The 8 Accidents Most Likely To Kill You Recreated With Mario
The Super Mario Bros. games are all about death. Think about it. What do you spend most of your time doing in those things? Dying over and over, in all manner of ways, from falling into lava to getting struck in the face by a flying buzz saw to being lightly touched by a turtle, for some reason. The Mario franchise is essentially a series of whimsical death simulators -- and I believe it's time we use this technology to kill the shit out of death.
To show you what I mean, I've used Mario Maker to create all-new, Cracked-exclusive Mario levels based on the world's most common causes* of death. What essential lessons can we learn by forcing Mario to die repeatedly in the same ways humans do? How will this help us achieve the dream of immortality? And, more importantly, can this turn me, personally, into a powerful Highlander? Turn on your console and let's find out together!
*Not counting diseases and stuff, because eww. Someone else deal with that, OK?
Medical Error: Dr. Mario's Self-Medicating Journey
According to a widely cited 1999 study, medical error (the fancy term for "doctors and nurses fucking up") kills as many as 98,000 people in the United States every year. A 2010 follow-up raised that figure to 180,000, and a 2013 one re-upped it to somewhere between 210,000 and 440,000, at which point they probably stopped doing follow-ups because it's too depressing. Since Mario is canonically a doctor (Dr. Mario, 1990, Gunpei Yokoi et al.), it's safe to assume that he has plenty of blood on his hands too.
This is aside from the blood on his feet, from all the Goombas he's trampled.
The World Health Organization says that medical errors "often involve drugs," so I've designed my Dr. Mario's Self-Medicating Journey level around the concept that Mario sneaks into a hospital and gets high as fuck on stolen medicinal mushrooms. The victim of Dr. Mario's medical malfeasance in this case is himself, since it's kinda difficult to jump over bottomless pits while tripping balls. (By the way, those of you who have Mario Maker can play this level yourselves with the code above. The rest of you will have to settle for GIFs.)
Each red X represents a place where a real player died, probably cursing
the state of modern medicine.
Mario must get through the level while avoiding his own deranged hallucinations, like this flying fish-throwing fucker over here:
There's only one flying fish-throwing fucker; Mario is seeing double.
Mario Death Rate: 94.71 Percent
According to my current stats, only 5.29 percent of all attempts to complete this level (eight out of 151 playthroughs) didn't result in death. That makes this the least deadly level in this article, which logically means we must stop worrying so much about the problem of medical error in the real world. Phew, that's a relief. Next!
Interpersonal Violence: Mario Gets A Gun Permit
The Mushroom Kingdom has a big problem. OK, it has several big problems (its ruler keeps getting kidnapped, there are only two people who know how to fix a toilet, etc.), but one of the more pressing ones is the fact that there are cannons everywhere, shooting big-ass bullets at people. The solution is simple: Add more guns! Just put guns everywhere!
"I'm-a feeling safer already!"
In the level I've titled Mario Gets A Gun Permit, our portly hero stands his ground by open carrying a .45 fire flower and 187ing a bunch of people. As he flees the consequences of his actions, Mario finds himself in some sort of underworld, being haunted by the ghosts of his victims ... who are also carrying guns and shooting giant bullets, naturally.
Except for the ghost who shoots moles who, in turn, shoot wrenches
(a metaphor for George Zimmerman).
For those who missed all the subtle clues: This level is based on interpersonal violence, the world's third-leading cause of death among adult men. The most popular type of interpersonal violence, by far, is assault by firearm -- these being the cause of 33,636 yearly deaths in the U.S. alone. Also in the U.S., guns are now the second-most-common cause of death in children, which, you know, no offense to my American friends (and, uh, bosses), but get your fucking shit together you unbelievable morons.
Mario Death Rate: 95.15 Percent
Well, this is awkward. My data show that, for the most part, it's not guns that kill people: It's the Thwomps (rocks with angry faces that fall from the sky) I put in the middle of the stage.
Thwomps, aka "the reason castle levels made you pee yourself as a kid."
No need to leave that angry comment now, dear gun nut! I take it back! Guns are safe and awesome! The lives of children are absolutely worth your dick-measuring contests! Wa-hoo!
Drowning: Mario Goes For A Little Swim!!!
