Deaf Game Review – Super Mario Odyssey

Deaf Game Review – Super Mario Odyssey

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Super Mario Odyssey Deaf Accessibility

Individual scores

  • Visual Representation of Dialogue - 7.5
  • Visual Representation of Sound - 7.5
  • Visual Cues - 5
  • Controller Vibration - 10
Above scores were automatically converted from 0-6 scale to a 0-10 scale.

Ok, first things first, the above image, Mario in the sand with his hands out like he’s an airplane? This is how you run in Super Mario Odyssey. That alone makes it the best game to come out this year. (Don’t mind those things in Mario’s nose, we had a run-in with a cactus.) What Nintendo has done here, particularly if you’re my age and grew up with Mario, is found a way to take all that joy you felt when you turned on your NES back in the 80’s, improve upon it tenfold, and put it in an adorable new package. There’s even spots in Super Mario Odyssey that incorporate the old school 8-bit Mario levels of brick busting, shell stomping and coin collecting. This game is absolutely magical in its ability to make the awfulness of this shit show of a world disappear for a while and just make you happy.

Mario standing next to blue skeleton wearing a sombrero.

It’s just magic. That’s all I can say because I’m at a loss for words. The premise is your usual Mario game; you’re trying to rescue Peach. But in Odyssey, you’re also trying to do a million other equally fun things. Now on to the accessibility.

Start screen in Super Mario Odyssey.

You start up a new game and you’re greeted by this screen, which is a welcome option. Aside from that, you’re not presented with a whole lot of options aside from choice of language and a few control options.

Mario talking to bright white top hat.
Bowser wearing tuxedo holding Princess Peach.

The subtitles leave something to be desired at times, as it’s always hard to read white on light text, no matter its size.

Mario and Cappy standing in front of a waterfall.

In general though, the subtitles are very well done, which is a given, considering that Mario and Co. don’t actually speak an intelligible language so subtitles are required for everyone.

Mario standing on a black and white bridge, talking to a black top hat.

The dialogue from random NPCs throughout the worlds is actually much easier to read than the essential dialogue because it’s contained in a darkened speech bubble, so white on light isn’t a problem. The control instructions are very clear and easy to see, although I kind of felt like they stayed on the screen for a bit too long, to the point I wondered what I was doing wrong to not make them go away. But there are worse problems to have.

The controls themselves are really fun, as you have the option of using motion controls for the duration of the game, which makes for a much more interactive and immersive experience. You can also tweak the sensitivity of the motion controls, so you aren’t flailing wildly trying to throw Cappy.

Giant rabbit woman wearing red evening gown. Waterfalls in the background.

The visuals are absolutely lovely and really add to the adorable fun had playing the game. Even the enemies are cute. A bonus for me (as I generally suck at puzzles and finding things) is that there are clues available for purchase to help you find the moons on each planet.

All in all, Nintendo did an amazing job with this one. Yeah, there are a few things accessibility wise that could be improved on, but they’re not such a disaster that I don’t want to keep playing (and to be honest, if they were a disaster, Mario is so cute I’d keep playing anyway). This is a unique and lighthearted game that has been a much needed break from the mess of life for me. Definitely worth your money if you’re a Mario fan.

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