They’re the Mario Brothers and plumbing’s their game. They ain’t like the others who get all the fame. If your sink is in trouble you can call them on the double. They are faster than the others, you’ll be hooked on the brothers. To the fridge! Yes the fridge, grab that left over McDonald’s and maybe a fresh soda.
Because we might be here for a while, because I’m talking Mario, like Mario Mario, and his brother Luigi Mario. See somethings just click. Things you wouldn’t expect. Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, heck even Sonic the Hedgehog all seem like they would easily be popular. He-Man and Ghostbusters obviously are gonna be around for awhile. Just sometimes something ridiculous manages to hit the right buttons. Our portly middle aged paisano isn’t the only one to pull off this feat.
I mean most of the GI Joe team seemed unlikely to land with kids, especially Bazooka. Missile launcher football guy?! Sign me up! Honestly that could be a thing in it’s own. Though for now we are gonna look at Classic Mario. I’ll spare you the pedantic trivia here. I mean we all know it by now, or if you don’t just take a day on YouTube watching some Mario videos. Seriously that stuff’s good. Maybe not Game Theory, nothing against Matt Part but his Mario videos are graspy and kinda ultimately pointless. Well not true, you will get some cool math and some genealogy stuff. Not to mention how much of a baby would get sheered off if the wrecked a go-kart. So maybe do watch his Mario Kart video. See Mario got his start in arcades. Donkey Kong first then onwards to what we all know and love. That is his strength actually.
Arcade games weren’t made to be beaten. They were made for eating, quarters that is. Short fun distractions you could plop your left over lunch money or some spare laundry quarters on. These are games made for fun not just to get to the end. Heck Super Mario Bros one just gets harder when you beat it and starts over. They didn’t expect you to always play to completion everytime and planned ahead. Warp Zones in all three NES titles and even that Lost Levels Famicom Disk System game. Allowed the player to find or read about areas to skip ahead without going to far into each game.
Even Sonic was created from the desire to get to the World 1-2 Warp Zone as fast as possible. Other games came after Super Mario went with passwords and save systems which is arguably a nicer system for sure. Just it’s one that makes the game feel more structured. You want to get further because you feel like you have accomplished moving ahead in a finite and tangible way. Yet Mario games let you zip start to finish in half an hour if you are competent enough. 15 minutes if you are crazy. These games are like snacks. Even Super Mario World feels that way with the unlocked world map just open to be played and explored over and over again. Most games are like a meal. I sit down and get ready to eat. I will usually stop eating when I’m full and eat again when I get that itch. Like no duh right? See I have to be hungry enough to eat before I’ll have dinner. Just like Mega Man, I gotta be ready for it. I don’t just cook a pizza to nibble a bit. I don’t pop on The Legend of Zelda if I just want to kill time. Mario though. I can and will play whenever for however long I want. If I’m hungry enough I’ll make a bag of chips a meal. A fair amount of times I’ll go all 8 worlds in a single sitting and that’s just fine with me.
So what is it about Mario that is so appealing? Lots of games have come out and done what he does. A fair amount of them are better than most of what you get in the first few Marios even. The characters are pretty cool I mean who doesn’t love a Goomba? It’s not just nostalgia either or the demographic for his rereleases would be shrinking everyday. So it has to be how this simple little hero has managed to just work into our very culture. Name one thing that isn’t made better with a little bit more Mario? Seriously what like shoes?
Sorry, those look kinda rad not gonna lie. Light bulbs?
That’s one of many, many, baller ass lamps. I honestly could keep going for hours with Mario Christmas Trees or wreaths. Maybe toss up some Mario ice cream bars with the gumball nose. There is no end to the amount of great Mario branded items. So then we could talk about the Super Mario Bros Super Show or the old Mario Bros movie. I non ironically like both of those things so I doubt you would enjoy hearing me talk about them, yet…
All these things, shows and animes included, work well because Mario was just a concept. Like how Mickey Mouse sometimes is a boat captain yet other times he might be a grifter or swashbuckler Mario had no real set theme. Which was design mind you. He was created to be an actor for video games. In the original few appearances Mario was meant to be like Christopher Walken just for games. It’s why you see him pilot a breakout ship, referee two different sports, race cars, make cookies, be a doctor, and so on and so forth. Pre 64 Mario was a blank slate to which we could project anything we want. So sure why not have Mario ice cream? There wasn’t much to go on. Even Japan’s attempts bat Mario shows was pretty far off from the later established canon. Not to mention these things.
Those choose your own adventure books were dark. I really only remember Luigi getting eaten by a Yoshi and being dead when Mario broke the egg to save him. Seriously, you have read enough of these I’m not clever enough to make that shit up. All these memories, and so much more, yet I barely touched on the games themselves. Probably because the games themselves aren’t really Mario to me. They are fun, and I love them more than lunch, just well it is the Mario from 64 and later that I always think of. Even though the canon isn’t to tight once they started having more plot based elements in each title I just can’t picture him in anyway else.
So sure, my favorite Mario is barely a Mario at all. Though my favorite Mario games are very lacking in that Mario-ness we have all come to expect. Which is the real joy of classic Mario. He is however you want him to be. For me it’s a potty mouthed ex-wrestler with a bit of spaghetti on his overalls.