The Death of Mario

medv4380

The Crazy One
Feb 26, 2010
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Was Mario really ever a "living" mascot? He's ether a random mascot shoe horned into a game, or it's the same formula it's been from day 1.

I think Yahtzee's main problem with Nintendo is that they follow a conservative business model, and they always have. That's how they've stayed in business for the last 100 years. Heck, Pokemon is just a natural extention of their original "custom" player cards. Make a couple art changes and sell again and again. Repeat, FOREVER.

Even when he gets into the gripe about the wii mote being "Gimiky". Really? You think Nintendo, the company that gave us R.O.B, uses Gimiks? Well, yea, they do, but they always have. Putting fancy pictures on a deck of playing cards to sell them for more money is nothing more than a Gimik.

Maybe Yahtzee thinks that complaining about the obvious failing of Nintendo would get them to change. They haven't changed in a hundred years, and they've not going to start now for no good reason.

If anyone thinks that Nintendo was better in the past they are deluding themselves. They just give a very good first impression, but if you stay with them you'll find out that they're just doing the same stuff over and over again, and make a few changes here and there that never amounts to much.

It's not that Mario BECAME ip from being a Character. He was never a character to begin with. He was never anything more than an IP sprite borrowed from Donkey Kong.
 

Slothboy

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Mar 26, 2008
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There is a lack of depth to Mario. What does he do? He jumps. He jumps up in the air and lands on things. Sometimes he eats things that give him abilities.

There's no character development other than giving him new things to eat that turn him into other things. Eventually the things become redundant. There are only so many things! He can fly as a raccoon, does he also need to be a bird? No.

Arguably he's always been paper mario. The only color exists on his surface and inside he is a blank slate. An empty shell. His only changes are on the outside and that makes him a boring character. A FLAT character. "It's a me, Mario!" We know buddy. We know. Go put on your frog costume and hit the pool.
 

Elijah Newton

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Sep 17, 2008
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The most interesting line in the post to me was, "Maybe we are living in a post-mascot age." FWIW I'd love to see that idea explored in greater depth - off the top of my head I can think of a couple arguments both for and against.

Regarding Mario, though, well. I loves me some Yahtzee and generally nod along with him in all things. This time, not so much.

I 'came back' to Mario because of the visual design, the simple gameplay but mostly because of my son who was five. I picked up The New Super Mario Bros on the DS for us to share and it was perfect. Yes, to me the gameplay was a re-hash of the original but I wasn't looking for groundbreaking. When I was my son's age (more or less) SMB on the NES was my intro to videogames. I wanted to offer him the same happy entry to the hobby I love. A cheery setting, clear character design and gameplay which could be both simple and amusing. Mario delivered on every point.

I can't really speak to the concerns of people who have stuck by the character as they've gotten older. It seems natural that over time a) the basic gameplay would become stale and b) innovations to that gameplay (which may not work) in later iterations would threaten or destroy the nostalgia value of the original.

Carping about Mario seems a bit like complaining about Sesame Street. "Snuffleupagus can be seen by anyone now? Who's that little red fellow? Why is Oscar still in a trash can - shouldn't he have been allowed to move onto some better part of life? This isn't like the Sesame Street I remember!" etc etc etc. But it goes over awfully well with the little ones, which is the point of the thing.
 

SonOfMethuselah

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Oct 9, 2012
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As far as the Dante thing goes, my understanding (not something anyone has told me, just what I personally see as the case) is that he was included in the game because he is a PlayStation all-star. The first three Devil May Cry games did extremely well on the PlayStation 2 (not sure which were exclusives, or where they ended up eventually, but I stand by my point). So the guys behind PSABR were like 'hey, why not use him?!' But since he's getting a reboot, they didn't want to use classic white-haired Dante, because when the new game comes out, people who aren't familiar with the series might be confused. That, or maybe the rights to use Dante hinged on them using the new version, because whoever holds the rights to him now is trying to move people away from the old white-haired Dante. Either way, I don't think its pre-nostalgia, and I'm not cynical enough to say that it's an advertising thing. I think it was necessary.

