Much ado is being made over something Nintendo has said about Super Mario Odyssey. This is an open-world Mario game. It is going to be an entirely new experience. This means it is going to have a whole new gameplay systems. Among them is the abolishment of the “Game Over.” While people can absolutely die, the game doesn’t end. You incur a small coin penalty, but then resume from a nearby point so you can keep going.
Is taking the “Game Overs” out of a Super Mario game such a bad thing? Is Nintendo coddling gamers? People should be able to accept that bad and unskilled behavior will cause a game to end. Or is Nintendo doing something that could be making Super Mario Odyssey a stronger game? This could be a convenience and time-saver that keeps you from needing to backtrack after a simple mistake.
It is easy to see this as treating some people like special snowflakes. There will always be people who can’t handle bad situations. They’re the kind who will leave bad reviews on games like Dark Souls, all because the games are “too hard.” They are the people Nintendo made the Super Guides for that allow people to zip through games like Donkey Kong Country Returns or New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Games that don’t penalize players aren’t helping these people to grow. It’s holding them back and catering them in the wrong sort of way.
Game overs are a way of life. Even a game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild offers them, despite being an open-world game. They just require people to go back to their most recent save to recover. But you get that note that lets you know you did something wrong. It isn’t such a bad thing to shy away from some sort of finality.
But then, maybe Super Mario Odyssey is going to be doing enough. After all, being sent all the way back to the entrance of an open-world area is frustrating. I am absolutely find with seeing a “Game Over” screen and incurring a monetary penalty to slap me on the wrist. But if a kingdom in this game is a huge space and death is going to undo about an hour’s worth of work, maybe more, then by all means give us a non-punishment. There’s teaching people a lesson and enforcing the status-quo and going overboard for the sake of sticking with tradition.
Companies shouldn’t be coddling people. That is true. A statement like “No more Game Overs!” will need to be accompanied by a thorough explanation showing what sorts of consequences people will face. We will have to see if Super Mario Odyssey is too lenient with its option before judging. But, in the meantime, we should also hope this doesn’t mean Nintendo will be willing to be lackadaisical.