Mario: A Retrospective Part 8

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Let's finish this out with a bang.

If you’ve been following along, I spent a day talking about Mario’s 2D career, then quickly followed it with a chat regarding his 3D endeavors. The next day was all about the spin-off series that spawned from Mario’s greatness. And then we took a Sunday drive with the Mario Kart series. After that it was on to the RPG’s, then sports, and yesterday was all about the Mario Party series. Today’s the final part of the Mario Retrospective, so I’m pointing out just a few other games that I couldn’t classify anywhere else, plus wrapping up my thoughts on Mario’s career as a whole. So for one last time, let’s-a go!

Mario Paint:

Mario, is there anything you aren't just naturally good at?

Good old Mario Paint. One of the few games I had on my SNES when I started out, Mario Paint had a little something for just about everyone. You could create pictures, make simple animation, compose music, color, and even play a small game where you swat flies. The game was simple but had plenty to do. It was also one of the few games to utilize the Super Nintendo mouse, which only made sense since you couldn’t really draw with a controller (well, maybe a Wiimote). The music composer alone was enough to get people going, and nowadays you can find homebrewed programs based off the Mario Paint composer software. Not bad for a game that’s nearly 20-years-old. So why now Mario Paint on the Wii? Hmm?

Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix:

What the heck am i looking at? Why am I looking at this? Who thought this was a good idea?

I had gotten into the DDR craze, just a bit. Not as heavily as people I know, such as Other Chris, but I wasn’t a stranger to the excellent game with the dance pad. When I heard that Nintendo would be releasing a Mario Mix for DDR, I was pretty excited. I figured it’d be similar to Donkey Konga where there’d be a lot of Nintendo favorites. I was heavily disappointed to learn that while there were a handful of Mario-based remixes, there weren’t any other Nintendo themes. I didn’t just want a Mario Mix, I wanted a Nintendo Mix. The game even had the audacity to have a story mode with the flimsiest plot I’ve ever heard of: Waluigi steals the music from the Mushroom Kingdom so Mario must get it back by dancing. First off, why Waluigi? That was strange enough. Secondly, why dancing? Just because, of course. Even more depressing was how easy the game turned out to be compared to real DDR titles. I beat the entire game while at work at Game Crazy. That’s sort of sad, but at least the game had some cool remixes, so I can forgive it just enough.

Mario Is Missing/Mario’s Time Machine:

Funny how edutainment games always make kids hate learning.

There are a lot of Mario edutainment games out there, and I can safely say that none of them are good, but Mario Is Missing has a special place in my heart since I’ve actually played it and actually beat it. As with both Mario Is Missing and Mario’s Time Machine, there was really no thought put into making a decent game but rather just A GAME, and they succeed at that, insomuch as there are certainly elements of games in these two examples. But I digress, there is no point to play these games ever, and that’s a shame, because the two concepts are pretty good. Having Mario kidnapped and forcing Luigi to rescue him is a good concept, hence why Luigi’s Mansion turned out to be a game I enjoyed, and sending Mario through time could have been a concept that turned into something epic. Instead we got two bland games that failed to educate and failed to entertain, making them edutailures. Sad but true.

Hotel Mario:

"Remember kids, just because it has Mario's name on it doesn't mean you HAVE to play it."

If you’ve heard of Hotel Mario, you’re already aware that it’s considered the worst Mario game ever. I haven’t played it myself, but I’ve seen multiple reviews and footage of said game, and it definitely looks bad. It was made for the Phillips CD-i, the failed system that Nintendo allowed Phillips to include Mario and Zelda games on, much to our dismay. I don’t even want to go into how unfortunate Hotel Mario is in terms of a project, being bumped down from a real sequel to Super Mario World to nothing more than…well I’m not really sure what it turned out to be. It’s just sad.

The Super Mario Bros Super Show:

These guys should have got an Emmy. I don't even care what for, but they earned it.

Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s, just about any licensed product that could become a cartoon was converted into just that, so the Mario Bros were given a live-action/animated program called the Super Mario Bros Super Show. There would be live-action sequences with Captain Lou Albano as Mario and Danny Wells as Luigi hanging around in their New York apartment being visited by celebrities and occasionally working as plumbers now and then. In between these live-action segments they’d run animated adventures of the Mario Bros that’d tend to favor the US version of Mario Bros 2 more than anything else. The show is naturally awful, but it’s a good kind of awful where you can really get into it with a group of people. A Super Mario Bros 3 cartoon soon followed, capped by a Super Mario World cartoon, but in total these series didn’t last very long. However, they survive on DVD, so check them out, if purely for the camp value.