Anyway, OT:

As far as Mario goes, by the time I reached the PlayStation 2, I was no longer excited by a game just because it contained Mario. I mean, his games generally reliable to be a fun time, but they also follow a pretty standard formula. I don't know that I'd call him 'dead,' per say, but he want from representing a brand of consoles in his early years to representing just how huge a thing brand-recognition is. People don't buy games that have Mario in them because they're excited, they buy games that have Mario in them because they have Mario in them. Full-stop. It's almost a conditioned reaction, now. You have a Nintendo console, you see a game with Mario in it, you buy that game. Because that's what you've always done. The fact that he's used in so many different spin-off series just means more money in Nintendo's pocket.

Dead? No. An almost comically exaggerated picture of his former self? Yes.
 

RJ Dalton

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Aug 13, 2009
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You could still do something with Mario, I think. The problem is that Mario has been so buried in formula for so long that any attempt to break out of that would be taken as either a betrayal or as too late by years. But they could at least still try it.
Not that they will, but they could.
 

Attercap

Irascible Webmaster
Jun 22, 2012
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Mario is dead, long live Stanley? (That's a Donkey Kong / Donkey Kong 3 reference, for the uninitiated.)
 

gyroc1

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Nov 26, 2011
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Yeah, I'm now as cynical and jaded about Mario as I am with the Call of Duty franchise.

(And as for where to go after space, why not use enchanted books? Worlds from the imagination leads to more excuses to do interesting mechanics...Crap, I just remembered the "Sonic and the..." series that SEGA tried!)
 

Roman Monaghan

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Nov 20, 2010
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Que the scores of Nintendo fanboys shouting back that Mario totally has intellectual depth and is still totally relevant and isn't stagnated at all. Or maybe just The Game Over Thinker. I think he's the only one left who really cups Nintendo's balls when he sucks em off now a days.
 

TheomanZero

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Jan 12, 2011
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I'm not sure Mario ever was a "character" rather than intellectual property. Mario's sort of a proto-character, which probably comes from being in the game that began modern video games as we know them. He's essentially the least evolved video game character, coming from a time before "characters" really existed. If you try to impose a personality or character arc on him, it just makes him less like himself because he is a non-entity by nature. The benefit of this is that you can put him in a doctor's coat or go-kart or space and no one bats an eyebrow. Nothing is out of character for him because he has no character to be out of.

I know this all sounds pretty bad, but I do really enjoy Mario games, even the recent ones. That said, they're unlikely to have a profound emotional impact on me, the way that, say, Earthbound or Final Fantasy IX did.

Anyway, rather than questioning whether Mario is "dead", perhaps the right question is whether he was ever alive to begin with.
 

Veylon

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Aug 15, 2008
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I'm not sure what Yahtzee wants here. If you want some deep and compelling storyline or character growth or stuff happening in some kind of meaningful chronological order, play some other game that has things like that. It's like asking where the blocks in Tetris come from. In the context we're working with, it doesn't matter. Mario games have always been purely gameplay experiences; the plot elements are just vestigial window dressing.
 

PunkRex

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Feb 19, 2010
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Yahtzee Croshaw said:
I mean, Fat Princess? Seriously?
This is all I can think when I see that bloody game. Someone like Raziel from Soul Reaver may be a forgotten relic but at least he'd make more sense... then again im surprised Sir Daniel Fortesque managed to bag a space and he's a legend.

Shame about Mario as when Nintendo does innovate it does a pretty good job. The variety of the Game Cube made it my fave console, Pikmin in particular is my favouritest game ever! Mario being relagated to 'fall back', only used to pump out 'the same old story', is stupid when 'the same old story' was fairly bare bones to begin with. Mario's setting basically allows them to do whatever they want but their bottom line doesn't... oh well, Rayman Origins is way better anyways!
 

weirdee

Swamp Weather Balloon Gas
Apr 11, 2011
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I think mario kart was less about being chummy and more about how everybody in the mushroom kingdom can be total dicks to each other when given the chance.

