An Ode to Mario: Keeping Japanese Businessmen Satisfied With His Gigolo Ways Since the Eighties

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chris-littlechild - April 2, 2013

There's a minor double entendre in the title there. Did you spot it?

This is not a disconcerting exposé about hairy-faced Italians giving happy finishes to overworked suit-wearing dudes in clinical-looking office blocks in the Orient. This being the internet, we daresay you can find such shenanigans easily enough elsewhere. In lieu of that, let's take a look at just how prolific Nintendo's main man has been throughout his thirty year career.

There have been titles of such quality that we could feel actual platforming nirvana before our wondering eyes, ears and gonads. There have also been befuddling cameo appearances (are paunchy little fat dudes the image you want to convey in your sports game? Are they?) and others that were so shit-tacular they drove us to take a photograph of our good friend and compatriot Hobo Joe giving the camera the finger and mailed a jpeg of such to Nintendo's HQ (just to add the professional touch to our outrage, we had hastily loaded Photoshop to scrawl bollocks across the bottom. Our message, we daresay, was received loud and clear).

Exhibit A: Mario Teaches Typing. This sucks.

But our train of thought doesn't make a stop at Crazy Town, so to business. Mario is surely among the most acclaimed icons of popular culture there have ever been. He emerged from the lunatic mind of game-crafting titan and demented banjo-playing Asian manchild, Shigeru Miyamoto, in 1981. From the humble days of looking like a pixelated sack of shit as aesthetically pleasing as a bulldog's ballbag (with the feeble moniker 'Jumpman' to boot), he has ascended to the lofty heights of global stardom. His resumé includes such much-ballyhooed classics as Super Mario World, Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy. Which may be as appealing as a blindfolded machete pube-shave to some of us, but this seminal series and its influence on the genre cannot be denied.

Mario's antics, nonetheless, have become rather stagnant of late. He is the ‘safe' option for Nintendo, a moustachioed maestro to wheel out whenever company executives want to build a poolhouse or purchase that fourth solid-gold limo. As such, Super Mario releases have been becoming alarmingly frequent; the New Super Mario Bros. franchise the most notable offender. That ballache is becoming nigh-impossible to discern from every other. Perhaps the company's proclamation of 2013 as ‘The Year of Luigi' demonstrates that the company has noted the need to stop with this business for a while.

We heard Grandma Egotastic in the street yesterday, screeching, "ENOUGH GODDAMN MARIO, ALREADY!" Which may be another sign. Still, she'd forgotten to put her dress on again, and the stench of gin from her was so powerful children across the street in strollers were getting pissed from the fumes from a hundred yards away, so we won't take her entirely seriously.

Exhibit B: Super Mario Galaxy. This DOES NOT suck.

Even more disturbing, Mario is credited with appearances in over two hundred video games. The bastard can straddle genres and premises that he has no freaking business venturing into at will, it transpires. Soccer games, baseball games, Mario Teaches Typing, archery, puzzle games, tennis, golf, the hugely, hilariously crap Mario's Time Machine, dancing games, Mario's Guide to STDs: Mama Mia, What are Those Sores on My Crotch? It's-a Time to Slap a Condom on Your Wang, Everyone! (except, presumably, not that last one). Nothing and nobody is sacred when this guy's around. Which he always is.

In summation, platform games are the way to go. Mario Kart, the only spin-off that didn't suck Donkey Kong's five-foot phallus, is acceptable too. Otherwise, this cash-cow needs to be contained a little more.

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