February 28, 2012 at 10:57 pm , by Nick Shell
Where did we originally learn those lessons? Super Mario Bros. 2; my favorite video game of all time.
I recently shared 5 ways the 1st Super Mario Bros. game symbolizes fatherhood and after seeing that several random strangers shared it on their Facebook walls, I felt it was vital to explain why the game’s 1988 sequel is even more relevant to fatherhood:
1. We start out helpless and clueless. Super Mario Bros. 2 begins with a door opening in the empty black sky and then you just start falling. How is not that a perfect description of what it’s like when your first kid is born?
2. We have to, at times, assume the role of a woman to get the job done. Yes, this was the Mario game where you could be the Princess and float in the air.
Sure enough, it’s no secret that as dads, we often have to force ourselves to take on roles that traditionally have been assigned to the mother; from simply diaper duty to being a full-time stay-at-home parent . Yeah, we’re still Mario most of the time, but there is no shame in playing as the Princess when we need to.
3. We are constantly going back and forth between two worlds. By using the potion bottle, you could enter a reversed, night time version of the world where you could collect coins to earn extra lives.
Many of us dads feel like we are living in two different worlds: There’s the real world where we actually get to spend time with our families and enjoy the adventures of life. Then there’s the other world where we have to actually work to afford the real world.
4. We are fighting the “dinosaurs” of outdated stereotypes of what all dads are like. In order to complete most levels, you had to defeat an egg-spitting dinosaur named Birdo. Similarly, I feel like I’m still having to put to death the “bumbling idiot” caricatures of TV dads from the Eighties and Nineties who were lazy, clumsy, and sex-crazed/deprived.
5. We use vegetables and fruits as weapons. Okay, so we don’t literally pick up giant (assumed organic) carrots from the ground and hurl them at our enemies like we could do in the game. Nor do we become invincible when we eat enough fresh cherries.
But there’s no denying the “whole grains, plant based diet” movement that we as parents are starting to pay attention to. It’s relevant in our modern parenting society.
We are incorporating more vegetables and fruits, and less processed foods, in order to fight the enemies of cancer and disease; not only for our own health, but for our kids’ well-being also.
It’s no coincidence that the the final bad guy in the game was a giant frog who wearing a crown. The only way to defeat him and beat the game was to throw enough veggies and fruit into his mouth.
This symbolizes the way that as modern dads, we are taking a stand against the “kings” of processed foods (like Monsanto).
Super Mario Bros. 2 was more than just a trippy, off-beat video game sequel. Instead, it subconsciously taught us cryptic symbolic messages back in the Eighties when we were kids, so that we could apply that vital knowledge now in the 2010′s as dads. Pretty rad, huh?
Okay, I’ll admit- once you beat the game you realize it was all just a dream. I’ll let you decide how that symbolizes fatherhood. I’m stumped on that one.