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August 14, 2020
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Why Mario means so much to me

by Andrew Smith on 11/20/13 07:56:00 am   Expert Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


I love Mario games.


Admittedly this week I was planning to post something about my own games. It’s been a heck of a week and with any luck soon I’ll be very excitedly typing about the positive future of Spilt Milk.


But then the Super Mario 3D World reviews hit. And I remembered a little paragraph I wrote for Gamasutra’s very own ‘Top 12 Games of the Decade' article a while back (when I was working at Proper Games on Flock! for Capcom, in fact!):



"Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. series has defined multiple console generations, and many feel that this 2007 Wii sequel was one of the franchise’s finest moments.


Andrew Smith, Proper Games: ”It did so many things wonderfully right - the camera, the graphics, the moves, the challenges, the balance, the flow and the pacing - but more importantly for me it reminded me of being a child. It effortlessly transported me to the first time I played Mario, grinning like a fool, and I was lost in a whirlwind of warm, comforting and fond memories.


Not only did it transport me back to a rosier, more innocent time, it recharged my sense of wonder in games. For the first time in years I was consistently surprised and amazed by what I was experiencing in the game - and that unique mix of excitement and slight trepidation is something that has been sorely missing from my hobby ever since I started making games professionally.”



And you know what, every single Mario platformer I have played since has done the same thing. I could write thousands of words on the subject - why I believe Nintendo’s teams are so able to not only make me feel nostalgic for the past but also hopeful for the future of games, or why  they had such an impact on my life, or why I think fans of Nintendo’s properties seem to get so much more stick than fans of almost any other videogame IP or company.


But I don’t want to think about it all that much. There’s something wrong about over thinking what is essentially something a bit magical. Those words I wrote back in 2009 still apply today, and I’m so happy that despite becoming a pretty jaded, impatient and elitist gamer when it comes to my spare time and which games I spend it on, Mario always - reliably, somewhat unlike real life plumbers - delivers what I need.


The day may come that Nintendo stop making new Mario platform games. Or god forbid they make a genuinely bad one (I can think of no worse a fate for the chubby Italian hero than a Sonic-like descent into mediocrit.).


But until that day, I will fearlessly, giddily and stubbornly buy each new iteration of this classic series without regard for review scores or even peer opinion. I’ll avoid screenshots and videos, buy it, make space in  my diary, and sit down with this most surprising and surprisingly youthful of old friends.


(I originally posted this - and so too all of my blogs - on my tumblr a day earlier. You can also follow me on twitter)


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