Hanging a column premise on a movie no one's heard about or seen is a pretty bad idea, but I've never been one to back away from one of those. So I guess I should explain a bit about the film. The premise is that "in the future," mind control technology will advance to the point that we'll be able to control an individual's every movement. In the film this technology is used to implement real life video games, where convicted criminals play the role of video game characters. Naturally these video games will be played to the death, because evidently "in the future," our children and children's children are all going to grow up to be amoral monsters. What up wit dat, parents?
A key plot point in the movie is a device that allows the player to speak directly with the character they're controlling. Angry arguments about the necessity of all those rocket jumps presumably. I'm unlikely to ever learn what they actually talk about, since the odds of me seeing this film are roughly similar to the odds of me winning a high jump competition thanks to the power of my own flatulence. Which is to say, possible, but unlikely.
However, this got me to thinking: What would classic video games be like if you could have a conversation with the character you were controlling? What would they think of the twisted obstacle courses we put them through with our clumsy childhood reflexes? I decided to start this thought exercise with what is probably the most recognizable video game character to ever live, Mario, in the classic NES game, Super Mario Brothers.
Mario: Whoa! Where am I? What the hell is going on? And now I'm walking!
Chris Bucholz: Oh hey dude. That's just me. I've got the stick now, you just relax.
M: I don't understand! I have no memory of anything until... Whoa! What the hell is that?
CB: Chill dude.
M: Don't go near that! Don't go near that! That's bigger than I am. OHHHHHH SHHHHHIIIT. Gross!
CB: See? It's nothing.
M: What was that? That thing that I jumped on. I ki... you killed it! You're a monster! It wasn't going to hurt anyone.
CB: No, it'd have killed you. Trust me.
M: Why should I trust you? Who are you? Hey slow down. Don't jump here! OW!
CB: What? I just got you got a coin. We'll need that later. Hey, does that hurt?
M: Does smashing a solid metal block with my head hurt? YES IT HURTS, DOCTOR ROCKET GENIUS.
CB: How about this?
CB: So the brick ones hurt too. Huh. They look squishy.
M: Listen jackhole! When I figure... OW!... out who you... OW!... are... OW!... I'm going to- don't eat that mushroom! Are you crazy? Oh! Oh fuck, yes! I am huge!
CB: Thought you'd like that. Now you want to shut up for a bit?
M: Yeah, yeah, you seem to know what you're doing. God. I feel fantastic. Look at this shit. I'm jumping like 30 feet in the air. This is sick! Wait till Luigi hears about this.
CB: He can jump higher.
M: What? You are out of your fucking mind. That little stronzo couldn't jump to save his life.
CB: Well in the accepted canon, he can jump a lot higher and further than you. Though not in this game, I think. I think in this game he's just got different pants.
M: This is a game?
CB: Yeah. We're just going to run off here and score some points and save the princess.
M: You sound like you know what you're doing. You've played this game before then... ow!... I take it?
CB: Yeah, but it's been like 15 years. Just doing it now for work.
M: Bustin' your hump for the man. I hear that. Hey what's that? That flowery thing. It looks tasty. I totally want to eat that.
CB: You will definitely like this.
M: Oh rad! Ha ha hahhahahahhahah! Pop pop pop! Take that you little pricks!
CB: Told ya.
M: Pop! Pop! Pop pop! Hahahahahah!
M: Whoa. Did you just kill a turtle? Not cool dude. He looked scared. I could have just jumped over him.
CB: Uh-huh. Or maybe you could have run around him?
M: What's "around" mean?
CB: Nothing. Just checking something.
M: OwOwOwOwOwOwOwOwOwOw. Fucker! So what's the deal again with all these coins I'm getting?
CB: If we collect a hundred of them, you get an extra life.
M: Cool. Very cool. Followup question: Why would I need an extra life?
M: Hmm what?
CB: Hey, check out that flag!
