October 2023 media
Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Maybe it’d be prudent to wait a bit before making big claims like this, but I’m going to say it anyway: I think this is the best 2D Mario game since Super Mario World. There was certainly plenty to like about the New Super Mario Bros. games, but they also had a staidness that made them hard to love; meanwhile, it’s hard to do anything but love Wonder. It’s Nintendo at its best, throwing out so many fresh ideas that you barely have time to internalize them, let alone tire of them.
EarthBound, USA: I backed this documentary on Kickstarter in 2014, which may as well be another lifetime, and they finally screened it for backers last week. It’s about the history of the American EarthBound fan community as told by members of Starmen.net, its nucleus before the days of social media and the precursor to Fangamer. I once flew across the country for one of Fangamer’s conventions so I was always going to be a mark for this movie, but even so I really enjoyed it. It’s out in a few weeks for everyone!
The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We: After Laurel Hell I thought Mitski’s evolving musical interests might be taking her further away from my own—it happens; I think I lost track of Kimbra that way—but The Land Is Inhospitable is right back in my wheelhouse. Its open-wound lyrics and vertiginous chord progressions feel familiar from Be the Cowboy and Puberty 2, and the arrangements have interesting textures without feeling overworked. It’s a great album!