Why I Hate Mario
Christmas is officially over and so is the season of good will to all men… thank god. After spending much of the month of December in a state of mental hibernation (a necessary tactic for anyone unfortunate to work in retail during the Christmas period which, for some reason now begins as soon as Halloween has fucked off out of the way, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve awoken from my stupor with the desire to balance out the season of peace on earth by being an utter bastard to someone in the hopes of metaphorically punching any left-over festive cheer out of them and everyone else they know. This just leaves the question of whom?
While this could certainly be most easily achieved by simply targeting a family member or friend, it comes with the added problem that in all likelihood I will have to see them again, creating a rather awkward scenario in which I have to explain why I felt it necessary to compare their continued existence upon the planet to various horrific natural disasters. Perhaps then I should go up to a random member of the public and scream in their face until they either break down and cry, or I collapse through oxygen starvation brought on by my incessant yelling? Sadly though, working in a shop means that even a stranger has the chance of seeing me again, this time in a professional capacity whereupon they can make either a formal complaint or simply abuse me back, knowing that I’m powerless to retaliate if I wish to keep my job… which I most certainly do.
All this leaves me with only one choice – I need to find a person who I can freely abuse without the fear of a reprisal from them. Fortunately for me, I have the perfect candidate. This is a man who I actively despise, yet who is loved by almost everyone else on the planet. A man who makes my blood boil just by looking at his fat, big -nosed, dead-eyed, moustachioed and often poorly rendered face. A man whose overly enthusiastic, inane and annoying Italian accent makes me wish to meet his creator and repeatedly ask him ‘WHY!’ while clubbing him over the head with a rather large salami or other cured meat. I am, of course, referring to the incredibly obnoxious and long-standing front man of the Nintendo Corporation, Mario.
Seriously, what is the deal with this guy? Here is a character with no discernable personality, he isn’t funny or kind, or sarcastic, he’s not overly appealing or particularly interesting to look at in any way and he spends most of his time chasing a woman who is clearly not interested (I’ve often joked that Peach is never kidnapped, and is in fact just trying to get away from Mario). Somehow though, all this entitles him to be practically universally adored and I just don’t get why. Instead of just ranting about it though, I’ll at least try and make a valid argument… however, I promise nothing.
Arguably, the first thing to notice about Mario is his appearance, which is the thing I can at least partially understand. When Mario was created, graphics were very limited, to the point where Mario’s famous moustache was only added so that his face would actually be discernable as his face and presumably not an exceedingly high up anus or something (I mean if there’s a patch of flesh colour above the torso, it’s probably going to be a face right?). Either way, it’s preferable to some other videogame characters from around that time such as the wide-eyed yeti lookalike called Horace (star of Horace Goes Skiing), a creature whose stare was on a par with Charles Manson’s.
While Mario’s looks have updated over time, they have still kept the core design, something I’m stuck between admiring for keeping to the source material, and finding a little bit creepy considering that almost everything else in his world has a very cutesy feel to it. Comparing the characters, Princess Peach is cute, Yoshi is cute, Toad is cute, hell even the bob-ombs are kind of cute in a sort of suicide-bomber-type way, Bowser I don’t really count, because he’s the villain. So with all this cuteness, what does our hero look like? An Italian Ron Jeremy (and for those who don’t know who he is, don’t Google him with safe search off; trust me). I suppose this could be kind of fitting as I imagine Ron has played a plumber or two in his time (despite not being qualified) but I can’t help finding it a bit… uhhhh…
However, as we all know, looks aren’t everything; after all it’s what’s on the inside that counts surely? Well that would be the case if Mario had something on the inside other than a three word catchphrase where one of the words is his own name. While this may make him boring, I suppose that it also means that I can’t really complain that he’s a terrible character or that he’s horribly written. He says little to nothing, so I can’t criticise the dialogue aside from saying that he has none and what he does say is pretty bland and forgettable.
What this does mean is that we never get an insight into the mind of Mario. What is he after? What are his goals? Yes he’s out to save Princess Peach, but why? Is it his job, is he just a good Samaritan, is he after some kind of reward? (Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink. Say no more.) Without dialogue we know nothing of this and while I’m not saying that Mario should be the next Max Payne, constantly monologuing about his shitty life and why he does what he does, (although, admittedly, that would be hilarious) for me personally a little development wouldn’t go amiss.
Also we lose out on finding out what he is like as a person. Is he the happy-go-lucky type, or grumpy and reluctant? Does he crack jokes or is he deadpan serious? The games give us none of this, yet amazingly the Mario comic produced by Nintendo does at least try and give him some personality, establishing him as a somewhat serious and pragmatic character. That glimmer of hope aside, as that comes from a spin-off and not from the game itself, Mario is a thoroughly uninteresting individual.
This brings me on to one of my biggest gripes about Mario – the accent. I’m prepared to accept the fact that there is, for some reason, an Italian man in a magical land, but why did he have to be so damned stereotypical? I personally have no idea if Italian people get offended or annoyed by the accent, like how I get annoyed by Dick Van Dyke’s cockerney accent in Mary Poppins (not that I’m cockney, but it’s still a British accent), still I wouldn’t blame them if they did. The only way I could see it being more stereotypical is if he constantly went around shouting ‘pizza’ and ‘bolognese’ on a regular basis which, for the record, the Super Mario Brothers TV show pretty much did.
This isn’t to say that I dislike Italian accents, however. The Assassin’s Creed franchise managed fine covering the many exploits of Ezio Auditore in Italy without resorting to recreating the accents of the Dolmio puppets (who are both equally annoying and stupid). On top of that I love the Godfather films and they have no shortage of Italian accents. Am I saying that Mario should be voiced Al Pacino? Hell, yes. I can honestly say I love the idea of Mario telling Bowser to ‘go fuck himself’ shortly before shooting him point blank in the face in some Brooklyn restaurant.
Putting potential racism and alternative casting choices to one side for the moment, the voice itself is still highly annoying. Looking past the accent, Mario’s voice keeps the same pitch and tone eternally, and that is unfortunately high pitched and overly cheerful. Seriously Mario, you are in a life and death situation, don’t sound so frigging cheerful about it; then again I suppose you don’t really have a choice. Regardless of how you look at it, Mario has undeniably obnoxious and incessantly irritating voice.
So that rather adequately sums up why I hate Mario. He isn’t pleasant to look at, he has utterly no character or personality, and has a voice that somehow makes the idea of Rob Schneider audio books sound potentially popular. Other than the fact that Mario has never caused me any genuine physical pain (yet) he has absolutely no redeeming qualities. I can safely say that should the Mario franchise ever die out, I will certainly shed no tears. But what about all the Mario games? Surely something that has brought millions of pounds, dollars and yen to Nintendo, and has touched some many people around the world (which is incredibly wrong considering I likened Mario to a porn star earlier) must melt my heart of ice and give me some level of enjoyment? Well, that’s a can of worms for another day.
Last five articles by Tom
- Why I Hate Mario
- Best of 2013: Virtually Reality
- Best of 2013: Move, Bitch! Get Out Of The Way!
- Virtually Reality
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