M: Oh cool!
Level 1-2M: So these blue guys are just like before, except now they're blue.
CB: Yeah, exactly the same. We're dealing with a pretty limited palette I'm afraid.
M: Oh! Careful! Watch the turtle! OW OW OW OW OW OW!
CB: Shit. Sorry dude.
M: You fucking dumbass! That really hurt! And now I'm tiny again? How does that work?
CB: It's cool. I'll be careful.
M: Oh you'll be better than careful. You're going to murder every turtle you see from now on. I mean it. Turtle holocaust. Go.
CB: Hey, how do you feel about warping?
M: I don't know what that means.
CB: It means we get to skip a bunch of levels. Beat the game faster.
M: Will we bypass any turtles?
CB: Oh yeah. Bunches of them.
M: No deal. Those guys have to go.
CB: OK, no warping. Let's do this old school.
M: Old school!
M: Jesus Christ, where did all this lava come from? How deep do these pipes go?
CB: This is a boss level. They like lava. It's kind of a cliche now, but this was pretty cutting edge in 1985. I guess lava is more intimidating?
M: Damn right it's more intimidating. Careful!
CB: Relax, this is an easy one. I haven't even died yet.
M: No, seriously, what did you just say?
CB: Can't talk now.
M: Whoa! Look at the size of that bastard! Let's jump on him!
CB: Not a good plan.
M: Holy shit! He's shooooooooting at us!
CB: Hang on.
M: Don't land on that axe! That's gonna kill! Hey. What just happened?
CB: You won dude. Congrats.
CB: Now run in there and meet the princess!
M: Who's this little turd?
CB: Heh heh heh heh heh.
M: Oh you bastard.
M: What the hell happened? I was falling into a bottomless pit and now I'm back out here.
CB: Oh, so you can remember what happened. I was wondering about that.
M: Did I... die?
CB: Total accident dude. Sorry. Did that hurt?
M: Physically? No. I don't think so. But that was terrifying. Like my brain was just sundered in two. It feels like I'm still screaming. Like I'll never stop screaming.
CB: Bummer dude. Well, we've got three lives left. Let's go.
M: What? Wait! We're going to keep going?
CB: Can't turn back. See?
M: Wow. Where'd everything behind us go?
CB: Excellent question.
CB: Oh, I remember this bit.
M: What bit?
CB: Hang on. We can get a whole bunch of extra lives here.
M: Yes I see the point of those now. Let's definitely get a whole bunch of those. How do we do that?
CB: You jump on that turtle there about a hundred times or so.
M: Fuck that turtle. Let's fuck up his whole day.
M: Seriously, I'm going to kill the next guy that lives in a princess-less castle.
CB: Heh. Yeah, they're notorious. Hey, has your attitude towards warping changed? We're coming up on another one.
M: Fuck this noise. Let's hit it.
CB: I said I'm sorry all right? The eighth world is fucking hard!
M: You know what's hard? Plummeting into bottomless pits, getting beaned by a dozen hammer throwing cocksuckers and having bullets the size of a car smash into your face. How about you take all the dicks out of your mouth, and then stop killing me?
CB: Hey. It's not that simple, ass. You have any idea how floaty the controls are on 25-year-old video games? You handle like a fucking post office.
M: Oh this is my fault is it? Well maybe if your parents weren't twins your thumbs wouldn't come out of your wrists.
CB: Hey? You know what? Fuck this. I've beaten this game a billion times before. I've got enough material for this column. See ya later chump.
M: Fine with me penis-sheathe. Better off without you.
CB: Oh yeah? Hey, how'd you like it if this masking tape played for awhile?
CB: Yeah? See that lava over there? How'd you'd like to run into that 82 times in a row? -tapes down button on controller-
M: YOU BASTARD!
CB: Hahahahahahahhahah -walks out of room-
CB: -eating nachos, laughing- HA HA HAhahahahahhahahahahh.