Mario Golf: Super Rush, the story of the Nintendo series

Mario Golf: Super Rush, the story of the Nintendo series

Mario Golf

Mario, we know, has tried his hand at the most disparate sports over the years, but if there is one in which he really has a lot of experience it is golf. On June 25 Mario Golf: Super Rush arrives on Nintendo Switch, the new appointment with one of the most popular sports spinoffs starring Mario and his friends. From what we have seen so far, Super Rush aims to be the ultimate Mario Golf experience, including and developing some of the most characterizing elements of the old episodes, but at the same time inserting new ideas that make it not only a great game of golf but also a hilarious party game. To find out how the series has come about and how the series has changed over the years, you can retrace the history of Mario Golf from its origins, but you will be surprised to know that Mario's career in sports did not begin with the first episode. for Nintendo 64, but several years earlier.

NES and Game Boy origins

Golf (1984). Mario, is it really you? One of the first video games developed by the late Satoru Iwata while working at HAL Laboratory was Golf, a game for the Famicom released in Japan in 1984 and based on the sport of the same name. Today, looking at some pictures of this prehistoric interpretation of golf may bring out some smiles, but the one made by Miyamoto and Iwata was probably one of the most influential games in the genre. He was in fact the first to introduce an indicator that allowed to select the strength of the shot but also its accuracy, a gameplay solution that has been adopted by the vast majority of golf games and which still today, almost forty years later, represents the standard. But why are we talking about Golf? After all, the protagonist is not Mario, but a golfer in blue pants and a white shirt.

Golf, the cover of the Famicom and that of the NES. Or at least that's what the Japanese cover implied. Seen in profile within the game, the character was much more familiar, a middle-aged man with a belly and mustache, whom Shigeru Miyamoto put in his video games and to whom he had given several nicknames. Mr. Video, Ossan ("middle-aged man" in Japanese), or Jumpman. So when Golf arrived in the West the following year, the character on the cover was recolored in red, recalling Mario's character even more explicitly. The same happened with the Game Boy edition of the game: the Japanese box, which showed three anonymous golfers intent on playing, was completely redesigned in the USA and Europe, sporting an unmistakable mustachioed little man in red dungarees.

Golf for Game Boy, the one on the right reminds you of anyone? Adding Mario to Western games packaging was a practice that Nintendo has repeated on other occasions, perhaps as a cameo or more likely with the intention of making its games more appealing. This is the case, for example, in Baseball, where Mario is seen in the place of the pitcher, or in Alleyway, where he is driving the spaceship. However, in those years Nintendo had already begun to embrace the idea of ​​using its mascot in the new editions of Golf. Family Computer Golf: Japan Course was basically a reskin of the original game that clearly allowed you to play as Mario and Luigi. Then it was the turn of NES Open Tournament Golf, a slightly more modern game, which can be found in the Nintendo Switch Online catalog and which features Mario, Luigi, Peach and Daisy. Without knowing it, Nintendo had laid the foundations for a successful line of sports games starring some of its most appreciated and popular characters.

Mario Golf is born

Mario Golf for Nintendo 64 The debut of the the first real Mario Golf took place only in 1999 on Nintendo 64. Developed by Camelot Software (original author of Everybody's Golf) and considered the first of countless sports spinoffs starring Mario and his companions, Mario Golf re-proposed the typical formula of golf games in three dimensions , making it accessible to those unfamiliar with the sport but keeping some elements to take into account, such as the strength of the wind, the rain, the type of terrain or the effect given to the ball. What made the game unique, however, was a colorful roster of selectable characters: from Mario and Luigi (obviously) to Donkey Kong, passing through Yoshi, Wario, Peach and Bowser, each with unique characteristics and their own voice.

Thanks also to different game modes, Mario Golf for Nintendo 64 received a positive reception, but the potential that the series had began to be glimpsed that same year thanks to the edition for Game Boy Color: also in this case developed by Camelot, the portable version of Mario Golf had fewer characters, obviously simpler graphics, but contained a new RPG-style mode, in which to move freely, interact with other characters and level up between challenges . For a slice of fans, this sort of primitive Story mode was enough to make Mario Golf for Game Boy Color even more intriguing than its big brother on the Nintendo 64.

From GameCube to DS

Mario Golf : Toadstool Tour for GameCube The huge appreciation from fans has prompted Nintendo and Camelot to revive a new pair of games designed for the new consoles of the Japanese company. In 2003 Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour arrived on GameCube, a game that aimed to enrich and refine the first Mario Golf from every point of view. Graphically it was light years ahead, there were more characters (including the crazy Waluigi) and the maps were more interesting, but above all the mechanics were deeper and more refined, with more freedom in managing the camera and studying the slope of the terrain, new obstacles and more options for effecting the ball.

Mario Golf: Advance Tour, the Story mode has inspired many developers, including the Australian Sidebar Games, team behind the acclaimed Golf Story. The following year is Mario Golf: Advance Tour for Game Boy Advance, and Camelot's approach is once again the same. To make up for less impressive graphics and less content, Advance Tour could boast a Story mode with RPG elements and two unreleased protagonists: Neil and Ella must participate in a series of golf tournaments until the final challenge against Mario, by now. became a golfing legend. In 2014, the Mario Golf series comes to Nintendo DS with Mario Golf: World Tour. The second screen of the console allowed you to more intuitively select the club, the point of the ball to hit, the rotation and the power of the blow. Among the most interesting innovations was the possibility of playing online with friends, while in the roster of playable characters, your own Mii was also added for the first time.

Towards Mario Golf: Super Rush

Mario Golf: Super Rush After World Tour, the Mario Golf series took a few years off, although Mario and his friends would dust off the golf club on 3DS inside Mario Sports Superstars, where golf was one of the playable disciplines together with tennis, baseball, football and ... horse racing.

With Mario Golf: Super Rush, Nintendo wants to further enrich the experience with greater support for online matches and the introduction of party game mechanics such as the renewed Speed ​​Golf mode and the explosive Battle Golf. However, he also wants to bring to the Switch a summary of all the most popular aspects of the series, from the depth and presentation of Toadstool Tour to the online game and the Mii of World Tour, passing through an adventure mode that recalls the appreciated episode for the Game Boy Advance. or for the spectacular Special Shots which have now become an iconic element of the franchise. Up to the power of the stroke indicator, which despite some slight modifications has remained absolutely identical to the one conceived in 1984 for that funny golf game with a fake Mario as the protagonist.

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