Super Mario Odyssey Features

We all know about Usain Bolt and his ludicrous speed over 100 metres. He currently holds the record with 9.58 seconds. Paula Radcliffe set the fastest women's marathon at 2 hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds. In sports, world records mean acclaim and the chance to be recognised as the best in the business. But human obsession over world records isn't limited to the track or the sportsfield. Tony Glover is a name you won't likely be aware of unless you're into horticultural endeavours; he holds the record for growing the world's heaviest onion at 8.5kg. You maybe haven't heard of Silvio Sabba, an Italian man who aims to hold as many records as possible. He currently has around 70 titles to his name, including most clothes pegs attached to his face in one minute (51), most AA batteries held in one hand (48) and most CDs balanced on one finger (255).

Halfway through every Mario game I have the same revelation, and it always comes as a shock, as a total surprise. Halfway through every Mario game I suddenly realise that it's not about where Mario takes you from one adventure to the next, it's about what he encourages you to become along the way. Mario games aren't just great because they're imaginative and generous and precision-made. They're great because, in being all these things, they prod you towards becoming an ideal kind of player - a player who's inventive when it comes to problem-solving, who's able to wield a complex move-set with real accuracy, and who's sufficiently engaged in what's going on right now to hunt down every available secret in a world that's thrillingly dense with them. Mario forces you back into the moment. He encourages you to be playful. For me, every Mario game is like taking a holiday. It's like taking a holiday from the kind of game player that I usually am.

Digital FoundryHow Super Mario Odyssey pushes Switch to its limits

Digital Foundry on the techniques used to create the most advanced Mario title yet.

It's been a long time since the release of Super Mario Sunshine, but for those eagerly awaiting a return to the series' 3D exploratory theme, Super Mario Odyssey is a superb follow-up. It's packed with interesting concepts, tight gameplay and sheer character - this is Nintendo delivering its A-game, a brilliant combination of fresh, bright ideas and exceptional technology.

Digital FoundryHow Super Mario Odyssey scales across docked and handheld modes

HDTV gameplay moves up to 900p, mobile hits 720p60.

Mario Odyssey is the Switch game we've been waiting for, a key technical showcase from one of Nintendo's most talented development teams. The template of Mario Galaxy's full 3D exploration is in place - and in many ways it feels a direct successor to those two Wii classics - but it goes one step further: Odyssey expands on Galaxy's core mechanics with more exotic, wilder stages that could only be realised on more powerful hardware. Already, we've seen a more realistic New York environment from its E3 2017 reveal. But the latest demo we've had access to offers us the chance to analyse three new levels - the Cappy Kingdom, Luncheon Kingdom and Seaside Kingdom - with some exciting findings.

It's been a week since I first played Super Mario Odyssey and got a brief glimpse at its brilliantly bizarre worlds - as well as its slightly baffling motion controls. It left a big impression, but I couldn't help feel like I needed more time to properly understand everything happening on screen before me.

FeatureNintendo consolidates an already special year

Short, sharp and direct, a Switched-on Nintendo shows its best side.

Nintendo stood out even more than normal at this year's E3, and that's not just because you could have cut Reggie into the new series of Twin Peaks without so much as changing a line of his charming doggerel dialogue. Nintendo's ditched conferences for a while now, relying on short, sharp video presentations that do the job of a conference in half the time, and with no need to brave Downtown traffic. This year, though, there was a stronger sense than normal that Nintendo is operating in a different world to its competitors, and that it's managed to transform its own recent fortunes. The strange place that Reggie addresses us from is success: palpable success. The Switch really has changed everything for Nintendo, and this Nintendo Direct was a chance to understand that.

FeatureSuper Mario Odyssey is a very weird Mario game

30 minutes with Switch's next big hit.

The jewel of Nintendo's E3 2017 offering, Super Mario Odyssey feels in some ways similar to last year's star attraction, Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Odyssey is, like Zelda, a game about exploring - of wide, open landscapes seeded with subtle clues to secrets awaiting discovery. On foot, on horseback, on the back of a shield surfing down a ravine, Breath of the Wild's learning curve was smooth and inviting, its play space and possibilities laid out before your eyes from that first vista: the shrine you awoke in behind you, your ultimate goal of Hyrule Castle clear in the distance. Mario's journey feels a lot more experimental, and - on first impressions, at least - a tad trickier too.

As a longtime console war correspondent, one of my maxims is "never rule out Nintendo". Another is "it only takes one game". Looking at the strong launch of Nintendo Switch, I feel both vindicated and embarrassed. Vindicated, because Switch is Nintendo's fastest-selling console ever in both the US and Europe, shipping almost three million consoles in a month, and proving that Nintendo's innovative third-way approach to video game hardware design can still work wonders when it turns up something that customers understand and want.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. As I lie there, I think about the people in all the other bedrooms on my street, and wonder if any of them are awake. Then I think about the people who slept in these rooms a hundred years ago, and where they are now, and how death is coming for us all. And I imagine what my funeral will be like, and wonder if my husband will obey my wishes and play C'est La Vie by B*witched. (Seriously, watch the video. I have yet to find a closer approximation of my personal vision of Heaven captured on film.)