Games are being judged quite frequently for having bad story-lines and plot holes, and I for one love them. Not in a “wow, what a long day, let’s thumb through a few game instruction manuals”, but in an Agony Aunt article way, where it’s written so unbelievably you find yourself enjoying it.
One such story is from one of the gaming greats, that has stood the tests of time and is a series still around today. The game in question is the original 1985 classic Super Mario Bros.
Don’t click off just yet, bear with me (paws up, grr). I’m a big fan of the Big N, but even this cannot go unnoticed. The original story reads:
One day, King Bowser Koopa, the great and powerful leader of the militaristic Koopa Troop, invades the peaceful Mushroom Kingdom. He and his Koopa Troop are jealous of the beautiful kingdom, and King Bowser decides to take it for himself. To do this, Bowser casts an evil spell upon the kingdom and transforms all of its inhabitants into blocks, weeds, and other peculiar objects. It is foretold that only the Mushroom King’s daughter Princess Toadstool can undo the spell. Knowing this, Bowser immediately kidnaps her. Fortunately, the heroic Mario Bros. learn about the Mushroom Kingdom’s plight and race to its rescue.
Sounds okay? Just basic “story” for a game? Well, the part that I can’t help but notice is this:
“To do this, Bowser casts an evil spell upon the kingdom and transforms all of its inhabitants into blocks, weeds, and other peculiar objects.”
So, all of the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom are now blocks. They are blocks of floating stone, which the “heroic Mario Bros.” smash to pieces for the next 27 years and, presumably, further still.
So the coins that Mario gets? It means he’s a mugger. A short, portly, Italian-American-from-Brooklyn mugger. He also suddenly shoots up the list of gamings greatest mass-murderers.
Another point to make; “It is foretold that only the Mushroom King’s daughter Princess Toadstool can undo the spell”. And when does she do this? When did she learn any form of magic? The most useful she has ever been is in Super Mario Bros. 2, where she uses her dress to float on the breeze. You may also notice that at no point in those 27 long years does Mario or the Princess make any effort whatsoever to actually change them back to the way they were.
So, next time you think “Nintendo makes kids games”, think “It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Especially so when playing Super Mario 3DS, where he smashes a special block and wears its hollowed innards as a hat.