The Trial of Super Mario
By Dale Dobson, www.daledobson.com
LIGHTS UP on a nightmare courtroom, filled with intimidating, undefined dark shapes. Videogame hero Mario sits on a stool in a spotlight, stage right, looking nervous and confused. A witness stand podium looms over him, stage left. (We never see the Judge - he is represented only by a booming voice-over.)
JUDGE COOPER: The court will come to order. This court is now in session, Judge Cooper presiding. Mario, you stand here accused of crimes various and sundry, and have been called to account for your actions of the past two decades. First, we consider the charges of intellectual property theft and embezzlement during the distribution of your early effort, Donkey Kong.
MARIO: I dunno what-a you talkin' about!
JUDGE COOPER: Exhibit A - the testimony of Ms. P.
MARIO: Oh, yeah... what the hell was her name? Polly, Pauline... Pearl?
Ms. "P" enters, with long blonde braided hair and a pink dress, and takes her place at the witness stand.
MS. P: You haven't changed a bit, Mario. You never once got my name right!
MARIO: Heh-heh. I never-a knew you that-a well.
MS. P: Your honor, I personally saw Mario hand over Shigeru Miyamoto's design blueprints and source code to Taiwanese game pirates in exchange for a large cash payment.
MARIO: I didn't see you there!
MS. P: You never did. You bastard!
JUDGE COOPER: Were you and the defendant romantically linked?
MS. P: Yes, we were. Our affair lasted from 1983 to 1992. He always promised me he would leave that Princess and come back to the real world where we met. But it was always just a couple of quick jumps, some half-hearted hammering, and then he'd jump down the sewer pipe and leave me again.
MARIO: I'm-a warning you to shut-a you bithole!
MS. P: Anyway, after the pirated Crazy Kong Part II videogame began turning up in arcades, Mario convinced Nintendo to offer a sizeable bounty for information related to its origin. He then turned in his Taiwanese co-conspirators through a proxy informant and split the proceeds, ripping off his parent company twice.
JUDGE COOPER: And who was the proxy informant?
MS. P: It was me, your honor. I accepted two million dollars as a reward from Nintendo, and gave half to Mario.
MARIO: You little-a bitch!
JUDGE COOPER: Thank you for your cooperation.
MS. P: It was my pleasure, your honor. Oh, and Mario... I've already told the Princess about "us."
Princess Peach enters, hugging Ms. P as she exits. Peach walks up to Mario and slaps him on the cheek.
PRINCESS PEACH: I loved you, you son-of-a-bitch. Part of me still does.
MARIO: Peach, you-- you were-a da best thing-a dat ever happened to me. When this-a trial is over, I want-a you to be waitin' for me at the house with a big-a plate of spaghetti. I love-a you, princess!
She touches him gently on the cheek, a sad but resolute tear in her eye. A dramatic chord.
PRINCESS PEACH: Thank you, Mario. But your princess is in another castle.
MARIO: You've-a moved into Luigi's Mansion? Marron! You're-a killin' me here!
JUDGE COOPER: We now turn the court's attention to a charge of copyright infringement, and call Mavis Beacon to the witness stand.
MAVIS: Your honor, in 1995 Mr. Mario released a computer game entitled Mario Teaches Typing. In this title, he and his colleagues promised to teach children to type, using exercises, pedagogy and methodologies obviously lifted from my own product, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Note also the similarity in title, clearly intended to steal sales by confusing the consumer.
MARIO: It's a typing-a tutor! How-a differen' could it-a be?
MAVIS: I present as evidence a detailed analysis of the typing drills used in both products. Mario's 1995 product preserves every detail, including one typographical error, of the text included with my product in 1992.
MARIO: I never intended to compete with you, Ms. Beacon! You product was so-a obviously superior the thought never even-a entered my mind!
The same dramatic chord is heard.
MAVIS: Thank you, Mario. But your product was just another hustle.
JUDGE COOPER: Thank you, Ms. Beacon. Next, the charge of operating as a physician without a license, or indeed, medical training of any kind.
