What is it about Mario that gives him such appeal? I’m talking Super Mario here – you know, Luigi’s stouter brother, plumber, adventurer, and rescuer of princesses. He’s been around the video game for like 30 years, and the kids still love him. Our kids do, at least. On a recent trip to Gamestop to peruse the titles, my boy brought me two Super Mario games for the Wii. “I gotta have-a the Mario,” he says in his best bad-Italian accent. “He’s-a Super Mario!”
So I let him get one of them: Super Mario Bros.-wii. It’s all they want to play. This game is like the classic Super Mario Bros. of the Nintendo era – a side-scroller with levels, hidden areas, and a little bit of strategy on getting those 1-ups and bonus powers. It has the familiar music, the characters, and team-play with Luigi and other side-kicks. The other Mario game they really like is Sonic and Mario at the Winter Olympics – they’ve been on that one for almost two years.
Some of this has to be the staying power of the side-scroller game. You still see them everywhere – especially the free online game tie-ins for shows like Adventure Time, etc. Kids like to beat levels and figure out how to get past the boss. But what is it about Mario? He just endures… Wikipeida will tell us he’s appeared in over 200 video games since Donkey Kong. No doubt some cultural studies grad student somewhere has written on this.
One reason our kids love-a the Mario has to be the SuperCafe video from ‘How it Should Have Ended’ we watched last summer – the one where Mario makes the case for super hero status. They still walk around quoting that one:
Good stuff right there.