You come back from school. You power up the vintage Atari machine and the most beautiful screen pops up in front of you. An Italian plumber is about to start his quest to save the love of his life – Princess Peach.
If you’re a ’90s kid, it’s extremely likely that Mario has been a huge part of your childhood. Today, 35 years ago, Mario made his first appearance in a Donkey Kong Game and he’ll forever be our beloved video game character.
A lot has been said by a few online personalities like Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian about the damsel in distress trope and how it’s plaguing the video game industry, but what they forget is that as kids it didn’t really matter to us. It was actually about us being willing to go the distance when it comes to saving a loved one.
When the odds aren’t in your favour and you have to keep grinding for that one person who actually matters to you, you realise the importance of people in your life. Mario is more than just a game for us ’90s kids. It’s a way of life.
Mario made his first appearance in Donkey Kong. Created by Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario was originally known simply as “Jumpman”, but was later renamed and went on to become the “Super” character we all now know and love.
Even now, when most of us don’t have time to play Mario anymore, we’ve taken to social media to hold on to one of the sweetest memories of our childhood. It’s bizarre how even when we don’t have a direct interaction with the character, he lives on in memes, gifs and videos.
Kids nowadays have their XBox Ones and their PlayStation 4s but games aren’t about simple things anymore. Kids don’t try and find joy in small and simple things now. It isn’t just about going on an adventure but getting a ‘killstreak’. Is that what we’re looking for? Momentarily, yes. But in the longer run Mario’s adventures to save Princess Peach will stay with you.
Maybe the current generation of games are superior to our beloved Mario franchise in terms of graphics and gameplay but will they ever be as special as the Italian Plumber? I think not!