Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Happy Birthday Mario

A few days ago a certain Italian plumber turned 25... a certain super famous, incredibly stereotyped and super sure sign of quality mascot turned 25. It can only be Mario: Nintendo's number one guy and every Italians nightmare.

It's strange realising that you are older than Mario, one of the cornerstones of growing up (at least in my age group). He's one of those characters who seemed like he was always there, even though he wasn't, and always seemed so much more lovable than other video game mascots even though none of them had a lot of depth. The upper hand Mario had was that his games were pretty much a million miles better than anything else, and when you have that who cares about wafer thin plot and shocking Italian stereotypes (honestly it seems like a videogame Dolmio advert).

So anyways, the boss man made his first appearance in Donkey Kong under the name Jump Man, later to be named Mario. The whole Italian plumber thing hadn't been established yet and for a while he was known as a carpenter, until everything fell into the shape we know now. Anyway, the Donkey Kong arcade was MASSIVE at the time and so a kids cartoon came out, with Donkey Kong and Mario acting as both hero and villain depending on who you wanted to rout for. There's a 'Catch the pigeon' vibe going on, with one chasing the other, and you know Mario's never gonna catch Donkey, but it's still fun, even though you know the story will never progress past point 1. What is also interesting is this is before the idea of 'MARIO' had really been established (as we know him today), meaning he is totally different from the character we know know and is more of a second fiddle to Donkey Kong, who is still a legend but doesn't have nearly as much clout as the M man has today. Proof that all good thing come to those who wait.

After all the Donkey Kong biz Mario became a star in his own right with Super Mario Bros. on the NES. However, the Mario Bros. movie staring Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper didn't do much to help his cause at hitting the big time, but unbeknown to many of us over here, there was what seems to be a perfectly reasonable Mario Bros. anime film that came out in Japan at the start of Mario mania. It was never released or translated anywhere outside of Japan but can now be view thanks to fan subtitles on youtube. It's ok, it's not great, it's not awful but it's better than any Mario cartoon series... and I could tell that just by watching at work with the sound off! I've posted the begging of the film and the section where Peach gets Bowser to turn into a drag act, no shit this does happen!! The rest of the film is on there and the rest will hopefully be uploaded to youtube soon. Worth seeing if you are in to this kind of thing.

(Bellow is the Bowser drag queen bit)

Whatever... wish the big guy a happy birthday! Here's to the inevitably amazing Mario game on the 3DS!

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