Pixels of the The Mushroom Kingdom in Real Life

In 1985 a little video game company named Nintendo took video games to a new level with Super Mario Bros, a game chronicling the adventures of two plucky Italian plumbers – Mario and Luigi – through the Mushroom Kingdom as they raced to save the princess (Princess Toadstool) from the evil Koopa King (later renamed Bowser).  Utilizing different environments to signal progression through the game – subterranean, light, dark –  the 32 levels long defined the basic of platform gaming (refined by leaps, bounds and raccoon tails via Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World) until the release of Mario 64 – for Nintendo 64 – in 1996.

Growing up with this gaming franchise, there’s a whole generation that, at one point or another, wanted to live in that world; I’d prefer Hyrule myself.  Turns out, as I recently discovered, I actually get to live a little of the Mushroom Kingdom on a regular basis because of where I live.  No, I don’t see folks dressed up as Super Mario characters who ask people for money after they take pictures (this is Washington, DC – not Times Square in New York City); I’ve seen it happen in NYC and it’s creepy.  I get to live this because of the subterranean levels and Warp Zone feel of the Metro system and the different areas of DC.

You never know where you might end up:  get off the Metro in one spot (Adams Morgan) and you’re dealing with plenty of hammered bros while getting off at another spot and you might wander your way into the Smithsonian Castle; I’m pretty sure that Bowser doesn’t live within the bowels of said castle but a team of “scientists with guns” called Sigma Force might.  Considering how crazed and fearful this city gets when the clouds throw snow upon us you could easily think of it as a Lakitu from the Mario games (the guy in the cloud who tosses the deadly red spined creatures).  While I am unsure as to what denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom could be likened to folks on Capitol Hill, once or twice a year the place does become a “Video Game Congress” of sorts when Microsoft hosts their family game night in conjunction with the Entertainment Software Association.  That event is always a small highlight, especially when you get to demo the Star Wars game for Microsoft Kinect (the one system this writer doesn’t own).

Seeing life in pixels adds a new level of adventure (and occasionally makes it “Questy”).  What part of your life feels like a video game?


Posted on by Aaron in Comic Books/Superheroes

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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