This is what love is.
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Except for that one time my 5-year-old son made me farm 9999 coins in Super Mario Odyssey so he could get the stupid Skeleton outfit. Nah mate. I’ll definitely be keeping a record of that wrong.
Okay, primer time. Let’s talk about Super Mario Odyssey.
Super Mario Odyssey is a very good video game and Super Mario Odyssey has costumes. Super Mario Odyssey has a shitload of costumes. Most are easily acquired — 100 coins or so, no big deal. A handful are a little more pricey. I remember spending quite the period of minutes umming and ahhing over the 1000 coin purchase of Mario swimwear.
It took me a while to collect these coins I thought and, unlike in previous Mario games, coins also sub for ‘lives’. If you lose a life in Mario you lose coins.
“I might actually need these coins,” I thought to myself, “when I literally and actually die.”
Of course I bought the shorts because Mario nipples, and I was comfortable with that choice. I was also comfortable in not needing to buy any more outfits in Super Mario Odyssey. Because video game costumes are not my thing. Because I don’t care.
But my son. My recently turned 5-year-old son. He cares. He cares a lot. Now that he’s ‘finished’ Super Mario Odyssey and officially defeated Bowser, he’s set his sights on acquiring every single outfit in the game at any cost.
At. Any. Cost.
It’s been a fruitful search for the fruit of my loins and he’s done pretty well for himself. Many a time he’s gleefully scrolled though his Mario wardrobe (“I’ve got this one and this one and this one and this one)”. Quite the collection, but one crucial item missing.
The skeleton outfit. Guess how much that thing costs in Mario Money:
Nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine coins. The literal maximum amount of coins one can collect and hold in Super Mario Odyssey.
“Daddy, can you help me get this one?”
Fuck it. Sure. Why not.
To be clear: I didn’t really expect to spend my afternoon collecting 9999 coins in the video game Super Mario Odyssey. I expected that my son, being a newly minted 5-year-old, would lose interest fairly quickly and bugger off sideways to play with — Christ I don’t know — Beyblades or Transformers or the trash-town toy that came in the happy meal I bought when I was too tired to cook dinner the other night.
But nah. Sadly I was mistaken. This kid was in it to win it. He actually wanted this thing bad. Real bad.
So it begins…
I started my coin farming mission in a place that I thought was ‘good’ but would later find ‘sucked’.
I call it the Donkey Kong mission. It’s arguably the highlight of Super Mario Odyssey. You go down a 2D Pipe into what my son terrifyingly calls ‘Minecraft Mario’ — supremely inventive 2D levels that live inside the 3D world like well-designed Picasso paintings. The Donkey Kong mission is perhaps the largest of these levels. It also plays host to a buttload of coins.
“I’ll just play this over and over till my son gets bored,” I thought.
He didn’t get bored.
On the contrary, I got bored. Super quickly.
As part of the New Donk City questline, the Donkey Kong mission is a spectacular end to one of my favourite sections of Super Mario Odyssey. In isolation, endlessly replayed like some fucked up digital Groundhog Day, it’s less joyful. Five straight plays and 1100 coins later, I tossed the controller onto the couch.
“Daddy needs a break.”
“No no no. No break.”
“I’ll come back later, I need to make lunch.”
“But Daddy you said you loved me so much. That’s why you need to get them all.”
Whilst eating my lunch (eggs on toast if you’re curious) I did a quick Google search. “Best place to farm coins in Super Mario Odyssey”.