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So...Why a Plumber?
Of video games, one that never drew my interst was the Mario games, where two short, Italian plumbers do stuff.
So, you can imagine my surprise when not one but two of my sons became utterly entranced by Mario.
One of the will only wear Mario shirts (he has four identical shirts, given to him by various people, his teachers must think we let him wear the same shirt over and over.) The other is entranced by everything Mario and talks about him all the time.
Is it the big blue eyes?
There is an innocence to Mario. It's the video game equivalent of comfort food; a lot of gamers can go to a particular Mario game time and time again and replay the same levels, even though we've had them memorized for the better part of two decades now.
Sonic is similar, I suppose, but the quality of Mario games has remained pretty high and the worlds friendly*, whereas you can't say that about Sonic-- the series pretty much tanked with the 3d revolution. I'll replay the original, 2D Sonic games, but I can't remember the last time I looked forward to a new Sonic release.
*As friendly as a world in which you slaughter everything and which most everything slaughters you back can be, anyways.
But my kids have only played the games like twice. It's the idea of Mario they love. (They've seen a few TV episodes, too, but not many.)
Well, I highly recommend the purchase of a Wii as a family-entertainment device. It can be a great way to bond with your kids, and the simple pointing interface is friendly to people who've never played video games very much.
There are various Mario-themed family/party games on it, which is the main draw of the system, besides the simple user interface. Also, the vast majority of it's titles are rated "E" for Everyone, so it's very easy to avoid violent or otherwise nasty games, most of the games for it are pretty wholesome and usually are either puzzle games, party games, or some combination of the two.
The Elf King has been promised a Wii next Christmas...if he can master his temper.
Chances of this happening are small, but we all remain hopeful.
He did ask me recently, "Mom, how come everyone has a Wii but us." Sure seems like that to him. ;-)
The Cherubim loved this. He watched it at least ten times before school.
It's just the sheer innocence and cuteness of Mario. *I* find myself still extremely attached to the character and setting, even though I suck at Mario games, and playing them is an exercise in masochism for me.
I mean, you're this plumber, trying to rescue the Princess and save the world from the Bad Guys. Who are evil turtles and mushrooms. You defeat them by jumping on their heads or by spinning around really fast, and they just sort of poof into clouds of smoke.
It has clear good and evil, and it's cute, and it requires the sort of repetitive mongoose-reflexes that only children have, and there is really no violence or blood *EVER* in any mario game. It would really be stretching it to even say it has "cartoon violence", even. Even the explosions from the bombs are fluffy and adorable.
Anyways! You should love them as a parent because every single Mario game is rated E for Everyone, and you can be guarunteed that playing a Mario title will *not* be propagandizing your kids into the worldly culture.
Plus, the multiplayer Mario titles (Mario kart, Golf, Tennis, Party,etc) are extremely fun, yet simple and easy to pick up.
Aw! It sounds so cute. All this makes sense, but the Cherubim has never played the game. He just likes the look. (He's the one with the Mario shirts.)
The Elf King has played the game once or twice, which I am sure adds to his enthusiasm.
I love Mario, but that may be because it was the only video game I knew as a kid.
There's a certain fairy tale quality to Mario. He's just this ordinary guy, a plumber, who saves a princess from the bad guys. And the bad guys are just weird enough to be exciting and not scary.
There's also an association with Italian food (yes, weird). I know I associated Mario with the idea of jolly Italian cooks and pizza, favorite foods and funny accents. It's purple* for kids, Lady & the Tramp has the same usage. I'm not sure where it comes from.
*purple is what my husband calls scenes that are inherently familiar even if you've never seen them. Example: as a child, I knew what that Bloom County strip with Bill the Cat riffing Gone With the Wind was riffing, even though I'd never seen the movie.
My son went through a period where all he wanted to wear was a red T-shirt and jeans. He had several pairs, but I'm sure his teacher thought he was re-wearing his clothes each day (which would have been impossible, because he attracted dirt and stains).