Perhaps mario party was a more....wait, no, they're dicks in that one too
 

scorptatious

The Resident Team ICO Fanboy
May 14, 2009
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SkarKrow said:
Moth_Monk said:
I don't understand why people think that Sonic is in a worse situation than Mario. At least Sonic still is a character...
I keep telling people on this site that Colours and Generations are fantastic games but they just don't listen.
Generations was pretty much the first Sonic games I've played since 06, and it was fantastic. Glad to see the blue blur is back on his feet for now.

OT: Meh, I don't really care that much about Mario anymore. I still look back at games like 64 and Paper Mario with fond memories, but I've kinda moved on from him now.
 

Olas

Hello!
Dec 24, 2011
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Nintendo needs a new take on the whole Mario mythos.

Perhaps make the next game a dark introspective re-examination of the Mario archetype that peels away the outer layers of his identity and lays bare the warped and disturbed human being at it's core.

It begins with Princess Peach being kidnapped. However, instead of setting out to rescue her Mario becomes plagued with doubts about his life and the endlessly repeating cycle it has become. He starts to wonder if his mission means anything or if he's simply playing a role in an ultimately absurd game that will keep repeating until the end of time. He questions whether he even has free will, or if his actions are guided by outside forces beyond his comprehension, a puppet dancing to the tides of a random, uncaring universe.
He abandons his mission to rescue Peach and goes on a journey of self discovery that ends with him leaving the boundary of the game's map and forming a new life for himself in a world completely his own where he can be free.

It'll just be called "Mario".
 

Steve the Pocket

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Mar 30, 2009
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medv4380 said:
It's not that Mario BECAME ip from being a Character. He was never a character to begin with. He was never anything more than an IP sprite borrowed from Donkey Kong.
TheomanZero said:
I'm not sure Mario ever was a "character" rather than intellectual property. Mario's sort of a proto-character, which probably comes from being in the game that began modern video games as we know them. He's essentially the least evolved video game character, coming from a time before "characters" really existed. If you try to impose a personality or character arc on him, it just makes him less like himself because he is a non-entity by nature. The benefit of this is that you can put him in a doctor's coat or go-kart or space and no one bats an eyebrow. Nothing is out of character for him because he has no character to be out of.
Nail, meet head. If the Mario franchise, if you can even call it that, is stagnating, it means one of two things: (1) Nintendo have suddenly gotten scared to use him as freely as they used to; or (2) Nintendo has completely run out of ideas for games altogether and can't even come up with something original to shoehorn him into.

Actually, scratch both those. They have been coming up with original games; they just haven't been putting Mario in them anymore, and not out of fear or anything. It's because they came up with the Miis. Wii Sports was originally going to be a Mario game in the vein of Mario Kart and Mario Party, but during development they built a generic stick-figure model as a placeholder, and something clicked in the designers' heads. NintendoLand is the worst offender: they literally dress the Miis in costumes of other Nintendo characters.

We live in a post-mascot world, all right, but it's not the mascots' fault; it's because Nintendo realized they don't need mascots when their games can just star the player themselves.
 

angel85

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Dec 31, 2008
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I gotta say man, Paper Mario Sticker Star is perhaps the worst Mario game I played since Mario Kart Wii...it just doesn't have any redeeming qualities. It is bland, lacks interesting characters for Mario to play off of, the plot is nonexistent, and for an RPG that's pretty unforgivable. I always try to be optimistic and look to the best in things...but for once I'm agreeing with every single point you made, especially what you said about the Playstation smash bros knock off.
 

xPixelatedx

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Jan 19, 2011
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Nope, they just need to give him to the same studio that made that excellent wii Donkey Kong game and metroid Prime. They basically take Nintendo franchises and give them back the life that Nintendo no longer had within themselves to give. I think it's Nintendo themselves that's stagnant, not their franchises.

But I do agree that Nintendo themselves aren't doing that great with Mario. As much as I love me some 2D Mario, lets face it. The new super Mario games are miles and miles behind Mario 3 and Mario world; some of the most amazing games of their times. As decent as New Super Mario-U is, it certainly isn't one of the more amazing games of this time, that's for sure... Hell I think the new Rayman games are the best platformers by far. They also show just how much better sprites look then that 2.5D crap.

Come on Nintendo, look and learn.