In addition to the ZX Spectrum, Nintendo mascot Mario, née Jumpman, also turns 40 this year.
I’ve actually seen people claim that Mario is the perfect mascot, like he were destined towards super-stardom. He was nothing of the sort! Only a vaguely ethnic stereotype at first, although purposely a bit ugly in his original incarnation, he’s a working-class kind of guy. It seems prescient now, but it was the 80s at the time of his creation. Who picks a carpenter (his original occupation) to be their hero? Shigeru Miyamoto does. That’s really the secret of Mario’s success: he was created by one of the most successful game designers of all time, as part of his first project.
The New Yorker, which, it’s a fact, publishes humor other than cartoons, has a pretty funny bit of short fiction in tribute to Nintendo’s plumber and his advancing age by Simon Rich, even if it posits a version of Mario who’s a bit seemy, and worries that he’s-a gonna be cancelled. But it ends on a happy note, with Mario finally getting that back surgery he’s been needing for so long. Wait, what? Also he gets scammed by Wario.
The New Yorker is one of those publications that throws up a paywall at times, probably related to how many articles you’ve seen this month, so be warned.
And I know what you’re-a thinking: “How does Super Mario go broke? You collected entire rooms of coins! What happened?” And the answer is-a simple: I trusted a close personal friend to manage-a my money. And I can’t say too much about what happened, because the lawsuit is-a ongoing, but essentially, all those years I thought that I was riding Yoshi, it was the other way around.