Though it may be easy to take pot shots at Mario, pointing out his short stature and protruding gut, it is an undeniable fact that he is, in actual fact, an amazing athlete. Beyond his mind-boggling ability to jump and flip to incredible heights, he has also proven apt at practically every sport ever invented. Baseball, golf, tennis, soccer matches so brutal people get electrocuted every twenty seconds – the man has done it all. He has competed in every single event in the last five Olympics, both of the summer and winter variety, and even dunked on LeBron James at one point. He’s easily Italy’s greatest sporting icon, and it’s harder to actually find a discipline he hasn’t dabbled in at least once.
But they’re out there, you know. He may have ticked off the most obvious suspects, and even some of the more obscure ones like curling or handball, but even the great Mario has yet to make his mark on the following sports. Knowing him though, this article will be rendered obsolete in just a few months when Nintendo announces the newest addition to the Mario spinoff franchises. We at least expect a percentage of the royalties.
This one is a glaring omission to Mario’s crown, but in fairness, he’s European – soccer will always be the true football in his eyes. The hard-hitting, fast-paced, and brutal live game of chess that thrills millions of Americans and bemuses the rest of the world, it’s quite shocking that we haven’t even had a vague attempt made at this sport.
If you want to be especially nitpicky, Mario Party 8 does have a minigame called Grabby Gridiron, wherein teams of two compete to collect bouncing footballs and throw them into a goal, but that’s a bit of a stretch. It hardly resembles the sport at all, and other than the relevant balls and field, it could have just as well been called ‘Snatchy Soccer’ or ‘Bouncing Bocce’ or ‘Obtuse Hackey Sack Competition’.
The most obvious reason that we’ve never seen a true Mario football sim is because of the game’s complex nature, something that takes some getting used to. What’s a false start? How do I run a curl route? Why is a tackle in your own endzone called a safety, when it doesn’t seem very safe at all? Mario games thrive on simplicity and accessibility: once you start throwing variables around like hail Mary’s, you begin to lose the very essence of what makes them fun for the whole family. You could possibly opt for a more stripped down version, like NFL Street, but even then, it’s probably asking for too much. Our best hope is probably for a cameo appearance in a future Madden game, assuming they return to a Nintendo platform anytime soon. Ah, how satisfying it would be to watch Cam Newton eat a sack from Toadsworth.
NOTE: These fantastic mockups are by the talented SyBro, be sure to check out the full gallery. They may look real, but they’re 100% fanmade. Observe: as if you’d have a Kremling as the slot receiver.