Okay okay so I owe you an explanation. If you watched our Mario talk episode then well I started in on something that I didn’t circle back to. I was drink and kinda just was rolling with things. So yeah… I went on a little tangent about moral advancement and talking down on like 90% of modern games. That was unfair of me. Atleast I should say the common mindset that Mario games are “kid games” or stuff like that. My issue is that often as we get older we shelf our imagination. We endeavor for more mentally challenging concepts. We feel there needs to be a groundwork of themes and situations that would not be relatable to most younger audiences. We tend to place elements identifiable to our own lives as being more meaningful. So as a result we become unconcerned and uninterested in the issues of a techno colored assortment of weirdos. We lose our ability to become invested in different types of morality. Viewing everything in stark black and white in relation to our own myopic existence. Doing so makes us take the meaning and lessons we could acquire and trade them for answers we force to conform with our life. We stagnante our growth. So why is this so scary?
I feel Leonard Sweet put it best.
“What is the difference between a living thing and a dead thing? In the medical world, a clinical definition of death is a body that does not change. Change is life. Stagnation is death. If you don’t change, you die. It’s that simple. It’s that scary.”
So what I am trying to say is that although it is highly likely we now view Mario as a rational relatable thing that doesn’t detract from it’s importance. We could use this as a chance to, as Master Yoda puts it, unlearn what we have learned. That sometimes we need to put ourselves somewhere unrelatable to see what is wrong with what we know. Something we have done in reverse for a long time now. Often we will take a fantastical world and force our realistic attitude upon it. From parody shows to a whole genre of fiction (isekai) the concept of a person from our known existence travels to the strange realities of elsewhere. Teaching them while learning something ourselves. A theme that is actually true in Mario.
The defining feature of Mario as a character is that he is a plumber from Brooklyn taken to the Mushroom Kingdom. An analog for the player. Atleast to me. That you are no longer in your known reality, and you have to choose to either save the Princess or turn off the game and go home. That not being a part of this world you are in effect free from the biases that one would have against say a sorcerer king that has just laid waste to every kingdom under the incredibly angry sun.
You want to keep playing in this wonderful little escape you found. Free to not repeat the mistakes and cultural misteps that demand a set course of action. One where you are willing to sit down with your enemies for pleasant competitions or even invite them to your parties. I’m not saying this is acceptable here. We are talking about a world where the dead can easily be brought back to life with a few mushrooms or coins.
Seriously Bowser is skeletonized often and canonically. Just to be restored with a few 1-Up Mushrooms. The idea that you can, do, and will die many times changes so much when you think about how you would resolve conflicts. You could be Mario and try to end the cycle of hate, or you could be Link and be cursed to repeat it for as long as the planet still lives. That choice is yours. That choice can carry over to your own life as well. Do you hold onto that grudge and constantly beat down those who you are morally opposed to, or do you correct the behavior to the best of your ability then walk away. Sure they will likely come back into your life over and over again. Each time you have to draw a line at what you will tolerate, and to what degree you are willing to go to stop them. This lesson is not one you will find in Fallout or The Last of Us. It’s almost uniquely Mario. A lesson you won’t even know us there until you stop and look at the surreal as if it was a reality that could be. Something you won’t consider unless you feel the story is even worth a deeper look past it’s silliness.
Above all else just remember one fact…