Mario and his friends were created with a simple purpose: to entertain. However, have you ever wondered what they do to amuse themselves when they aren’t entertaining us?

That is the focus of the Waluigious article “In Which We’re Entertained,” which takes a look at clues which have appeared over the course of the Mario franchise’s history. Books, video games (natch), computers, television, and so on.

Reading over the piece led me to recall some of my earliest Mario memories, in which I imagined that unlike the Bros.’ native (at the time) Brooklyn, the Mushroom Kingdom was virtually devoid of any technology. And what tech existed– Bill Blasters, air ships, etc.– seemed to be implemented solely for the purposes of war and destruction.

Other than odd pieces of context-less promotional art featuring Mario flying a plane or driving a car, this seemed to be the case for the most part. Super Mario Land changed that with the Sky Pop airplane, Marine Pop submarine, and that funky ship Mario and Princess Daisy ride away in at the end.

But then, Super Mario Land was always a little weird in its own special way, wasn’t it?

Oh, and we can’t forget The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and its wide range of period stories, from prehistoric times to Roman-esque Colosseums to more modern-day and even futuristic times, no matter how hard some may try. But, I don’t think that really applies to the game world.

The Mushroom Kingdom’s technological revolution, at least as far as the games would have us believe, seemed to really kick off with the advent of go-kart racing in Super Mario Kart. Now, all of a sudden, “real” vehicles were a part of this otherwise fantasy-like world.

From there, it doesn’t feel like they’ve held back. Game Boys in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, full-blown automobiles in Mario Kart 64, modernized cities on top of that… it was as though the Mushroom Kingdom we all thought we knew had changed almost overnight.

With that said, it seems that many of Mario’s big adventures– the 2D style ones, at the very least– take place in the more rural environments of a world that is otherwise comparable to our own in terms of technological sophistication… just with more floating blocks and talking turtles. It’s an interesting change from the status quo as I saw it growing up, but not an unwelcome one.

Be sure to check out Waluigious’ article if you’d like to give it further thought.

That said, have any other series you’ve followed had such a change that seemed to defy its prior convention? I bet more than a few Sonic the Hedgehog fans could give affirmative answers to that one.

Feel free to share in the comments below.

–LBD “Nytetrayn”

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  • http://nintendo3dscommunity.com/ CM30

    It’s an old article, but the technology has got even better in recent Mario games. Just look at the new Mario Kart game, with levels set in a modern city, an airport and a train station in the style of the London Underground. And I’m sure Mario & Luigi Dream Team actually had references to social media and the internet, despite being sent on an otherwise more rural island.

    And hey, WarioWare always had Diamond City. That’s technically a Mario sub series, isn’t it?

    Really though, I’d say your point here is most accurate:

    many of Mario’s big adventures– the 2D style ones, at the very least–
    take place in the more rural environments of a world that is otherwise
    comparable to our own in terms of technological sophistication… just
    with more floating blocks and talking turtles.

    There wasn’t ever much of a ‘technological revolution’. Just that some parts of the world were more ‘backwards’ than others in terms of technology and social issues. I guess the situation is more like a modern third world region where shiny modern cities are right next to medieval style villages and what not.

    • http://www.nyteworks.net/ LBD “Nytetrayn”

      Yeah, if you look at stuff like Paper Mario, that seems like the case as well. No high-speed internet out in the sticks!

      And yes, WarioWare always had Diamond City, but that wasn’t until 2003. By that point, I think Mario Kart 64 and the like had already given us some cities, hadn’t they? =)

      I guess the developers figured it would be easier to just go with whatever is current at the time.

      Still, I’d love to see some Mario levels that take place in a modern city. Donkey Kong has brought it a couple of times in Donkey Kong for Game Boy and Donkey Kong Land, let Mario have a run! =)

      • http://nintendo3dscommunity.com/ CM30

        By the time of 2003, we’d already seen quite a few city areas in Mario spinoffs. Wario Land 4 had one, as well as a pinball machine, 60s style hotel, landfill site and cold storage facility. That was a 2001 game.

        Then again, it’d had that before 2001. Wario Land 2 actually had a level called ‘In Town’ which was set in an otherwise fairly modern looking city, and 3 had a level called Town in Chaos which was at least a little more built up than normal (it also had the Big Bridge and Warped Void levels, which had some modern aspects to them).

        Heck, if you’re talking Mario RPG, that had the whole factory area at the end. Forget the Game Boys a minute, Smithy’s weapons factory is probably pretty advanced by itself.

        Still, if you want to see some Mario levels set in modern cities, you could always try some fan works.

        Mushroom Kingdom Fusion and Super Mario Fusion Revival have areas set on an alternate version of Earth, with pretty modern looking levels:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1C3B1UnUcI

        • http://www.nyteworks.net/ LBD “Nytetrayn”

          “Heck, if you’re talking Mario RPG, that had the whole factory area at
          the end. Forget the Game Boys a minute, Smithy’s weapons factory is
          probably pretty advanced by itself.”

          True, but the Smithy Gang were from another world anyway, so I don’t think they quite count. ;)

          Didn’t know Wario Land 2 had that. I got that as my Platinum Reward last year, so I should get around to checking that out!

          And I do follow the Fusion games, but I’m thinking something a little more official. ;)