It's the same sad story every game. Mario enters the first level of the game, Mario sees a Goomba, Mario immediately squishes that Goomba. The humble Goomba represents the very lowest threat level in a Nintendo game, and they've been playing that same grumpy brand of chump for over 30 years.
But something's changed. Super Mario Party was released on the Nintendo Switch this month, and it features Goomba as a playable character. The same stubby scrub who did nothing but waddle and die now participates in dozens of minigames alongside Princess Peach, Bowser and other four-limbed partygoers. Despite having no arms, Goomba never makes use of a special apparatus or prosthesis in competition -- it just sort of works, with the aid of what we can only assume is blood magic.
Usually when Nintendo ropes in a goofy or awkward character for a non-traditional role, there's at least a little bit of finessing done to make it work in the Mario universe. For instance, Chain Chomp is a playable character in Mario Tennis Aces and can be seen chomping a tennis racket with its teeth and bouncing a ball on its head to serve. Though in some minigames the Goomba can be seen using its mouth, it doesn't need to. Goomba is capable of holding a whack-a-mole hammer with what appears to be telekinetic abilities.
These psychic powers are put to use in numerous ways, from holding and firing water guns to climbing up and down a chain link fence.
This brings up a few questions, like "How is this happening" and "Why is this happening" and "What." It is unclear why Goomba has never elected to tap the substantial font of telekinetic power at its disposal up to this point. Could it be that Mario Party itself so intense that the stress of play reignited a dormant psychic ember of psycho-energy in Bowser's minions? Well no, that can't be the case, since Goomba was able to play on the field and at bat in the Mario baseball games on GameCube and Wii.
I know you might be tempted to say that Nintendo doesn't give a shit about Mario Party games and let this one slide. That might have been the case for the last few underwhelming titles in the series, but SMP on Switch has been well-received by fans and critics so far. Maybe the secret to unearthing Goomba's potential was... love.
That, or Super Mario Party exists in a video game universe where a ghost monarch drops banana peels behind his boatcar that he's driving without the use of his legs and Nintendo has recently realized that playing into the absurdity of its cast of characters only makes them more charming.
Honestly, it could go either way.