LTTP: Mario Golf

I only had a little bit of time to try it out, but Mario Golf World Tour is actually my first experience with a Mario Golf game, or actually any Mario sports game outside Mario Kart. It’s not really what I expected but I think I understand the franchise’s appeal.

Mario Kart has set a certain expectation for Mario sports games for me. Going into Mario Golf I didn’t really expect golf but some extreme toy-like thing resembling golf. I expected a game where you sling fireballs all over obstacle courses balanced around insane items that keep competitors on their toes. Mario Kart is nothing like actual kart racing, so why should Mario Golf be anything like real golf?

What I was able to see over the course of 36 holes was… well, a golf simulation. It’s a golf simulation where you can turn on Mario-themed items and coins but at its base I still see a golf simulation streamlined for the accessibility that defines Nintendo’s games. The courses are golf holes, not Mario levels with golf holes in them. It’s quick and easy to play while taking some mastering, but at default settings it’s still quaint golf, not a frantic mutation of golf.

I guess the meat comes in the single player competitions which are laid out like a quest mode, complete with an explorable area filled with NPCs to talk to. This makes Mario Golf a rather involving progression of a golf simulation rather than a quick-fun frantic game like Mario Kart.

Maybe it’s because the games are developed not internally by Nintendo, but by Camelot — the makers of the original Everybody’s Golf. Maybe Nintendo would have in fact created a much more “gamified” version of golf instead of an accessible simulator.

And I don’t even know about the other Mario sports games: Super Sluggers, Strikers, Tennis, or Hoops. Are those all Nintendo-made exaggerations on the order of Mario Kart? Or are some of them merely Mario-branded streamlined simulators? Does this have anything to do with why Mario Kart is way more popular than all those franchises?


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One thought on “LTTP: Mario Golf

  1. Jesus B. says:

    Sluggers, Strikers and Hoops are definitely Nintendo-made exaggerations, but they are quite good in that particular area. Particularly Strikers, which I had for a long time on the Gamecube and played it solo and multiplayer, is a very fun game (and it can be quite difficult too). I think Hoops it’s in the same order, although Sluggers might be a little more close to simulation. On the hand, Tennis and Golf are definitely more Mario-branded streamlined simulators (Being Tennis a little bit more exaggerated with the power-ups and all that, especially the later ones, not the one for the N64) and they are really fun games on their own. Now when you analyze this you also have to consider 2 things:
    – Tennis and Golf were also the first attempts on making Mario-branded sports games with 3D graphics (In fact, I think they were the first Nintendo sports games on 3D consoles), so it’s kinda logic they are more toned down with exaggerations, because in a way they were the first “attempts”, sort of an experiment to see if they could expand the brand even more from their usual Action-Adventure games, and I think it worked. You got Mario Party, all the sports games, Mario in Super Smash Bros, racing games,etc. As time went by, and console generations changed Nintendo got more experience doing sports games (just look at Wii Sports) and had confidence about making them more exaggerated, giving them much more “Mario” personality than before (so now we have the simulation in the form of Wii Sports, and the exaggeration in the form of any Mario sports games).
    – You also need to consider the pace of the game. Golf definitely has a different pace from soccer, so it’s kind of logical that that “Streamlined simulator- Nintendo Exaggeration” contrast is there. You could say there are a million different golf simulators out there that add lots of exaggerated elements, but even then the pace is still way toned down in comparison to soccer, basketball or snowboard games. Exaggerations in fast paced games with continuous action and time limits just make more sense (and Nintendo makes a good use of that). I suggest you play Strikers, I think it’s the perfect example so you can see the difference, besides being very fun (definitely try the local Multiplayer, please).
    Mario Kart is more popular than them because…It’s Mario Kart and it’s awesome. The way I see it is that nowadays Action-Adventure Mario games and Mario Kart games are the Mario “standard” games for every Nintendo console, everything else is optional or just a fun variation (even Mario Party, specially the last few years. I feel like Mario Party’s momentum has already passed, but you never know, it might come back. We are talking about Nintendo right here so, yeah). Think about it: every time a new Nintendo console game is out, what are the Mario games that everyone expects to see and everyone waits with excitement? the new Mario game and the new Mario Kart games, period. Everything else is just optional. I do remember that before their release, there was a lot of hype for the first Mario Party games on the Gamecube after their huge success on the N64, but none of it lasted long and at the end, it just wasn’t that successful.
    So there you go. I could make a blog out of this answer xD
    Awesome blog man, keep it up.

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