My girlfriend and I were enjoying some quality retro-time, having pulled out the NES and gaming out on one of my favorite games of all time, Super Mario Bros. Eager for my favorite date pasttime, I blew on the cartridge and stuck it in.
HER: You always get Mario.
ME: Yup. Suck it, Luigi.
I proceed to whup some serious Koopa/ Goomba ass. My girlfriend, impatiently waiting her turn, decides to spark up a conversation.
HER: you ever notice that Mario kind of looks like Stalin?
I pause briefly. I am prepared to tell her, based on my more current Wii-minded version of Mario, that she is wrong. Mario is a cute fat Italian plumber with no resemblance to Soviet despots. However as I examine the pixelated version a little more closely I can't deny anything.
ME: I guess so. I never noticed that before.
HER: Yeah. And he's dressed all in red
HER: And he goes after stars
HER: There's a lot of Communist Symbolism in this game What if Mario were actually a Communist?
ME: No way.
HER: Why not?
ME: He can't be.
HER: Give me one good reason why not.
A moment of thought.
ME: Mario goes after coins. He's following his own economic ambitions. He's self-actualized and acts in a Free Market Economy.
HER: He can't even spend them for anything except extra lives. He can't buy a car, a nice house he can only buy lives at a fixed rate of one for a hundred coins. If it were a capitalist environment, he'd be able to buy whatever he wanted at varying, competing prices. But here, he's ONLY allowed to buy lives.
ME: That doesn't prove anything.
HER: He has no career choices either. He can only go forward with his current career and keep diving tubes to save a princess.
ME: Just cuz he can't go left doesn't mean-
HER: How about this? He's a plumber- a member of the proletariat, rushing to a castle to overthrow a tyrannical ruler for the good of the lower classes. Right?
Oh my God.
ME: But He's doing it for the princess He has no ambitions to rule the Mushroom Kingdom.
HER: Well, yeah, duh. He's a plumber, he doesn't have the education. He can't be expected to govern himself, right? And once the Princess is kidnapped, she becomes a martyr and a symbol for the people, like Lenin in Siberia or something.
ME: That's a terrible analogy. She's royalty. Communists wouldn't set up the Aristocracy as their Ruling Elite.
HER: In theory, yes, but the guy he's TAKING DOWN, King Koopa, is royalty. The Mushroom Kingdom is basically exchanging one absolute rule for another, which is exactly what happened in Communist Russia.
ME: The Princess isn't some kind of Soviet Dictator, she's the princess!
HER: Well, to Mario, she's the perfect ruler, isn't she? So was Stalin. Perfect Rulers don't exist without significant brainwashing.
I keep playing, determined to prove to her that I didn't spend my childhood manipulating a pixellated Bolshevik.
HER: So the Princess uses Mario, the proletariat, to go from world to world deposing rulers all in the name of the princess. But it's never enough- Mario has to keep going from World to World and fighting for some passionate but poorly defined cause while she never has to lift a finger to gain absolute power.
HER: The Princess is totally behind Eight Worlds of Marxist Revolution.
ME: This is all in your head.
HER: Oh? Look what he does at the end of each level.
She said this conveniently as I finish the level. Mario pulls down a white flag with a green peace sign on it, rushes into a castle and lifts a flag with a red star on it.
A F***ING RED STAR
ME: I don't care what you say- Super Mario is not a Communist.
HER: Oh yeah? Why did you think he always went through eight really hard worlds? For the hell of it?
A moment of thought.
ME: I kind of always thought that he just REALLY wanted to get laid.
HER: . Touche.
ME: Die, koopa beeotch!