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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Change Mario's Career!

    - staff
  •  Science teaches us that a crushed butterfly or an errant sports almanac can sharply skew the earth's timeline, resulting in an unpredictable and dire alternate future. 

    But what would happen to the video games industry if Nintendo's mascot character, Mario, had chosen another career?

    The world knows Mario as the star of Nintendo's flagship Super Mario Bros. franchise, which began with a pair of plumbers being sucked into a drain pipe that deposited them into the platform-filled Mushroom Kingdom.

    Would Mario and Luigi have embarked on similar adventures if they had chosen a different line of work? What kind of fantasy world would await Mario if he was a taxicab driver, or an accountant, or a bartender?

    In its latest Game Design Challenge, Game Career Guide tasked its readers with describing Super Mario Bros. or one of its sequels in an alternate past, in which Mario chose a different career path. 

    Many readers submitted entries that were similar in concept to Super Mario Bros., save for a few crucial differences. Others hypothesized that Mario's job change would result in the birth of an entirely different genre, taking the games industry in a new and unexpected direction.

    What follows are the best and most original entries we received. Here are our top picks:

    Best Entries
    Stuart Lilford, University of Wolverhampton, Super Mario Thief (see page 2)
    Stuart Lilford reimagines Donkey Kong as a stealth-based action-puzzler, then details the sequels and spinoffs that follow. The Super Mario Kart-inspired cops-and-robbers racer is particularly noteworthy, and would likely be very fun to play. 

    John Healy, Mario: Stuck In Time (see page 3)
    Healy's entry puts Mario in the role of a watchmaker's son, and envisions Super Mario Bros. as a collection-based platformer. The many subtle changes noted in the Mario series' traditional structure and mechanics make for a compelling read.

    Dean Ray Johnson, Super Mario Barber (see page 4)
    In this entry, Dean Ray Johnson replaces the Mushroom Kingdom with a series of danger-filled heads of hair. In the process, Johnson effectively argues that a simple change in career may not have had much of an impact on Mario's first platforming adventure, at least in terms of gameplay.

    Honorable Mentions
    Loïc Ramboanasolo, Université de Montréal, Mario the Undertaker (see page 5)
    Max Nikolaev, Mario the Magic Pimp (see page 6)
    Daina Corey, Student at Westwood College Online, Super Mario Brothers: Urban Legends (see page 7)


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