Super Mario Bros The Movie:

Don't care, this movie is great.

If ever there was a worse representation of Mario and his adventures, I haven’t seen it, because the Super Mario Bros movie was about as wonderfully bad as it can get. There isn’t a single bit of this movie that really works, especially when you consider the source material it was based on. It was really odd that with so much fantasy to work with they managed to screw it up beyond repair. Mario and Luigi don’t don their trademark outfits until the last few minutes of the movie, Bowser isn’t even a dinosaur, and Princess Peach isn’t even the princess. Daisy is the princess for some reason, though in a really odd twist of fate, they hook Daisy up with Luigi in the end, something that Nintendo wouldn’t do for another eight years. How did they know? I highly, highly recommend checking this movie out, but not with the intent of seeing a good movie. This is the king of bad movies, but bad movies that end up being good. If only Schwarzenegger was cast as King Koopa everything would have been so much better.

My Final Thoughts:

Would it really be like that? You've gotta wonder.

I’ve been a fan of Mario since I can remember, way back when I could hardly play video games worth a damn. And he’s always been good to me. But there are some things I never really understood. Such as:

“Is Luigi Mario’s younger brother?” They’re shown in Yoshi’s Island as being twins, but in Mario RPG you can hear Luigi’s wish as mentioning he wishes he were brave like his older brother. I just never quite knew for sure.

“Will Mario and Peach ever really be together?” I don’t care if they ever do anything adult, that’s just juvenile to joke about anymore, I just want one time when they go out of their way to show that there is a definite romantic love between them. You don’t even have too marry them, but at least show them on a legit date or something.

“Are Luigi and Daisy really together?” Mario Tennis implies they’re together. Mario Power Tennis even has Daisy refer to Luigi with pet names. But Luigi still seems to pine after Peach. Anything there?

“Where do the Koopalings come from?” There are seven Koopalings, plus Bowser Junior, plus some Kid Koopas if you count the Mario Party games. Where do they come from? Is it similar to Yoshis where they just come from eggs? Or is Bowser actually a widow? Maybe Mario killed Bowser’s one true love years back and now he’s getting even by stealing Peach? Something to consider.

“Is Peach really a good ruler?” Her kingdom gets ransacked at least once a year by someone or other, and the very things that hold the fabric of reality together, such as the Star Wand or Music Crystals or some crazy jazz, is easily swipable and exploitable. While the Mushroom Kingdom does have an army and guards and such, they’d always fail if Mario didn’t bail them out. At least the price of an extra life has gone down from 100 coins to 50 in the Galaxy games. Good to know inflation isn’t a problem.

“How do they regulate the sporting seasons of the Mushroom Kingdom?” They go golfing, race go-karts, hold tennis matches, attend the Olympics, play soccer, and even hit some baseballs around from time to time. Do they have a set schedule for these seasons? Does the Mushroom Kingdom’s populace just know, “Okay, it’s May, that means tennis is on TV tonight, but next month they’ve got the Grand Prix, and for a week in between that Bowser’s gonna ransack the village, so I should probably go grocery shopping.” I know, it’s a fantasy world, but just consider it for a bit.

“Can Bowser/DK/Yoshi speak English?” The official language isn’t even important to me here, it’s just the knowledge of whether they can all speak one unified language. Yoshi has been known to speak directly to Mario multiple times, but he’s also depicted as having no real discernable speech. DK grunts and such but he’s spoken just fine in the Donkey Kong Country series. And Bowser, oh man, I’m glad they’ve got him back doing his dinosaur noises for speech, but they did give him actual voice acting for Sunshine. It was a mistake, but he can speak clearly when needed. He just shouldn’t.

“Why do they have only singular words voice-acted in Super Mario Galaxy?” This is my last question, but it’s my most pressing. I just finished replaying the first Galaxy and it bugged the hell out of me that Roselina would have fairly short bits of dialogue in text, but then singular words like “So” or “Go” would be voiced. Why? Why not just voice-act all her lines? The entire script for the game, dialogue and every little bit of text on screen, couldn’t be more than five Word Document pages long, with Roselina’s speeches being maybe a single page. Why can’t she just speak all the words? I can’t even imagine how embarrassing it was for the voice actress to go through that. Mercedes Rose, good on you for voicing the new princess, and so very sorry they didn’t let you speak more.

