Category Archives: Gamer

Super Mario Brothers Turn 25.

Time to feel old, fellow nerds. It has been a quarter of a century since those little plumbers burst onto the Famicom (you know it as the Nintendo Entertainment System) in Japan. Mario, and to a lesser extent Luigi, are still the most recognizable figures in video games, and still a commanding presence so many years later. Can Sonic the Hedgehog say as much? I don’t think so.

More than the flagship, more than the face, Mario is the embodiment of Nintendo. And he gets better with every passing year. When Nintendo first hit, it was Super Mario Bros the kids played. I can remember playing the NES at my cousin’s house, he had the duel cartridge that played both Mario and Duckhunt.  And while the light gun is always a treat, we played Mario Bros for hours, hours, until we were forced away from it.

The sequels each have their own story.  The second game allowed you to play as Toad and Peach, and each character had a special ability. Super Mario Bros. 3 is still the highest selling NES game and the only one I can think of that got an entire feature length commercial complete with Fred Savage. It’s also the Mario that introduced us to the myriad costume changes that would become a mainstay of the character.

Super Mario World is still the most fun you can have on a Super NES system, a game so full of life that it spills off the screen, transmitting its joy to the world in a way few games do. For example: I once spent some afternoons in a nun’s chapel that my father was renovating. The nun’s all lived there and in their game room was an SNES and all the nun’s played Super Mario World. Swear to God.

When NES moved into a 3 dimensional world with the Nintendo 64, Mario was there running and climbing, flying around in his pixelated glory. Even when Mario Sunshine came off a little to eco-friendly and the series shifted back to a side scrolling maze of death, it was still the best kind of nostalgic return to form that every great character sees at some point.

But the best may be the latest. In the Mario Galaxy series on the Wii, the plumbers get to reach for the stars and traverse some of their greatest challenges yet. I haven’t played the latest, but the first Mario Galaxy was a blast and I can’t wait to get my mitts around Galaxy 2.

Yes it’s hard not to think of the Super Mario Bros. without that twinge of youthful joy pulling at your heart. But don’t take my word for it. Just watch this 25th Anniversary video and try not to smile. Long live the Mario Brothers!


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Captain Lou Albano, 1933-2009

Rest in Peace Captain Lou

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What the Halo?

Steven Spielberg has announced his interest in bringing the Halo video game to the big screen. Himself. As in direct it. HE would be in charge, not just producing, but actually making this one. Himself.

Spielberg’s last three science fiction action movies were the War of the Worlds remake, Minority Report, and A.I. And those movies have conveyed in unequivocal terms that Spielberg can’t direct Sci Fi any more. And that’s what Halo would and will be, absolutely.

The game is a sci fi shooter, you playing as this faceless Master Chief character, shooting aliens and saving the world. All good things, but things which in Spielberg’s hands could prove disastrous.

The screenwriter would be the same man responsible for the adaptations of Pirates of the Caribbean, a ride at Disneyland, and G. I. Joe, a toy line from Hasbro, into films. And those turned out just fine right? Well, they made the money.

The video about it is here.

Side Rant: I just found out Spielberg is ALSO directing a U.S. version of the Asian cult film Old Boy.  Old Boy? Can this even be real? With Will Smith? Whaaaaat?

Spielberg’s going to try to stand up to a movie that will go so far as to show a man eating a live octopus on camera? You’re going to fuck with that Steve? I don’t think so. Step away from these properties Spielberg, go back to making your creme de la creme Tom Hanks heart warmers and WWII memorials. It’s comfy over there. See? So comfy.

Back to Halo, the game is one of the most popular franchises in the world. It being made into a film was and is only a matter of time. Actually, a Halo movie already was in the works, but that fell through for some reason, and now those film makers- Peter Jackson and Neil Blomkamp- have made this.

I am going to see District 9 on Tuesday ish, I do have a life people, so don’t tell me anything about it yet. Not one word. I can’t wait to see it. I’m even avoiding all my favorite internet reviewers so there’ll be NO SPOILERS.

Basically, District 9 looks like it will be the best sci film to come out this or any other recent year. Can you imagine if Halo looked that real? That cool? It’d be a game changer in the way video games are made into movies.

Look at the wave of recent comic book movies. Do you remember when comics were getting the crappy treatment by the studios? Now you have this surge riding the backs of really great comic films like The Dark Knight (or even Batman Begins, which is actually responsible for the surge to begin with) and good films like Iron Man, Hellboy blah blah blah.

But Halo could have been the Batman Begins of video game movies. It could have ushered in a new era where these properties are taken seriously. Then we wouldn’t be stuck with some of the worst adaptations of all time.

And now, at last, we must ask why. Why do these movies get made? I offer, as my answer, this parting thought. I offer Uwe Boll. The man who stands for all that is soulless and wrong in the film industry. The man who can only get compliments from douche bags of equal proportions on Fox News. The man who lives life by one word: money.

That’ll do Uwe, that’ll do.



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