Culture

Listless: Inexplicable Super Mario Bros. Enemies.

mario bros

Welcome to HEAVEmedia’s swap week! Our columnists have taken over each other’s articles all week long. Today – Meghan Bongartz, of The Hipster’s Cookbook, takes over Amy Dittmeier’s Listless.

The Super Mario franchise isn’t exactly known for how much it makes sense. For starters, the hero is an Italian plumber who, more or less thanklessly, keeps rescuing the same damn princess because she can’t seem to avoid being kidnapped for more than five minutes at a time. Or we could talk about how almost all of the worlds in Super Mario World are named after food: Donut Plains, Vanilla Dome, Cheese Bridge, Chocolate Island. Also, Yoshi spends all his time eating. And then there’s always Super Mario Bros. 2 as a whole. Nintendo decided that the game released as Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan was too hard for Americans, so they adapted a completely different game to fit (sort of) within the context of Super Mario Bros. The end result is that Mario spends a lot of time throwing turnips at ostriches and porcupines.

Needless to say, there are a lot of things in the series of games that require some level of suspension of disbelief, and some of the biggest offenders are the enemies. Some of them make sense. Things with teeth and spikes are clearly bad news. Some of them–Koopas, for example–you eventually get used to because they’re so prominent. Some of them, though, have no explanation at all.

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Five Super Mario Bros. Enemies That Make No Sense

1) Phanto (Super Mario Bros. 2) – As previously stated, Super Mario Bros. 2 is just all-around strange. I get why the game makers want something to chase you while you you’re carrying a key. But a possessed mask? That’s only acceptable with Jim Carrey behind it.

2) Angry Sun (Super Mario Bros. 3) – Why is the sun mad at me? Actually, mad doesn’t really cover it. The force with which this sun attacks clearly indicates that I did something truly unforgivable to it, and I have no idea what. Maybe I’m biased because I always died many, many times before I made it through this level as a child, but I just find it very disconcerting that the sun suddenly wants to kill me. Is that why the weird desert level has no number assigned to it?

3) Rip Van Fish (Super Mario World) – It’s a fish that sleeps until Mario gets too close, and then gives chase. The concept is interesting because it means that you have to be extra careful about the path you choose, but I can’t get past the fact that fish don’t sleep. And these fish are literally lying on their backs breathing out Zz’s, in case you’re not sure if they’re really sleeping.

4) Reznor (Super Mario World) – Reznors are fire-breathing dinosaurs, so the fact that they’re attacking me isn’t what I’m questioning. What I want to know is why they’re stuck on a crappy wooden rotating platform. There has to be something more effective. Like chasing me on their feet. Are they nailed down? Not that I’m complaining; I never would have beaten this game if the Reznors could move.

5) Birdo (Super Mario Bros. 2) – Birdo is my favorite ever, and here’s why: She’s the first trans* video game character. The Super Mario Bros. 2 game manual states: “Birdo thinks he is a girl and likes to be called Birdetta. He likes to wear a bow on his head and shoot eggs from his mouth.” I think this is awesome, but as a child I was so confused about why this very pink creature was being labeled as a boy. Clearly the manual should have also explained that this just happens.