I’d like to begin by thanking everyone for coming to celebrate Mario’s life. Mario was the most joyfully buoyant person I’ve ever known and I know many of you would agree. He had an incredible legacy, thirty-five years of it, and it’s with great sadness I stand here today following his untimely death at the hands of Nintendo yesterday.
Mario was born in 1981, first appearing in Donkey Kong, before appearing in his own game in 1985’s Super Mario Bros.. He leaves behind his brother, Luigi, and his long-time companion, Yoshi. His childhood was mostly uneventful, besides a couple of merry jaunts across Yoshi’s Island to be reunited with his brother, both of whom were being carried to their parents by storks. He never returned to the island again when he became an adult, although it’s said that his wailing screams can still be heard across the whole island.
Mario went to college to train to be a plumber and graduated with honours. However, he spent most of his career in the Mushroom Kingdom as an agent of turtle/dragon-based regicide and rescuing of princesses or other damsels in distress. He had a strong work ethic, ceaselessly trekking across ice, lava, forests and other dangerous terrains to rescue Princess Peach countless times throughout the years. This being said, he really enjoyed his work, often dreaming about it and even putting on an elaborate stage show in 1988.
Mario never married, but fostered a love for Princess Peach that lasted many years. She did not requite his love and even had a wedding to another at one point, which Mario then gatecrashed. This last year, however, they celebrated thirty-five years of rescues with the release of three of his most famous rescuing attempts in one collection, including their ill-fated holiday on Isle Delfino. It is deeply saddening that this adventure of theirs is now but a fleeting memory. Mario and Peach remained close throughout the time they knew each other, even complimenting each other’s weaknesses on adventures they embarked upon together. One of these was their trip to the Sprixie Kingdom, which even saw the princess join Mario in one of his secret pastimes – fursuiting.
In 1990, Mario was found to be more recognisable to American children than Mickey Mouse. This award was meaningful to him because he grew from a simple plumber looking out for the denizens of a world he didn’t understand into one of the, if not THE, most recognisable figure in the gaming industry. He became a pop culture icon by his adult life, appearing in TV shows, on countless pieces of clothing and paraphernalia, and even in a movie – of sorts.
Mario was active in a whole host of activities. He spent many hours karting around the Mushroom Kingdom with his friends and was known for his talents in football, tennis, golf, and many other sports. Mario was particularly passionate about painting, acting as a tutor in the arts for many children through his time in Mario Paint. He was especially proud of settling a long rivalry with Sonic, joining him to compete on the world stage at several instances of the Olympics.
My favourite memory of Mario is that one time when he went on an expedition to centre of the universe to save the princess from the villainous King Bowser. I didn’t know if he would even be able to breathe, but he jumped out to the unending void to do what was right. This was commonplace with Mario, he always put everyone else first, even in uncharted territory and under tremendous pressure.
The world is a sadder place without Mario in our lives. But Mario touched each and every one of us and has left us with memories we will cherish forever. It’s just a shame the collection, and Super Mario 35, and everything else is gone.