Live-Blogging the 'Super Mario Bros.' Universe
A little over a year ago, Nintendo launched a service called Miiverse that allows players to post short, Twitter-like messages from inside their games. As with the rest of the Internet, the content of these posts ranges from kind of awesome to completely soul crushing. However, there's more to this Miiverse thing than meets the eye. In November of 2012, a glitch briefly allowed some Nintendo users to access forbidden parts of Miiverse -- I was one of those users, and while digging around in Nintendo's files hoping to find confirmation that they'll someday do a sequel to Shaq Fu, I came across something even more shocking. It turns out that Miiverse has been around for much, much longer than we thought, and -- I'm aware of how fantastic this sounds -- the earliest posts are from Mario himself. Yes, Dr. Mario "Super Mario" Mario, noted plumber, kart driver, and Olympic medalist, is apparently a real person.
I took as many screenshots as I could before getting booted out, and after carefully mulling over the legal, cultural, and sociopolitical consequences of this discovery for an entire year, I've finally decided to share this information with the world. And so, here are Mario's earliest games, as documented from his own perspective. The following absolutely real images (again, I cannot stress enough how much I didn't make this shit up just now) paint a picture of man who is simple-minded, somewhat brave, but most of all utterly confused.
Donkey Kong (1981) -- In Which a Monkey Steals Mario's Girlfriend
Mario's adventures began the day a monkey stole his then-girlfriend, a broad from New Jersey called Pauline. Of course, we now know this monkey to be the affable, rap-loving Donkey Kong, but take a step back for a second and imagine how terrifying this scenario must have seemed to a regular guy from Brooklyn.
Actually, you don't need to imagine, because he told us.
Initially, Mario seemed determined to take the "wait for the problem to resolve itself" approach, but it soon became apparent that this wasn't a viable option. Mainly because if he stood still for a single second, he'd end up crushed by a falling barrel.
Left with no other choice, Mario tried the diplomatic path.
Despite the extremely poor condition of the stairs, the endless stream of barrels, and those little fire thingies chasing him around, Mario finally made it to the top. But then ...
Yes, Mario was so upset by what had just happened that he completely botched that sentence (he meant to say "The dang monkey just grabbed her and took her further up!"). Give him a break: He grew up in a household where everyone spoke in a particularly effusive dialect of Italian.
The good news was that Pauline was no longer frozen by fear. The bad news was that she was starting to make unreasonable requests in light of the situation.
Once again, as soon as Mario caught up with them, the monkey grabbed Pauline and took her to another section of this demented structure. By this point Mario was seriously reconsidering some of the choices in his life.
Puzzlingly, it appears that Mario took the time to chat with the mask salesman from Zelda 64 as he ran around swinging that hammer at unthinkable monsters.
And then, as suddenly as it began, the danger was over. Note that Mario conveniently forgot his earlier resolution to break up with Pauline as she approached him to extend her gratitude.
It later turned out that the big monkey wasn't really dead, and a littler monkey then came to pester Mario when he attempted to make some extra cash by showing off his exotic new pet, but let us skip over that part to go directly to the next important occasion in Mario's life ...
Mario Bros. (1983) -- Mario Goes into Plumbing, Kicks Turtles
After breaking up with Pauline (who, it turns out, was the main provider in the household) and getting his monkey-related get-rich-quick scheme ruined, Mario decided to open a plumbing company with his brother, Luigi. It was honest work, and Mario was already prepared for it, since taking care of a big monkey also involves dealing with massive amounts of poop. However, one day the always perceptive Mario noticed that there was something unusual about a particular gig.
Bear in mind that the biggest thing Mario and Luigi had tackled up to this point was a kitchen sink, so the sight of this huge, dark room that someone expected them to clean was overwhelming to them, and a little bit scary.
That's when they noticed the turtles.
Luigi didn't join Mario's turtle-bashing, more out of laziness than out of respect for the noble creatures that his brother was now slaughtering (presumably Christmas gifts discarded by hyperactive children who would have preferred an Atari). Luigi continued to not move even when, as if prompted by the death of each turtle, something more bizarre began coming out of those pipes ...
