For many people of my age group, Mario and Luigi games have been around for our entire lives. We don’t know very well what we’d do without Mario and Luigi games. Those would see it as the top of the world. However, most of us are merely happy having the small guys around, fixing the plumbing.
Don’t expect to be a specialist on Italian culture by playing Mario and Luigi games. Actually, when I had my first Italian lessons (aged around 11) I did my very best Mario parody when delivering my lines to the remainder of the class. To his eternal credit, my teacher never once chided me with a command “do it again, and now be less of a berk!”
We have even seen solo Luigi spin-offs over the years. Given that Luigi began life as a palette swap of Mario (‘palette swap’ is an antiquated term dating back to when games had very restricted memory and thus just a few sprites appeared per level, so new characters/tougher bad guys were denoted by re-coloured sprites. More badass than the ordinary white ones, and also the ‘Neon Knights’ (that’s what I call them, anyway) on Golden Axe III were positively unbeatable, despite their extremely questionable choice of battle attire – you can almost imagine Death Adder (with Skeletor’s voice, for some reason) armouring his minions thus: Mwahahahaha!!! You will be my entry-level bad guys, which means you wear dull grey and brown, you’ll be protected, camouflaged and you will not look like a berk, no matter how bad your Italian is! But you, my elite and unstoppable personal guard, YOU shall be clad in Neon Disco Pink! Mwahahahaha!”) He’s done very well for himself indeed.
In the Mario and Luigi games tie-in cartoon, that aired shown on Saturday morning along with such greats as ‘Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors’ ‘Ulysses 31’ ‘Visionaries’ and ‘M.A.S.K’ (three points for every theme song it is possible to remember) Luigi was presented as a bit of a bumbler, a fool even, actually, I’ve just this second raised a childhood memory of being forced by my friend Jimmy to be Luigi as we acted out the cartoon (aged about 7) and him yelling at me (in Berkish Italian) for having crumbs in my pocket. There, that’s how far back Mario and Luigi games go if you’re my age, there is scarcely some time without them. The mere mention of Mario and Luigi games takes us on a visit down Sends us on a nostalgia trip, so lets-a-go!
Now it seems that the torch shall pass and a new generation shall be taking good old Jumpman and his brother, Green Jumpman, in a new direction, which is terrific. Though, if you are a parent who’s a little older than me, let me set the record straight on several things 1) There is nothing to be learned about Italian from these games 2) You really won’t learn plumbing by playing Mario and 3) he/she will seem like a berk if they do the accent. Game over.