Thursday, September 14th, 2017...5:05 pmchoc

A game of depth

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Super Paper Mario was an adventure game for the Nintendo Wii, released in 2006. The premise for the game’s design was intriguing: the stage—the canvas for the player’s exploration, was a blend of the traditional 2D platforming of the older titles with the 3D free-roaming adventure offered by the newer, the player switching between the 2D and 3D landscapes to allow themselves to traverse obstacles and solve puzzles—a brain teaser, combined with the well-known hand-eye gymnastics of typical Mario game.

Being your traditional pick-up-and-play franchise of video game, it’s not accurate—most of the time—to expect a heavy-handed story to follow a Mario title.

This one was different. Its premise was simple: an unlikely group of heroes must prevent the end of the world. How it was achieved, not so—the force behind the certain doom that they were meant to prevent turns out to be a true prophecy, while the book that guides the heroes is false. The light prognostics was written in order to delay the dark one, but to only delay. That was my first encounter with what’s known as the Human Condition—one reading of it.

There is a location you gain access to after world 5 known as the Overthere, a “coffee bar” in which you can show your patronship for 10 coins to hear a story.



These two stories from a deep corner of the game that few would have visited during a normal play-session, when comparatively analysed, reveal the motivations and backstory for Dimentio, who seems to be an minor character without any explanation for who he is, how he got there but becomes, after a plot twist, the final villain.

I saw these two stories a few years after I’d finished the game. My world had shifted from 2D to 3D. I fell in love with literature.

1 Comment

  •   Professor Seiler
    September 17th, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Cho–wow, you have to take a game studies course, for sure! So what was it about your experience of this game that was so… unexpected (as per the prompt)? Was it the revelation of these hidden stories that you found only later? Or was it something to do with that mysterious “Human Condition” as simulated / stimulated by the game?

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