Aug 2, 2014

Super Mario Brothers

When I was a kid, there were no video games.  In college we played Asteroids, in which your space ship shoots asteroids and flying saucers.

Mario Brothers appeared in arcades in 1983, and the Nintendo home game Super Mario Brothers in 1987.  Oddly enough, my parents were fans.  I have fond memories of summer nights in the 1990s, living in West Hollywood but back in Rock Island for a visit, the screen door open to let in a breeze, eating watermelon or corn on the cob, and listening to the theme music coming from the living room.

There was also a Super Mario Brothers All-Stars in 1993, a Super Mario Brothers Deluxe in 1999, and various games devoted to other characters in the Mario universe, but by that time my parents had lost interest.

Nearly all of the game plots are sexist.  A princess is kidnapped, and the brothers Mario and Luigi, drawn as stereotypic Italian-American plumbers, must rescue her.

They are sometimes accompanied by Yoshi, a sentient dinosaur, and Toad, a sentient mushroom who wears a turban.

The only game without a princess to rescue is Yoshi's Island (1995), in which Baby Mario, accompanied by a clan of Yoshis, must rescue Baby Luigi.

However, none of the games involve a fade-out kiss: neither Mario nor Luigi display any heterosexual interest, leaving them open to gay subtexts.  Maybe they're a gay couple, not "brothers."

Mario cosplay is common, with some muscular Marios, Luigis, and Toads strutting about.

A film version, Super Mario Bros., appeared in 1993.  It stars Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi, plumbers in real-life Brooklyn who are zapped into a parallel Earth run by the descendants of dinosaurs,  They rescue Princess Daisy, as expected.

  Of course, Hollywood movies must always have a heterosexist plot, so Luigi and Daisy fall in love.

But, on the plus side, John Leguizamo has a shirtless scene (top photo), before he got all craggy and bizarre.