Every Friday, A.V. Club staffers kick off our weekly open thread for the discussion of gaming plans and recent gaming glories, but of course, the real action is down in the comments, where we invite you to answer our eternal question: What Are You Playing This Weekend?
Golf isn’t necessarily a bad game, as evidenced by the fact that it’s been a popular hobby all around the world for generations. But it is a stupid game, one that is only redeemed through the use of golf carts, or by stripping away all of the boring stuff where nothing happens and replacing it with windmills and waterfalls and pirates. Until now! Last week, Nintendo released Mario Golf: Super Rush, the latest entry in its ongoing series of Super Mario-themed sports games, and the developers at Camelot seem to have finally fixed mankind’s most boring sport.
This is all thanks to a couple of twists to the regular golf formula: One is that Super Rush allows you and your co-golfers to all play at the same time, playing together in split-screen without needing to patiently wait your turn, or quietly sitting back while your opponents take putt after putt after putt. The other innovation, and one that truly deserves to be integrated into “real” golf, is called Speed Golf. In that mode, it’s all about who gets to the hole first, and also you have to physically run to your ball rather than being automatically transported to it like in most other golf video games. You can even push your opponents out of the way or try to beat them to special powerups while running, and each character has special abilities that can known opponents or their balls out of the way, giving everything that Mario Kart-style edge of constantly being a second away from complete disaster.
It all could probably stand to be just a little wackier—even though the overtly Mario Kart-y battle mode is too hectic and complex to be anything but a chaotic mess—but the game in general is a testament to how good Nintendo can be at injecting some Mario personality into these sports games. This is still recognizably golf, even with some of the wackier options turned on, it’s just a superior version of golf that makes every other version of golf look… you know, stupid.
Also, Super Rush introduces a fun new line of Mushroom Kingdom fashion, with most of the characters putting on garish golf outfits for their time hitting the links. Bowser has a terrible red and black Guy Fieri number, Peach has a nice golf skirt, and even Toad gets in on the fun by putting a little golfer hat on top of his regular mushroom hat. Oh, wait, Nintendo said it’s actually part of his head and not a hat a few years ago, so his Mario Golf: Super Rush hat is probably just a canonical in-universe confirmation of that fact, which is less funny than it being a hat on a hat. (That one’s for you screenwriters out there.)