By Alayna P.
Ah, Super Mario. One of the most iconic video game series of all time. At this point, the story of Mario's origins and success is something of common knowledge among video game enthusiasts: Mario got his start in the 1980's in the arcade games Donkey Kong and later Mario Bros., and then in 1985, with the NES, Mario became the world's video gaming icon with Super Mario Bros. And the rest, is history.
Even though Mario is an undisputed icon, he's not without his criticisms. And as for me, if you hadn't noticed from my infatuation with Mario Kart as expressed in my previous articles, and by the title of this article, I am a great big Super Mario fangirl. My love for Mario games is not blind, though - which may come as something of a surprise to those who have heavily criticized or gotten tired of Super Mario in recent times. People have criticized Mario games for staying the same and not trying anything much new - and yet, I continue to love them just as much. With my story of my relationship with the Super Mario series, I'll show how one series can be viewed in many different ways, and how a view being different does not make it wrong or bad.
So, my first experience with a Mario game was with Super Mario Advance, a somewhat unconventional introduction to the series, but just as good as any, I think. It introduced me to some of the more obscure Mario characters first; those like Shy Guy, Snifit, Ninji and Birdo (as well as a couple more regularly appearing characters: Bob-Omb and Pokey). And not to mention my introduction to Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad. I've played that game so much that I've not only been practicing speedrunning it, but I even discovered a glitch in it when I was younger. It now, and always will, have a dear place in my heart.
I mention the characters I met there because from then on, it's been the characters and the personality of the games that's brought me back every time. All of the games share at least a few (and usually a large amount!) of the characters and locations, and I have come to know each and every one of them and I am always excited to, well, basically, see how they are doing, how they look and have changed between the games. Hearing the music I love, perhaps with slight changes or remixes, seeing the characters I know and love, it gives me a wonderful feeling like nothing else can. I always feel a bit confused when someone says they think that New Super Mario Bros. games (or Super Mario games in general) are all the same, because I always notice all the little changes as though they were the most obvious thing in the world! Anything from new minor characters, slightly new designs or behaviors for certain enemies, anything like that.
But more than all that, it's just the atmosphere. I love, love, love the world in the Mario game series. I can just never spend enough time there. Each time I start on another adventure in the Mushroom Kingdom, I get goosebumps and it gives me such a rush of good feelings, and it doesn't end the whole time I am out with Mario (or Luigi) on the adventure. And when I beat a Mario game? For me, there's no other game that feels so satisfying to finish! And it doesn't matter which game - from Super Mario Bros. to Super Mario Galaxy - I feel so fulfilled, so satisfying, as the game ends after I've beaten it. Not a single game I have ever played has felt as rewarding as the end of a Super Mario game.
And so, simply put, the very reasons that people have come to dislike Super Mario games for are the reasons I love the games so much! I don't want the Mario series to change drastically, it has everything I want as-is. I hear people complain about the music, and I love the music. I hear complaints about the games being too much the same, but I love all the things that the games share. And because of all that, it is my hope that the more people hear about opinions like mine, the more they realize that different games can be enjoyed differently (or just enjoyed at all) by different people. A game is not bad just because you didn't like it! A game is not good or bad for its popularity or unpopularity, for being well-known or not well known; a game is good or bad for each person indivdually. I've never seen it mentioned in any review of a recent Mario game that big fans of the series will still enjoy the game just fine, because the games have not lost their polish, their atmosphere, or their characters.
Super Mario has that sense of comfort for me like nothing else does. Playing a Mario game makes me feel right at home, like I am with my friends. And that is why I love Mario games. I hope this article has helped you to understand my perspective and, by extension, the perspectives others may have when it comes to anyone who has a differing opinion on a certain game or game series. Are there any game series that you feel this way about? Please feel free to share any of your thoughts on this subject, or anything discussed in the article in the comments!