Super Mario Galaxy: Gearing Up for Girlfriend Mode
I am a horrible gamer. Seriously. Remember Super Mario World? Yeah, so do I. You’d run through the level, jumping on mushrooms, getting sucked down green tubes, and picking up coins. You’d find little extras that would let you grow bigger, fly around, or kinda “flicker” while enemies bounced off you like so many tennis balls. You would do that. You. Not me. I watched. If Mario ever wanted a chance in hell of getting through (let alone past) level one, it was just better that way.
So imagine, if you will, my surprise at discovering that the latest Mario incarnation has something called “Co-Star Mode”. The genius of this particular innovation is that the “helper” in “Co-Star Mode” can either be extraordinarily helpful or completely useless—and either way, Mario WON’T DIE. When I play Super Mario Galaxy, I am not responsible for Mario. Mario does his thing. Instead, I get to look for Star Bits.
Co-Star Mode—or, as I call it, “Girlfriend Mode”—allows the second player to be useful in other ways as well. In addition to gathering Star Bits, which can translate into extra lives or new galaxies, the helper can freeze enemies, shoot Star Bits, and make Mario jump. A cautionary note on this last feature, however. Apparently, it isn’t always “helpful” when I make Mario jump. Apparently, the other player gets “confused” and “clumsy” when I make Mario jump. It has been a source of contention at times, which is why I occasionally do it on purpose. It keeps the game lively.
One unexpected result has been that, for my gamer boyfriend and me, this game has become an interesting form of bonding. There are very few games that we can play together due to the significant differences in our respective gaming skills. When we play Mario Galaxy, however, everyone wins. He plays according to his skill level, and I get to go along for the ride, gathering Star Bits as happily as a 6-year-old filling her basket with daisies. When he swears, I giggle. When I get pissed off and start yelling at the stupid fat Lumas who keep eating my goddamn Star Bits, he laughs. It’s great fun for both of us.
Another bonus of Super Mario Galaxy for non-jaded rookie gamers like me is that, overall, it’s a pretty happy game. I like happy games. It has perky music, adorable characters (sorry boys, but it’s true), and a complete lack of scary things that jump out at me and make me scream and want to run into the next room and hide my face under a pillow and…well, you get the idea. At any rate, I am quite satisfied with the latest adventure of everyone’s favorite Italian plumber. It’s a great game to watch. And, hey—at least this time, I got to play, too.