Mushroom Kingdom

The Sociopolitical Implications of the Mushroom Kingdom

Consider the Mushroom Kingdom, the most common setting of the Super Mario Brothers franchise. Set aside the fact that its main populace consists of anthropomorphic mushrooms and focus instead on the downright bizarre social and political implications presented by Nintendo’s flagship franchise. Now consider how much weirder things get when you expand outward to games like Mario Party and Mario Kart.

This is a kingdom in a state of constant political upheaval, and yet there is no succession plan should the ruler be deposed. It lacks any sort of organized military despite being under constant assault by a literal fire-breathing dragon. The inhabitants show very little prejudice, and yet the social system is filled with incredible amounts of systemic bias.

Clearly, this strange kingdom bears a more thorough investigation.

Continue reading “The Sociopolitical Implications of the Mushroom Kingdom”
Super Mario Odyssey

Death is Cheap in Super Mario Odyssey, and I Love It

Common wisdom in video game design says that you can’t make death cheap. While you never want the player to quit in frustration, you also want to make them think. If death lacks consequences, players feel no tension. So a bullet wound or bottomless pit usually leads to a reload or level restart.

And then along comes a game like Super Mario Odyssey, where getting mauled by a Tyrannosaurus only loses you 10 coins, which you can go back and recover 30 seconds later. What gives with that?

Continue reading “Death is Cheap in Super Mario Odyssey, and I Love It”

Super Mario Pathfinder

Super Mario Pathfinder

I have a son who is getting interested in role-playing games. He is also extremely interested in the Mario franchise, to the point where he refers to himself as Mario. His sister gets to be Princess Peach, his mother gets to be Princess Daisy, and I’m stuck as Luigi.

Recently, I decided to fuse these two interests together, resulting in a Super Mario Brothers edition of Pathfinder.

Continue reading “Super Mario Pathfinder”