What is the most romantic date you can think of? Stroll hand in hand in a Parisian park, dine by candlelight on a New York rooftop… or team up with Para-Biddybuds with Princess Peach? This year the stars aligned and I was finally free to spend Valentine’s Day exactly the way I always wanted to: play Super Mario 3D World for 12 hours directly through online cooperation.
In what I’m sure is a familiar situation to many, my partner and I couldn’t see each other in person this Valentine’s Day. The UK lockdown is still in effect, and furthermore, we live a few hundred miles from each other. Fortunately, Nintendo stepped in to save the day. The “new and improved” version of Super Mario 3D World supports local and online co-op with up to four players, a major bonus for those of us who struggle to spend time with someone special (or someone I don’t judge) . It seemed like a great way to spend time together. But this year, I wanted to raise the bar a bit: we were apart for Christmas, New Years, even my birthday. “What could be more romantic than playing video games?” I hear you ask. Well, I’ll tell you: play a video game for 12 hours straight.
In an ideal world, I would never be awake at sunrise on a Sunday morning. In the countryside on the outskirts of Cambridge, I woke up to find a fine mist hanging over the lawn outside my window. When I logged into Discord to make the call with my partner, I was transported, my ears filled with the cries of seagulls on the south coast. Although owning a Wii U, I never played the original Super Mario 3D World; in fact, I don’t think I was even aware it existed, so I have no idea what I’m getting into. My partner, meanwhile, is a connoisseur of Super Mario and assures me that we have a great experience.
Fortunately, he is right. The first few hours go unnoticed, punctuated by 5-minute tea breaks and occasional internet drops. As the difficulty increases, the mood changes: we chat less and more in sync with each other. One minute we’re cats stalking rabbits across the grassy plains, the next we’re running rings around Goombas on giant ice skates. We evolve in perfect harmony. After passing the halfway point, my fatigue begins to appear. I can’t beat like before: my back hurts and my thumbs are stiff. There are times when I want to quit, but we carry on in the name of love.
Before I know it the sun is going down and the day is over. We poured our heart and soul into Super Mario 3D World, and that, in turn, gave us a fun and relaxing Valentine’s Day that far exceeded our expectations. One thing we both agree on is that there are some stages that are much more romance-friendly than others, so I’ve taken the liberty of compiling them here. Without further ado, here are the most romantic dates in Super Mario 3D World (in no particular order).
Super Bell Hill
As the opening scene, Super Bell Hill is a hassle-free, simple hangout. Stroll the grassy slopes or take in the sea views in your matching cat suits.
Climb aboard this enormous aquatic creature for an experience similar to crossing the canals of Venice.