The now popular acronym for "shaking my damn head" appears here in its earliest recorded use.
Mario didn't have a long time to wonder what kind of person throws giant coins of solid gold into the crapper (but they're in New York, so it was probably some Wall Street jackass), for this was the moment when things suddenly turned deadly.
They say that, even today, if you press your ear near a toilet, you can hear Mario's anguished cry echo within the pipes.
Luigi was gone, but the senseless death of his brother only strengthened Mario's resolve to escape this hellish poop depository. After going through what seemed like an endless succession of identical chambers populated by increasingly unlikely creatures (bugs, crabs, spiky guys), Mario stumbled into one of the green pipes he'd learned to hate and found himself transported into an even stranger place -- one with far more mushrooms.
Super Mario Bros. (1985) -- Mario Has a Complete Mental Breakdown
At first sight, Mario's new surroundings seemed a lot more pleasant than the sewers he'd been previously trapped in.
And "misspelled." Again, Italian parents.
After the unprovoked attack by the strange owl-person, everything turned black for Mario. The world around him ceased to exist and his soul finally found peace. That peace, sadly, only lasted a few seconds.
Avoiding the owl-person this time around (by taking a freakishly high jump in the air), Mario continued exploring his surroundings and came across a bizarre and terrifying sight.
Mario's frail psyche was beginning to crack as a result of the inexplicable transformations he was undergoing. Worst of all, he misspelled another word ("changed").
A conversation below that post confirms that Mario was indeed going through some sort of psychotic break (and he wasn't the only one).
This is what this place does to people.
Just then, Mario was shocked back into sanity by a horrifying development.
Now a serial murderer and no doubt wanted by the local authorities, Mario rushed forward, only to come across his biggest obstacle yet.
Mario landed in some sort of underground corridor -- probably a mine, judging by the elevators and the black-faced versions of the same owl-people he'd encountered above. An encounter with his least favorite reptiles led to the most bizarre series of events yet.
Mario jumped into another tube with the number 5 on it, thinking that whatever was on the other side couldn't be worse than this. Naturally, he was wrong again.
Miraculously managing to hold his breath long enough to escape this underground lake, Mario emerged to find it was probably the septic tank of a nearby building. Still, he tried to look on the positive side.
Mario attempted to explain to the fire-breathing monstrosity that he only came into his house because the door was open and he wanted to ask if he could use a phone, to which the castle's owner answered by spitting more fire. Eventually, Mario ran past the monster and in the process triggered a mechanism that dropped the guy into a pit of lava. Mario felt horribly guilty about that until he realized that the monster was holding a scantily clad dwarf hostage in his basement, for God knows what twisted purpose. This was the first English speaker Mario had come across in his entire quest, but unfortunately he didn't make much sense.
As he continued his adventures (highlights include being shot at with giant bullets for no apparent reason and getting stuck in a castle maze for half an hour), Mario grew increasingly desensitized to the madness and violence around him.
But, just as Mario was beginning to remember how to feel joy again, this sick universe delivered its greatest blow ...
Suddenly, Mario found himself exactly where he started, standing in the meadow-looking place with bricks on the floor. His exact reaction to this development has been lost to the sands of time, for it was deemed unfit to be displayed on a Nintendo console.
There was only one thing Mario could do now. It's hard to argue with his decision.
Once again, a brief moment of peace. And once again, Mario came back to life, as he always does -- if you can call that living. He's still trapped somewhere in this Mushroom Kingdom, but by now he has given up trying to return to Brooklyn (if he remembers what that is). Think about that the next time you see Mario running around, chasing turtles while smiling vacantly and screaming inane catchphrases. Think about what has to happen to a man's mind for it to end up so thoroughly broken. Think about that, and ask yourself who the real monster is: the turtle that spits fire, or you?
Wait, HE HAS A CAT COSTUME NOW? Fuck it, I need this game.