It was 3 a.m. in the morning, I was staring at the cold face of my monitor while on my side was the edited Chapter IV of my thesis. Yes it was stressful, but I was actually having fun. My thesis is after all, about video games; the one true hobby that I wouldn’t exchange for any other. As I touched the warm mug full of coffee, a specific game to my mind: Super Mario.
Who doesn’t know Mario and his brilliant belly and mustache? I think every person in my age have stumble upon the chubby plumber. I myself am still playing it on my portable console every now and then just to experience again the joys it brought to me as a child.
But what is Super Mario all about?
It’s all about a guy who goes through thick and thin, battling turtles, goombas, man eating plants and a big-ass armadillo-turtle-porcupine hybrid just to get to the Princess. Mario is awesome, he shoots fireballs from his hand. He shrinks and grows big all the time, he jumps 3 stories high and eating star shaped cereal flakes make hims him Superman.
He goes all through that trouble to finish the level. Only to stumble upon a mushroom guy telling him that “the princess is in another castle”
Doesn’t he ever get tired? What motivates him to do it over and over again? Dodging flying axes, falling turtles, fireballs, jumping across pits, solving puzzles, hitting the bricks with his head over and over again.
Why do we still play it? Even after falling off the edge a couple of times or getting hit by that flying hammer over and over again, why do we still wait for our beloved Mario to re-spawn and try again?
And at the end what do we get? An anti-climactic ending. Brilliant.
Sometimes in life we put efforts into things that we are unsure of. We are full-aware of the situation, knowing that the odds are against us. But we still push for it, oh yes we will. Risking every effort we have in our bodies just to preserve that moment. Are we doing it for the right person? That thought doesn’t even come to your mind. All you know is that you gotta do what you gotta do because there was a player two playing with you.
And then we hit that slump, that end. A very anti-climactic end. An end that stemmed from fear, ignorance and complete disregard of the reality. Bad things happen, that’s a given. But who to blame? Was it the jumping fireballs? Was it that weird douche-bag from the sky throwing spiked turtles at you?
No one. It was and always be, the gamer’s fault.
So what does the gamer have to do? He will finish that damn level. No matter how painful it is to go over it again and again, doing the same things over and over expecting shit to change only to reach that mushroom guy; the stupid ending of a painfully designed level.
But little do we know, we need these levels. We need to know that the mushroom was not the right person. That the efforts we’ve made jumping through obstacles over and over again means nothing. That at the end of the level, there was no princess and that there was no player two willing to play the game with you to begin with.
We need to know it, we need to know that at the end of the day, we are doing the right things for the wrong person.
Because no matter how stupid it may sound, the mushroom was right: “Your princess is in another castle”.
You’ll just have to swallow it all down; accept that player two is not willing to play, finish the god damn level and find the “real” princess.