Unreasonable Answers to Reasonable Questions


This post from Drew offers an interesting series of questions that a rational person should have upon playing Super Mario Bros. While I’m sure the questions are rhetorical, I’m going to take a stab at them anyway.

Wait, why do coins give Mario extra lives? Coins can get you a lot of things.

Why am I being rewarded for collecting money but not for killing enemies and collecting points? Shouldn’t the points be the more valuable form of currency? Because Mario is not a bounty hunter. Seriously, though, I think the score is just a holdover from games you couldn’t win. It’s essentially left over from the old technology.

So he’s saving mushroom people but he’s also eating mushrooms? Isn’t that kind of fucked up? Yes. Yes, it is.

And there are also evil walking mushrooms? They were outcasts from mushroom society.

Is this, like, a drug thing? When you get right down to it, what isn’t?

Why are turtles evil? Or are they just anti-mushroom? They were just taken in by Koopa propaganda.

Why is Mario a stereotype of Italian people? He was originally going to be a Jewish stereotype, but the Anti-Defamation League prevented Super Moishe Bros. from getting off the ground.

Why does he lower the flag at the end of each level only to raise a secondary, smaller flag in the castle he runs into? It’s actually an extended game of Capture the Flag. No, really, I think the flag Mario lowers has a skull on it, although it kind of looks like a peace sign.

Why would touching something stupid like an evil walking mushroom or a turtle cause you to get injured or die? Yeah, Mario. You need to get some stronger clothing. Then again, Kuros wore armor, and he seemed to be even more vulnerable.

So the bricks just float there in the air? Yeah, I’d be worried that whatever is holding them up would wear off, and they’d fall on my head.

Why is it the same boss at the end of every world? Does he come back to life every time you kill him? There’s sort of an answer to this, in that killing Bowser with fireballs in any of the first six worlds will result in his turning into another enemy. So maybe they’re just minions in Bowser suits. That doesn’t explain how he’d keep coming back after a magma bath, but I guess Mario isn’t the only one collecting extra lives.

Wait, how do you fly? A jetpack.

Why is the princess of the mushroom people herself not a mushroom? It’s a class thing.

Did the dragon thing want to, like, eat the princess? Or marry the princess? It’s really not clear in the early games, although it’s eventually established that he has a thing for her. Maybe that developed over time, though.

So it’s a kingdom, but the person in charge is a princess? There’s a Mushroom King mentioned in the instructions for the first game, and he shows up in some related media, but not in any of the actual games. Just his being alive might be enough to prevent the Princess from being crowned Queen, though.

Where did all the people live before the turtles came? Like, in the castles? They have wooden fences and plentiful trees but everyone lives in brick castles? I think Mario’s first adventure just took place in rural areas.

Are the “castles levels” at the end of each world where the mushroom people normally lived? Did they design the castles to be full of lava and spinning fireballs and stuff? Hey, castles are built for defense, right? Still, I have to suspect King Koopa did a certain amount of remodeling.

For a game where you have to eat mushrooms and ingest other psychedelic objects to get superpowers, isn’t the whole money-as-life metaphor weirdly conservative? Because of his drug use, Mario can’t get insurance, so he has to buy extra lives on the black market.

If he can break bricks by punching them, why doesn’t Mario just punch the bad guys? Maybe the bricks are made of foam.

And here are a few questions of my own:

How is it that you can fall from a great distance and end up unharmed, but falling in a pit will kill you instantly? What the hell is in those pits?

How does Mario manage to breathe underwater without any equipment? (And why does he suddenly lack this ability in the 3-D games?)

Where are all those Bullet Bills in the later levels coming from?

Why can you only go down some of the pipes and not others? And when you do go down a pipe that has a Piranha Plant in it, why don’t you run into it on the way down?

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3 Responses to Unreasonable Answers to Reasonable Questions

  1. Mario500 says:

    “How is it that you can fall from a great distance and end up unharmed, but falling in a pit will kill you instantly? What the hell is in those pits?”

    No need to be rude in your questioning, but I will answer still. I believe the pits are like long roads to death. As for what could be in those pits, all we could do is use our imaginations.

    “How does Mario manage to breathe underwater without any equipment? (And why does he suddenly lack this ability in the 3-D games?)”

    The coins must be magical (which would explain their disappearance after touching them), thus giving Mario or Luigi the ability to breathe under water. The 3-D games emphasized the connection between the coins and breathing underwater.

    “Where are all those Bullet Bills in the later levels coming from?”

    From Bill Blasters out of the view of game players.

    “Why can you only go down some of the pipes and not others? And when you do go down a pipe that has a Piranha Plant in it, why don’t you run into it on the way down?”

    Some pipes must have some sort of blockage. As for pipes with Piranha Plants, they go into hiding after Mario or Luigi stands upon their pipes.

    • Nathan says:

      But in the 2-D games, you can still breathe underwater even if you’re at zero coins, can’t you? And where would the Piranha Plants hide when they’re pretty much the same size as the pipes?

      • Mario500 says:

        The number of coins do not apply when Mario and Luigi are under water as long as they have had prior exposure to coins (with or without the aid of game players). As for the piranha plants, they may have secret compartments connected to the pipelines.

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