Why would I want to spend the holidays in the world of Super Mario?

I’m talking to you about a time that fans ofAnimal Crossing can’t know. Before was considered completely edgy and regressive-cool by spend your confinement on a cute video game in which nothing happens, there was the time of 16-bit consoles.

At the time of the Super Nintendo (or Super Nes, for the nerds), pixel art graphics and lo-fi music weren’t aesthetic choices. The simplistic gameplay where the character goes from left to right was not a retro-gaming claim. The backup limited to three parts was not a challenge to jaded players.

It was our world. Dare we say it was simpler?

The Magic of the Mushroom Kingdom

Anyway, because I spent hours with them, Mario and his brother Luigi, breaking bricks and jumping over piranha plants. Because the crazy landscapes and clouds of the Mushroom Kingdom are like a second home. Because Koji Kondo’s music is the soundtrack of my childhood. The world of Super Mario is a comforting place to me.

Do you see me coming? Yes, indeed, I would like to spend Christmas in this 16-bit world and a few primary colors.

I know that the setting of Super Mario is not very “Christmas”. Neither garlands nor fir trees. No gifts, no roast turkey. Mario barely reminds us, in his red overalls, of a vague mustachioed Santa Claus. But whatever, the main thing is there : joy.

A princess and shells

It suffices, to be convinced, to recapitulate some constituent elements of the Super Mario games of yesteryear. We save a princess who, in reality, is doing very well and kindly laughing at us. You never lose as many lives as you gain. Pets are there long tongued green dinosaurs (you don’t look stupid with your dogs and your cats now)…

It’s a world where when you eat a neon green mushroom, you gain life, not diarrhea. It’s a world where conflicts are settled by throwing turtle shells at enemies and where every victory over adversity is marked by fireworks.

A voice and buttocks

Super Mario created a whole visual vocabulary who knew how to remain one of a kind. Unlike other pop culture universes, it has been little parodied or copied, or even quoted in reference. The proof is, there have been very few series, cartoon or film adaptations of Super Mario.

The next one is thus the subject of very close attention from Super Mario fans who are closely watching each revelation about the film, which is scheduled for release in April 2023. For example, there have been controversies over thee choice of the American voice of Mario : Chris Pratt, a rather dismal actor (and human being). Fans have also complained that the design of the movie’s Mario doesn’t do it justice to the bounced posterior of the Mario of the games. In short, Mario, for his worshipers, is sacred.

A mushroom and bonds

However, Super Mario is not only a colorful and harmless universe where pot-bellied forty-somethings dream of hiding at Christmas, trying to escape their adult responsibilities such as organizing appraisal interviews and renewing insurance. of the car. No.

Mario is also a game that depicts the danger of ecological disruption. His universe glorifies unexpected heroes, so much so that in later versions, we were able to embody a small mushroom man and various versions of Princess Peach, always in a pink dress, but with an asserted badass potential. Mario praises difference and strangeness. It also encourages people to explore the world.

Defeat the Marketing Bowser

So let’s face it. Like any pop culture universe, which moreover comes from an industry where profit is a cardinal value, Super Mario is a super effective marketing gem that comes in various derivative products. A “Mushroom + 1up” plush toy was very close to sitting under my Christmas tree a few years ago.

And I had to be strong, again this year, not to give in to the ultimate combo that I perceived as a trap, worthy of Bowser, being very personally intended for me: the boxes of Lego Super Mario… And finally, if was it to be an adult? Knowing how to keep only the best of the pop culture universes that have built our imaginations while showing our plump buttocks, in a gesture of defiance, to the evil powers of marketing.

Why would I want to spend the holidays in the world of Super Mario?