GOTY 2017: The Norman Reedus Memorial Award
This year we've brought back our category awards to recognize achievements in specific areas of game development. There are 10 awards in all, with two new ones being awarded every day this week. Keep checking back for more winners!
The Norman Reedus Memorial Award: Cappy from Super Mario Odyssey
Nintendo EPD | October 27, 2017 | Nintendo Switch
Runners-up: Getting over it in Getting Over It, beating Doki Doki Literature Club
It’s our third year of celebrating the weird and wacky side of the games industry. What started as joke to both honor and lampoon Hideo Kojima, one of the strangest creative minds making games today, marches onward. It’s fitting that a videogame blog emblazoned with a sasquatch should hoist up weird stuff for our skewed form of praise.
You’re probably confused about the title this year. We get it. We change the title every year, in a sort of ode to the consistently inconsistent insanity games try to sell us.
No, we’re not implying that the actor known as Daryl from The Walking Dead died. Rather, just watch this Death Stranding trailer, wherein an immaculately detailed digital model of Norman Reedus is, for lack of a better phrase, going through some shit. Like, there’s-a-fetus-in-the-man’s-throat kind of shit.
Or, as Spencer phrased it during our Game of the Year deliberations: “There’s a fetus in my Reedus!”
In the spirit of celebrating the essence of a Hideo Kojima game—and until Death Stranding releases and we can nominate it—we seek out the strangest mechanic or overall presentation to dissect and share why we think it’s so, so weird.
And what’s more absurd, more Kojima-esque, than Mario possessing other sentient beings with his hat?
The first possession in Super Mario Odyssey is graphic. Mario is elevated, elongated, and transformed into pure essence, forcibly absorbed into the body of a frog by Cappy the sentient hat from the land of Bonneton whom he met minutes earlier. Mario’s shocked expression says it all: “What the fuck did I get myself into?”
Swirling, twisting, stretching, Mario literally swims through what we’re left to assume is the frog’s consciousness while flashes of Mario’s own memories slide by the screen like film negatives. In this world between worlds we’re shown whatever horrible magic must be summoned each and every time Cappy possesses another being at Mario’s masochistic command. Cappy’s powers are thereafter treated as absolute, and no explanation for his dark talent is ever given.
There are so many questions. Does Cappy possess others all the time, for fun? Is this his people’s equivalent of shaking hands? Is possession of a sentient being a criminal act? Do they not teach consent in the Cap Kingdom?
It’s fucking terrifying. The inherent cartooniness of a Mario game alleviates much of the body horror of a sentient top hat and squat Italian injecting their emulsified essence into the poor, stupid frog against its will.
Throughout Odyssey, Cappy and Mario become dinosaurs, chain chomps, and even Goombas. The Goombas can be stacked on top of one another so Goomba Mario can seduce a lady Goomba for the purpose of extracting power moons. What?
It’s almost quaint that the strangest thing in games this horrible, terrible year is a friendly ghost cap and his Italian bro possessing the bodies of various sentient beings they encounter.
It’s the kind of weird that would be familiar to Hideo Kojima and the late Norman Reedus. – Aaron Thayer