2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Entertainment System, a game that cemented video game consoles as a staple in the living room of households across the globe. Most of us who grew up with Mario have withdrawn into our Koopa Troopa shells and retreated to our bedrooms to play our games, away from nagging mums who absolutely have to watch Emmerdale at 7pm sharp because they don’t know how ITV Player works. It’s depressing because although we’re connected to everyone all the time, playing video games is more of a singular thing than it’s ever been.
Like many twenty-somethings with iPhones for hands, the UTM editors love nothing more than shying away from ‘real’ work. After the revelation that three of the five of us still owned Nintendo 64s, we immediately dropped our responsibilities to discuss our favourite games in nostalgic wonderment. The gem of a Mario title that brought the most overexcited.gif-able reactions was, to our collective surprise, Mario Tennis.
So during our increasingly high-pitched “OH MY GOD YOU LOVE MARIO TENNIS TOO?!” conversation, we decided to make nostalgia a reality; the glorified past into actualised present, and break out our problematic, half-broken pads and a dusty copy of Mario Tennis in celebration of one of the best Mario games to unite people in a living room in the name of video games.
We own pads that don’t really work anymore, but we still play anyway. Why?
Joe: It’s a reminder of making the most of what we had when we were younger.
James: That’s part of the fun with the N64!
Nathan: I only play with the one decent pad we have because I don’t want a disadvantage.
Josh: I only ever play net so I’m fine with them.
James: Part of it with me is I wanna beat Josh at his own net game.
Josh: That’s almost impossible though, really.
Nathan: He goes full skengman mode at the net, I hate it.
Would anyone say it’s one of their favourite Mario games ever?
James: I would, yup.
Josh: Mario Kart Double Dash though!
Joe: Fuck Double Dash.
Nathan: Nah son, I’m with Josh… although we haven’t played Double Dash together yet. I’d actually say Mario Tennis my favourite.
James: Nothing can beat playing Mario Tennis with your boyz!
Connor: I never get as frustrated by other Mario games.
Nathan: That’s cuz you suck, Connor.
Connor: Nuh uh, the controller sucks!
Playing with friends in front of one tv to gaming in solitude – which is preferable and why?
James: In front of one tv, every. Single. Time.
Nathan: Buuut it’s hard to get people together.
James: Makes it more special though, yo! There’s so much more to laugh at when you’re all together.
Josh: Depends on the game.
Connor: Yeah – GTA is more fun when you’ve got your own screen, party games are way better together.
Joe: I went to a fake wedding in GTA the other day and the bride got run over by some angry Russian dude.
Is there a slight disconnect by gaming online with strangers? Does it make it less enjoyable as a social thing?
James: When I first played online it was a huge novelty where you could swear at everyone from the comfort of your own blanket fort, but it wore off quickly.
Nathan: Joe, remember that dude who kept shouting “FRIENDSHIP!” at you on that shitty FPS game the other day?
Joe: Oh yeah, that dude wanted to avoid the main goal of the game and just be friends. But his friendship promise ended in explosions.
Connor: I don’t like talking to strangers. Gaming online to me is just like playing alone but the AI are dickheads.
Nathan: Certain games lend well to interaction with strangers and some don’t. GTA is full of arseholes, but I’ve met some people on Final Fantasy XIV and they’ve been so nice because there’s more of a community vibe.
Josh: Nintendo are all about that family vibe, which is why their games are so suited to being in the same room together.
Favourite Mario Tennis character? Why?
James: BIRDO. Such a babe.
Joe: BOO. Because he is fat and white, like me.
Nathan: YOSHI. Yoshi is suuuch a qt, and he’s got amazing tekkers.
Josh: Probz Peach because Rosalina didn’t exist back then so I have to settle for the next best princess.
Connor: Bowser, because seeing him run around with a little tennis racket is always gonna be funny.
Favourite Mario Tennis moment?
James: Josh did a freaking incredible return one time which made my jaw drop.
Josh: Any time it’s a deuce is simultaneously my favourite and worst moment I think.
James: I love every time it just gets super close and everyone kinda tones down the funny and focuses.
Joe: When I shouted John Cena and it caught everyone off-guard.
Josh: Didn’t you also put yourself off, Joe?
Joe: Only because it’s hard to think of a new celebrity each time I serve.
Nathan: I liked it when Connor said he didn’t want to play any more because he was ruining everyone’s fun by being bad at the game.
Joe: I mean doubles is really doubles with Connor. You have to do double the work.
Connor: … I’m sad.