Mario stands tall as an icon of the video game industry, although sometimes it seems like North American has co-opted the guy and made him an honorary citizen. Nintendo has been very forgiving, even though we made the entirely forgettable (and so laughably bad that now it's enjoyable) Super Mario Bros. movie, and the Super Mario Bros. Super Show! He's nearly right up there with Mickey Mouse and Superman, even though he's truly Japanese.
So how strange is it that we're pitting him against something as American as John Madden and his ginormous football franchise? That game has the words National Football League in the title every year, so you're playing around with some of the very foundations of American culture while you're at it. A Videogame Deatchmatch that puts a Japanese gaming legend up against the legendary American football franchise? Seems crazy. And it is.
I'll admit right here that I back Mario in this Nerdfight, and I'm pretty sure he's going to trounce Madden like the Carolina Panthers got pwned last year. But Mike takes the ball and runs with it, making a few things personal in the process. Read on to see how this Nerdfight goes, and why Mike is off my Christmas card list. Plus, don't forget to vote right now and see if pigskin can beat plumber!
Kevin: There’s nothing more American than the pastime of playing a Japanese version of a working class hero from New York City on a Japanese game system connected to my Japanese television, is there? Mario is more iconic than Brett Favre, Drew Brees, or Michael Vick, and we don’t have to worry about his dalliances off the field. He’s never once sent me an inappropriate text message. Is there even anything to argue her? Mario trumps Madden, hands down.
Mike: First of all, Kevin, you’re on crack. Plumber’s crack. You know what plumbers are good for? Plumbing, that’s what. If Mario was so important to American iconography, there would be an event that a billion people watched every time a new game came out. And if you’re thinking that’s absurd, I have two words for ya, ‘Machine Gun.’ Super. Bowl. Let’s see the Black Eyed Peas playing a Nintendo event. Never happen.
Kevin: Thank god they won’t. How disastrous was that halftime Tron show/mess? More like The Black Eyed POS, am I right? Terrible. If that’s your argument as to why Madden will trump Mario, then I’m celebrating 1,378 touchdowns right now. Mario’s iconic little flag leap at the end of every level required more athletic skill and timing than hitting Miles Austin on a hot route ever did. They’ve devolved that down to one button now.
Mike: You’ll get no argument from me about the lameness of the Dallas Cowboys, Kevin. In fact, Mario is a lot like the Cowboys. A perennial frontrunner of a franchise with a heyday that gets sunnier in retrospect than it really was. A franchise that rests on its laurels and now makes baffling decisions. Oh, and the misguided idea that it’s America’s Team, while other teams (games, franchises) have far surpassed it in quality and popularity. In short, Dallas sucks.
Kevin: You won’t lure me into that trap, D’Alonzo. The Cowboys may have fallen on hard times recently, but you can’t say the same thing about Mario. From the days of the NES, all the way up to the Wii where he continues to dominate with Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2. Every year, Madden trots out the same crap with a different cover athlete. Big whoops. While Mario innovates and amazes, Madden struggles to stay relevant by boiling their game down to Gameflow. Also known as “Let’s get this game over as fast as possible.”
Mike: ZZZZZZZZ. I’m sorry, I must’ve fallen asleep there for a second. Whenever I hear the word “Mario” I always start to yawn. Sorry. Anyway, you may be right about all the Mario games, but wrong about the “innovates and amazes” part. Super Mario Galaxy 2 was a boring piece of recycled crap. At least Madden always gets roster updates and a new cover athlete. Who’s been on the cover of the last 40,000 same-ass Mario games? Oh yeah, that’s right. Point: Madden.
Kevin: Mario has been on the cover because he’s Mario. The fans demand it. He’s iconic and awesome. Madden has had to scrape the barrel to get people on its cover, including Madden NFL 2010’s dual-cover disaster with Troy “Giant Hair” Polamalu and Larry “Mega Dreds” Fitzgerald. What is this, Let’s Imagine: Hairstylist? Give me good old reliable Mario any day. I know I don’t have to worry about him roiding up or destroying my image of a sports hero. He’s pure enough to live on mushrooms and Piranha Plants.
Mike: It seems like the only way to solve this is an old-fashioned back alley brawl. I’ll meet you out in the parking lot after school. You bring your plumber and his brother, and I’ll bring Ray Lewis. Let’s see how cute it gets from that point forward. It’s gonna be awful hard to yell, “It’sa meeee! Mario!” with no teeth. Is it still called manslaughter with videogame characters? Write me back. Oh, you can't. Because that's the end. Sorry, sucker!