And that’s all for me. I’ve written eight articles now on Mario and his games, and there doesn’t seem to be any indication that his career will end anytime soon. He’s still the pinnacle of iconic for video games, and his newest game, Super Mario Galaxy 2, which I intend to review this next week, is the second-highest rated game ever, barely behind Ocarina of Time and just past the first Mario Galaxy (earlier this week it actually was the #1). But enough about my ramblings. I’m done talking, now it’s your turn. What memories do you have of Mario? What games didn’t I cover that you wished I had? Do you actually dislike Mario and never felt comfortable saying so? I’m giving you your opening to say something, so go right ahead. In the meantime, I have a new galaxy to explore. Thank you so much for-a reading my articles!

Need more retrospectives? Take a look at these:

Zelda: A Retrospective

My Little Pony: A Retrospective

Crash Bandicoot: A Retrospective

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About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

4 Comments

  1. you obviously love Mario 😀 hahaha i can see that now.

    as for me, i haven’t tried anything mario-related aside of course from the infamous video game ;p but seeing your enthusiasm, I might consider trying other mario stuff you mentioned here 😉

  2. PuppetDoctor on

    Well Mario could be older then Luigi and still be twins. He could have been born first meaning he was a few minutes older then Luigi.

    My first memory of playing a video game was at my neighbors when I was 3 or 4yrs old. They had an NES and I remember playing Super Mario Bros. and then Duck Hunt. I also played Snoopy’s Silly Sports which was an early memory too.

    I love Mario games because they are the only games that actually give me a genuine feeling of them being fun. At least this is how I felt when I played Super Mario Galaxy back in 2007. Although, Mass Effect 1 is one of my favorite games on the 360. My GoTY choice for 2007 is still Super Mario Galaxy and probably my second favorite Mario game behind Super Mario World.

    Great articles on Mario and I enjoyed reading them all.

    Personally I didn’t find the Mario Bros. movie to be as terrible as everybody said. While it wasn’t great it was an alright movie I guess. I thought it was weird though that they had Princess Daisy instead of Princess Toadstool but maybe they were trying to market for Super Mario Land.

  3. I understand I’m looking too much into the games. It was just meant to be a random little observation on my part.

    And don’t worry, I plan on doing the Smash Bros games as their own Retrospective some time next month. I just didn’t consider them exclusively Mario.

  4. Gus Townson on

    Aw man! I totaly remember Mario Paint. Loved that game, and yes, I deffinatly would love to se a sequel on the Will. Seriously, that fly swatter game was so random. Yet so fun.

    Dude. How come you didn’t talk about the Super Smash Brothers Trilogy? I saw the front picture, and totaly thought that’s what was comming. Do you consider those Kirby games because they are made by Hal Labs?

    I almost have the same feeling about voice acting. You think that the developers are afraid that we would notice just how simplistic and dull the dialogue is if it was actually spoken? Because honestly the only Mario games where I truly wish there was voice acting would be the RPG’s, because those have actually been genuinely well written. And funny. I guess Galaxy was alright, but even those lines would have sounded stilted, if not cliche. It’s not just Mario games either. Almost any dubbing from Japanese or other foreign games sounds awkward to me.

    Honestly I’m more of a fan of Luigi myself. I think the character is underraited and takes a lot of smack for no apparent reason (like Krillin in DBZ the Abridged Series, or Spiderman in itsjustsomerandomguy’s youtube video’s Marvel vs. DC). Almost why I really like the Escapist Magazine miniseries “There Will Be Brawl” (which if you haven’t watched yet, you should deffinately look it up.)

    God that movie is so awful.

    As for a lot of the things you mentioned in your final statements, I think your trying to look way WAY too much into it. These are Mario games. Not even Shigeru Myamoto cares where the koopalings came from, how many years apart exactly are Mario and Luigi, or whether Luigi likes Dasey or Peach, or why the heck Bowser can never just be like “You know… I COULD capture the Pricess again today… but you know what I think I’ll just stay home and order some Netflicks.”
    And knowing the RPG’s sence of humor, they just might do that some day.

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