Which is older Mario or Luigi

Super Paper Mario

Description of the game:
If you had told game developer Shigeru Miyamoto in 1985 that his character Mario would dominate video game culture for the next twenty years - he would not have thought it possible. The numbers, however, of almost 300 million Mario video games sold for the various Nintendo game consoles to this day, speak for themselves. Regardless of what the character is today: The players who played the first jump & run game "Super Mario Bros." 22 years ago. played on the relatively young and for the time revolutionary NES console, grew up with Mario. But the new generations also know about Mario, his brother Luigi, Princess Peach, the mushroom Toad, the villain Bowser and the many other characters from the mystical Nintendo fairy tale world and are in no way inferior to the old semesters in terms of prior knowledge.
The Wii console, released last fall, also made its Mario debut. So far, the impressively marketed "Super Mario Galaxy" and a few months earlier "Super Paper Mario" have been published. The spread of two box office hits within a very short period of time is especially popular with young buyers, "Super Paper Mario" is aimed at an older generation that has already seen the pixelated early days of Mario and his followers. On the face of it, "Super Paper Mario" is just created for children's rooms in terms of graphic and non-violent display, childlike appearance and sweetish sound. However, the complexity of the game surpasses all previous Mario games by far. Before we get into this, the background story and the goal of the game should be discussed.

A scream. Mario and Luigi listen up. Princess Peach is in trouble. Those familiar with Mario history will know that this is not the first time. Mario, always recognizable by his blue dungarees, red shirt and red peaked cap, and his brother Luigi rush to the castle. Count Knickwitz, a new, spindly villain, has kidnapped the princess and takes Luigi with him. Even the villain Bowser and his serf monsters are victims of this ambush. Mario is the only one remaining and gets to Flippstadt with the help of a little fairy creature called Pixl (an ironic allusion to a pixel, read: a picture element of a digital raster graphic). Flippstadt's residents are absurdly drawn, loving creatures whose magician Merlin takes care of the seemingly lost Mario and tells him the background to Count Knickwitz and his evil machinations. From Flippstadt, Mario sets off to seven different worlds and atmospheres. Not only to save his friends, but also to save the world that Knickwitz wants to plunge into the purest darkness. For this he needs the "pure hearts" that he receives at the end of each level. After each heart he returns to Flippstadt to recharge his batteries there, to guide the hearts to appropriate places and to collect new information. The player not only takes on the role of Mario in the process. There is also Princess Peach, Bowser and Luigi, who are gradually being released from captivity, to play. Not to forget the many Pixl that the player finds in each level and give him further, very special abilities.

The difference to the previous Mario games is, among other things, that economic considerations are also decisive here. The collected golden coins, which were never really relevant in the past, can now be exchanged for goods. If you like, mini-games are also possible with which you can refresh your account. Restaurants, pubs (in which only milk is served) and fortune tellers can be visited as well as a hidden black marketeer in the Flippstadt underground.

Pedagogical assessment:
The abundance of ideas, the palpable wealth of ideas and the fantastically arranged joke: All these factors make "Super Paper Mario" a game that is unrivaled in its genre.
First of all, "Super Paper Mario" builds a bridge to the past. As the title suggests, the game is played primarily in two-dimensional (flat like paper) mode, which today can be seen as an exception. The player moves his figure from the left (start) to the right (goal) and can use the jump button to jump up without completely opening up the space, the back and the front. For many game connoisseurs, whether young or old, this results in an extremely high recognition value, which relates to the classics from the eighties. Even if the computer games market is being fought for with top graphic performance today, nostalgic tendencies can still be recognized again and again.
But "Super Paper Mario" wouldn't be "Super Paper Mario" if it just rehashed old things. The highlight is the alternation between two and three-dimensionality. "How is that supposed to work?" (Player, 16). Not a seldom heard question. Imagine an obstacle, such as a large, green pipe. No jump is high enough to overcome this obstacle on the way from left to right. Follow the instructions: A short press on the corresponding button and Mario changes the dimension. He can now bypass the tube, which is shown flat at the edge of the picture. What was worth a laugh at first becomes an indispensable method as the game progresses. Paths, treasure chests, keys, life points and much more: the change of dimension is vital in the game and crucial for every new level. Even over-heavy, oversized and invincible opponents can be dealt with by exchanging dimensions and attacking them from behind if necessary. Many an opponent cannot even be found in the second dimension, but rather hides in the space of three-dimensionality.
It is important to know that only Mario has this special ability. The other playable characters, which are only gradually available, have their own peculiarities. Princess Peach can protect herself from flying things with her pink umbrella or sail many meters further after a jump.
Put together the characteristics of the characters are a strategically composed work of art. Every second of the game is determined by it. The player doesn't just have to run, flatten opponents and "pocket" points, but pay attention to how and where he uses his skills.
To go one step further: the linking of the play elements is close to the avant-garde. An art form that does not follow positive criticism from every player. Conventional thoughts are taken to absurdity here in various moments and only criticized with standstill. What leads to enthusiasm and rapture in a certain group of adults or mature young people can turn into incomprehension, listlessness or even anger in childhood - especially in the case of "Super Paper Mario", where the surface says a clear "Yes" and fun suggested for all ages.

Two other factors suggest that "Super Paper Mario" could displease boys and girls under the age of 12 as well. On the one hand, there is the background story, which is approached according to an almost literary narrative thread, with many text passages that are paralyzing for younger children. On the other hand, the game comes up with a wide range of self-references. Newcomers to the Mario cosmos, on the other hand, will look afterwards questioningly in certain situations.

In the older age groups of the game tester groups, "Super Paper Mario" caused enthusiasm without exception. Sometimes it means action and strategy and then again relaxation for the nerves in the "local" Flippstadt. Above all, this meant that the young people kept going through to the end without playing too much in one go. If a chapter has ended, the player also pauses.
Away from self-adulation towards the artistically valuable: The great references to one's own story are built in so subtly that it is often only noticeable at a second glance. So z. B. a level completely according to the specifications of a part of the first "Super Mario Bros." from 1985. This attention to detail, with which the work was more than obvious, shows more than clearly that computer and video games with their long history and virtuoso approach represent an art form of their own that is already capable of itself to quote and put in new contexts. Good to know that game manufacturers sometimes, as in the case of "Super Paper Mario", rise above any form of depicting and glorifying violence and instead put creativity and depth in the foreground of their games.

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Don Bosco Club, Cologne-Mülheim