the density of his moustache, one might suspect Mario was hiding a rug beneath those overalls, but no. His body is that of a child. Mario is small. Despite his ability to jump three times his own height he has no muscle definition. He is utterly hairless. His nipples appear fragile and delicate. He runs and scampers like an enthusiastic toddler, yet leaps into the air like a humanised grasshopper. He is an old man’s head on a child’s body and that is almost certainly by design.
Considering what I know about Nintendo, and how it runs its brand and business, I’m fairly certain that a lot of thought went into Mario’s nipples; that Mario’s nipples have their own document specifying all sorts of things – colour, distance, shape, definition. I think about these things as I jump and totter in a myriad of beautiful locations and gorgeously rendered environments.
I think about someone making a mistake with the nipples, and the possible repercussions. The emails sent about Mario’s nipples. The discussions, the arguments. Emergency morning meeting about Mario’s nipples.
I think about these things as I explore a densely packed wonderland with surprises around every corner.
Super Mario Odyssey is a spectacularly made video game, in which it feels very nice to jump and innovates smartly with its new ability to have Mario possess items, enemies and NPCs with his new hat ‘Cappy’. Super Mario Odyssey feels familiar yet fresh and will almost certainly be a worthy successor in a storied franchise that video game fans have been enjoying for decades. Older fans and children alike will no doubt fall for this new iteration of Mario.
And the nipples are spectacular.