Super Mario is the best game I have ever played. Or probably, it reminds me so much of the zeitgeist of my childhood – the innumerable bouts of amusement my brother and I had together (Mario’s younger brother Luigi thus gets an honorary mention) – that my judgement fails to be impartial. Or wait! It could also be because that video game set was the best surprise gift ever from my mother. Oh damn, I am yet to thank her for that!
There are other reasons why I still think Mario is the best. Most of them are rather philosophical, as much as the rest of this write-up would be. In the game, Mario races through the Mushroom Kingdom, to save the princess Toadstool. There are scattered coins along the way that he could collect, which could later be used to buy an extra life. Well, there are other secret means to buy a life as well, which aren’t apparent until you do it the first time. There are obstacles of course, which keep increasing as you go up the level. But then so do your powers, although not proportionately. You could play the game with various intentions at the start: to experience higher and newer levels, to collect the most coins, to slay all dragons, or of course – just to have fun, savoring the awesomeness of the journey itself. Given enough time, you could do anything, but not everything. Only when you are clear about what you want, would you accomplish it.
I believe the life we live works pretty much the same way. You learn something every single day whether you like it or not, and that makes you stronger and skillful, making the present day you the best version of yourself (best at what is a different question altogether, but best nevertheless). And of course, life gets even tougher everyday. It never becomes easier; remember the levels in Mario! So, there is no wonder when we think we could have done certain things differently, or in a better way in the past. The truth is, we couldn’t have. We just didn’t have the learning we have today, to think like we are thinking today!
But then, there is more on the positive side. We are free to decide what we want in life, just like we could in the Mario. Once we have that in mind, we should not let the other things distract us, just like we ignored free gold to save the princess, or vice versa. We should make sure that we learn as much as we can everyday: again, depending on what we want to do with it. We shouldn’t let our failures stop us from trying again, or our victories from identifying what we missed. Although we aren’t as lucky as Mario to restart our Games, there are always a handful of opportunities to course-correct, or to start afresh.
Let our childhood heroes teach us a thing or two. Mario certainly did to me.