Mario's once-faithful Mushroom Retainer enters, a squat gentleman with a large mushroom-shaped, polka-dotted hat.
JUDGE COOPER: Sir, did you ever observe Mario representing himself as a medical doctor?
MUSHROOM: Shit, yeah, I did. He made my sister's kids play with pills when we was testin' that Dr. Mario game. An' he wore a white coat and one of them metal things on his head an' everything.
JUDGE COOPER: And did you ever obtain a written prescription from him for any controlled substance?
MUSHROOM: Your honor, yeah I did. I got me a prescription from "Doctor Mario" for ket-- uh, ket-- uh, ketamine hydrochloride. I b'lieve it is used fo' a animal tranquilizer.
MARIO: Your honor, I thought he-a needed it to help-a me capture that-a crazy Donkey Kong!
MUSHROOM: Suuuure you did. Uh-huh. Right. I go to pick it up, an' I get my ass arrested!
MARIO: I was-a only trying to help! You was my best-a friend in the whole Mush-a-room Kingdom!
The Mushroom Retainer bounces up to Mario and looks him in the eye, straight and cold. Again, a dramatic chord.
MUSHROOM: Screw you, Mario. Your prescription give th' brother a hassle.
The Mushroom retainer leaves, and MR. STEVENSON, a retired detective, enters the room.
JUDGE COOPER: Mr. Stevenson, please state your credentials.
MR. STEVENSON: (clears throat) I'm a retired detective. I consulted for Nintendo in the mid-1980's on the light-gun detective adventure game, Gumshoe. I currently am operatin' as a private investigator in the greater Seattle area.
JUDGE COOPER: The court has retained Mr. Stevenson to investigate the most serious charge pending here today... cold-blooded murder.
MR. STEVENSON: Yer honor, in 1984, Nintendo released the arcade coin-op videogame Donkey Kong 3, without Mr. Mario's participation. He was in rehabilitation at the time, living in a halfway house after his conviction on animal cruelty charges stemming from Donkey Kong Junior.
MARIO: Dat was a trumped up-a charge! I never told-a dat baby gorilla to expose himself to such-a danger! And I had a city permit to keep the big-a one inna cage!
MR. STEVENSON: Yeah, you had a poimit, but word on the street is that it was obtained through fraudulent manipulation of a Tacoma city council member. Anyways, Nintendo opted to offer the starring role to a different performer, as was their right under contract, y'understand. That performer being Mr. Stanley Bugman, better known in the trade as "Stanley the Bug Man."
MARIO: And that game was a big-a FLOP! They came-a crawlin'-a back-a to Mario!
MR. STEVENSON: Even so, yer professed hatred of Mr. Bugman was well-known in the bizness. And a witness who lived next door to the victim at the time tells me that on the night he died, she hoid a pounding on his door and a high-pitched, heavily accented voice shouting, "It's meeeeeeeee... Marioooo!"
MARIO: You can't-a prove dat was-a ME!
MR. STEVENSON: His body was found the next morning, bludgeoned to death with a big can of bug spray.
MARIO: But... but I was locked away in-a rehab at the time of Mr. Bugman's-a death!
MR. STEVENSON: This was not whatchoo'd call a secure facility. And both Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man confoim that you showed up at their home earlier that same evening in a state of considerable agitation, see? Demanding "power pellets" for a "special project."
MARIO: But I don't even OWN-a such a bug-a spray can! I never have! I much-a prefer to work wit' a hammer!
Stevenson draws himself up to his full height and points at Mario. A dramatic chord, again.
MR. STEVENSON: Says you, Mario. But yer prints is all over the motherfucker, asshole!
A deep basso laugh fills the room, and a projected silhouette reveals the Judge to be none other than Mario's arch-enemy, King Koopa.
JUDGE KOOPA: Mario Mario, I find you guilty as charged on all counts. Take him away, boys.
Two Mushroom Retainers outfit Mario with cartoony shackles and haul him out of the room, as the Underground Dungeon Theme from Super Mario Brothers fills the room. They exit, and we hear Mario's "death spin" sound effect from the original Donkey Kong. BLACKOUT.
reads since 10/07/2005