As children, we often idolize the people that make a difference. Whether it is a astronaut that has come home to tell their story of different worlds, or a soldier that saved lives in a war torn village, children grow up thinking that there are good guys and bad guys. Right and wrong with no grey area.
But, what happens when the people that we grow up to love are not so black and white?
We all know the myth and legend behind Nintendo’s most iconic character, Mario, but is he the hero that we all think he is? Or, is he just a troubled soul that seeks violence and murder?
I have been playing Mario games my whole life and I have to say…dude is jacked up.
I want Mario to be the hero that we grew up to love, but he has some demons that need to he addressed. I want to recap his life in order for you to better understand and see what I see. I do not think that he is too far gone, but he does need some therapy to hopefully bring him back from the brink.
In this multi-post series, I will attempt to convince you that Mario is undoutably one of the most unstable and dangerous characters that the video game industry has every imagined. I will take you on a journey through my understanding of his burdens, in an attempt to have you see that Mario is a man in need of personal care.
All of the deaths/murders/suicides are bosses pulled from a fan site http://listofdeaths.wikia.com/wiki/Mario. This does not take into account the endless number of goombas, koopas, shy guys, and Yoshis that he has murdered.
We will only focus on the more popular cannon since it is common knowledge that the Mario games are part of the Multiverse theory. Though there is a ton of murder in the other titles as well.
I am also not going to talk about Super Mario Odyessy because it is a recent release and I do not want to spoil the game.
Super Mario Bros
This is where our story begins. Like any good origin story, it starts with a person minding his own business, when disaster strikes. The princess of the Mushroom Kingdom has been kidnapped by the evil monster known as Bowser! The kingdom is in chaos as the minions of Bowser desend apon the land and begin terrorizing the town’s folk.
Now we do not know much of Mario’s motivations as to why he must save Princess. Perhaps he is the type of person that cannot sit idle by and watch a bad thing happen. We know that he was abandoned by his parents when he was only a child, and that he was left to be raised by Yoshis. Perhaps, since he is older, he probably has not been able to get over the abandonment. He may have a desire to help those that are less fortunate because he seeks that attention from his peers. These are genuinely good traits to have, but can spiral into darkness if they are not properly managed.
Through his adventures, Mario would find a castle that is said to be the location of the princess. He would fight his way through the hoards of minions, flame fueled traps, and menacing puzzles only to find out that Bowser has constructed a fake construct of himself and kidnapped various inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom in order to taunt Mario. He would fight his way to the end of the castle, tears in his eyes from the pain of the ever flowing lava, and ears ringing from the horrific screams of his enemies, only to find that the Bowser that he flung into the lava, joining the skeletal remains of his fallen brothers, was actually an imposter. He would have to relive this torment over and over and over again.
Seven times to be exact.
Seven more castles.
Seven more hoards of enemies.
Seven more dream shattering realizations that this is not the castle you are seeking.
This would be enough for any person to endure. But Mario is no ordinary person. Not anymore. Now he is the savior of the Mushroom Kingdom. He is a legend among men and is revered as the one that saw Hell itself, and returned to the people.
Now it’s possible that because of this experience, Mario returned to his seclusion. Perhaps the overwhelming praise and affection was too much for him to handle. After all, he went through most of his life living with his only family and working as a plumber. Now he was the name on everyone’s mind and the talk of the town.
I believe that all of this was far too much for him to handle. Every time someone shook his hand, Mario probably saw the blood that he couldn’t wash off. Every pat on the back reminded him of the inches he was from falling off of a ledge into agonizing emptiness. He was twitchy, moody, and every bit as scared as you can imagine. Home was safe. At home, away from the town, he could finally be alone again.
That is…until he is needed again.
Super Mario Bros 2
Bowser is back and up to his old tricks again. He has taken Peach, but this time he has traveled to new lands and has met some new friends.
The town is in a state of panic again, but this time the mayor remembers who saved them. They send someone to find the savior from before. The one that has already ended Bowsers rain of terror and that would be willing to do it again.
I imagine that Mario is sitting in his chair, eating breakfast and laughing at the stories that Luigi is telling him. It had been awhile since Luigi heard Mario laugh. He had been so distant since the event. Often, Luigi would be up all night, unable to sleep due to the screams coming from Mario’s room. He had asked him to seek help, but Mario was afraid that it would make him look weak. He was the hero of the Mushroom Kingdom after all.
As he listened to Luigi’s story, there came a knock at the door. It was the mayor with his entire emissary, and he needed Mario’s help once more.
You could see the worry and panic on Luigi’s face as Mario was given this task. Mario took a second to quiet the screams and let go of his fear. He accepted the task and set out to save the Kingdom once more.
In this undertaking, Mario is faced with more frightening foes and inevitably has to kill in order to survive. Including the usual minions, Mario will have to kill:
- Mouser (killed by bombs)
- Tryclyde (killed by bludgeoning with bricks)
- Fryguy (bludgeoned by blocks)
- Clawgrip (mideval style of stoning)
- Wart (in a shocking turn of events, Mario actually kills Wart by shoving scores of vegetables down his throat)
Mario’s adventures are beginning to take their toll. His methods are becoming more personal in there delivery. Sure, one could say that he is fighting for his life. That he didn’t have a choice.
I think he was starting to like it. He needs the attention. It fuels him. In order for the world to finally notice him, he would need to be better. He would need to make a larger statement. It’s not enough that the world love him….they needed to fear him.
In the next segment, I will continue Mario’s tragic saga of pain and disppare and offer some psychological clues as to what he might be going through.
What do you think so far? Am I on the right track, or am I just grasping at straws? Let me know!