During Friday’s big Nintendo Switch presentation, the gaming giant revealed that a new sandbox-style 3D Super Mario game is headed to its upcoming console. The game, Super Mario Odyssey, looks beautiful, and the trailer showed the mustachioed plumber exploring some stunning locations — including a realistic city. While that’s cool, it’s also more than a little bit disconcerting, as seeing a cartoonish Mario run around normal people brings back memories of 2006’s Sonic the Hedgehog — possibly one of the worst games of all time.
In case you forgot (possibly by blocking out the memory of all Sonic ‘06’s ill-advised weirdness), the Sonic game was notorious for a strange, self-important plot that revolved around a romance between a realistic human woman and a giant, cartoon, blue hedgehog. The mismatched action culminated when Princess Elise — whose normal proportions make Sonic’s giant head look totally absurd and out-of-place — had to kiss Sonic to bring him back to life.
Here’s the scene. Warning: it’s bad.
The game was a mess. The controls were wonky, gameplay was super buggy, and the plot would’ve been bad if it had been poorly written fetish fanfiction, let alone the story for a tentpole video game.
Super Mario Odyssey, on the other hand, looks good! There’s little reason to think that Nintendo is going to make Mario mack with a human woman. Heck, Mario and Peach are almost never physical, so it doesn’t seem like he’ll be too involved with the realistic people who populate Odyssey’s city.
Still, there’s something inherently weird about seeing an iconic cartoon character interact with non-cartoons. The disconnect just makes everything seem weird — like some weird cavernous offshoot of the uncanny valley. We’ll find out if Super Mario Odyssey makes the same mistakes that Sonic ‘06 did when the game comes out over the holidays in 2017.