Mario the Bully

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.

This photo shows toad knocked out with stars above his head

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.

http://gamestudies.org/1702/articles/hartmann

Source: Mario the Bully

Super Casual Bros

I have been playing Super Mario Strikers for the Nintendo Gamecube and it is a good example of what a casual game plays like according to Jesper Juul. While it does fall under the category of agon and can be very competitive, it does fit into all five categories set out by Juul. To begin, the cover of the game is a picture of Mario and Donkey Kong playing a pretty fierce game of soccer. These two characters are well known throughout Nintendo and while they do look intense, knowing that it is a Mario game lets the player know that it will be a pleasant game. If you have had any experience with a GameCube controller, the controls of the game will come easily. The game has two or three important buttons for beginners but once the player gets a hang of the game can use all the buttons on the controller to perfect their playing style. Each match can be set to different settings, but the standard time limit is five minutes. The game can also be paused any time and played later so it has a high level of interuptibility. Losing the game to your opponent is the biggest punishment the game has. While playing the game, if you do something illegal, the player gets a classic Mario shell to throw around which is also a small punishment. In general, since the matches are so short, there is a very low level of punishment for the player. Lastly Super Mario Strikers has a high level of juiciness. If the player does something well within the match, like get a shot on target, the player is rewarded with a Mario shell to throw which provides very quick feedback. When a goal is scored a dramatic replay is shown and when players perform their special shot a cool cut scene is played. I would say I am a casual gamer and this game fits my style perfectly so that I can play a short game in-between class or play a couple games at night with a friend.

This shows Yoshi during a super strike. The green fire and stars show the juiciness of the game.

 

Source: Super Casual Bros