Super Mario Times Square

Hypothetical Question: How Many Marios can fit in Times Square? I know, “LeKeith, Not this question again!” Well, I have good news: Nintendo resolved the query for us. They built a World 1-1 replica on Times Square’s Military Island for the “Super Mario 3D Land” game for the Nintendo 3DS. Through the course of the day, the  answer to this time tested question was revealed.

In recreating the Mushroom Kingdom, Nintendo didn’t limit themselves to just Military Island. The Toys R Us, located diagonally across from Military Island, essentially became a Mushroom House: early releases of Super Mario Land 3D could be bought during the proceedings of the day. Nintendo also commandeered ABC’s Good Morning America giant screens, using them to display footage of the crowd turnout and gameplay. They used the Scrolling Screens to display any Tweets about the excitement over the event. As part of the crowd participation, tweets using the hashtag #SuperMario3D could be redeemed for a Free Slice of Mushroom Pizza from a Famous Original Mario’s Food Truck. This Warped World of Mario, where Times Square serves as a backdrop for the Mushroom Kingdom, was a delight. And all of this commotion was before the Course was open!

The festivities officially kicked off when an Army of Marios lined up across from World 1-1. They marched – DK v Mario Mayhem style – and attacked the course, dodging piranha plants, hurdling Goombas and collecting coins. They replicated signature maneuvers from Mario’s catalog, from the classic 8-bit Mario leap (complete with arms akimbo pose) to the twisting triple-saults from Mario 64. Meanwhile, other Mario Troops invaded the crowd, dispensing high fives and photo opportunities. Some Marios must have a little Times Square in their blood: They took to the streets as b-boys, performing headstands, lifts, cartwheels, and flipping over one another.

There were Marios, Marios everywhere and not a Luigi in sight (more on him later).

While the wait to enter World 1-1 was longer than expected, the appreciation for Mario was never weaned.  The costume tributes to the the Plumber were on full display. There were Princess Peaches; There were Bowsers; There were not Koopa Kids, regrettably. One fan was dressed as a Boomerang Bros, a character debuting in Super Mario Land 3D, which  is Con-level dedication.

Fans discussed all things Mario in the meantime:

- “What is Birdo’s Sexual Orientation?”
- “Are Yoshi and Birdo a Couple?”
- “How does that work?”

Frankly, there was a lot of Birdo talk.

There was also rampant discussion over the best Super Mario game; any positive mention shown towards Super Mario 2, however, was met with a vitriolic responsive from the most dedicated of fanboys. To quell a SMB2 riot, Nintendo gave out Mario mustaches. Crisis averted.

Upon entering the stage, you become Mario, almost literally: Nintendo gave out extra Mario Mustaches, Tanooki Ears and Tanooki Tails at the entrance of World 1-1. You looked like Mario. When you bounced off the trampolines to get the Mario jumps, you felt like Mario. While you’re mid-air, you will believe you are the plumber turned hero from Brooklyn. It’s only upon landing that the truth sets in: you are just a person who controls the plumber turned hero from Brooklyn. (Fret not, there was a Dr. Mario on hand, in case fantasy crashed too harshly – and literally – into reality.)

Nevertheless, traversing the course – walking tightropes, punching coin bricks, executing trampoline assisted triple jumps, traveling through a warp pipe, climbing the stage clearing flag pole – required living out quintessential Mario adventure. Then Toad, or Security, said, “Get Down From There!” before ushering you off the stage. Or so I was told. What I heard was, “Our princess is in another castle.” Maybe the Tanooki ears affected my hearing.

So how many Marios do fit in Times Square? Thousands; there’s a little Mario in all of us, especially when free Hats and Tails are being given out. Oh, and about the big little brother, Luigi Mario? He showed up – fashionably late – with a clear chip on his shoulder and a blurry blue chip by his side: Sonic the Hedgehog. Their presence turned this 100% Pro-Mario crowd to a 99%. Well, 98% actually: moments later, someone else came along brandishing a cardboard “Sega Will Rise Again” sign.

Still, it was a great day to Occupy the Mushroom Kingdom in this Mad, Mad, Mario World.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>