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Mario has been glued to our fucking television screens for nigh on 30 years and I for one am totally sick to death of his poor attempts to ‘stay on trend’ as the market he once knew crashes around him. It’s not the fact that he is an abysmal plumber, and in over 200 titles has shown very little enthusiasm for plumbing or any sort of water maintenance whatsoever; it’s the fact that his games haven’t changed since 1985. Yes, there have been spin-offs and one could contend that upgrading from 2D to 3D is a game changer in its own right, but it’s the played out narrative that’s so embedded into gaming culture not even King Arthur can pull the damn thing out.
So why am I picking on arguably the most iconic character in the gaming universe? Well Patrick, it’s because Mario titles are boring. We all know the dance. Mario meets Peach for some of her sweet ‘cake’, then Bowser swaggers into the mix because he too wants a slice of that moist ‘cake’. Then, after twenty innuendos, we begin the ‘adventure’ to save a princess who’s so inept and lifeless, a cardboard cut-out with the phrase ‘Save Me!’ scrawled across in poo would suffice. And, because of that blankness, I couldn’t give a soaring fuck if Bowser wants to smash her face in like an off-season pumpkin. People may say that the Mario narrative isn’t a cliché, it’s a classic, but they would be grossly mistaken, like the man who thought it wasn’t butter. A classic is something that ages well, like a 1946 Macallan; or in gaming terms, Gunstar Heroes. A cliché lacks any original thought or ideas, see the COD franchise for more information. Meaning, every cockin’ time I’d pick up the controller and give Mario a whirl, I’d feel complacent, because I knew what was round every corner. So nothing posed any form of threat and just was a slight annoyance, like a narrow hallway full of balloons.
The main point that makes me chuckle is the ‘family racism’ that the series holds so tight. A fat, spaghetti lovin’, mustache owning one-liner isn’t seen as a horrifying stereotype. Imagine if I wanted to create a platformer called: Super Goldstein 64? Where the protagonist wasn’t Mario, but a dumpy, big nosed, long grey bearded Orthodox Jew. People would go absolutely mental! I’d be branded as some future Hitler 2.0, the worst thing since non-sliced bread. But, my game would be exactly the same as Super Mario 64, but just changing the protagonist. I don’t know. Maybe I’m the crazy one for giving this any thought, but there’s a point hidden in there somewhere.
Mario is following shortly behind Sonic to the gaming bin where all the out-of-date characters reside. I am slightly depressed that Mario’s future is going to be nothing more than spending time in a smelly piss-soaked bin, listening to the time Sonic tried it on with an under-aged girl.