**EDIT: This post was previously titled “Things I’ve Learned From Playing Super Mario” until my friend Dave pointed out that gamers everywhere would ostracize me (technically, he said they’d be calling for my head) for being misleading. These lessons, as Dave pointed out, are more learned from Mario in general than from Super Mario World. I believed my title sounded better than “Things I’ve Learned From Mario,” but apparently Word-Nerds cannot beat the Gamers in this argument. Dear Gamers, forgive my folly. Leave my head alone. My looks are all I’ve got going for me.
I decided to pull the Super Nintendo out of the basement today (actually I wanted to do it around 4 am, but for the sake of trying to sleep, I thought better of it.) As a kid, I used to love video games (including many from Atari, SNES, and Sega Genesis). Though I have fond attachments to many different games, Super Mario World is, and always will be, my favorite- I love it even more than Guitar Hero.
“I can’t talk right now, I’m at a show…”
Reflecting on Super Mario World now, and after having played for a few hours today, I’ve realized there are many things that I’ve learned from that chubby, mustachioed, Italian man.
1. Turtles are evil and to be feared (and also gross, but I learned that from the movie Radio Flyer) I’ll expound on the “gross” part because it really has more of an impact on me. If you haven’t seen the movie Radio Flyer, then you’re dead to me. This is where I developed my very first (and still very real) celebrity crush on Elijah Wood. (Rest assured, I am partial to his adult self, but he was an adorable kid).
I imagine that our children will be born with bowl cuts
In the movie, Elijah’s character “Mike” has a younger brother named “Bobby” (Joseph Mazzello). Bobby is regularly on the receiving end of his violent, alcoholic step-father’s fists. They called him “The King.” At one point, the family moves into a new house and Mike and Bobby decide to explore. They find a shed in the backyard and open the door, at which point, the hateful filmmakers ruined my life. As soon as the shed door opens, the screen cuts to a huge image of a turtle’s head lurching out of the shed in a nightmarish way. Scared the dickens out of me. They named the turtle Sampson and later in the movie were feeding it (yes, “it”) a piece of fruit. The fruit was all over its face and it was smacking and making a scene, and I decided right then and there that turtles were gross and awful.* The internet has no footage of this, so you’re all spared a trip to the loo to toss your cookies. *(Forced to somewhat eat crow because I now work for an amazing company called “Tortuga Backpacks”… but I don’t let my loathing for turtles get in the way of my love for the company. Please don’t fire me for this, Fred.) Super Mario has affirmed and solidified my beliefs that turtles are evil and only good when you’re riding a green dinosaur who can swallow them or use their blue shells to fly. (Unless you’ve got the Blue Yoshi, and then any shell makes you fly!)
Blue Yoshi for the win!
2. Super Mario stays with you in ways you don’t expect I permanently burned the image of Mario’s face into my ex-boyfriend’s television because I left the N-64 on for a stupid amount of time. I don’t feel that guilty about it now.
“It’s’a me’a Mario!”
3. Always have a cape Don’t waste your time with the fireball flowers, those only really help you defeat Iggy and Ludwig (Von) Koopa in castles 1 and 4, respectively. It is much better to defend yourself by running and flying over your troubles, rather than by facing them head on. (I’m going to be a terrible mother.) 4. Life is easier and better when you can figure out the secret cheats and escape to secret worlds
For the Rainbow Road fans. You’re welcome.
I do this by over analyzing everything that passes through my brain. Dissect situations, figure out how you could have done something better, then do it better. Repeat process until you’re perfect, like me. Figure out the cheats and hacks to simplify your life (unless this involves cooking meals with a microwave… be better than that.)
Unlock freedom, people.
Have a place that’s all your own. Secret worlds to escape to. Read books, set yourself free for a bit. Otherwise you’ll go crazy.
5. Women need to be better (and thankfully, many more are becoming this way) Peach, grow a pair and stop waiting for a man to rescue you. You’re a princess. No one feels bad for you, you’re not fooling anyone.
This gets you NOWHERE.
Also, no more of this nonsense, ladies: Be direct with your intentions; you know Mario is expecting a lot more than what she’s probably going to give him.
6. Naps are great! Take them!
I feel like we live life backwards. We start in a stage where we are forced to nap when we have enough energy to blow up the moon, and then we aren’t “allowed” to take naps in our 9-5’ers, when we are old and tired and hate ourselves. Move to Europe, they love resting over here.
7. Food is important, don’t let physical fitness stand in your way (again, please don’t let me bring children into this world) Take a look at Mario’s physique. The dude is a pudge-fluff. (I can make up words, I majored in English.) Despite his husky exterior, he’s got the moves of a jungle cat. Eat away, my friends. Eat. Away. It clearly won’t stop you from being able to double bounce off of walls and throw Bowser off a cliff.
Would being tall and skinny have helped him in this situation? NOPE.
8. Life’s gonna throw some monsters at you Crush them flat before they destroy you. 9. Sometimes you’ve gotta ditch Yoshi
There will be times when you need to figure things out on your own. Don’t freak out. Take care of your business and Yoshi will be waiting for you up ahead. He’s a solid dude, he gets it.
10. Ghosts are real Nothing further to say on this one.
11. Fish are only good for eating They’re not pets. Stop being weird.
This is a falsehood.
12. Positive thinking is your best friend This one is hard for me. Cynicism is my crutch. But a good sense of humor and some can-do attitude can make terrible things seem not so bad. This is me trying to get a grip on a good attitude:
Wrestle it into submission.
13. Have a sidekick Have someone on stand-by when you can’t get past the Ghost House; or someone who can coach you through the water levels because they make you nervous. We know you’re tough and amazing, but it’s ok to ask for help. (I struggle with this.)
14. Life doesn’t have a “start/select” option If you’re familiar with the video game, you’ll know that pressing “start” and then “select” will allow you to quit a level you’ve already beaten without losing a life. Brilliant, but unrealistic. If you’re facing a tough situation that you’ve dealt with before, apply what you’ve learned from the past, grit your teeth, and truck through it (if you can’t fly over it (see #3)). 15. Help others
(Note the cape)
Be kind and good, even in the face of ugliness. The rewards of behaving like a decent human being far outweigh the consequences of acting like a jerk- so don’t be one (as tempting as it may be). Be aware of the things you say and the way you say them- become the master of your own mouth. Life is so much better when you don’t have to regret the things you’ve said. Exercise some self control, eat some spaghetti, and go save that worthless princess.