Super Mario Bros The Movie, what we can learn from gaming

Watch the iconic moustachioed plumbers stand up to bullies, rise up to challenges, and overcome fears and self-doubts. As long as they are together.


Donned in red and green, our beloved two brothers have transcended our Nintendo devices and onto the big screen.

The movie touches not only the emotional ordeal that these well-known characters go through in the game but  echos the spirit of the gaming and the lessons we could benefit from. Pause now and find out.

Mario enters the Mushroom Kingdom
Photo via The Wrap


We face big bad bullies and monsters of all sorts in gaming. Similar to life, these formidable foes either internal or external can be dealt with.

The first foe that Mario and Luigi face is Foreman Spike. As he is their ex-boss, every interaction between the Mario Brothers and Spike is hostile. Spike would verbally insult the brothers for their size and incompetence. While Luigi cowers in fear, Mario stands up to Spike in defence of his brother.

“What are you doing? He’s 3 times bigger than us,” Luigi says to Mario.

“It’s all going to be OK. I’m telling you, nothing can hurt us as long as we’re together,” Mario says to Luigi.

Mario says this to Luigi many times throughout this movie, reminding us to stand up to bully’s and to get other’s to stand with us as well.

Mario and Luigi
Photo via AP News

Fight Fear and Self-doubt

According to a flashback scene to his childhood, we come to understand why Luigi has always been timid as he has been the victim of bullying as a child. Mario has been standing up to bullies for Luigi since they were little.

In his adulthood, through Mario’s strength, Luigi toughens up into someone who Mario can rely on as well. This is proven in his heroic rescue of Mario in the final fight scene. In the final fight scene of the movie we see Luigi internalizing what Mario has been saying to him, that nothing can hurt them so long as they are together.


Bowser interrogating Luigi
Photo via Universal Pictures UK

Luigi escaping the Deep Woods
Photo via Universal Pictures UK

Take that Chance

Perhaps the future is a scary thing to think about. But in our gaming, don’t we move on to the next level or challenge despite not knowing what to expect?

Mario and Luigi worked as plumbers in Brooklyn (and Queens) for Foreman Spike’s company or ‘Wrecking Crew’. As Spike is both obnoxious and harassing, both brother’s left to start their own independent plumbing company.

Although this new company is a positive step in their lives, it is a leap of faith into the unknown.

Super Mario Bros advertisement
Photo via Letterboxd

Mario and Luigi have their first gig as the ‘Super Mario Bros’ plumbing company. Unfortunately, they make a large mess of the gig with their van breaking down because of poorly fitted pipes and a sabotaging dog. Yes, the dog did it!

Super Mario Bros Plumbing’s first gig
Photo via The Toronto Star

Hence, their father remains unsupportive of this daring move to strike out on their own. In a heated argument at dinner, he lets in anger: “Who leaves a steady job for a crazy dream?”.

Despite the soured relations,  Mario makes good over the father-son issues at the end. After the final boss battle, Mario and Donkey Kong are recognised for their heroism by their respective parents.

Donkey Kong and Mario getting upgrades
Photo via BGR

Persistence pays off

“You just don’t know when to quit” is a phrase that several characters used on Mario throughout the movie.

Princess Peach said it to him during intensive training in preparation to meet Cranky Kong and his army, as well as Bowser during his final battle in Brooklyn where there were no level up boxes.

Mario facing Donkey Kong in the arena
Photo via Shacknews

Mario displays a resilient mindset during the entire movie. When the van broke down, he manoeuvred closed roads and shortcuts. When Brooklyn had a major plumbing crisis, he sprung into action.

Most impressive of all, when Mario lost Luigi in the portal, he tirelessly continued to sought out solutions to find the Princess and battling Donkey Kong in an unknown universe.

Mario in his Mario kart with Princess Peach, Toad and the Kong army on the Rainbow Bridge
Photo via Syracuse.com

Life is a game, play on

Like the movie, a gaming experience can teach us similar lessons. When our character falls or fails, we get them to stand up and fight on. When we are faced with a road-block, we find ways to get around it so that we can continue on with the game. When our weapon is broken, we find other resources to continue the fight. We press on until we complete the game. Take that same spirit seen in the movie and in gaming into our lives as we face challenges, and we may just emerge a winner like Mario Bros.

When is gaming too much?

If you find yourself thinking of the game throughout the day, unable to concentrate on anything else, or unable to put a time-limit to playing the game, addiction could possible have set in.

Click this to know more about addiction and how to avoid the slippery slide down. 

Talk to someone if you find it hard to stop gaming


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