Talking about Nintendo specifically, I think a major aspect of @yeso’s antipathy here is the aesthetics of their games. I mean, I love Mario Odyssey, but it looks like a children’s cartoon. And not just a children’s cartoon, but one directed at pre-schoolers. So there’s a disconnect there between the mechanics that encourage dexterity and some lateral thinking, and the aesthetics which are suited for a baby game. I can ignore that and enjoy jumping around as Mario because it feels interesting to do, in the same way that I like moving my own body around to do stuff or watching people use their body to play sports, but then you take a step back and what is actually happening on–screen is you’re fighting a giant cartoon bunny while a smaller bunny offers you friendly tips. Which, when you’re 59 years old like yeso is, feels demeaning and a little stupid.
The answer is not, of course, that Mario needs to be a bloody or mature game. I mean, @saddleblasters mentioned Katamari Damacy, also has a cartoon-adjacent artstyle, but it’s a far cry from Youtube Kids baby stuff. It has a bit more of a unique, personal style with some rough edges, whereas Mario stuff looks completely lifeless.
On a different topic, I think making wider comparisons, like @MoH to woodworking and camping, or @TracyDMcGrath to chess or baseball, is the key to expanding the possibilities of games. I still watch people competitively play Starcraft II and Brood War, which are games that came out decades ago, Those games are a lot more akin to something like Chess, to the point where the fact that they have narrative campaigns and aesthetics at all feels almost strange to me. I mean, I understand enjoying the single-player aspects in the same way as people enjoy Chess puzzles, but I don’t think those games need a story at all.
Different formats of video games are analogous to completely different arts or crafts or activities. Which is fascinating and why it’s interesting at all to talk about them. And I think, not to put words in his mouth, this is partially why @yeso is annoyed with the critical consensus around Nintendo games as the standard in a medium where god damn anything is possible. Movie-like games, literature-like games, woodworking-like games, Strand-type games!