I wouldn't call this something I dislike, but there wasn't any other place that seemed like a relevant place to post this as a comment or topic.
I thought I might help give a better perspective of Nintendo as a gaming entity after the last TTV Podcast discussion. I happened to disagree with a lot of the viewpoints represented, and I think a lot of it may have just been a lack of knowledge on the subject, so I've decided to try and provide that context.
Nintendo is a (very) Japanese company. They have many in-house developers and a few second-party developers (like Game Freak). Their business practices might be stupid at times, but that’s because businesses in general are often like that in Japan. They have a… very set mindset. It’s more a of a cultural thing, honestly. If you go to a restaurant in Japan, you’ll eat the food the exact way they prepare it because they want you to enjoy it as intended. In western regions, we’re very… particular. We like things catered to us, and our culture revolves around that. There are also steps that they’re required to take in order to protect their IP. If they didn’t send cease and desist messages forcing fan creators to take their creations using Nintendo’s IPs down, they could very well lose the right to their own IPs. That, of course, doesn’t excuse the old people in the company that don’t understand why good online is extremely important and why transparency needs to happen a lot more.
Moving on to Mario, it started out as a 2D platformer on the NES, and evolved into a 3D sandbox platformer on the N64. To say that the games are churned out at fast rate, or even to imply that these genres have no staying power and are on the border of irrelevancy is a very false and close-minded assumption to make. To start, there is usually only one 2D platformer and 3D platformer Mario respectively on any given system. The exception would obviously be the Galaxy series, which had a sequel thanks to the Wii’s popularity and massive success. Both genres are done by different in-house teams, which means that you have about 4-6 years of wait time in between each 3D/2D Mario release (barring games that might reuse old assets).
Platformers in general have a lot of staying power. They’re not being phased out (they've grown back in popularity in recent years) due to being “archaic” like someone on the podcast seemed to suggest. They’ve evolved with the times just as much as any other genre. This is one of the reasons why I simply HAVE to recommend Mario Odyssey to anyone who thinks otherwise. It takes out a lot of the annoying aspects 3D platformers had in the olden days, and streamlines everything to be a more organic and natural experience. Now, we might see less of them now, but that’s solely due to the industry pushing whatever catches the most attention in terms of sales. We see this with open world vs linear narrative.
After Skyrim made massive bank, it was only natural that open world games would start to be extremely popular and the go-to business strategy. This doesn’t mean that linear narrative single player experiences are archaic and don’t have their own merit, it just means that whatever gets pushed as the big stepping stone in gaming is what everyone flocks towards. We saw the same thing with 3D platformers, and everyone thought that 2D platformers were going to be phased out completely, yet they’re still here today and doing mighty well.
On the topic of power and “graphics”, Nintendo used to be on top of that up until the Game Cube did rather mediocre. After the Wii took off, they decided that power didn’t matter at all. It had to be unique experiences and exclusive software that would make consoles viable, and to their credit, they’re pretty much right. We live in an age where third party games can be bought on custom high powered gaming PCs. The only reason to buy an XBOX ONE or PS4 is if you like the exclusives for those consoles. I, personally, have a gaming PC that I use for most games. I’ve had it since I built it back when I was 16 (so, about four years ago). When I bought a PS4, it was for exclusives. The PS4 has HZD, Uncharted, and a whole bunch of great JRPGs going for it (and the Shadow of the Colossus Remaster). With consoles trying to push for higher limits by offering models that have more power, you have to ask: why make a PS5 or XBOX whatever, and why should consumers even look at those consoles in the first place if most of the games that benefit from the extra power could easily be enjoyed on a PC? Why go to those systems for better performance and graphical prowess, when you can get a PC that will always be better?
This is where the Switch makes console gaming relevant, especially as PC gaming becomes more and more popular. Most people who buy consoles are people on a budget, but if you want your console to sell extremely well, you need everyone to want it. The best way to do this is to make it useful. Note that I said “useful”, as that’s different from “unique”. The Gameboy was useful because it allowed you to take games around the level of a NES game with you on the go. That was mindblowing back then. The Wii was useful because it offered a new way of playing that ended up being really interesting and entertaining. It was the first mainstream console to make games more interactive. The DS was useful because it allowed for interesting possibilities with handheld games that have became a staple for some people. The Wii U was unique because it spent it’s time focusing on just being different, but didn’t know what the true use of the console was. This lack of focus and reason for existing led to confusing marketing campaigns and even a lack of notable games.
With the Switch, you buy two things in one. You buy a home console, and you buy a handheld. From previous podcasts, I can see that most of the members from TTV don’t understand just how important handhelds are for a Japanese company. Japan as a consumer base tends to ONLY play handhelds. The 3DS is one of the most popular consoles there, and the Vita is relatively passive there (compared to being dead in the water in western markets). Even better, college students in the west also seem to really love handhelds, because they can play them more and don’t even need a TV. This is where the Switch succeeds in the entirety of its design. You can play the Switch, “turn it off”, and your play session will still be there when you get back. You don’t have to worry about losing all of the progress you made before class. You don’t have to worry about time constraints and making it to a save point.
Now, my thoughts on Mario Odyssey specifically: It’s a game that can be enjoyed even by people who aren’t into Mario. A lot of people who enjoy the game aren’t even fans of the series, and that’s because the game design is very fluid. It all just works. It’s made specifically as a game where you have fun first, and take it on at your own pace. It isn’t so giant and massive that you’re overwhelmed or question whether you can viably play it as a working college student. You can beat it quickly and still have fun if you want, you can take it slowly an hour a day, and still get done in a week. You can play it after that and have loads of more content if that’s what you’re looking for. It offers easy ways to play, and challenging ways to play. The platforming works great, and the controls are smooth. Super Mario 64 and Sunshine were plagued by bad camera angles and wonky controls, those aren’t a problem with Odyssey.
If a game is loved by many, then there must be a reason why it’s so loved. Instead of sitting in your chair, knocking something you haven’t even tried, educate yourself first. Find a way to experience it and form a proper opinion. There’s nothing more sad than forming a biased opinion just because you don’t think you’d enjoy something. I didn’t think I’d enjoy Nier Automata, because I thought it looked weird and the robots looked goofy. I saw it for sale, bought it, and realized just how wrong I was. Gaming is not a hobby that benefits from cynicism. It’s a hobby that require an open-mind, and a genuine urge to try out all genres without any negative preconceptions. I used to be like that when I was a teenager. I was all into only playing edgy games. When I became an adult and starting widening my tastes and interests, I came to realize that every game genre has it’s merits and reasons to be played. It’s not about whether you “get it” or not. It’s about whether you’re willing to try it out in the first place.
One last thing I'd like to point out, any jaded feelings or emotions brought on by surrounding yourself with a specific style of game and the lack of any real want to try different genres isn't exactly a steady pillar to place your arguments or complaints on. It may also be that your jaded feelings are actually brought on by your unwillingness to branch out. It's like only watching western movies and soap operas, and then feeling jaded at the whole film industry, when in reality you're the one tiring yourself out and there are other options out there for you to try. You're just too picky to try them. Again, none of this is meant to disrespect or belittle any of the cast members. I respect your opinions and your likes/dislikes, but I also want to try and urge those of you that aren't convinced to give other styles a go. If you only play action/adventure, try out a JRPG. If you only play JRPGs, try out a Western open world RPG. There's so much out there, and it's a crime not to try and branch out. You simply can't maintain an interest in a hobby if you don't try it out to its full lengths. It'd be like only playing similar sounding songs on the piano, refusing to try new and exciting pieces with entirely different structures.
(I understand that this is really long, my apologies for those who don't have the time to read it)