Speakers of the Japanese language would say マリオ, ma-ri-o, so I don’t know why I insisted on butchering the name the New York way – mæh-ri-o. It could be because I’m from there, or it could be because it was such a wonderful source of consternation amongst my non-New York friends. Don’t worry y’all, I’ll concede that one henceforth.
How is that related to flying to Japan? I never said it was. However, while visiting Fukuoka earlier this year, due to my lifelong intrigue in video games, I stopped in at a video game arcade. The usual uninteresting games were present – a horse racing course with smokers of all genders gathered around, the one where you role-play as a stuffy, inconsiderate Manhattan resident, and who can forget the one that’s out-of-order – but a bright spot soon appeared in the form of two Super Mario Bros. classics.
You see, if I wanted to play either of those titles – Super Mario Bros. for the Famicom/NES on the right, Super Mario World for Super Famicom/SNES on the left – back in New York but in a similarly public setting, I’d probably be surrounded by plaid and picklebacks. In other words, the hipster universe. ¡No thanks! Not to mention, although Manhattan had its share of game arcades in the early 2000s, almost all of them were closed to due to shootings.
Back to the Fukuoka arcade, that’s quite a set up. The controller on the left looks like a Super Famicom controller flipped upside-down, and the difficulty setting, according to the Japanese on the sign (初心者 しょしんしゃ) is aimed at beginners. The timing of this photo makes it look as if the older Mario, on the right, standing at the pipe, is jealous that people are playing the newer game. I’m reading into this way too much, but it’s worth noting that in Japan, a country known (to the rest of the world, at least) to be in the vanguard of modern technology, the aged are still highly regarded.
When was the last time you played either of these games?