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Opinion: Recycle, Reduce, Reuse – The Mario Effect

Posted on December 4, 2012 AT 09:57am

There are few characters in the gaming world that have made it to a global level of acknowledgement. If you put a picture of Mario in front of someone, regardless of their age, there’s a good chance that they’ll be able to correctly identify the smiling face of Nintendo’s adventurous plumber. Mario is an icon, an icon that Nintendo has been successfully milking since he immerged in 1983. Everyone loves seeing what shenanigans Mario and his brother Luigi will get into next, even after all these years. Will Bowser finally take over Mushroom Kingdom? Will the brothers get Peach to safety (side note: can someone get that girl into a self-defense class at this point)? I know I’ve owned and played more than my fair share of Mario games in my life and I’m sure you have as well. But this article will focus on one particular offense that Nintendo has made time and time again where Mario is concerned. And it’s something that I refuse to support any longer.

How many consoles have you owned the original classic incarnation of the  Super Mario Bros. game on? Think about it. Now maybe given your age you didn’t personally purchase the title, but consider the following point. For all the curves that Nintendo has been ahead of, all the innovation they’ve brought to the industry, they’re still selling you, the consumer, the same exact game they’ve been selling you since the 80s. Granted, every few years or so Super Mario Bros. get’s a little bit of a face lift to keep up with the latest console technology, but is that really a fair trade? I’m not attacking the Mario franchise as a whole (though it should be noted that the character has been featured in over 200 games since his inception), we’re only considering the classic side scrolling Super Mario Bros. games for the purpose of this rant. Is getting a makeover every couple of years good enough for you to keep buying the same game over and over again? For many people it is and that’s why Nintendo will keep doing it.

It’s not good enough for me though. And it shouldn’t be good enough for you either. Nintendo is repeatedly playing on our nostalgia and making a killing off of a ‘same thing only different’ marketing strategy. Rather than creating newer characters that could rise to the level of success Mario has gotten, they’re recycling the same old thing. They’re steadily reducing the likelihood of making their mark for the future with a newer video game franchise that could reach the global familiarity that Mario has. Instead, they have settled for reusing a game that they know will make a quick buck. By repackaging the Super Mario Bros. game and porting it to nearly every console they have on the market, Nintendo has done next to nothing to expand on their well established line of memorable characters.

Maybe you want your kids to experience the wonder of Super Mario Bros. much like you did at their age, maybe that’s why you’ve bought the title on more than one or two (or in some cases many, many more) of Nintendo’s numerous consoles. Or perhaps you just like the game and can’t stand the idea of not having it on your Wii, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Color, and NES. And if that’s where your heads at, I’m certainly not going to argue with you. You know what you like and if you’re comfortable with it than who am I to judge?

But as a casual consumer of Nintendo products I can tell you that I don’t appreciate being duped. I’m sure many of you will make the argument that porting the game at this point costs Nintendo next to nothing and that it’s just smart to put out a product that makes easy money. Okay, that makes sense. I’m sure a handful of you are going to press the point of making sure that future generations get to experience the awesome of Super Mario Bros. in an age where side scrollers are becoming archaic and video games just aren’t what they used to be. And I want to support that school of thought because I believe in preserving the classics too, but I think we care more about that than Nintendo ever will. If they cared at all about their audience they wouldn’t still be charging for a game that established their empire. I leave you with this:

Dear Nintendo,

Make the Super Mario Bros. title a free or considerably discounted download on all systems that currently support it. I think over 25 years of profiting is more than enough wouldn’t you say? Do it for the kids. Their parents will thank you when they don’t have to pay for a game that they’ve very likely bought at another time in their life anyway.

All the best,

Laura Mazerall

About the Author: Laura has many varied interests outside of video gaming. Other hobbies and areas of obsession include: hiding her Boston accent, singing, Metallica, The Walking Dead, Iron Man, Green Day, The Boondock Saints, tattoos, Pomeranians, and the paranormal. Follow Laura on Twitter: @DN_VampPMS

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