(PULLITZER TIME) Mario & His Goomahs

The rampaging mysogynist titan in action.

Maybe this is all the late night coffee talking (typing), but I believe I have just had a revelation. Something deep, rather profound, and something that I feel certain will change the gaming landscape in quite an impressive fashion. That is, Super Mario and His Women.

This came to me while watching an episode of The Sopranos. Now, in this excellent drama series the lives of Italian Americans are documented. The programme dwells in particular detail on the criminal element of this particular social group, and amongst these ne’er do wells a term is used. The term is “goomha”. The name of the foot sloggers in the army of the evil King Bowser in Super Mario Bros/World/64/Sunshine/Galaxy et al is “Goomba”. The similarity is pronounced. What then is Miyamoto saying here?

Let us examine this in ragged, caffeine-driven, exhaustive detail.

Mario is clearly the Alpha Male. He is potent, swelling to enormous proportions and he returns again and again from death – just like masculine tyranny. You see? He also has a glossy and virile moustache – further signifying his hyper-masculine status in the world/land/galaxy of the games. So far, so chauvenistic. Mario races to save the woman, over and over, in his role as protector, provider and occasional doctor or tennis pro. He is the symbol of ultimate macho proficiency.

But wait! Hold off, if you will, your hounds of condemnation, for Mario stomps on Goombas. Goombas which, with my extensive research to hand, must now be revealed as representing the Mistress, or perhaps more accurately, male infidelity. Suddenly, the tables are turned! Mario chases the woman he loves, not out of possessive male megalomania, but because he rejects the power structures of the Euro-American male. He believes, we must surely posit, in truth, commitment. Despite his moustache, Mario is not the gender tyrant he seems.

But wait again! Let us examine Mario’s newfound virtuous status again. He chases the woman, yes – but which woman? Suddenly, Mario’s mask slips. In Mario Bros/World/Galaxy etc, Mario is saving Princess Peach. But in Super Mario Land (a game which appeared, let us not forget, concurrently with Mario Bros) he is attempting to save a second Princess – Princess Daisy. Mario merely pretends to battle infidelity. Instead he is, as all men (Miyamoto seems to suggest) MUST INEVITABLY BECOME, a paper man*. He is unfaithful.

But Mario refuses to accept this, as he must if he wishes to be forgiven. The Mario Kart series, seemingly an innocent game based around hilarious motor sport antics which now must undoubtedly be re-examined as a critique of masculinity, features Mario continually fleeing from his actions. Daisy and Peach (while reduced by masculinity to fighting each other) chase Mario to win him, as male authority forces them to. Mario flees endlessly, resorting to bombs and ghosts to dodge from his guilt, from his betrayal; from, surely, himself.

Even next to the villains, Mario suddenly is tarnished. Bowser may be something of a villain (although can this not now be questioned also?), but he seeks only one woman, Princess Peach. The alien Tatanga seeks only Princess Daisy. Mario must have them both.

Bowzer has his Goombahs. Mario, it seems, must have his Goomahs.


*Miyamoto, S., Super Paper Mario (Nintendo: Tokyo, 2000).

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4 Comments on “(PULLITZER TIME) Mario & His Goomahs”

  1. NightHunter Says:

    Paul S-“Bowser may be something of a villain (although can this not now be questioned also?), but he seeks only one woman, Princess Daisy.”

    You meant Peach, didn’t you?

    The best thing to come out of Mario is the part in Assassins Creed 2 when you meet Ezio’s uncle:
    “It’s-a me, Mario.”

  2. Paul S Says:

    You clearly imagined this. As you can see, there is no such flaw.

  3. NightHunter Says:

    Oh it seems you are correct. Weird, I coulda sworn that I copied that directly from the text …

  4. mark Says:

    curse you EDR, I shall never be able to look at Mario the same way again!
    Mario Galaxy 2: Planet Misogyny.

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