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The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Why a Life of Play is Important

Life is short. Fill it with play. And Super Mario.

By Shamona PretzPublished about a year ago 5 min read
Top Story - April 2023
Photo of the author. Yes, I WILL be wearing this hat on opening day of THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE

The Super Mario Bros. Movie, coming out Wednesday, April 5, 2023, is my most anticipated movie of the year, bar none.

I’ve expressed on multiple occasions my sheer love of the Super Mario franchise. I have a Twitch account where most of the time I just play retro games of my youth, Mario included.

Super Mario has been part of my life since before I can remember. Our family had the original Nintendo Entertainment System, our first and only game for the console being the Super Mario Bros. / Duck Hunt combo cartridge.

I had a real challenge with playing the game as a young child. Not because it was difficult; as soon as the music sped up in the final 100 seconds, I would divulge into an anxiety-ridden mess, crying until someone took the controller from me, or until the hapless Mario spontaneously perished when the timer ran out.

Things went a bit smoother with my relationship with Mario when my mom got me a boatload of SNES games for my seventh birthday. Games like Super Mario World, Mario Paint, Super Mario All-Stars became permanent fixtures in my childhood leisure pursuits.

Fast-forward to today; with the exception of the Wii U and the Virtua Boy, I’ve owned every Nintendo console and have at least defeated Bowser in every flagship Mario title.

Even today, in my more mature years, I keep the Mario fandom alive in my heart, regularly getting my sibling together for some intense Mario Party sessions. (In case you’re wondering, we take a Fox — No Items — Final Destination approach to our game nights: Mario Party 3 — 50 turns — Bonus Stars for maximum chaos.)

That’s over 30 years of Mario knowledge and lore under my belt. I now wait with bated breath as this is the first theatrical outing for the famous plumbers since the much-maligned Leguizamo-Hopkins vehicle of the early 90s.

Ecstatic doesn’t even come close to how I’m feeling. What’s even better, I’m sharing the momentous occasion with my family, as we’re all going out to see the movie opening day.

Laugh all you want — this is my Star Wars. Imagine the hype everyone felt in 1999 after the first Star Wars trailer — this is my Phantom Menace moment.

I hold such a dear place in my heart for Super Mario because it’s been a reliable constant for the entirety of my life.

It’s always been there. It’s always provided me enjoyment and entertainment. It’s always allowed me to indulge in my inner child, in my love of youthful play, even as a full-grown, full-blown, card-carrying adult.

And that, ultimately is what this post is about. Life is short. Life is hard. But it never should be devoid of fun.

What keeps me going on is the knowledge of no matter how awful or how dark life may be, it is our responsibility to always seek out those little moments to remind us that it’s not ALL bad.

As adults, we must never lose that youthful spark and always nurture that indelible love of play.

It’s what allows Charles Martinet to channel the character of Mario, Luigi, and all of the offshoot characters:

It’s what made Masahiro Sakurai the perfect spokesperson — a real-life Willy Wonka of the video game era— for ushering in the incomparable tour de force that was Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Switch:

Hell, it’s what gives Jack Black the extra cajones to go and do THIS:

You don’t have to be a die-hard retro nerd to live a life of play. You can inject fun little things into your life on a daily. Here are some examples:

Video Game Ringtones

In anticipation for The Super Mario Bros. Movie, I have set both my work and personal phone to ringtones from some of the franchise’s most popular games. Playing Super Mario 3D World made me regain an appreciation for the Toad’s House tune (which can be heard at the beginning of the trailer played at the 2022 Video Game Awards).

For an extra level of fun, I’ve also set the wake-up sound of my phone alarm to the dulcet tones of Jolly Roger Bay from Super Mario 64:

And yes, even my phone timer is Mario-inspired:

Fun Trinkets

As someone in my mid-30s, I can’t justify going to my job decked out in a Nintendo-themed or anime t-shirt. But I can still proclaim my zeal in more subtle, work-friendly ways.

Sailor Moon pins on my backpack

I instantly fell in love with these two pins I found at a craft market and subsequently affixed to my work backpack. One, because they’re from Sailor Moon, and two, because they’re not overtly so; you’d have to have some working knowledge of the villains of Sailor Moon to recognize the off-model beauty of Queen Beryl. And the pin on the right? Y’all…that’s just from a banger of a first-season episode. Killer Fairy-tale demon doll youma? Yes, please!

I’ve also decorated my personal computers with nods to my love of all things Nintendo. Note the aggressively large Shy Guy sticker in the lower right corner. This is an apt approximation of how much Shy Guy content I request — nay, demand! — in The Super Mario Bros. Movie — I will accept no substitutes.

Stickers on my personal laptop

I express my love for my other obsession through my choice of key chain. Presently, I’m using this adorable faux-candy key chain crafted by Kinako, an expertly skilled Hey Arnold! fan-artist from Japan.

Hey Arnold! key chain by artist Kinako

I first felt a bit silly spending the money on this trinket. But when I actually started to USE it…let me tell you, the tactile sensation is SUBLIME. The faux-candy beads inside the plastic shell give such delightful ASMR with every shake, I look forward to the times when I need to lock my door.

Obscure References Peppered Into Regular Conversation

Sometimes I like to find bits of fun in how I communicate with other people.

Case in point: when responding to an overdue email, I’ll usually append to my message the following phrase: “Forgive the lateness of my reply”.

Yes, this is a sincere exchange. It’s also me having a little bit of fun on the job, dropping in the quote from The Simpsons episode “Brush with Greatness”, where Ringo Starr responds to Marge’s decades-old letter:

Again, you can find play in the most of mundane of activities, you just have to be creative.

So these are just a few ways that I like to sprinkle fun into my everyday life.

Early reviews are trickling in for The Super Mario Bros. Movie and my excitement has reached a fever pitch.

Good or bad, blockbuster or bomb, you better believe I will be there on opening day of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, cheering on not just the Italian, Chris Pratt-voiced video game protagonist, but my celebration of what it represents.

Fun. Sheer, unbridled fun.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie hits theatres April 5.

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About the Creator

Shamona Pretz

I am a fiction writer, specializing in YA and fantasy.

Visit my website at

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Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (10)

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  • Abdullah7 months ago

    Life is sweetand i completely agree with you

  • Samuel 9 months ago

    Exactly. Life is very sweet and we must live it to the fullness. Thank you so much.

  • Hope Martin11 months ago

    So… were you disappointed in the movie?just asking because… I thought it was terrible. Except the little blue depressed star…

  • Riley Earl11 months ago

    I completely agree with the importance of play in our lives. The Super Mario Bros. movie brings back so many fond memories of childhood playtime. It's great to see how gaming culture has evolved and continues to bring joy to people of all age

  • Christian Smith 12 months ago

    Mario game and fairy tale is the game of my childhood.

  • That was fun, we have shared this in Vocal Social Society on Facebook if you would like to join us there

  • You go, girl. And a fun time was had by all (who read this article).

  • Loryne Andaweyabout a year ago

    Yay! A gamer writer grabbed a Top Story spot today! While I haven't played the Mario games, Mario is so embedded in our society you can't miss him. Enjoy your time at the movies and may it be everything you wanted 🤗

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