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.