You may have heard something of Super Mario Galaxy. It’s the true successor to the last classic Mario platformer, Super Mario 64 (let’s not bring up the aberration that was Super Mario Sunshine). Anyway… I picked it up on the internets a couple of weeks before the release and have playing it in basically all of my free time since then, which has been limited. The game is basically perfect–the controls are sublime, the difficulty ramp finely tuned to gently hone your skills from rank n00b to the point that you are capable of accomplishing outrageous shit like this:
Or this (in both cases the goal is to get 100 purple coins–you die, you start over. No second chances!
Every level you finish nets you a star, the currency of success in the game. Your star count is what it’s all about, and once you’ve got 60 stars, you’re welcome to go kick Bowser’s ass and save Princess Peach (again, yes!). You get a nice movie and the credits roll. But as any fan knows, this isn’t the half of it. There are 60 more stars, some of them diabolically hard to finish (as in the video above). So great! You buckle down, play through the last 60, now you’ve got 120! Must be done, right? No! You’ve just unlocked Luigi, who starts back at the beginning of the game with 0 stars, and you get to do it all over again.
It takes a special kind of person to play a game they just beat (twice) all over again, and I am that kind. Actually, Luigi is subtly different from Mario. He slides around when you try to stop him, which makes most things harder, but he’s also skinny, so he floats further when jumping and flys farther as a bee. He still can’t get the chicks that Mario is landing though, poor guy. So anyway, I write you this now, having just finished 120 stars with Luigi, thus unlocking GRAND FINALE GALAXY where I got to meet all my old friends and recall the joy and sadness and screaming frustration of all 242 stars, and that’s a wrap!
Oh, and… I also finished my last class of my life, and graded final exams for 6 hours, and generally polished of the last annoying tasks of the semester. In a few hours we’ll get on a plane headed for some serious holiday relaxation and shit. And it couldn’t come soon enough.