Super Mario Bros. Wonder has only been out for a few days, but that hasn’t stopped people from devouring Nintendo’s latest feast. As with most Mario games, the end isn’t really the end. Players still have hidden paths, extra-challenging levels, and other surprises to find. But Nintendo has nonetheless rewarded its most dedicated players for reaching the story’s conclusion, and that reward is an adorable credits sequence.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder has playable credits. Unlike traditional Mario levels, in which the player must move left to right until they reach the flagpole, the credits stage locks the action in place and world itself changes around Mario. The lights go out. Bubbles fill the screen. A flurry of baddies enter from stage right, eager to get thwomped.
In my review of Wonder, I wrote that the game felt as if “since the ’90s, every time a Nintendo developer had an idea that ‘didn’t fit the tone’ or ‘wasn’t Mario enough,’ they wrote it into a notebook. And eventually, with no space left, someone had the gall to say, ‘Let’s turn this stuffed notebook of chaos into a game.’” Wonder’s credits take that same approach but condense it within a snack-sized stage. The result is a flex of creativity and game design — a polite way for the developers to show off just how much of Wonder is brand new.
Similar to games like Nier: Automata, the level invites players to interact with the credits themselves. In the top right corner of the screen sits a High Score counter, and the player can chase a record by touching as many names in the credits as possible. Is there a reward for collecting every credit? Is that even possible? Reader, we will have to wait for a more talented gamer than me to figure that one out.
In the meantime, I’m just happy to appreciate this extra touch of joy that embodies the Nintendo ethos. Every moment should be magical. Even the credits.