In these times of stress and uncertainty, many of us turn to familiarity for comfort. The great thing about golf games* is that even if you’ve never played a particular title before, you can probably dive straight in. Almost without exception, they’ll pick the best club for you, point you in the right direction, and then your job is to just press a button three times at the right moment to make the ball go where the thing said it would. If you’re feeling fancy, you might work out how to whack a bit of spin on the ball but, frankly, who has the time. Three taps is plenty.
Stupid people might think this makes the games unbearably repetitive, but within this simplicity comes infinite variety – every playthrough will be different thanks to the impact of the wind, the lay of the land, and your inability to factor all that in or press a button three times at the right moment to make the ball go where the thing said it would.
An idiot might make the argument that all golf games are essentially the same. But they’re not. The EA franchise is the Prettiest Thing Ever, whilst the indie-RPG spin offered by Golf Story fully commits to its pixel-art aesthetic. Our features editor, Ian Dransfield, thinks the free-roaming Everybody’s Golf is the best, wilfully ignoring how tediously Byzantine the online multiplayer on it is. But, as you, wise reader, are fully aware, the best golf game of all time is, of course, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on the GameCube.
Power shots. Super back-spin. Petey Piranha violently yeeting the living Koopa poop out of every ball he can get his hands/leaves on. The mere mention of any one of those things is enough to send me into the warmest of reveries. And so, of course, I am currently no longer failing to sleep because of the collapse of civilisation or my inability to function as an adult. Instead, I am consumed in the dark hours with a desire to just get my hands on Mario Golf: Super Rush on the Switch.
By the time you read this, of course, we’ll all be playing it. Or I will, at least. After a 17-year wait for a console sequel to MG:TT (as the cool kids call it), there’s nothing I want more than to grind away unlocking and acing every single character, course, and collectable the glorious kings and queens of Camelot Software Planning have no doubt hidden away for us.
If you’ve never given golf games a go before, I urge you to grab a copy of Super Rush. In any other game, so little happening, so repetitively, would be tedious. But in Mario Golf, there’s the perfect blend of Nintendo joy and peaceful serenity. Unless, of course, it turns out the new one’s rubbish. Then just grab a GameCube and a copy of Toadstool Tour off eBay. In fact, let’s all do that anyway.