Drowning is one of the oldest, most reliable, and least effort-requiring ways to leave this mortal plane. There's nothing that human ingenuity can't improve, though, and so we've invented a way to make drowning even easier: adding alcohol. Up to 70 percent of watery deaths in adolescents and adults involve booze. Another major (and possibly related) risk factor is being male, since nearly four of five drowning victims happen to have dongs.
To represent this problem, I've created a level called Mario Goes For A Little Swim!!! that combines some of the most annoying features in platform games: water levels, mazes, time attacks, "drowsy" visuals, and superfluous exclamation marks. If Mario doesn't find the exit to my underwater labyrinth within 70 seconds, this happens:
Hey, at least this isn't Mario 64.
This is a horrible level, and I've made the world a quantifiably worse place by putting it here.
Mario Death Rate: 96.70 Percent
As of this writing, 117 drownings have occurred in this stage, but perhaps the most alarming statistic is the fact that 100 percent of the Marios were male. Remember, kids: If you're gonna swim, leave your penis with a friend. Better safe than sorry.
Forces Of Nature: Mario Takes A Hike
The number of people who die due to exposure to forces of nature went up 336 percent in 2010 compared with 1990, though the bulk of those deaths happened on the same day in Haiti in 2010 (so, just before the deadline). Still, that's a lot of people Mother Nature has filicided. Forces of nature can include everything from excessive heat to excessive cold to earthquakes to volcanic eruptions to avalanches, so I'm combining all of those things into a fun little level called Mario Takes A Hike. It starts with our jolly plumber happily skipping up a mountain, when ... oh no! A cave-in!
Hope you haven't been eating too much broccoli, Mario, because you're
about to taste your own pee.
But then ... double oh no! The mountain is full of lava, because it's actually an active motherfucking volcano! If Mario manages to avoid getting teabagged by a thousand leaping fireballs, he'll have to make his way back to the surface by navigating through a series of treacherous, slippery ice blocks (that's the "extreme cold" part) before being finally and rudely spit out of the volcano.
I consulted a real geologist to make this as accurate as possible.
Mario Death Rate: 97.04 Percent
Only 2.96 percent of Marios have made it through this level unscathed, and the biggest cause of death is (perhaps predictably) falling into lava like a dumbass:
There's something comforting about the red Xs; they're saying, "No, you're not the only dumbass."
On the other hand, my icy traps had very little impact on the Mariortality rate. So there you have it, a Cracked scoop: Heat is deadlier than cold. Someone go update Wikipedia.
Mechanical Forces: Shoe Factory Tour
The "exposure to mechanical forces" cause of death includes being killed by firearms, but we already had a level about that, so let's focus on something that's less of a bummer -- like people dying because they were crushed between objects, stabbed by piercing instruments, or, uh, they "walked into wall."
This level is titled Shoe Factory Tour because it exposes the appalling working conditions in the factory where Bowser produces those boot enemies from Mario 3, Kuribo's Shoes.
People in the Mushroom Kingdom haven't quite figured out the proper use for shoes yet.
The obstacles in this level are all objects you would find in a real factory, such as transmission belts, cogs, or flying clown-faced ships that shoot giant fireballs at you. Then you reach the second floor: Women's Footwear. It is there that you finally meet the factory's owner and discover the secret he's been keeping from his family.
"Fine, yes, I only kidnap Princess Peach to have easy access to pink clothes."
Mario Death Rate: 97.64 Percent
There were 211 Marios who took the factory tour and, per current stats, only five came out. It seems that the least-safe section of the factory is the part where you're bouncing on giant buzz saws as flamethrowers shoot at you from the ceiling.
Still safer than a chocolate factory.
So keep that in mind, factory designers: Never put the giant buzz saws right below the ceiling flamethrowers. Make a separate section for each.
Traffic Accidents: Super Mario Car -- Road Rage Edition
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for young people in the U.S. and the world. Yes, counting diseases. This holds true even in places like Australia, a country whose fauna makes the flying turtles and fire-spitting piranha plants in Mario games look feasible. The key risk factors are going too fast, drunk-driving, not wearing seatbelts/helmets, and driving while distracted (like by your phone) -- in other words, there's a direct correlation between how stupid you're being and how likely you are to die in a car accident.
