What’s the One Thing Mario and Destiny Have in Common?

What’s the One Thing Mario and Destiny Have in Common?

I guess we should go ahead and get this out of the way: y’all know what the best modern Mario game is, right? If anything other than Super Mario Galaxy comes to mind, then you might need to take a moment and meditate, reflect, construct additional pylons… whatever it takes to get your mind working at its fullest capacity. Galaxy is so far the most revolutionary installment in the Super Mario franchise, and comes pretty close to being what I would consider a perfect game. Impenetrably solid platforming and brilliant level design make it an absolute joy from beginning to end.

Then you have Destiny , a game-changer in its own right. I like to tell my non-gaming friends that it’s a MMOFPSRPG. Activision made the best business decision in its history when it teamed up with Bungie, and Bungie has proven that it doesn’t need to stand on the Master Chief’s armored shoulders in order to achieve success. In some ways – well, in most ways – Destiny and Super Mario Galaxy are entirely different experiences. There are, however, certain common elements in both games that make them so alluring.

Space. Just space.

There is something about space. We as human beings have it lodged within our collective consciousness that it is our manifest destiny to venture out into that final frontier and explore, conquer, and thrive. Maybe it’s nostalgia: we’re all made up of star stuff, and now we long to explore the galactic cradles from whence we came. There’s a certain sense of wonder there that Super Mario Galaxy and Destiny are able to capture. It’s that feeling you get when you stare up into the night sky and feel afraid, yet fond of what you see. Through these games we’re able to play about the firmament and explore new worlds. Both games present these worlds as stranger and more beautiful than we could have imagined.

Out of this world sound design.

Both of these games arrest your attention from the start menu with their captivating use of music and sound. Music is heard and interpreted differently by everyone, but for me the two things that both of these games communicate clearly through audio are adventure and isolation. Space, as far as we know, is infinite; ever-expanding. Destiny’s music is composed so expertly to make you feel small but significant. Orchestral movements often center around hanging, suspenseful progressions that never fully resolve. Piano and vocal themes provide quiet contrasts to the epic, musical narratives that supply a sense of desperation during boss battles. In the same way, the whole of your journey throughout Mario Galaxy is brilliantly scored. As soon as you hit the title screen there is an effective contrast between silence and sound; harps gently strum and synths dip, swoon, echo, and fade, giving you a queer sense weightlessness and wonder. One of the greatest pleasures in Mario Galaxy is the progression of the Comet Observatory theme, a beautiful waltz that becomes lovelier with each new section of the observatory you unlock.

What’s the One Thing Mario and Destiny Have in Common?

Stellar Visuals

There’s just something about space that suggests clarity; maybe it’s because I’m a Hubble nerd. At any rate it just seems fitting that both of these games push the graphical limits of the hardware on which they run. Standing on the surface of the moon in Destiny , staring through the suspended wreckage of a space station at a gently spinning Earth, beautifully set against a ribbony stretch of the Milky Way; it’s simply breathtaking. Similar moments of astral beauty abound throughout Super Mario Galaxy . Textures and colors are something that Nintendo has always done very well. The galaxies in SMG are all inspired, and beautifully rendered. As planets turn under your feet the light of stars interacts wonderfully with the textured, glowing surfaces, shines mysteriously through translucent capsule-planets, and crests with majestic brilliance across horizons.

What made these games so special for you? Maybe there’s another common link between them that I’ve overlooked, or maybe I’m just star struck and you don’t agree with any of this? Chime in and let me know.

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