Fanart Friday returns, more than ready for Olive Garden's Neverending Pasta Bowl. Last week, we checked out some of the coolest signature weapons from our favorite titles, but this week is all about a guy who only needs two weapons: his feet. While Mario may not exactly be a Tony Jaa-type spin-kicking dervish of death, his mighty jumps have propelled us to some of the greatest adventures in all of gaming. Without Mario, video games wouldn't be half of what they are today.
Video games were single-screen affairs until Super Mario Bros. pioneered the actual side-scroller--a staple genre of two generations and a hardcore favorite ever since. 3D platforming has come a long way since Super Mario 64, but where would we be without its ideas on controlling a character in a three-dimensional space? I've been gaming for close to thirty years now, and while they're not always perfect, I always look forward to the next Mario game. Case in point: New Super Mario Bros. 2 hits the 3DS this coming Sunday, so join us in celebrating our favorite portly plumber and all his friends (and enemies!) in this week's Fanart Friday!
DISCLAIMER: None of the art presented is the property of myself or Crunchyroll. All characters and series are tm and © their respective creators and corporate owners. All art is the creative property of their respective artists. Any artists who wish to have their work removed from this article may contact me, and appropriate action will be immediately taken.
And what better way to start than by--wait, what? Dammit Snake, you'll get your own installment in a couple months! Get outta here!
There we go! Mario and Luigi, bros to the end, always ready to step up and stomp whoever's causing trouble in the Mushroom Kingdom--and beyond!
Well, y'know... at least that's what it seems like on the outside. Nobody ever really covers this side of the war.
Okay, I'm no longer sympathetic about crushing Goombas and beating up Koopa Troopas. They work for this guy--and this artist is able to make Bowser Koopa seem so overwhelmingly evil that it's frightening.
This is what I think of whenever I'm in Bowser's territory. This is what you have to work through in World 8. Actually, this is a beautiful Mario level done using the Unreal Development Kit, the same engine that powers most major games today. Makes you kinda long for cute trees and bushes with eyes, doesn't it?
Princess Peach is generally the driving force of a Mario game--she gets kidnapped and Mario (often with Luigi in tow) has to go rescue her. Surprisingly, Bowser is kind enough to let her use the postal service, so she can send Mario gifts--one day she's gonna get fed up, mail Mario a submachine gun and call it a day.
Papercraft is always pretty slick, especially when a good artist (like this) can use different textures for a variety of effects. In a lot of ways, doing a collage like this is one of the best ways to express Mario's trippy, surrealistic feel.
Resident Evil is about people fighting an evil corporation and its deadly experiments. Street Fighter is about martial artists battling in a global tournament. Mario games are about a plumber who sometimes rides dinosaurs and fights an evil dinosaur/turtle to rescue the (human) ruler of a kingdom of mushroom people. And you wonder why the movie sucked so bad.
Bringing the topic back to Princess Peach and her constantly getting kidnapped, she's shown in three games that she's quite capable of rescuing herself. Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario RPG, and even her own game Super Princess Peach all let her cut loose and save the kingdom with her own hands. Maybe she's just lazy?
Y'know, I've thought a lot about the Fire Flower. In a lot of ways, it's a surprisingly terrifying power for Mario to have! But also thinking about Mario as a character, it's also a very handy power with a lot of practical uses...
...like making dinner!
Without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite Mario games is the SNES collaboration with Squaresoft, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Equally funny, exciting, and heartwarming, it's a nice and light alternative to the excellent (but heavy) Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger.
The only times the game didn't feel light were when you were taking on Smithy's weapon-based minions--these guys were scary!
If you have never played Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, you're missing out. In my opinion, it's probably the best title ever put on the Gamecube, and one of the best titles of the last console generation. Another Mario RPG, Thousand Year Door is also one of the best comedies I've ever played, with dynamic gameplay and incredibly likeable characters.
Okay, so after Joseph Luster took us way back with his NostalJoe on Nintendo cartoons, you'd think somebody would get around to making another Mario cartoon--one that didn't suck. Hell, if anything I'd hope it would look like this. I'd watch the hell out of a show like this.
Or, y'know... we could go with something like this!
So I've got kind of a bad habit in Mario games--I obsessively grab every coin possible while barrelling through the levels at top speed. It's almost like I'm playing some crazy hybrid of Mario and Sonic. New Super Mario Bros. 2 has a power-up that lets you make all the money you want. That's not cool, Nintendo.
Peach isn't the only heroine in the Mario universe--the Galaxy games introduced Rosalina, who gets to chill on her giant space station while Mario careens around the universe fighting Bowser's forces and somehow not getting killed. Space is lethal in those games!
But, uh... the less said about Daisy, the better. Poor Luigi, this'll break his heart.
Someone, somewhere on the internet, is going to look at this picture and say "that is hot." I don't even have a joke for that. I'm gonna go curl up in the corner and cry now.
You can buy prints of this? That's awesome! Going for the digital papercraft style is always cool, and I love how he's able to get the entire NES era, Super Mario World, and Super Mario Kart in there!
There are three sounds that gamers fear just for how annoying they are: Navi saying anything (although you need her to play the game), Ashley screaming "HEEEEEEEEELP! LEOOOOOOOOOOOON!" in Resident Evil 4, and Baby Mario's crying in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. One of the most beautiful video games ever made, but man I wanted to just let that baby float off into the void.
A little detail I didn't notice at first--there's a Monty Mole at the bottom of the screen handing Morton a wrench. It was great to see the Koopa Kids return in Super Mario 3D Land--Bowser Jr. just doesn't have as much character.
While Super Princess Peach was a great game, it was also kinda on the easy side. Same goes for New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario 3D Land. I'm kinda hoping that New Super Mario Bros. 2 up and kicks my ass from the start.
In the end, this is what Mario is all about to me. A bright, beautifully-designed world that's basically just an acrobatic platforming playground. How does Shigeru Miyamoto come up with this stuff? How was Mario created? I mean, we all know the story about Nintendo of America's landlord, but...
...eesh. Sorry I asked.
And that's all for this week! Mario's world and games are so vast that I know I missed a few faces--who are some of your favorite Mario characters? What about power-ups, or your favorite moments from the games? Let us know in the comments!
And as always, your art is welcome here, no matter your skill level or experience--PM me a link to your work and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment of Fanart Friday, along with a little READER SUBMISSION notation next to your name! Crayon drawings, clay sculptures, recording yourself playing the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack on a kazoo--just send it in and I'll find some way to use it! Next week, we're scouring the archives of anime, manga, games and more for our favorite MASTERS AND STUDENTS!
Thanks for checking out Fanart Friday, and I hope you have an awesome weekend!