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The Men Who Play Mario

Mario Did you know that there are some people who do not understand why adult men enjoy Super Mario games?  It's true!  Kotaku's Stephen Totilo recently wondered whether or not he's becoming a little too old to enjoy Nintendo's prime franchise, and so he sought out opinions from colleagues who also relish titles such as last year's New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story to discuss why adults enjoy the series and why they keep coming back to it.  He asked me for my thoughts on the matter and I was happy to speak out in favor of the iconic plumber.

Matthew Green, 28-year-old writer for and knows there other, non-Mario games targeted to him. "I'm part of a demographic meant for Modern Warfare and Madden, but I always look forward to a trip back to the Mushroom Kingdom," he wrote to me. He told me he keeps playing because he grew up with thee games and they make him smile.

The Mario games also make these men feel young. Green: "There's a sense of wonder and a spark of imagination at the heart of the Super Mario Bros. games, and as children we pick up on that right away.  Then, over time, most people lose that spark.  School, career, social engagements, relationship drama, mortgage payments, credit card debt, medical ailments, and other things that we pick up on our way to and through adulthood weigh us down and we forget the simple pleasures of saving the princess from a turtle despot with an eye for annexing kingdoms and galaxies.  Those of us who continue to play Super Mario games and who make them a part of our adult lives found a way to keep that spark alive."

As long as Nintendo keeps creating quality Super Mario releases, I'll keep coming back for more.  Despite branching out into the Grand Theft Autos, Bionic Commandos, and Uncharteds of the world, I always come running back to Super Mario when he makes a solid appearance.  His games allow me to revisit a cast of characters and setting that is familiar and friendly when shooting cybernetic villains and stealing cars becomes stale.  Mario's peppy music, matchless platforming, and in-joke humor keep me smiling the entire way through his games, and in the end it's the smiles that I'm after when I play.  For all the analysis and study that I put games through, what I really want is to be entertained and engaged.  The Super Mario Bros. games do that for me every time.

(Well, except Mario Party.  A man has to have standards.)