\ Rantings and Ravings

Web smbhq.com

About SMBHQ Games Mailbag Store NC Extras Contact Us SMBHQ Forum

Mute Mario

Or "Mario's Minimally Moving Mouth"

    The ability to speak is pretty important. Since before recorded history, human have used speech as one of the most efficient ways to transfer information between people. Only recently has speech become a big part of gaming. Games like Star Fox 64 and Metal Gear Solid have been much more immersive by using pre-recorded speech used throughout to advance the story and enhance gameplay. Why has Mario been left behind in this wave?

    Thus far, Marioís storyline has mainly advanced through text boxes. From Toadís first "Your princess is in another castle" in SMB through "Mario, it that really you." in SM64, weíve read hundreds of text boxes to figure out what the heck is going on in these games. In Super Mario RPG, Mario didnít even speak through word boxes, but instead used gestures and transformations to get his points across (a la Chrono in Chrono Trigger). Unless you count Baby Mario's annoying cry in Yoshi's island, we still didnít get to actually hear Marioís voice throughout the 16-bit era.

    When the N64 came along with its bigger carts and better sound technology, there was finally the possibility of true speech in a Mario game. This was well utilized in games like Super Mario 64, with the princess giving a complete monologue of thanks in the ending. Since then, however, voice in Mario games has degenerated into cheesy stereotypical sound bytes. Who can forget Luigiís thickly accented "Iím-a Luigi, Number One" or Peachís ultra-high "Yeah, Peach has got it!" in Mario Kart 64. Warioís voice was quickly set in the cackling evil villain role in Mario Party, while Toad constantly exclaimed "Yahoo!". Even worse, characters like Yoshi, Donkey Kong and Bowser were relegated to squeaks and grunts. This is certainly not the best speech treatment Mario and friends could get.

    So how can this be improved? Well, the first thing to do is take away the gross sterotyping. Mario and Luigi can keep their Italian accents, but could benefit from having them toned down a little. Peach can start sounding like a regular female instead of a talking Barbie doll, and Wario can lose the super annoying laugh. Bowser used words in SMRPG and SM64, so he might as well speak in future Mario games. Secondly, give the characters some realistic dialogue. The half sentences and exlamations at the beginning of Mario Tennis were cute, but not very interesting. Dramatic, believable speech in a game is possible (Just look at Metal Gear Solid). Actually, for this to happen, Mario would first have to have an interesting story, so I guess we can just forget that ever happening.

    For now, at least, we're stuck with word boxes and short bits of speech from our favorite plumber. Perhaps on GameCube we will finally get to hear a finely crafted Mario monologue. Frankly, I think it's more likely that we'll see an original story in the next Mario game. But hey, anything can happen.

Back to Rants

SMBHQ.com About the site. All Rights Reserved. All content contained herein is property of SMBhq. SMBhq is in no way affiliated with Nintendo Company Limited, Nintendo of America, or any other mentioned companies. Super Mario Bros. and all character names are copyrights of Nintendo Co. Ltd. More legal info. Privacy Statement.
SMBhq is best viewed at 1024 x 768 resolution or higher.

Contact Us |Subscribe to feeds | Help Wanted! | About the Staff

Design School | Forum Posting | Liposuction

Delta Faucets | Moen Faucets

Super Slots