Super Mario Strikers is incredibly violent, but you would not immediately realize how violent it is. The player is constantly head butting, slide tackling, or throwing shells at the other team. Sometimes the players are knocked into an electric fence or are hit by a shell and knocked out. These are very violent actions, but the player does not have a problem with how violent they are. Tile Hartman talks about why videogames can get away with violence in her article “The Moral Disengagement in Violent Videogames Model.” In which she provides eight factors as to why violence in videogames does not conflict with an individual’s morals. Three of the eight factors directly apply to Super Mario Strikers.
One of the key factors in Super Mario Strikers is the dehumanization of the characters. Most of the team is made up of Koopa Troopa, Toad, Hammer Bro, and Birdo which are all fictional characters in the Mario universe. Because of this the player does not feel like they are hurting a real person and takes away the guilt that comes with the action. Another key factor is the distortion of consequences in the game. If you unjustly hurt one of the other team, the only consequence is the other team receives a shell. The player gets up after a couple of seconds like nothing happened. The last key factor from the article is the attribution of blame, meaning the victims necessitated the act upon themselves. Having these violent mechanics in the game tells the player that if another team wants to challenge you, they are asking for you to tackle them hard and beat them up in order to win. The game even keeps track of tackles which promotes the player to make as many violent tackles as they can.
Aside from the factors brought up in the article, I think Mario’s reputation as being family friendly helps lesson the moral burden of being violent in the game. Part of that reputation is how they are portrayed as cartoonish characters which is normally associated with children and innocence. Cartoon violence is also not as severe as realistic violence which shields the player from what they are actually doing. After reading the article and thinking about past Mario games I have played, I realized they all have aspects of violence in them, yet due to these factors and its reputation, Mario as a franchise is not known as being violent.
Hartman, Tilo. “The ‘Moral Disengagement in Violent Videogames’ Model.” Game Studies, Dec. 2017, gamestudies.org/1702/articles/hartmann.
Source: Mario the Bully