Sept. 9, 2021

heroic mario syndrome

It’s interesting how memory changes the way I view works of fiction. For instance, Baldr Sky certainly had its high points, but when I think back on it, I mostly remember the bad stuff—the repetitive routes, the endless school flashbacks that got repeated in reminiscence mode. Conversely, there was a whole lot of junk in Subahibi, but I mostly remember the funny parts: Takuji x desk-chan, Kimiko volunteering to be a chair, “where’s Nishimura?” I think of Subahibi a lot more warmly in retrospect than when I was actually playing the game.

You could say time distorts things, but I don’t see it that way. I think time clarifies things. My long-term opinion (of a game, book, etc.) is a truer rating than my initial post-read gut feeling. It’s like standing the test of time. If something is genuinely great, I’m going to remember it warmly years later. On the other hand, if I enjoy something while reading it, but it doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression, or its flaws loom larger in retrospect, it can’t have been that great.

Heroic Mario is a good example of this. You can’t tell how much HM likes a game right after he beats it, it’s just always going to be his new #1. You have to wait six months and see: Is it still in his top 10? His top 20? Or did it vanish completely?

(lmao remember his 17-post essay on Cloud Strife, those were the days)

I have a bit of Heroic Mario syndrome. After making an initial rating, my first adjustment tends to be downward. (Most often from 4 stars to 3.5 stars. 3.5 is still a positive rating for me; it means the book was good, but not special/outstanding.) For this reason, I generally hesitate to give any book a perfect 5 unless I’ve read at least one other good book in between.

Written by Achaius

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