Oh dear, what to say. . .there was this discussion in a roleplaying game forum, you see. Someone was wondering about how to do Mario as a serious RPG. Grim and dark Mario, no way that's been done before, right? Well, the discussion had gone on for a while by the time I came across the thread- people had posted links to all the relevant flash animations/comics, and were working off of two basic concepts: Make it all more violent (blood spraying everywhere with each Goomba stomped), and have the game be set in the ruined, abandoned wasteland of a world where Mario failed and all that is bright and cheery has gone.
I had a different idea- in my mind there was an opportunity to do more than just make everything dark/ - , even while retaining the basic plotline of the games. I started to try and describe this concept, but then realized an example would be more effective. So I wrote the dialogue for a few would-be cutscenes instead. It's probably best if I let you form your own conclusions.
B: So it is true. You intend to seek him out.
(Bowser Jr. continues to don pieces of armor for several moments before replying.)
J: You speak as though there can be any other option.
B: Do not do this, my child. You know how many have fallen at his hand-
J: Precisely why I must now meet him on the field of battle. My allows no less.
B: Would that I could hear such proud words in times less cruel! You bring such pride to us all, boy, but think of the cost. Would you deny your art? Truly it is your murals that give our castles their soul-
J: I have painted of grand deeds enough, I think. I do not go alone, father. Wario will stand beside me-
B: He is a human, boy, and a brigand among brigands at that.
J: His selfish nature serves my purposes. I can handle him.
B: Again I beg you. Think of the future of our people-
J: What comes first, father? To rule the Koopas, or to be one worthy of that title? Do you really expect me to believe that your actions in my place would be any different?
B (quietly): I would know that I go to my .
(Bowser Jr. silently meets his father's gaze).
B: Oh, my child. In my desperation I deny the truth even as it lies plain before my face. Forgive my insult; you are no boy, but a man. And you are everything I could ever hope for in a son.
(The two embrace tightly.)
J: And I in a father. Farewell.
(At the front of the hall, the doors slam open. An undead skeleton topples down the steps, splaying out at the bottom to clearly reveal the crushed skull. The massive figure seated at the dining table looks up to the entrance.)
B: So. You've come.
M: You thought your paltry defenses would stop me, monster?
B: Monster? I who have kept my honor, who stood by and watched as those under my charge were slaughtered without mercy?
M: You will pay for abducting the princess. Your reign ends here.
(Bowser sweeps the table aside with one crashing swipe of his arm.)
B: And who are you to challenge my sovereignty, human? What has that princess offered you, an outsider, that you might fall to her will as readily as those servile Toads?
M: What has become of her?
B: My subjects brought word of your deeds to me again and again. My most loyal of subjects, the best of Koopas- crushed. Even as you struck down my child did I stay my hand, for I had given my word that she would come to no harm, and I have kept it.
M: Say what you will, fiend. You have brought this fate upon yourself.
B: Enough! The gods have made me as I am to lead the Koopas to glory, not so that I might simper at the will of some fair-haired maiden. It is you who shall meet your fate this day!
This was written a couple months back; since then, the concept has been gradually developing; even though I've yet to deliberately dedicate any further conscious effort to the task, at this point I've the full outline for a two-"volume" story bouncing around in my head. And to tell the truth I'm not sure what to do with it. I could write it up for the blog, but at this point it's a story that would work much better for a video game than a tabletop one. I could do it as a fanfiction, but that's a whole new online community and I'm a little hesitant to just dive into it.
Sunday, March 2, 2008