To demonstrate that, I've turned Mario into the dumbest possible motherfucker, in a level called Super Mario Car: Road Rage Edition. Because the "message" in this level is partly delivered via sound effects (and because Cracked's GIF division tells me I've almost used up my yearly allotment with this article), I'm just gonna embed the full video for this one:
If YouTube has taken down that video for being too gruesome by the time you read this, what happens is that Mario gets a phone call just as he's taking his brand-new GLA for a spin (that bizarre Mercedes-Benz DLC arrived just in time), and then you can hear the blood-curdling screams of the innocent pedestrians he runs over. FUN!
Mario Death Rate: 98.87 Percent
There have been 349 Marios who have crashed to death in this level, but, to my surprise, very few died during the "bumper car" section I included in the middle of the stage for no particular reason.
Except, of course, "BECAUSE I CAN."
The conclusion is so obvious that I can't believe I'm the first one to think of it: Simply replace all existing cars with carnival-style bumper rides and road death will be a thing of the past! You're welcome, humanity.
Animal Contact: Mario's Wild Wacky Adventure 3D
The deadliest animal in the world isn't the shark, or the snake, or the sharksnake, or anything cool like that: It's the mosquito. The little dicks kill 627,000 people every year just by spreading malaria, which is only one of the terrifying viruses they carry around (yeah, I said I wasn't gonna count diseases in this article, but on the other hand, fuck you I just did). They kill more humans than humans do, and unlike us, they aren't even trying.
Snails, tsetse flies, and assassin bugs also murder us by the thousands every year (though in the last case, it seems like they never had a choice). Well, it's time to strike back. In Mario's Wild Wacky Adventure 3D, Mario is hired to deal with a bug infestation in someone's castle. Unfortunately, the only bug species in the Mushroom Kingdom is the Wiggler -- you know, these bastards:
Unless those are just costumes, and inside each there's several Toads sewn together.
Mario must bounce from Wiggler to Wiggler while avoiding obstacles, and by obstacles I mean more Wigglers.
It's just like when I left that box of Froot Loops open overnight.
Mario Death Rate: 99.07 Percent
With its 0.93 percent survival rate, this is the second-deadliest level in this article, and yet I don't see a whole lot of red Xs anywhere. I take this to mean that most Marios didn't actually die; they just rage-quit the level in frustration.
Presumably at this exact moment.
In other words, my data has conclusively proven that insects are extremely annoying, which is even more dangerous than malaria. We should change the word "insect" to something that's a synonym of "annoying" as a way to raise awareness.
Falls: Don't Do It, Mario!
Falls kill 424,000 people every year. Just ... falls. Fucking falls. Falls don't care if you're very old, very young, very man, or very woman -- they're coming to get you sooner or later, probably while you're in the shower. They are the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death in the world. I've combined falls with self-harm (the leading cause of intentional injury death in the world) for a level called Don't Do It, Mario! in which, regardless of the player's intentions, Mario will keep trying to do this:
The whole "being a castrato" things gets to you after a while.
Using moving platforms, cannons that shoot out sideways springs, and a complete lack of ground, I've designed this level so that if you leave Mario unattended for a single moment, he'll jump to his death, over and over ...
... and over and over (and over).
Yep, I'm going to hell.
Mario Death Rate: 99.54 Percent
Freaking 432 out of 434 Marios didn't follow the instructions in the name of this level, and that's without even counting all the ones that killed themselves when I accidentally left the game un-paused while going to the bathroom.
I had tacos that day.
So, to recap, in order to reach immortality, we must get even more guns; stop being male underwater; avoid fire and buzz saws; replace all cars with amusement park attractions; and, most importantly, don't die. If we follow these simple steps, we'll have nothing to feaHOLY SHIT THERE'S A MOSQUITO IN MY ROOM AAAAAHHHH!!!!
Maxwell Yezpitelok tragically died from being lightly touched by a turtle shortly after finishing this article. His final wishes were to plug his Twitter account and give special thanks to MrCafecito and the r/Nintendo community.
Sometimes death can get you in unexpected ways. Zigmund Adamski, for example, died by UFO. Find out how in 7 Unexplained Deaths That Will Shake Your Faith In Reason and check out the Mario levels the scare the mushrooms right out of us in 6 Bizarrely Creepy Moments from the Mario Universe.
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