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Note: This story is a parody for the latest Bitmob Writing Challenge.
As a franchise, Mario has famously failed. Though the merchandise has sold well, the games have been both critical and commercial failures. Of the 189 Mario games released, not one has received a single review score higher than 4.5. It’s time for a change. Gamers need something new from Mario. And what do gamers love more than barrels that explode and toilets that flush?
Gamers love a character with a score to settle, and who has more right to be miffed than Mario? He just wants to live a quiet life with his princess, eat the occasional mushroom, and play with his dinosaur. How many times has Bowser burst in and ruined it all? Mario needs to ensure that the next time Bowser goes down, he stays down. Gamers want to see Mario’s enemies ripped to bits, shot to pieces and burnt to hell.
Without further ado, here’s my pitch for a new Mario game:
Mario: It’s A-Me, Death is a shooter in the style of Max Payne. Bowser again kidnaps Princess Peach, this time from Mario’s bed while he is at the toilet. Mario prepares to save her once again. As he does, he reflects on all the injuries he’s sustained during his many other rescue missions: the scars that cover his body from being hit with enormous bullets, the creaky knees from falling down holes, the compressed spine from repeatedly hitting blocks with his skull. He decides that this is the last time he and Bowser will do this sad little dance of victory and defeat, gain and loss. Tonight, one of them will die.
Mario requests Luigi’s help, to no avail, and heads off to save Princess. He’s given a shotgun by, eh, a wizard. It fires a variety of coloured shells, which all result in agonising death. With inspiration from The Punisher game, Mario tortures Koopas for info on Bowser’s hideout. During one interrogation, Mario finds a cape, which allows him to fly to various sniping positions.
There’s a traditional vehicle level of course. Mario finds a magic machine gun that’s capable of killing ghosts. He mounts the weapon on Yoshi’s back, hops on, and the two tear through a ghost house, ripping the inhabitants to bits, while an 8-bit version of Ride of The Valkyries plays.
After at least four hours of gameplay, Mario reaches the final level. In a big, twisty reveal, we find out why Luigi was so reluctant to help: Luigi is Bowser! It’s okay that this doesn’t make sense. After shedding his mecha-Bowser suit, Luigi explains his diabolical grand plan: he plans to escape to a land called Sega with Princess in tow, to team up with the evil Dr Robotnik and rule the universe. Luigi presses a control panel to start a teleport. The only way Mario can stop Luigi now is by disabling the panel. Yoshi rushes ahead to press the button but Mario is trapped, inexplicably, by a small fence. He can use his sniper rifle, but the control panel is bulletproof. Yoshi reaches the button, but collapses under the weight of the gun still mounted on his back. He falls and breaks his legs, mere pixels away from the button. Even his lengthy tongue stops agonisingly short of victory. It is here the gamer is given two choices:
- Mario can either fruitlessly fire away at the panel, thus failing the game and having to restart from the very beginning
- Mario can shoot Yoshi, splashing his blood and guts all over the panel, shorting the circuits and saving the day
If the player makes the selfless decision to kill the dinosaur, we reach a final cut scene in which Mario fires a flaming shell into Luigi’s face. Mario and Princess then dance and kiss as the credits roll, while being careful not to slip in Yoshi’s blood.
This game would sell at least three billion copies, giving the world’s economy a jump-start, and finally give the Mario franchise some respect. Until the inevitable sequel.