So, how old is Mario supposed to be? His first starring role was in Donkey Kong in 1981, but he still looks pretty much the same now, other than being in higher definition. Mind you, his hair and mustache are different colors, so there’s obviously some dyeing going on there.
Is he immortal? He’s died plenty of times, especially if you’re not very good at the game, but he always comes back.
Not only are there extra lives, but you can always restart; and he’ll be there for the next game regardless. But is this true for the character or just his avatar in the games? Death is pretty much never permanent in video games, unless it’s plot-related. Then a stab wound in the back is enough to put someone out of commission for good. If death is only temporary, I guess that explains why it seems like the good guys usually just regard Bowser as a nuisance, rather than a formidable terrorist. It would be different if he’d killed someone for good.
Perhaps Mario and his supporting cast exist on a sliding time scale, like a lot of cartoon and comic characters. If that’s the case, though, how do we explain Cranky Kong? He’s apparently the original Donkey Kong from 1981, with the new DK being his grandson. And he’s definitely grown older, even though his original opponent doesn’t seem to have done so.
I guess apes do have shorter lifespans than humans. The real reason beyond Cranky being old in Donkey Kong Country was presumably that he represented an earlier generation in gaming, eight-bit rather than sixteen-bit. Even though only thirteen years had passed between the games, video games themselves had changed considerably. Now, however, it’s been several generations and about thirty years since DKC, but Cranky is still the same. Well, unless Cranky in the Nintendo 64 games is Donkey from the Super Nintendo, and so on, but I think that would be going too far. According to Yoshi’s Island DS, DK is the same age as Mario, Luigi, Peach, Wario, and Bowser.
I assume this DK is Cranky, even though he wears the necktie that his grandson does.