The 20th of October, a rather plain and run of the mill sort of day, except this day was a special day for a select number of Nintendo fans. On this day Switch London were invited to Windsor...no, not to go to Legoland, but to partake in a super secret trip to Nintendo UK’s Headquarters.
So what was so special to invite everyone over? Well it turns out Community Manager James Bowden had organised a special party to celebrate a little title called Super Mario Odyssey...yeah I’ve not heard of it either ;P
Once we’d signed into with the lovely security guy and signed our embargoes, James gave us a goodie bag. This rather snazzy red Nintendo tote bag contained a plush Cappy cap, Cappy pin, Super Mario Odyssey lanyard (honestly you can never have enough lanyards) and a copy of the game, which we were allowed to play straight away. For those of us that didn’t have a Switch of our own, James kindly lend out consoles for the day. Unless we’d rather spend the afternoon playing Super Mario 64 which was also on offer.
James informed us that he would be running a photography competition using Super Mario Odyssey’s snapshot feature with some other Nintendo employees being the judges. He informed us that the categories would be “Cute”, “Funny” and “Artistic”. We could use any in-game photography filter and our snapshots would be judged at the end of the day, until then we were allowed to play as much as we wanted.
Super Mario Odyssey certainly builds on the framework of classic Mario 3D platform era of gaming. The closest Mario game I could compare this to would be Super Mario Galaxy series, but even that’s not a close enough comparison. Gameplay wise Odyssey borrows from Galaxy, has the open feel of Super Mario 64, the semi linear mission feel of Super Mario Sunshine and somehow has a dash of a Zelda game with the health replenishing heart system. From the worlds, referred to as Kingdoms, I’ve seen so far, they are breathtaking and stunning. This is a game that you want to be playing on the TV, hopefully with stereo surround sound for the super immersive experience. Be prepared to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, because you are going on this Odyssey and heaven knows when you’ll return to them.
After a few hours of gameplay, kindly interrupted by lunch and multiple cups of tea (the only way to game of course). It was time for the hidden mini-game of the day - Beat James’s Crazy Race Time. The time to beat was under under 20 seconds and try as hard as some might, James still came out on top. He even showed a recording of how he did it, but not even knowing the secret was enough to top James’s mad skills.
The time for the photo judging arrived with all Switches being placed on the table and the best 3 in each category winning a Super Mario Odyssey amiibo. I won in the Cute category and was able to choose a Wedding Peach amiibo to add to my (ever growing) amiibo collection. Flicking to the back of the box reveals that not only does this amiibo give you in game goodies, it also unlocks a wedding dress for Mario to wear in-game - Double Score!
With that the day was over, it was time for the final hugs and goodbyes as we all left to fulfil our own Odyssey. A very big thank you to Nintendo UK and James Bowden for hosting such a wonderful event and allowing Switch London to be a part of it!