For some people of my generation, 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 end of the world. For most of us, less crazy, people, Mario and Luigi games mark the passing of your years, ageing to perfection like a fine wine.
It is a fact, however, that you won’t learn much from Mario and Luigi games. In fact, when I had my first Italian instruction (aged around eleven) I did my very best Mario impression when delivering my lines to the remainder of the class. To his eternal praise, my tutor never once chided me with a command “do it again, and this time be less of a berk!”
We have even seen solo Luigi spin-offs over the years. Given that Luigi began life like a palette swap of Mario (‘palette swap’ can be an outdated term dating back to when games had very limited memory and thus just a few sprites appeared per level, so new characters/tougher bad guys were denoted by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 regular white ones, and also the ‘Neon Knights’ (that’s what I call them, anyway) on Golden Axe III were positively invincible, 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 are my entry-level bad guys, so that you wear dull grey and brown, you’ll be confined, camouflaged and also 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!”) Fair play to the guy.
In the Mario and Luigi games tie-in cartoon, that Was 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 a time without them. The mere mention of Mario and Luigi games takes us on a visit down memory lane, so lets-a-go!
Today, Mario and Luigi are embracing a more modern direction, Which is great. Though, should you be a parent who’s a little older than me, let me set the record straight on several things 1) You really won’t learn Italian by playing Mario 2) There is nothing to be learned about plumbing from these games 3) he/she’s going to look like a berk when they do the accent. That is all.